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I have a render I'm working on which is focused on a character leaning over a reflective surface and a different character is visible in the reflection. enter image description here

enter image description here

The top picture is the main character, and the bottom will be visible in the reflection. The scratches and drool puddle would make it hard to manually rotoscope, and in tandem with the Light Path > is Reflection ray node (which is the only procedural method I've seen so far), the holdout and transparent shaders in their most default forms do not meet my needs in certain areas.

Issue with holdout shader in certain areas Issue with transparent shader in certain areas

What is the best way to accomplish this. Please don't hesitate to ask for any clarification needed.

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    $\begingroup$ Have you explored view layers ? It would make overlaying only the mirror part under the part with the other monster very easy $\endgroup$
    – Gorgious
    Jul 23 at 7:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Gorgious The set indirect only feature should solve my problem, thanks! $\endgroup$ Jul 23 at 8:01
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you can get this result with CYCLES:

enter image description here

The torus (without mirror) has this nodes setup:

enter image description here

Suzanne (only mirror) has this nodes setup:

enter image description here

blend file:

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After looking into view layers (which I never really had before) thanks to Gorgious' comment, I found the best solution was to have one view layer in which the top character was disabled from the view layer and the bottom character was set to "Set indirect only". Then another in which the Mirror acted as a holdout as well as "set indirect only", and the top character visible.

enter image description here enter image description here

Then I put them on top of each other in the compositor.

enter image description here

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