One word review? Wow!

I’ve been using Poser since version 5. I think this is probably the most significant upgrade I’ve experienced since then, although it’s something of a toss-up with the indirect lighting introduced with Poser 8/PP2010.

And the only new toy I’ve played with in any depth is subsurface scattering (SSS). It adds a whole new level of realism to renders. And realism is something I’ve shied away from, because there seemed to be so much additional work involved. SSS does it simply.

In basic terms, SSS is translucency. It doesn’t seem that big a deal, until you realise skin and flesh is translucent (hold your hand over a bright light – see how the light passes through the edges of your fingers? That’s translucency.)

Here’s an example. The first image is rendered with SSS. The second is without SSS.

V4, Vanilla Sky texture with SSS on the skin
V4, Vanilla Sky textures, without SSS

The difference is subtle, but important. In the first image, Vicky’s skin seems to glow. In the second, it’s a little lifeless. In the second, the shadows are a little harsher.

These little differences help you navigate safely through the Uncanny Valley.

And it’s amazingly easy to set up a shader system to help SSS work at its best.

In a future post I’ll look at the shader I used in the SSS image above and how to use it – with full credit to shader guru Bagginsbill, who developed it.

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