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For a PBR material setup, one usually have map inputs for the color, roughness, normal nodes. If a material has an undefined roughness, but it's not perfectly smooth either, is it okay to use the roughness slider as a substitute for a map input? Would such a technique have an impact on the photo realism of the object?

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  • $\begingroup$ The title has a mistake in it - there is no such thing as 'roughness node'. You are talking about roughness input. It shouuld be something like 'When is it acceptable to use the roughness input without a map for it in Principled BDSF node?' $\endgroup$ – Martynas Žiemys Aug 6 '18 at 6:11
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It is perfectly normal to use a single value for roughness in all the cases when roughness is uniform across the surface for example with smooth clean objects made of the same material.

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