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When studying set-ups for cycles materials I encounter a frequent use of Layer Weight node and also the use of the Geometry Node. As I have difficulty to understand those set-ups I have made two very simple setups for this post.

First the Layer Weight node set-up ... enter image description here And this is the result enter image description here

Then a set-up with Geometry Node ... enter image description here With this result ... enter image description here

Although I can see some differences I don't understand why artists sometimes seem to use layer weight and sometimes the Geometry set-up. What is the essential difference in the two set-ups ?

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In your example the difference between the two is caused by the multiply node. If you use an invert node instead, they are identical:

enter image description here

I don't think there's really any reason to use one over the other, but of course with the layer weight node it takes less time to set up.

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  • $\begingroup$ if I add an Invert node there is a factor (standard 1.0) in it. when I reduce the value to 0.0 the geometry and layer weight set-up are the same. Are we talking about the same Invert Node ? $\endgroup$ – Old Man Oct 26 '15 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JanScherders Odd.. I used a color > invert node (by default it has a factor setting, but I hid it with Ctrl H). For me, using the value output straight from the dot product node gives the inverse of the layer weight node (white on facing areas and black on glancing angles) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Oct 26 '15 at 19:09

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