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3D Design

Material Realism: Leather

By January 31, 2015May 12th, 2015One Comment

Trying to achieve a realistic material can be harder than one would think, as I have noticed several times – this time; braided leather. I was using a 3Do to view my material while creating it, but achieving the same result in Blender using Cycles turned out a little trickier, here’s how (to get close)!

1. Diffuse / Gloss

Blender: Diffuse & Gloss Mix

Diffuse & Gloss mix

As I often do, I started with a simple diffuse & gloss mix, the results are OK for many use cases, but for what I wanted to achieve, this does not meet my requirements.

2. Adding fresnel

Diffuse, Gloss, Fresnel Mix

Diffuse, Gloss & Fresnel

After looking a little at the material, I realized there was no fresnel reflection. Seeing the model with the fresnel, I could see that the reflections did not interact quite as I would like them to. So, time ot scrap this and start again – using a little different method.

3. Achieving the final result

Final Material - 2 variants, Without and with Fresnel Reflection

Final Material – 2 variants, Without and with Fresnel Reflection

Material nodes

Material nodes

After some work I achieved the final result I wanted. I am going to explain the nodes of the final result below.

Fresnel Breakdown

As you can see in the material overview above, I’m using a different way to add the fresnel to the object. This is really the only difference in the material to the previous version – and the only one which needs explanation.

Fresnel Breakdown

Fresnel Breakdown

  • Fresnel Node: Adjust IOR of Fresnel.
  • Fresnel Strength: Adjusting this lowers the amount of the fresnel that shows – because I wanted it a bit weaker than I got from the Fresnel Node. (Sensitive adjustment)
  • Fresnel/Specular Mix: This node mixes the fresnel and the specular map.
  • Specular Strength: I wanted some specular in the “non fresnel” areas as well, so this node adds to the whole map.
  • Fresnel OFF/ON: This node works as an ON/OFF switch for the fresnel pass. Added this because I might want to use either version at some point.

This material might not be perfect, but it works! It probably won’t work for all materials, but worth a shot.

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