Understanding the Cycles shaders



  • complete newbie here
    a couple of questions about the cycles shaders

    1. these only works with the superfly renderer, correct?

    2. I am trying to make a hard black&white version of Pauline using the BsdfToon Shader

    I want to use displacement normal maps (the original ones)

    but a) I dont get the UV mapping right with the ImageTexture Node
    and have to use the Image Map node for the maps to work - is that legal
    and what am I doing wrong?

    0_1513103000210_Normal map problem.jpg
    b) the displacement strength doesn't match on the different body parts
    (see the hard transition line between torso and head in the image)
    and I have no clue why and what I am doing wrong.



  • @starlingblue Create a diffuse node and plug that into the Cycles surface root node. Plug the image map into the Diffuse node. Normal maps and bump ,aps will be plugged into the Cycles surface Displacement plug in.

    Ideally, in Cycles, the plugs are color coded. You plug like into like. In Poser, it's the same, but it is not color coded. Superfly will simply dim or gray out a plug that you should not plug a node into.



  • 0_1513107583533_normal vs displace.jpg
    0_1513107595623_displacement.jpg

    hm this doesn't work well for me either

    1. the displacment seems soft and washy compared to using the normal input of the shader (right image normal input)
      (but maybe thats how its ment to be? but the stronger displacment looks much mior natural to me)
      maybe the input is just for greyscale bumpmaps?
      it's not documented in the manual

    2. the problem persists, there ist still a pronounced border, and in the ToonBsdf also a different shading across the border



  • @starlingblue That appears to be the seam between the head and neck.



  • yes it is, of course (did you miss the last loine in my initial post)
    and it shouldn't be there, it's caused by the displacement map.

    I dont think it's an error in the maps themselves since these are the original
    maps and this doesn't occur with the original figure, of course.
    Also I checked the pixel values in the map and they seem ok. though z is 254 actually

    The map appears not to be applied in the right way.

    But what is the right way to do this?

    To my understanding it should work both ways, like in my initial post
    and like you recommend with the displacement port. It works in neither.



  • 0_1513114419833_normal vs displace 2.jpg

    Another comparison, normal map input to the shader like in my initial post (left) vs displace input to the root node (right).
    (Sorry it was also the LEFT input with normal map in the previous comparison...)

    As you can see on the lower eyelid and the overall appearance, both work different,
    and the displace inputs result is clearly wrong, it displaces where it shouldnt
    (and is overall mushy).

    I dont know what it does, but it semes it does not interpret xyz normal maps. Or does it?

    So back to my initial post.
    Aynone?



  • @starlingblue said in Understanding the Cycles shaders:

    I dont know what it does, but it semes it does not interpret xyz normal maps. Or does it?

    I think I have to correct my statement and the difference is only in strength?
    Its hard to tell, also hard to tell which version is right.
    To me the left version with more pronounced detail looks right



  • Displacement does not work well in Superfly. Displacement in superfly is dependent on mesh density not map resolution as it is in Firefly. For the moment I would abandon use of displacement in Superfly and just use bump. We will have to see what they come up with for the next version of Poser as this is a feature that is requested a lot.



  • @starlingblue In the meantime, if you don't want to abandon displacement altogether, try dialing back on the strength a bit. I notice you have the normal cranked all the way up to 1. It may mean you just have to find a happy median somewhere.



    1. Seam - are figure in Unimesh skinning mode?
    2. Normal and displacement map ARE different, normal map can't be plugged into displacement input with meaningful results.
    3. Gamma setting for a normal map is 1.


  • @phdubrov said in Understanding the Cycles shaders:

    1. Seam - are figure in Unimesh skinning mode?

    yes

    1. Normal and displacement map ARE different, normal map can't be plugged into displacement input with meaningful results.

    So does that mean the setup in my initial post is right?
    Also can you explain the difference?

    1. Gamma setting for a normal map is 1.

    I think that was it, kind of obvious now. Still have to test it thouroughly but I assume that was it.
    @ eclark, the displacement might be high, but thats also the look I like to accomplish, and was also for testing, maybe I'll dial it down later.
    And I also thought the designer designed the map to use it 1:1, more or less.

    Thanks for all the help so far.



  • @eclark1849
    There is an issue when you dial normal maps to a strength less than 1. It creates strange seams in the previews (light and dark variances at seam lines). It doesn't seem to affect the render, but really messes up the previews. Best to keep the normal maps set to 1.
    0_1513120199844_normalstrength.png


  • Poser Ambassadors

    Height maps are grayscale maps (where black is lowest & white is highest) that can be used for either bump or displacement. When height maps are used for bump the lighting is affected but the surface itself doesn't change; when used for displacement the surface itself is affected (so the silhouette is changed).

    While Firefly uses micro-polygon displacement, Superfly (Cycles) uses vertex displacement - the individual vertices will be moved according to the height map. So as @ghostship says, it's dependant on mesh density - to get more detail the mesh could be subdivided further - but it does work well, just differently.

    Normal maps are completely different in the way they are created but the practical effect is like bump - the lighting or shading on the surface is affected but the surface itself is not changed. They are generally made to be used with strength @ 1 as @Deecey says. I think of normal maps as computer code not texture maps, they can be a pain to work with sometimes & are generally less flexible in a material than height maps (i.e. they are not supposed to be adjusted once created).

    There is a kind of normal map that can do full 3D displacement i.e. including undercuts - this is called vector displacement & Poser doesn't have it (unfortunately!).

    Data maps like height & normal maps should be set to gamma of 1; colour maps should be set to 2.2.

    @starlingblue - in short, you cannot use a normal map plugged into displacement & get a meaningful result as @phdubrov said ;)



  • 0_1513121845663_Pauline BW test1.jpg
    That's how it looks now, and is more or less the look I wanted
    What looks a little bit strange though is that the Superfly adds reflected light, so it looks better with lower render settings than with higher settings which is good cuase I plan to animate this

    Anyway, now I want to learn about watercolor materials, I ve seen them in renderings but I have no idea at all how they work

    I wonder if I should open a new thread for this?



  • @caisson said in Understanding the Cycles shaders:

    Height maps are grayscale maps (where black is lowest & white is highest) that can be used for either bump or displacement. When height maps are used for bump the lighting is affected but the surface itself doesn't change; when used for displacement the surface itself is affected (so the silhouette is changed).

    While Firefly uses micro-polygon displacement, Superfly (Cycles) uses vertex displacement - the individual vertices will be moved according to the height map. So as @ghostship says, it's dependant on mesh density - to get more detail the mesh could be subdivided further - but it does work well, just differently.

    Normal maps are completely different in the way they are created but the practical effect is like bump - the lighting or shading on the surface is affected but the surface itself is not changed. They are generally made to be used with strength @ 1 as @Deecey says. I think of normal maps as computer code not texture maps, they can be a pain to work with sometimes & are generally less flexible in a material than height maps (i.e. they are not supposed to be adjusted once created).

    There is a kind of normal map that can do full 3D displacement i.e. including undercuts - this is called vector displacement & Poser doesn't have it (unfortunately!).

    Data maps like height & normal maps should be set to gamma of 1; colour maps should be set to 2.2.

    @starlingblue - in short, you cannot use a normal map plugged into displacement & get a meaningful result as @phdubrov said ;)

    Thanks for the explanation
    I was aware of bump maps and xyz normal maps but not greyscale displacement maps,



  • One last question for now:

    Do the Cycle Shaders only work in Superfly renderer?



  • Cycles only works in Superfly, yes.

    I think the watercolor you are referring to is probably the toon shader. When you are in preview, right click on the screen and it will bring up the options.





  • @starlingblue said in Understanding the Cycles shaders:

    No, I am referring to these
    [https://nightsongws.deviantart.com/art/PASS-Watercolor-Flowers-and-Petals-GardenGirl-388455347](link url)

    [http://posercontent.com/shaders-for-daz-studio-and-poser/pass-watercolor-nature-bundle](link url)

    I grabbed Mary's shaders when RDNA was still open, and yes, I used them in PP11 with the SuperFly/Cycles Render engine. The Material Room has a very large amount of nodes set up, but I don't recall if I've ever tried rendering anything using Mary's shaders with the FireFly render engine. You'd probably have to check it out and see. I suspect they will look different, but it's possible they might look good when rendered with FireFly as well.

    OK I should add, that I have 4 sets, not just the Nature Bundle, and I'm not sure I've tried all the sets I got 2 years ago. I do know the Starter Kit and Depth Cue KIit shaders I have installed on this laptop render differently with FireFly, but not necessarily badly.



  • As far as I can see these are not available anywhere anymore?
    I am curious how they work, I cant think of anything that would be close.
    I really like´d the look of some of the renderings I've seen and that was part of the reason I bought the program - I was slightly dissapointed that nothing like this was included with the stock libarary. I dont mind getting into shaders cause its fascinating to me but then its also very time consuming.