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Is there a shader that can be used on material level that will give the effect of round edges when assigned to an object? I'm not looking to increase the mesh density, I remember in 3DS Max, Mental Ray, round corners is an option that can be enabled in material, so the object's sharp edges will "look" like smooth, without changing the object's mesh, is there a way to do this in Cycles?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/20997/… $\endgroup$ – Xtremity Apr 5 '16 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Following the link, it says that it's possible, but it doesn't say how, do you know how to do it @Xtremity $\endgroup$ – Georges Apr 5 '16 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Georges The top answer there has a link to a BA thread with the OSL shader. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Apr 5 '16 at 18:50
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A straightforward solution has been added to the most recent Blender distributions (after the released version of 2.79b, so you must download newer updates of 2.79b, or 2.80 Alpha, from https://builder.blender.org/download/ to enable it).

There's a single node (Input > Bevel) that fakes bevelled normals. Of course it won't change the geometry, so it doesn't look great from too close, but it can enhance pretty convincingly the specular/reflection at the edges.

enter image description here

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I figured out how to do this with a specularity map (kind of).

The limitations are apparent as you look at the focal center of this image, the edges look rounded. However, the corners don't actually change their geometry as seen at the extremities of the geometry.

RoundedEdgesWithSpecularity

Which actually led me to this thought - If a spec map can influence this, then so can generated Ambient Occlusion (Pointiness), see the following:

RoundedEdgesWithPointiness

Both cases being, that the first option would be necessary when there are external angles of pointiness, and the second option being, when there are internal angle by which AO/Pointiness will give you this spec map like result.

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  • $\begingroup$ The problem is, these solutions are changing the material itself, they will work in very specific conditions. The first solution is the closest to the needed result, I'll experiment with it, I tried the osl solution, but I got no results, I don't know is it because I am doing the links wrong, or because osl sometimes just doesn't work well with some graphic cards. $\endgroup$ – Georges Apr 9 '16 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ I think maybe the 2nd option was with the world AO settings turned on, sorry about that. That option is a little deceiving. It's still valid somewhat, as you can seperate those to a different scene and use the compositor to reunite anything that uses world AO. $\endgroup$ – Rick Riggs Apr 9 '16 at 18:13

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