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In other words, is it possible to render an image of a cube like this:

enter image description here

But make the "spheres" refractive as opposed to scattering volumes?

When I attempted with this (I did not expect it to succeed):

enter image description here

I got this:

enter image description here

As you can see, there are no surfaces inside the cube.

Is it possible to render a procedural texture in 3D so that black parts bend or reflect light?

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BSDF surface shaders only works on 'real surfaces', i.e. faces that are part of a mesh. Surfaces inside a volume created by change in density will not be treated or rendered with a BSDF surface shader.

This image might be able to show you what I mean. The geometry has a volume shader and a glossy shader, driven by a checkered texture. Notice the shiny material is correctly applied only to the outside surface of the mesh. Interior surface boundaries remain non-glossy.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand what your first sentence means, and I'm not sure what your image is supposed to demonstrate. Maybe I'm just dense, but I need a little more step-by-step. $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Feb 13, 2014 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt As I understand it, "surfaces" defined by the texture which are inside your actual mesh cannot be rendered as such. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Feb 13, 2014 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I guess I thought Mike was saying "you can easily assign them any BSDF shader you like (...and it will work as you expect it to)." But he must be saying "you can ... assign them any BSDF shader you like (...but it still won't render any interior part of the 'surface.')" $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Feb 13, 2014 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry about the confusion. I edited my answer, let me know if it's any clearer. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Pan
    Feb 13, 2014 at 23:41

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