Vray Fast SSS2 Material is a material that is primarily designed for rendering of translucent materials like skin, marble etc. The implementation is based on the concept of BSSRDF originally introduced by Jensen et al. (see the references below) and is a more or less physically accurate approximation of the sub-surface scattering effect, while still being fast enough to be used in practice.

In difference from the original Refraction Layer SSS material, Vray Fast SSS2 Material is a complete material with diffuse and specular components that can be used directly. More exactly, the material is composed of three layers: a specular layer, a diffuse layer, and a sub-surface scattering layer. The sub-surface scattering layer is comprised of single and multiple scattering components. Single scattering occurs when light bounces once inside the material. Multiple scattering results from light bouncing two or more times before leaving the material.

Basic Properties

Name – here you can enter a name for the object.

Layer – If an element was assigned to a layer its layer color will be displayed here. This field reflects the layer color in the Layer Palette. You can drag & drop layers from the Layer Browser or similar layer fields onto this field. You can also assign layers or remove elements from current layers using the menus located behind the small triangle.

Preview Quality – quality of material preview in preview window.

Overridable – when you use Override material options in Global options, you can specify some materials that will no be override, like glasses, curtains etc..it useful for preview vizualization of interiors.

MatID Color – ID of the material for multipass rendering.

Round Edges – edges of object with this material will be rounded.

General Parameters

Scale – additionally scales the subsurface scattering radius. Normally, SSS2 Layer will take the scene units into account when calculating the subsurface scattering effect. However, if the scene was not modelled to scale, this parameter can be used to adjust the effect. It can also be used to modify the effect of the presets, which reset the Scatter radius parameter when loaded, but leave the Scale parameter unchanged.

IOR – the index of refraction for the material. Most water-based materials like skin have IOR of about 1.3.

Multiple scattering – this parameter controls the method used to calculate the subsurface scattering effect.

  • Raytraced – true raytracing inside the volume of the geometry is used to get the subsurface scattering effect. This method is physically accurate and produces the best results.
  • Prepass-based illumination map – this method uses an approach similar to the irradiance map to approximate the sub-surface scattering effect. It requires a prepass and the quality of the final result depends on the Prepass rate parameter
  • Object-based illumination map – this method is similar to the Prepass-based illumination map in that it also creates an illumination map used to approximate the final result. The only difference is the method used for sample placement. Rather than using the resolution of the image as a guide the samples are placed based on the surface area of the geometry. When this mode is used the final quality depends on the Samples per Unit Area parameter.

Auto Density – When using when this option is enabled V-Ray automatically assigns the number of samples to be used for each square unit of surface on the geometry. Enabling this check box disables the Samples per unit area parameter.

Samples per Unit Area – this parameter has effect only when the Auto calculate density check box is disabled. It allows you to control the number of samples that is going to be taken for each square unit of the geometry surface. The size of one unit is controlled by C4D scene units set up. Increasing this parameter means that more samples are going to be taken which produces higher quality results at the cost of increased render times.

Surface offset – to prevent artifacts each sample is taken a tiny distance away from the actual surface in the direction of the normal. This parameter controls that offset.

Prepass rate – SSS2 Layer accelerates the calculation of multiple scattering by precomputing the lighting at different points on the surface of the object and storing them in a structure called an illumination map, which is similar to the irradiance map used to approximate global illumination, and uses the same prepass mechanism built into VRAYforC4D that is also used for e.g. interpolated glossy reflections/refractions. This parameter determines the resolution at which surface lighting is computed during the prepass phase. A value of 0 means that the prepass will be at the final image resolution; a value of -1 means half the image resolution, and so on. For high quality renders it is recommended to set this to 0 or higher, as lower values may cause artifacts or flickering in animations. If the chosen prepass rate is not sufficient to approximate the multiple scattering effect adequately, SSS2 Layer will replace it with a simple diffuse term. This can happen, for example, for objects that are very far away from the camera, or if the subsurface scattering effect is very small. This simplification is controlled by the Prepass blur parameter.

Prepass ID –  this option allows several materials with SSS2 Layer to share the same illumination map. This could be useful if you have different materials applied on the same object inside a Vray Blend Material. If the Prepass ID is 0, then the material will compute its own local illumination map. If this is greater than 0, then all materials with the specified ID will share the same map.

Prepass Mode – this option controls how the illumination map is used in animation.

  • Single Frame – a new illumination map is generated for each frame of the animation.
  • Save map for each frame – a new illumination map is generated and then saved on the hard drive for each frame of the animation.
  • Load map for each frame – in this mode V-Ray doesn’t calculate the illumination map and instead loads it from the hard drive. You can use maps that you previously saved.
  • Save map only for the first frame – an illumination map is calculated and saved only for the first frame of an animation.
  • Load map only for the first frame – an illumination map is loaded only for the first frame of an animation.

Preview Samples – when this option is enabled V-Ray renders an image that displays the samples distribution along the surface of the geometry. It can be used for debugging artefacts much like the show samples parameter of the Irradiance Map.

Max Distance – each preview sample is reprsented by a circle in the final image. This parameter allows the user to specify the radius of the sample.

Background Color – this is the color of the geometry where there are no preview samples present.

Sample Color – the color of the preview samples.

Diffuse and Sub-Surface Scattering layers

Overall color – controls the overall coloration for the material. This color serves as a filter for both the diffuse and the sub-surface component.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Diffuse color – the color of the diffuse portion of the material.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Diffuse Amount – the amount for the diffuse component of the material. Note that this value in fact blends between the diffuse and sub-surface layers. When set to 0.0, the material does not have a diffuse component. When set to 1.0, the material has only a diffuse component, without a sub-surface layer. The diffuse layer can be used to simulate dust etc. on the surface.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Sub Surface Color – the general color for the sub-surface portion of the material.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Color Mode this option allows you to determine which method is used to control the sub surface scattering effect. The available options are:

  • Sub-surface color + scatter radius – the subsurface effect is controlled with the help of the sub-surface color and scatter color parameters
  • Scatter coefficient + fog color – the subsurface effect is controlled with the help of the scatter coefficient and fog color parameters

Scatter Color – the internal scattering color for the material. Brighter colors cause the material to scatter more light and to appear more translucent; darker colors cause the material to look more diffuse-like.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Scatter Radius – controls the amount of light scattering in the material. Smaller values cause the material to scatter less light and to appear more diffuse-like; higher values make the material more translucent. Note that this value is specified always in centimeters (cm); the material will automatically take care to convert it into scene units based on the currently selected system units.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Phase function – a value between -1.0 and 1.0 that determines the general way light scatters inside the material. Its effect can be somewhat likened to the difference between diffuse and glossy reflections from a surface, however the phase function controls the reflection and transmittance of a volume. A value of 0.0 means that light scatters uniformly in all directions (isotropic scattering); positive values mean that light scatters predominantly forward in the same direction as it comes from; negative values mean that light scatters mostly backward. Most water-based materials (e.g. skin, milk) exhibit strong forward scattering, while hard materials like marble exhibit backward scattering. This parameter affects most strongly the single scattering component of the material. Positive values reduce the visible effect of single scattering component, while negative values make the single scattering component generally more prominent.

Specular layer

Specular Color – determines the specular color for the material.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Specular Amount – determines the specular amount for the material. Note that there is an automatic Fresnel falloff applied to the specular component, based on the IOR of the material.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Specular Glossiness – determines the glossiness (hightlights shape). A value of 1.0 produces sharp reflections, lower values produce more blurred reflections and highlights.

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Specular Subdivision – determines the number of samples that will be used to calculate glossy reflections. Lower values render faster, but may produce noise in the glossy reflections. Higher values reduce the noise, but may be slower to calculate.

Cutoff Threshold – this is a threshold below which reflections will not be traced. V-Ray tries to estimate the contribution of reflections to the image, and if it is below this threshold, these effects are not computed. Do not set this to 0.0 as it may cause excessively long render times in some cases.

Trace Reflections – enables the calculations of glossy reflections. When off, only hilights will be calculated.

Reflection Depth – the number of reflection bounces for the material.

Options

Single scatter – controls how the single scattering component is calculated:

  • None – no single scattering component is calculated.
  • Simple – the single scattering component is approximated from the surface lighting. This option is useful for relatively opaque materials like skin, where light penetration is normally limited.
  • Raytraced (solid) – the single scattering component is accurately calculated by sampling the volume inside the object. Only the volume is raytraced; no refraction rays on the other side of the object are traced. This is useful for highly translucent materials like marble or milk, which at the same time are relatively opaque.
  • Raytraced (refractive) – similar to the Raytraced (solid) mode, but in addition refraction rays are traced. This option is useful for transparent materials like water or glass. In this mode, the material will also produce transparent shadows.

Single Scatter subdivs – determines the number of samples to make when evaluating the single scattering component when the Single scatter mode is set to Raytraced (solid) or Raytraced (refractive).

Reflection Depth – the number of reflection bounces for the material.

Front Lighting – enables the multiple scattering component for light that falls on the same side of the object as the camera.

Back Lighting – enables the multiple scattering component for light that falls on the opposite side of the object as the camera. If the material is relatively opaque, turning this off will speed up the rendering.

Scatter GI – controls whether the material will accurately scatter global illumination. When off, the global illumination is calculated using a simple diffuse approximation on top of the sub-surface scattering. When on, the global illumination is included as part of the surface illumination map for multiple scattering. This is more accurate, especially for highly translucent materials, but may slow down the rendering quite a bit.

Prepass Blur – controls if the material will use a simplified diffuse version of the multiple scattering when the prepass rate for the direct lighting map is too low to adequately approximate it. A value of 0.0 will cause the material to always use the illumination map. However, for objects that are far away from the camera, this may lead to artifacts or flickering in animations. Larger values control the minimum required samples from the illumination map in order to use it for approximating multiple scattering.

Bump Map

On – When this option is enabled bump added to material.

Map Type – allows the user to specify whether a bump map or a normal map effect will be added to the base material.

  • Bump
  • Normal map in tangent space
  • Normal map in objectspace
  • Normal map in screen space
  • Normal map in worldspace

Texture Map – here an image texture or shader can be defined.

Invert – This option simply inverts the Texture Map, so bump is reversed.

Bump amount – the amount of bump. A value of 0.0 means the object will appear unchanged. Higher values produce a greater bump effect. Intensity of the bump is sets in really world units, thous units are taken from the c4d units of the file, if you change the units there also the bump size changes accordingly. Bump amount value can`t be negative.

Bump Shadows – when this option is checked V-Ray will consider the bump maps when rendering shadows produced by objects with the bump material applied to them.

Bump Delta Scale – this parameter allows you to control the softness/sharpness of the bump effect. Higher values generate sharper transitions in the bump effect while lower values generate softer looking bump effect.

 

Example: Scale

Scale = 1

Scale = 10

Scale = 100

This example shows the effect of the Scale parameter. Note how larger values make the object appear more translucent. In its effect, this parameter does essentially the same thing as the Scatter radius parameter, but it can be adjusted independently of the chosen preset. The images are rendered without GI to better show the sub-surface scattering. The Single scatter parameter was set to Raytraced (solid). The Marble (white) preset was used for all images.

Click edit button to change this text.

Example: Sub Surface Color

Sub Surface Color = Red

Sub Surface Color = Green

Sub Surface Color = Blue

Note: The “Happy Buddha” model is from the Stanford scanning repository (http://graphics.stanford.edu/data/3Dscanrep/).

This example and the next demonstrate the effect of and the relation between the Scatter color and the Sub-surface color parameters. Note how changing the Sub-surface color changes the overall appearance of the material, whereas changing the Scatter color only modifies the internal scattering component.

The Scatter color is set to green.

Click edit button to change this text.

Example: Scatter Color

Scatter Color = Red

Scatter Color = Green

Scatter Color = Blue

Note: The “Happy Buddha” model is from the Stanford scanning repository (http://graphics.stanford.edu/data/3Dscanrep/).

The Sub-surface color is kept to green.

Example: Scatter Radius

Scatter Radius = 1.0cm

Scatter Radius = 2.0cm

Scatter Radius = 4.0cm

Note: The “Happy Buddha” model is from the Stanford scanning repository (http://graphics.stanford.edu/data/3Dscanrep/).

This example shows the effect of the Scatter radius parameter. Note that the effect is the same as increasing the Scale parameter, but the difference is that the Scatter radius is modified directly by the different presets.

This set of images is based on the Milk (skimmed) preset.

The cube in the lower left corner has a size of 1cm.

Example: Phase Function

Phase Function = -0.9 (Backward Scattering)
More light comes out.

Phase Function = -0.5 (Backward Scattering)

Phase Function = 0 (Isotropic Scattering)
More light exits object. 

Phase Function = 0 (Isotropic Scattering)

Phase Function = 0.0 (Forward Scattering)
More light is absorbed object. 

Phase Function = 0.5 (Forward Scattering)

Note: The “Happy Buddha” model is from the Stanford scanning repository (http://graphics.stanford.edu/data/3Dscanrep/).

This example shows the effect of the Phase function parameter. This parameter can be likened to the difference between diffuse reflection and glossy reflection on a surface; however it controls the reflectance and transmittance of a volume. Its effect is quite subtle and mainly related to the single scattering component of the material.

The red arrow represents a ray of light going through the volume; the black arrows represent possible scattering directions for the ray.

Example: Phase Function: Light Source

Phase Function = -0.9

Phase Function = 0

Phase Function = 0.0

This example demonstrates the effect of the Phase function parameter when there is a light source inside the volume. The images are based on the Skin (pink) preset with large Scatter radius and Raytraced (refractive) mode for single scattering with IOR set to 1.0Front lighting and Back lighting are disabled for these images; only single scattering is visible. Note the volumetric shadows cast by the light inside the volume.

Example: Prepass Rate

This example shows the effect of the Prepass rate parameter. To better show the effect, the Prepass blur parameter is set to 0.0 for these images, so that V-Ray Fast SSS2 does not replace the sub-surface component with diffuse shading when there are not enough samples. Note how low values of the Prepass rate reduce render times but produce blocky artifacts in the image. Also note that more translucent objects can do with lower Prepass rate values, since the lighting is blurred anyways. In the examples below, when Scatter radius is 4.0 cm, the image looks fine even with Prepass rate of -1, whereas the at this rate, when Scatter radius is 1.0 cm, there are still visible artifacts.

Prepass = -3
Scatter Radius = 1cm

Prepass = -1
Scatter Radius = 1cm

Prepass = 0
Scatter Radius = 1cm

Prepass = 1
Scatter Radius = 1cm

Prepass = -3
Scatter Radius = 4cm

Prepass = -1
Scatter Radius = 4cm

Prepass = 0
Scatter Radius = 4cm

Prepass = 1
Scatter Radius = 4cm

This example shows the effect of the Prepass rate parameter. To better show the effect, the Prepass blur parameter is set to 0.0 for these images, so that V-Ray Fast SSS2 does not replace the sub-surface component with diffuse shading when there are not enough samples. Note how low values of the Prepass rate reduce render times but produce blocky artifacts in the image. Also note that more translucent objects can do with lower Prepass rate values, since the lighting is blurred anyways. In the examples below, when Scatter radius is 4.0 cm, the image looks fine even with Prepass rate of -1, whereas the at this rate, when Scatter radius is 1.0 cm, there are still visible artifacts.

Example: Single Scatter Mode

Single Scatter = Simple

Single Scatter = Ray Traced Solid

Single Scatter = Ray Traced Refractive

Single Scatter = Simple

Single Scatter = Ray Traced Solid

Single Scatter = Ray Traced Refractive

Note: The “Happy Buddha” model is from the Stanford scanning repository (http://graphics.stanford.edu/data/3Dscanrep/).

This example shows the effect of the Single scatter mode parameter.

For relatively opaque materials, the different Single scatter modes produce quite similar results (except for render times). In the following set of images, the Scatter radius is set to 0.5 cm.

In the second set of images, the Scatter radius is set to 50.0 cm. In this case, the material is quite transparent, and the difference between the different Single scatter modes is apparent. Note also the transparent shadows with the Raytraced (refractive) mode.

V-Ray Fast SSS2 uses the V-Ray prepass system to simulate and interpolate the sub-surface scattering. During other GI calculations (e.g. light cache or photon mapping), the material is calculated as a diffuse one.

For the reason explained above, V-Ray Fast SSS2 will render as a diffuse one with the progressive path tracing mode of the light cache.

You can layer several V-Ray Fast SSS2 materials using a V-Ray Blend Material material in order to recreate more complex sub-surface scattering effects. In this case, any raytraced single scattering will only be calculated for the base material, but multiple scattering, reflections etc will work correctly for any layer. It might be helpful to use the Prepass ID parameter to make the materials share the same illumination map so that some of the calculations are reused.

In the second set of images, the Scatter radius is set to 50.0 cm. In this case, the material is quite transparent, and the difference between the different Single scatter modes is apparent. Note also the transparent shadows with the Raytraced (refractive) mode.