Specular map settings


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    @mr_phoenyxx said in Specular map settings:

    @bagginsbill said in Specular map settings:

    Oh - your description is suspicious.

    " This is a bare-bones set up ...diffuse, bump, specular(alternative) nodes with image plugged in."

    Did you directly plug the spec map into Alternate_Specular? If so, that is just wrong. The map is used to MODULATE the reflections of a specular-family node, not to provide the actual specularity, but rather to define the characteristics of the material as it varies over the surface.

    As I said, in real life, speculariy does not actually vary in brightness -- it varies in glossiness/roughness.

    Can you elaborate on that please? What should have been done rather than plug it directly into alt spec?

    The Alternate_Specular input of the root node literally draws whatever you plug in. It does not perform lighting. It's a place to insert a specular-family node of your choice, such as Anisotropic, or GlossyBsdf, or whatever.

    By directly connecting an image to that input, you cause the renderer to DRAW the image, exactly, instead of computing a factor with it. Specular maps are never a photograph of the specular reflections. They are always some metric that describes how the surface BEHAVES, not what it should actually reflect.

    You need to plug the specular map into one or more of the inputs of a Specular, Blinn, Anisotropic, or other specular-family node.


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    @Boni said in Specular map settings:

    Bill, I knew you would clarify this for me. I've never fully understood the specular map to begin with. I assumed it was based on the prominent glossy areas of anatomy ... i.e. the T-zone on the face expanded sort of definition. I would like to understand the various functionalities. Particularly that would apply to dual-engine (firefly/superfly) so the final .mc6 can be used in commercial character development.

    I understand that I could use EZskin3, but that wouldn't teach me the reasons behind the setup. Thank you everyone by the way. This is wonderful help.

    Boni - I have ZERO specular maps that make any sense. So I never use them. I cannot show you a "sensible" deployment of a specular map because I've never seen one.

    However, the general idea would be:

    Connect a Blinn node to Alternate_Specular.

    Then:

    If you map is a representation of Blinn eccentricity (which I can almost promise you it is not) you would plug it into the Blinn eccentricity input.

    If your map is a represetnation of Blin falloff (which I can almost promist you it is not) you would plug it into the Blinn falloff input. Etc.

    If the map is one of the new-style PBR roughness or glossiness maps, I can show you how to use it, but as I said, I've still only seen junk in EVERY case.

    The PBR world is full of the blind leading the blind, and nobody has yet offered me a set of specular maps that make any sense when I try to use them.


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    I have read in various threads around the web that Superfly doesn't "like" the standard Blinn, blender, reflect, edge blend and colorramp. I want a good set up that will work with both firefly/superly with the minimum of nodes.

    Ok, it's good to know that perhaps I will forgo the maps entirely based on your views, but I would like to try them out "properly" first to see if I can get them to do something resembling their "purpose".

    Your advice, @bagginsbill and @mr_phoenyxx is very helpful. I'm learning a lot here.


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    Off topic: would creating normals in Zbrush be a plus in character design and PBR?



  • @bagginsbill Ok, I get what you are saying now. For some reason "specular family of nodes" was throwing me off. I should have understood what you meant though, and I certainly do now.

    I also understand what you are saying about specular maps. Really they should be something like a roughness map as the purpose should be to modulate how rough or glossy the surface is rather than how bright the specular highlights are.

    @Boni I was watching the following tutorial the other day about Substance Painter, which isn't Poser but what they were saying still made a lot of sense to me. See if this is useful to you at all:


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    As Gru said in "Despicable Me", "Light Bulb". :bulb: Ok ... the map is the "Texture" of the specular, not the effect! wow. I sure missed that.


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    @Boni said in Specular map settings:

    I have read in various threads around the web that Superfly doesn't "like" the standard Blinn, blender, reflect, edge blend and colorramp.

    All false. Every one of those works great and I use them all the time because they're easier, particularly Blinn.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @Boni said in Specular map settings:

    Off topic: would creating normals in Zbrush be a plus in character design and PBR?

    Some sort of bump mapping is good. Normals are one way but since they come in two flavors (green up, vs. green down) and FireFly uses one while SuperFly uses the other, they are kind of a pain in the ass. Also, there are few tricks I can do with them. I can do LOTS of tricks with bump maps that I cannot do with Normal maps.

    There are a ton of people who don't know WHY you use a normal map instead of a bump map. The reason is real-time game graphics. Are you doing real-time game content? If so, do the normals. If not, use a bump map.


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    @bagginsbill Good to know. Not an issue for me. I won't worry about it. Thank you.



  • On a sort of related note, is there any way to make a MAT file that only effects the specular settings?