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MEC4D Iray skin settings

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 2, 2015, 8:37 PM

updated: 6/2
currently: working on doll

This morning I came across a thread at DAZ that linked back to a forum post where Catherine (MEC4D) shared her basic skin settings for Iray renders. I copied and saved what she wrote but didn't bookmark the actual page and now I can't find it again for the life of me.

I tested these settings in a basic scene and while they are an improvement over what I had, they're still intended to be used with properly prepared textures. Cath creates albedo diffuse maps, normals, and SSS/translucency maps, so none of us are going to get renders like hers just using these settings. They're still a nice start though and I appreciate her sharing them (and would thank her if I could find that thread).


"Some advice , Iray does not produce CGI as 3Delight rendering it produce CGS , and since it is simulation all materials and colors should be physically based so the photons do the job correctly , and one wrong material will crash everything else .

Base color: white (1,1,1) = Use only when you use texture maps
Translucency weight: 0.40 = The weight depends on the skin brightness of the skin texture it should not extend 50%
Base color effect: Scatter Only = If you transmit you have second option for the SSS back reflectance
Translucency color: red (1,0,0) = Always red 255 on max
Glossy layered weight: 0.20 = Here get tricky
Share Glossy Inputs: On
Glossy color: Flesh tone from face texture (,0.30) = Never use any color other than monochrome, only metal can have color specular , the specular color of human skin in monochrome is 51 51 51 for normal and 58 58 58 for max
Glossy color effect: Scatter Only = Scatter for glass Transmit for organic so always Scatter and transmit
Glossy reflectivity: 0.50
Glossy roughness: 0.55 = I prefer normal map
Refraction Index: 1.30 = for normal skin 141 for more oily 149
Top Coat weight: .99
Top coat color: 1,0.63,0.63 = Never use any color other than monochrome, only metal can have color specular , the specular color of human skin in monochrome is 51 51 51 for normal and 58 58 58 for max
Top coat effect: Scatter & Transmit = correct
Top coat roughness: 0.50
Top coat layering mode: Fresnel= correct
Top coat IOR: 1.40 = for normal skin 141 for more oily 149
Top coat thin film: 0= It make not as much difference unless you use micro normal
Top coat thin film IOR: 1.50 = for normal skin 141 for more oily 149
Top coat bump mode: Normal Map = correct
Thin walled: off = correct
Transmitted measurement distance: 100.00 = so wrong, max 2
Transmitted color: 0.66,0.42,0.30 = transmit color is the base color of the skin color, pick up the skin color in image editor if you use different color it will kill the Translucency 
Scattering measurement distance: 0.50= correct
SSS Amount: 0.30= correct
SSS Direction: -0.50= correct

A lot of info you find on Internet was for CGI rendering mostly in empty scenes that why people used blueish tones for specular as there was not sky dome or anything , in real environment you have everything and all non metal surface need monochromatic specular color and ALWAYS GRAY SCALE and the values really lower as you may think   , not enough specular showing up? check out the scene and light as specular is just reflection if there is just a blue sky nothing to reflect as much you don’t get as much , but some small white plane on the other side of the face to get better effect , and if you going for real sweat check the values of water shader .. and apply it on the top coat ..

The specular will control how much you see of translucency, so it need to be balanced with the weight setting after you set everything correct , and if you lucky enough you will have one set that works in any light situation ..  "


I've added new muscles, elbows, and other guides to my drawing doll and when rendered with Iray Sun/Sky lighting, the curves and shadows of muscular arms becomes much easier to draw. I know this isn't a very interesting project to follow, but it's going to make drawing so much easier in the end.

Thanks as always for visiting!


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Add a Comment:
avmorgan Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
I came across MEC4D's post on Reddit:…

It looks like you copied it all, so there's nothing new to add, but at least you can link back to it if you like. 
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2017   Digital Artist
Thank you. I originally copied it from her post at DAZ and these settings appear to be slightly outdated by now though. Take care!
NyaZilla Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2016
Thank for the Comfortable and detailed Tutorial. I Came here after watching. Nice work.
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2016   Digital Artist
Glad it could be helpful. Optimal skin settings may have changes since this was written because there was an Iray update, sometimes the best thing to do is just copy them from a DAZ texture's default settings and make small adjustments.
RAMWolff Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cool stuff there Snow.  Love Smacky.  She's a fun heroine! 
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015   Digital Artist
Thanks very much! Good to see you here too!   :)
ranswer Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015
Shouldn't the translucency and transmit colors be the other way around?
Ie translucency as the transparent base color of the skin, and transmit as the red color of the flesh beneath the skin?
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015   Digital Artist
What you say makes sense, but I only copied what Mec4D said. Maybe she mixed those two up?  I don't even bother adjusting materials to this degree any more, I'd rather just postwork the final render.   :)
0Snow-White0 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, SnowS! :dance:
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015   Digital Artist
I hope it can help a little! Catherine really knows what she's doing, but I don't think we know *everything* she's doing yet.   :)
0Snow-White0 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She talked about an eye shader product that will soon be released. This would be really helpful too. :)
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   Digital Artist
They were talking in the DAZ Commons about possibly selling Iray-optimized shaders for individual products separately...while I know that it's a lot of work to make the specialized maps for PBR rendering, that was something that hadn't crossed my mind until today. Now I really wonder how many *real* Iray-ready products we're going to get - how many merchants are going to go to that much trouble to make special albedo, glossy, and roughness maps for every product? I kinda think there's going to be a lot of arguing between Iray and 3Delight users in the near future.   :(
0Snow-White0 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
See if I understood. So I buy a dress. This dress comes with the standard shader (3delight?). So if i want the Iray shader, or I try by myself or I have to buy? I get it right?
I know it should not be easy to make all these maps, it must be a lot of work ... but at the same time I have to say I don´t think it's fair.
(If I understood correctly.)
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015   Digital Artist
That's what it sounds like, yes. It worries me that we're either going to have to make Iray materials for everything ourselves because most PAs won't do it, or DAZ will abandon 3Delight faster than expected because merchants are not going to make materials for two render engines.
Poses17 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I want to know how Catherine makes albedo diffuse textures! Are these photographic maps with reflections removed (or better yet, maps based on photos taken with extremely diffuse lighting to eliminate reflective highlight) or something else? 

This is nice guide, since it explains the whys. I come from an (out of date) Mental Ray background, so a lot of Iray makes sense, but the terminology is often whacky to me (like calling subsurface scattering translucency; technically, both describe the same phenomenon, but SSS is usually used to indicate a different set of [more complicated] maths underneath).

Has the new information that's come out since the official release spurred you to try more rendering? Are you seeing more renders in Iray you like now that people have had more time to figure out how the workflow needs to change from 3delight?
phd-oo Featured By Owner Edited Jun 18, 2015
Ubershader terminology sometimes  differ from Iray/MDL.
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015   Digital Artist
I'm not totally sure if her albedo maps are much different from what we're using; DAZ textures usually don't have a lot of highlights or shadows anyway. Some people have talked about doing things like desaturating the textures and using blending modes to prepare them for Iray, which I don't quite understand yet. This is why I think we need to wait for an 'official' DAZ Iray texture release so we can see exactly what kind of textures they consider ideal.

To be honest, no I'm still not seeing any Iray renders that would make me want to get back to rendering. Still life and landscapes look great (and I still may consider doing those sorts of renders to experiment with implementing into drawn scenes), but renders of people still look bland to me. I'm certainly going to keep up with Iray advancements and what's being made though, it's still early and we're all trying to figure stuff out.   :)
Poses17 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've heard from some Octane users that they're going to switch, since they don't like the bugs in Octane. If that happens, we should see the state of knowledge go up pretty quickly, since these are people used to working in a similar mode.

Overall, though, it seems the lower-to-mid-skill renders are better with Iray than 3delight. As tricky as the transition process is for people who had a lot of proficiency with 3Delight, for the average user, Iray is more plug-n-play. When I tried a render with only default settings (and not using Iray shaders), the results were better than a default settings 3delight render. 

More importantly: how's the drawing going? Feeling like you're making progress? Have any doodles to share? Know where my run-away cat is?
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015   Digital Artist
Laticis is brilliant at using Octane, but it's so expensive that it's just out of the range of most Studio users. Iray can give some pretty good results with little work too, especially for vehicles and environments.

Your cat really ran away? Oh no, I hope it comes back soon! Drawing is going pretty well now that I'm improving that drawing doll. Today I did a test where I was able to trace the body almost exactly and still have it look decent. It will still take time, but things are moving forward.   :)

Poses17 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I forgot to reply. My cat is loyal and doesn't like going outside, so she'd never run away. But my friend's cat decided to spend the night outside…and the next morning. She came back just as I was working out how I'd tell my friend's kids I killed their pet. Animals!

Yeah, Laticis is almost unparalleled for people who don't model everything. Iray was growing on me until I tried to do a darier-skined characters. Modulating skin tones via SSS/transparency is so straight-forward in the software I render with (Modo) and, to a lesser extent, 3delight. With Iray, fairly radical shifts in the underlying transparency color settings, transmission depth, etc., did little. 
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015   Digital Artist
Ah I'm glad the cat was OK!

I haven't really experimented with dark textures in Iray, but the materials are still confusing for me. Everything seems to rely on something else, and it's hard to make adjustments when you have to know how everything interacts with each other. I'm going to stick to drawing for now.  :)
reciprocated Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Professional General Artist
thanks Heart 
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015   Digital Artist
No problem, hope it helps.
OakEgg Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's to bad. But nothing to do about it
SnowSultan Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015   Digital Artist
Hm, what's too bad?
OakEgg Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's a good question :confused:
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