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I'm trying to make black, shiny leather straps with blender cycles as seen in this picture (for example):

Whats known as "Teffilin" in Judaism

But I have a couple problems.

First of all, the straps are supposed to be completely black, but shiny, and I'm not sure how to do this in cycles, if I make a glossy pure black material, it's not shiny at all, and if it's a little bit gray, it doesn't look totally black at all (anyone can easily test this), so I'm wondering if there's a way to keep the completely black, slick look but still make it receptive to light (a.k.a., shiny).

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  • $\begingroup$ Use a black glossy material. Then work on your lighting setup. Read: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/48659/… $\endgroup$ – user1853 Feb 8 '18 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Also please don't ask more than one question per post. For additional questions make additional posts. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Feb 8 '18 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ k thanks I took out the 2nd question but in that post the end result is ultimately making the "black glossy shader" just reflect something else, and then it doesn't end up looking black at all. In the picture provided the straps aren't a perfect mirror, they're just shiny, do you know how I can set up the nodes to get some kind of balance (and not take away from the black color?) $\endgroup$ – Yaakov5777 Feb 8 '18 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ Again. Work on what is being reflected. In the image you show as reference parts of the belt reflect a white surface in the photo studio, while other parts don't. If you light the object with a flat environment you will not get that, the environment that is being reflected is what is important. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Feb 8 '18 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Hi thanks I just made a very simple colorful environment with brick and wave texture planes and now it's reflecting fine while still being mostly black, but the problem is that it's reflecting back too much detail, almost like a mirror, in the reference picture it's just showing a vague distorted reflection of the surrounding scene, do you know if there's a way to do that in cycles? $\endgroup$ – Yaakov5777 Feb 8 '18 at 23:38
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How can you tell if something is shiny?

Because there is something reflected on it...

When you deal with reflective objects don't expect reflections to come out of nowhere. Put something in there to be reflected on the surface of your object.

Here's a black glossy belt with no environment and only one top light.

enter image description here

If you add a few white elements to be reflected you will have the black golssy qualities of your material. It will be bright in the areas where something bright is reflected and dark in the areas where there is nothing to reflect...

enter image description here

For a longer explanation read: Why does an object with a glossy shader render in black?

As for the texture of the leather, just add some texture and use it as a bump map.

enter image description here

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