Trying to make a Metroid.

Been lurking on these boards for several months, quietly tinkering away at little personal projects to get up to speed with Blender. Not new to modelling, I’ve been doing it as applies to modding games for several years now and only this year got interested in rendering.

I was content to remain a lurker until trying to nail down this material got me to losing sleep at night. :wink: It’s driving me nuts. Basically what I’m trying to get is a lumpy transparent material with various solid objects inside it that actually look like they’re inside this big blob of goo.

I’ve gone through the search feature a dozen times and have found some great helpers, and have made some progress but am having problems crossing the final hurdle to finishing it. There was a “jelly” material posted in Blender General last week that I’ve been fairly pleased with, and a couple other glass type experiments I’ve played with.

Here’s the damage so far. Please ignore the geometry errors, the whole thing is a work in progress and I’m so distracted by the the problem of this transparent material that I have trouble focusing on all the other things that need attention.

I’m sure it’s pretty recognizable what I’m trying to model here. I cranked up the resolution and turned on OSA before hitting F12 and going to bed last night, just so I could squint at the details. There are three big problems that I see:

a) The blobs inside the shell don’t look like they’re inside it.
b) The shell dissappears in the center where there’s no green. Can’t even tell I have a bump map in place
c) Pixellated specular hilites. I don’t have set smooth turned on, but subsurf is on. Is this simply a poly count problem?

Here’s a screenshot of the current transparency material. The procedural texture is just a blend/halo:

Purely by chance I happened to sumble on an image this morning that gives a fair impression of the effect I’m seeking:

You can clearly tell you are looking through a clear ball, but there is very little refraction taking place. Objects viewed through it are fuzzy, and you can see the surface of the ball is scratched up a bit in the hilites.

Can anyone give some pointers? I am currently using the blender internal renderer, would switching to yafray improve things any? I have some experience with yafray, but that was long before it was integrated with blender so I’m not sure how it’s advanced in recent times.

thanks in advance,

What I’d try:

Two spheres, one only just inside the other:

Outer sphere:
V. low alpha

Play with the fresnel value with reflections on to get the look of the edge of the sphere.

Use ward-Iso specular shader with point -like highlights.

Bump map for those spec lines.

Inner sphere:
Refraction of close to 1 RI with a cloud texture set to size=0.001 on bump channel

Zero Spec

Set outer material not o cast shadows, or to cast transluscent ones if using raytraced lamps.

Problem 1: reflections will prevent spec hilights on the other side. Try multiple passes to do spec and reflection seperately.

That should put you in the right area.


That seems to have done splendidly at putting me on a better path:

The good part is it’s easily tweakable so I can fine tune as I flesh out some of the other details. My concern though is the graininess along the edge of the refraction, and the muddy look of the bump map on the outer shell.

Seems like higher levels of OSA (this render is set to 5) would fix the graininess, but make the bumps even muddier. Is there a better way to be going about this?

Don’t have the CPU time available at the moment to test, but would rendering at an absurd resolution and rescaling in photoshop or gimp help at all?

Was able to sit down today and put more effort into the materials, but am running into a problem:

I have three globes set up here… an outer one, which creates the specular effects and outline. An inner one that controls fuzziness (which isn’t doing much in this particular image), and a second inner one that has a texture mapped to it being used on the alpha channel (the blood vein/nerve looking things).

When I add the third shell, I get that black on the far edge of the dome. Remove any one of the three shells, and the problem goes away.

I’m pretty sure something is casting a shadow onto it, but I can’t figure out what. I’ve clicked almost every checkbox I can find to try and fix it.

This is the status of the model without the third layer rendered:

Any ideas how to fix this? I considered getting rid of the alpha shell and just modelling the nerve thingies, but was unable to get a satisfactory model. Drawing in photoshop was a lot easier and looks better. :wink:

Am using yafray for this, by the way.


No material gurus who can offer some insight?

Is there a limit to the layers of transparency that yafray can handle?

EDIT - hmm, just found this:

Could this be the problem I am getting? Yafray doesn’t support transparent shadows? Guess I’ll try to experiment some (more) tonight.

Am finally starting to get happy with the materials, I think. Keep finding little things to nitpick but fixing them generally breaks something else.

Image is kinda big, I always intended it to be for a desktop background and 1280x1024 is what my desktop is set to. Wanted something fairly dark too so it didn’t cause a huge amount of glare.

Would like to hear any suggestions people have for things to improve on.

Only thing I can really see is I need to fix the room, you can see the corner of the cube I created on the right side. The outer shell isn’t casting a shadow either, but I wanted a shadow of the fangs on the ground and turning on shadows eliminated them.

ok. a couple crits


  1. its kind of hard to see in your latest image. if you were looking for dark, you certainly got it. i would like to see more of the metroid.
    2.) are you going for a particular color here? i thought metroids were green. are you breaking off from the original color here? here’s a good metroid image.

keep it up, though. the model itself seems very good.

The model itself is absurdly simple. It ended up mostly being a challenge of materials. Which worked out well for an introduction to blender since I’ve been doing modelling in various forms for years, and not much with materials (or rendering).

If you can suggest a way to create a mood where it looks like it is looming in the shadows, without blacking everything out, I’d love to hear it. The monitor I’m displaying it on has a rather high gamma (is an oldish LCD, doesn’t do black very well) so the image impression is a bit dependent on the display in use.

I was having troubles getting the green without turning it into a cheesy neon glowing mess. I think I’ll experiment with it some more though since it might make it appear less black.

thanks for the ideas.

edit - here’s a much brighter showing. smaller, no osa

The damage so far:

Guess it’s more accurate in the strict sense, but it also makes it look a little more toonish than I think I wanted.

I had to get rid of the specular effects as well, they just weren’t working well with the green halo effect.

Doesn’t really look “alive”, nor does it appear to loom in the shadows, however it is a lot easier to see. Can’t quite pin what’s missing though.