Tips on making a material like this?

I recently found this short show and I loce the material/texture (whats the different between material and texture?) on the characters and I want to make a similar material


I would say:

  1. for the material (which is the same as texture in my opinion, except if you’re talking about image texture which means using jpg or npg in your node setup), no glossiness, perhaps a bit of Subsurface Scattering

  2. a soft lighting with large radius for the lamps in order to have soft shadows

  3. a particular palette of colors (always a bit mixed and desaturate)

would you use a principled bsdf and remove the specular and up the roughness and then add a subsurface scattering node?

Actually you can do it with or without the Principled, you can use the Subsurface Scattering of the Principled, perhaps not too much SSS but a small amount of Emission so that it never turns dark?


Wow, that looks really good. I’ll try this. What are you using for the lighting?

just two suns, one on each side, with an Angle value of 30° to have rather smooth shadows

Yeah I second this. @Psaebrail the key to this is going to be 2 things. First is, it looks like the roughness is VERY high and might even have a sheen on it with a slight bit of sheen tint but that is material-specific it appears but it does seem that is where some of the effect is coming from. The other thing is SSS… 100000000% there is SSS on near all of these materials. Subtle for sure, but what gives the drab colors the vibrant appearance is they are using very saturated rich SSS which is giving the same effect as lips which have debatably very little color but they look so red and colorful because the opposite side of the light source glows a bright red hue in the apex between the mid-tones and the shadows. Using randomwalk and radiuses instead of just a color will really help you get a lot of control over this effect but it is a little hard to tell what someone used in terms of SSS methods on a stylized cartoon.

EDIT: There is one more thing you are seeing. REFLECITONS!!! the background is modeled and appears to be very flat lit which is working as a bounce card and the primary reflection is sending a light cream hued light onto the bottom of everything, a lot like a photographer having a model hold a white flag under their chin.

As for your question about materials and textures, I am a look developer so maybe I can shed some light on this for you. A material may or may not inclued any textures. Textures and CAN be used to make materials through various different maps, like an albedo map, roughness map, normal map, SSS map, etc. These use 16 or 32 bit images to define a 0-1 value or an XYZ value which can drive the materials behavior. A shader is where more off the confusion comes in. Technically a shader is actually the program of the material. Hense a transmission shader vs diffuse shader where these are individual functions performing their own tasks that on their own or combined can be used to make a material from maps generated from a texture. Hopefully that cleared that up a bit. Or maybe it just made more questions than answers and if so, I appologize.

I’m confused about how the angle option works compared to rotating the sun object itself. Do you have two suns one rotated 30° and one -30° so both sides of the object are brightened or are both suns just pointing down with the angle option set to 30°?

@ThorntonStrolia are you saying the SSS color should be more saturated than the base color or both are the same color and are very saturated colors?

and thanks I think that cleared it up a bit. A material is like the finished thing you see while many textures can be used in material.

I’ll try to setup a background to work similar to how you mentioned. Are there any specfics for the background material you recommend for the bounce to be similar?

Well, you should work from what you see, not what you know. That is true in 99% of art. PBR is very realistic but it’s not an exact science and far from simulation so knowing why things work will get you close, and knowing how that that is just a starting point will get you closer. My suggestion is use white in your SSS color because it will do nothing, set the method from christensen-burley to randomwalk and for the skin set the SSS radius to like 1.0, 0.45, 0.35. Those are technically XYZ values but you can just as well think of them like a ratio of RGB. Then set your SSS to probably 0.05-0.1 if you model to scale. This should make a nice little red stripe of color between your midtones and your shadows. It IS a subtle effect though so be careful not to drive it too too hard. Saturation is the key, not intensity.

The sun angle is not the same as rotating the sun. The physical rotation of the sun is where the suns light is in relation to earth ““Earth””… or your scene. The sun angle in the light properties you can think of is how diffuse or direct the light is. For over cast I might set it to 27, where for a clear day I might set it between 8 and 14 depending on the time of day. If the light is hitting a subject at a wider angle it will create a larger penumbra, while light hitting at a more direct angle will create a harder shadow.

TBH I don’t think they are using suns. Or maybe 1 sun at like 18 degrees but I think the rest is literally just a gradient light dome. Brightest at the top and 50% grey at the bottom. This will create the illusion of daylight but they probably set the dome light to maybe 5800 kelvin and it is not very strong. It is just flattening out the lighting a bit and creating a soft downward directional bounce light. I would say this is 70% 1 sun lamp and 30% a color ramp plugged into the world background.

I’m talking about the Angle value, which is not the same as the rotation angle, it’s a bit confusing, it’s the equivalent of the Radius value of the spot, it makes the shadow smoother. Also maybe create large emission objects? I’m not sure how they get this kind of lighting but I think it counts a lot in their setup to get this style

Thanks I will try these.

@moonboots ah, ok. What did you mean by a sun on each side then? If they aren’t rotated wouldn’t both suns be doing the same thing no matter where they are placed?

yes they are rotated :wink: I just said that when I talked about the Angle value I was not talking about their rotation

Ohh okay haha. Did you disable shadows on one of them so they isn’t two shadows being cast on the floor?

That could be a solution yes, maybe try other solutions like large emitive plane or half sphere?

Not sure what you mean by this. What would a half sphere be doing?

if you create a large surface like a half sphere and give it a material with emission it will light more smoothly the whole scene, but I’m not sure what’s the best solution for lighting this kind of scene, you need to give it some tries

Ah, that only seems to work in cycles not on eevee as far as I can tell.

what only works in cycles?

Using a large emissive plane as a lighting source

mmh yes you’re right, unless you use light probes (Reflection Plane)