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i want an object to emit light, but still be recognizable as the object, like in this picture.

enter image description here

i tried using Luts in the colour management and tried to make only a second, weaker emitter be visible to the camera.

The problem is, that as soon as the object is emitting light, doesnt matter how strong, its not recognizable as 3D-object anymore. enter image description here I also tried to plug the node into volume and not surface, but then, it gets transparent.

please halp much thanks

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    $\begingroup$ It seams for you as 2D object (not recognizable as 3D as you wrote) because only one Emission shader plugged into the Material Output will emit light evenly from any surface point which is unrealistic. Provide other shaders mixing them with some factors and you will get more uneven lighting which will be more interesting. Final shaders mostly depend on the desired result $\endgroup$ – Mr Zak Sep 3 '17 at 13:30
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Here's a variation on Jens Clar's answer. You can connect the output of the Emission shader node to the Volume input of the Material Output node. Here's an example using the Translucent BSDF node connected to the Surface input of the Material Output node:

enter image description here

Here's the node setup:

enter image description here

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Final:

Final

Overview:

This method is based on Ray Length and Translucent shader. It's basically fake SSS shader. You can think of it as "light edge detect".

Exaggerated result:

Exaggerated

Node setup:

nodes

  1. Math > Add node control edge width.
  2. White Emission shader control edge color.
  3. Greenish Emission shader control light and mesh color.
  4. Translucent shader is needed to calculate Ray Length, also could influence light color.
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  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer, but wouldn't the edges be darker than the rest of the object usually? $\endgroup$ – MicroMachine Sep 15 '17 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MicroMachine well I've just made it as in the OP example. And as for physically accurate result I think it depends on how the light source itself is made. $\endgroup$ – cgslav Sep 18 '17 at 0:59
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have you tried to mix emit shader with a regular one, perhaps?

Here is a very basic example:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ only works with simple objects and low emission $\endgroup$ – Jens Clar Sep 3 '17 at 16:56
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If its possible to put a lamp inside the object, you can also put a lamp into it and use translucent shader. enter image description here

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