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How can I have the pepper look more realistic? I have been trying a few different nodes options as shown below in Cycles, but something still looks like a plastic

Node with Subsurface scattering:

enter image description here

enter image description here

If I replace the subsurface scattering with Diffuse shader, then I get the result below

enter image description here

It looks better with SSS but requires longer rendering time and more noise. I was wondering if there's easier way to make things work better here.

Overall scene looks like:

enter image description here

Ps. I'd be happy to get any recommendations about how to improve rest of the scene, I know stem is way behind being realisting, its just a plastic looking now :(

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, I'm pretty sure you don't want to mix SSS by a layer weight. I've never seen that done. One thing that might help, is to not have the fresnel so glossy. It really just looks too glossy. I would instead of using a frensl node, take a layer weight node, and use a color ramp or RGB curves to modify it until it looks about right. I would just make sure to keep it less glossy. $\endgroup$ – TARDIS Maker Jun 5 '15 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for reply, ok I removed the layered weight and reduced the glossiness and add Layer weight with RBG curve instead of fresnel, i will share a photo once i finish render $\endgroup$ – ideorium Jun 5 '15 at 8:43
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Try looking at some reference images (google images is often the easiest method) to see what peppers look like.

My observations:

  • Very irregular shapes, usually with subtle bumps and nicks.
  • Most peppers seem to have rather rough reflections.
  • Extremely subtle color variations in the skin.
  • Little bits of "imperfection", such as tiny specs of dirt in crevices/around the stem

With some hastily slapped together procedural textures, I attempted to simulate these things:

enter image description here

For the irregular shape, I used two displace modifiers. One doing macro displacement in all directions, the other doing subtle displacement along the normals.

enter image description here

To get the subtle variations in color I used a noise texture. For the small nicks I used a bump map. For the rough reflections I used a much rougher glossy shader.

enter image description here

You'd probably be able to get more realistic results with image textures, but perhaps this will give you some ideas.


In my scene I didn't end up using SSS for the pepper, as with my lighting setup the results were indistinguishable from a diffuse shader (and SSS was much noisier). However this might not be the case in your scene, so keep in mind that thickness and inner geometry matter. Peppers are usually hollow with a core running through the middle, so a solidify modifier and a displaced cylinder in the middle should approximate that pretty well.

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  • $\begingroup$ wow, thanks that's a great answer , i will study and apply it asap. and yes you're right I need to use more irregular shapes to make it look more realistic. I will upload the result once i finish, thanks $\endgroup$ – ideorium Jun 5 '15 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ thanks again @gandalf3 , i have made some changes according to things you showed with displacement and surely it is much better here link and when rendered here on the right old version, on the left new version with all those irregular touches, there's one more thing I want to have a small area of bright yellow colour under the stem and then fading into the rest of red-orange colour, like here , i cant figure it out yet, any suggestions on it? thanks $\endgroup$ – ideorium Jun 8 '15 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ @ideorium I'd find/make an image texture with any such color variations and use that to replace the main color variations section in my setup. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jun 8 '15 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ thanks @gandalf3 i will try to do so, however i wish there was a way around to do in blender though. $\endgroup$ – ideorium Jun 9 '15 at 5:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well you could do it procedurally, but it will likely be much easier to get a realistic result using an image texture (either made externally or painted in blender) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jun 9 '15 at 6:19

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