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I'm modelling leaves as a solid mesh using Displacement for texture (no Image Texture files). Leaves need Subsurface scatter (SSS) and translucency. I can add Subsurface Scatter with the Principled Shader, but I'm confused about the best practice for a realistic translucence to the leaves. I see three possible approaches: Transmission value in the Principled Shader, or a Transparent node or a Translucent node plugged into material output.

What is the difference between these three tools (Transmission, Transparent, & Translucent shaders) and what is the best option for this application?

I understand that the Transparent shader allows light to pass through unhindered (like glass). And Translucent shader scatters light - not dissimilar to SSS - like it is passed through a body or mass. But, can this same effect not be achieved in the Principled shader with SSS and Transmission? In short what does Transmission achieve that Translucent and Transparent shaders cannot?

Thank you.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi. You should not delete and re-ask a question. If a question was closed or you need to change the details, you should use the edit link below it. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Apr 8 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? What is the difference between Translucency and Transparency? $\endgroup$ – Jachym Michal Apr 8 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ Hey everyone thank you for the quick replies and the informative link! It was super helpful to learn about the difference between Translucency and Transparency. But this link is 6 and a bit years old, and Blender has the Principled shader since that point (I think) which has Subsurface Scattering and Transmission built in. Can you achieve these effects without extra nodes? In short, what does Transmission value do that Transparency and Translucency do not? $\endgroup$ – Aubrey Apr 8 at 19:09
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Translucent BSDF is physically more acurate in this situation.

  • Connect it using Mix Shader with Principled BSDF
  • Use the Fac slider to control the influence
  • Use Cycles render engine for realistic translucence (Eevee doesn't support it)

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If you want to use only Principled BSDF shader, use Transmission + Transmission Roughness. Notice the light scattering isn't as strong.

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Subsurface Scattering doesn't directly affect translucency, but it's needed for proper realism. Just bear in mind it's a bit slower.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hey, awesome! Thank You for the quick reply! I see that Transparency allows light to pass through unhindered whereas Translucency functions to scatter light when there's mass there - not dissimilar to SSS - and as you say more accurate in this situation because we are talking about a leaf and not a piece of glass. But what does Transmission do? Can this simple setup be achieved even more simply with just the principle shader? $\endgroup$ – Aubrey Apr 8 at 19:05

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