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I am experiencing artifacts in cycles like this:

Viewport screenshot

The unusual thing is that the shapes displayed here do not exist in my geometry. There are no overlapping faces, the object has no depth, its shader is mix of anisotropic and transparent, explode modifier is applied to it, but this happens before the object explodes.

What could be causing it?

Blend file

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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible you could upload the .blend? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Aug 4 '15 at 8:24
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The Anisotropic shader works using a Tangent to control in which direction the reflections get squashed.

If you don't specifically tell it which tangent to use, it'll compute a tangent from the geometry itself. I assume because your model is perfectly flat, it had a bit of trouble doing this predictably.

So instead, pick one of your UV maps and plug that into the Anisotropic shader's Tangent input:

noods

The reason those artifacts appeared to come from geometry that doesn't exist is because you're using an Explode Modifier that modifies the mesh.

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