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Chapter 3. What's New in Texturing > Subsurface Scattering (SSS)

Subsurface Scattering (SSS)

Subsurface Scattering (SSS) is one of the hottest recent developments in texturing. Some materials, such as flesh, wax, or alabaster, allow light to pass partially though them before it bounces back. The effect is a kind of shallow translucence that is characteristic of many organic materials. Especially in the case of skin, the lack of SSS gives an opaque look that destroys any pretense of realism and warmth.

With normal rendering techniques, even objects you might expect to be translucent, like paper, can render as completely opaque, with no light passing through them. Four new SSS shaders, available only with the mental ray renderer, address this shortcoming (Figure 3.25). Two are especially customized for skin.


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