This time I decided to take a closer look at materials in Character Creator 3. This may not sound so related to human characters, but materials are important when creating outfits for your characters. In Character Creator 3, you can use different kinds of materials: PBR, Traditional, Digital Human Hair and SSS. The image below shows a comparison of all the materials using the same textures and values for everything (for these renderers, I had already applied textures to the channels, but I will go into details about what I did in the following paragraphs).
At first, the material is a default white material with no textures. I applied a texture to the Base Color channel, and this is what I got.
You can change the color of the material by changing the value of the Diffuse Color setting under the Material Settings roll down. In the image below I also applied the same texture as a bump map, as it’s a grayscale image. If I wanted to use it as normal map, I would need to convert it to a normal map using an external application and then import that new texture.
Applying the same texture to the Metallic and Roughness slots resulted in this. Metallic and Roughness can behave differently in other applications, and personally I find that confusing when switching applications or sending data from one app to the next. In CC3 case, a Metallic value of black means no metal look and a value of white means full metal, while the Roughness value of white means no shine and black means full shine. This is more notorious if I use the Adjust Color button (under the texture slots) to modify the Metallic and Roughness textures. In this case I made the lighter parts of the textures more metallic and shinier, while the darker parts are less metallic and less shiny.
You can add glow to the material two ways. You can simply use the Self Illumination slider under Material Settings, if you want the entire material to glow, or you can use a Glow texture map if you only want parts of the material (object) to glow.
With Reflection and Refraction, you can have effects like mirrors or glass deforming objects behind it. Unfortunately, the Refraction value was not working for me, most likely because the texture I was using was not of the required format (grayscale, non-RGB). I will return to this when I have Photoshop installed on this computer.
Some parameters are specific to certain material types. For example, if you are working on a Digital Human Hair material, you get access to parameters controlling the shine of the hair, shine direction, etc.
The SSS material has a lot of parameters that allow you to control the SSS amount, color, decay rate, etc.
Another interesting thing you can find in the SSS material is the Micro Normal parameters. SSS can be used for anything from wax, marble to skin, but one of the most common uses is skin. This parameter lets you add the skin’s micro details like pores, but you can also use it for anything else you desire, depending on the kind of material you are creating.
Above I mentioned how you can use either a normal map or a bump map for your material. If you are using your CC characters in Unreal Engine, you should know that the auto-setup tool can also check if you were using a normal map or a bump map. The image below shows the same material from Character Creator, after the character is imported into Unreal Engine.
And this is it for today. Next I will go back into iClone for more animation workflows!
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