The velvet template is the simplest of all the new templates. The basic material is a simple diffuse, or flat, surface. The Color channel sets the basic color and defaults to the SketchUp color or texture. Velvet materials are characterized by a second, distinct color that appears when viewing a face at a shallow angle, what we call a 'grazing angle'.
The second color is labeled as the 'Reflection' color. While it is typically a color, it can be an image texture or a procedural pattern. Note that the secondary color blends with the primary color; it is most visible at grazing angles but still affects the primary color when viewed directly, straight on.
The strength of secondary color is controlled by the 'Sheen' setting.
In the image below, the front pillow shows a blue sheen while the back pillow is using a checker pattern of black and white as the sheen.
The lamp glass template is also very simple. It is a glass material that is fairly opaque. The color of the glass is set by the Color channel, just as with other glass materials. When lit from within, the glass diffuses and scatters the light passing through it; light and shadow may be visible through the glass but without detail. When 'unlit', the reflected color of the glass is again set by the Color channel. It is realistically darker in it's unlit state.
The gloss reflection of the glass is controlled by the 'Gloss' setting. At 0, the glass has a matte finish. At 100, the glass has a high-gloss shine.
In the image below, the same glass is shown lit and unlit.
Often it is the small the details that can take a render good to "Is that a photo?". Twilight Render has always utilized realistic reflections. As your view changes from seeing a face straight on to viewing it edge-on (we call this a 'grazing angle' because light just grazes the surface), the surface becomes more reflective. This is called the Fresnel Effect and has always been part of the most basic Twilight Render materials like Paint, Wood, and Tile. But many materials exhibit an additional effect. As your view moves toward the 'grazing angle', the surface appears less rough. You might be asking, "Isn't that the same thing?". Well, not exactly; consider a brushed nickel surface. It is very shiny and reflects a lot of light, but it's rough and the reflections are distorted. Therein you can see the difference between a rough reflection and a smooth reflection.
With the Advanced Reflection template you can control the variation in shininess, or smoothness. Like the basic material (Paint, Wood, Tile), you have the ability to set the Index of Refraction and it works exactly the same. Unlike the other materials, though, you have two sets of Shininess controls. The first, the Min. Shininess sets the basic, minimum level of shininess. This is how smooth surfaces are when seen straight on. Typically you will set this to values between 0 and 100, depending on your material.
The second, the Shine Range sets how much shininess increases as the view moves toward grazing angles. Note that this is added to the Min. Shininess. Typically you will set this to values between 50 and 200. Note that very high values (above 200) might introduce artifacts. Setting Shine Range to 0 will produce a material just like the basic Paint, Wood, or Tile, with no change in shininess.
In the image below, the left side has no shininess variability while the right does. Notice the difference in floor reflection between the front and rear spheres. Note, too, how the curvature reflection around the sphere is sharper in the image on the right which gives it a more polished appearance. The effect is subtly, but it's these details that can make a lot of difference.
So if we can control the shininess based on the viewing angle, it stands to reason that we can control the shininess using other kinds of maps. And that's where Mapped Reflection comes in. You may have seen some renders around Twilight Render that show rain on asphalt. This same technique is what is now available in the Mapped Reflection template.
Found under the 'Advanced Reflection' template category, the Mapped templates are exactly the same as the Advanced Templates, with the addition of a reflection map. The same Min. Shininess and Shine Range are available, and work in the same way. But instead of using the viewing angle, the shininess is controlled by the brightness of the Reflection channel.
Just like Color and Bump, the Reflection channel allows color, texture, and procedural maps, as well as using whatever is currently applied to the SketchUp material. Where the map is white (or at it's brightest), the shininess is strongest (Min. Shininess + Shine Range). Where the map is black, the shininess is at it's minimum (Min. Shininess). This works great for mapping tile with a texture map or create wet effects with procedural patterns.
The next new Template is completely different from all the reflection stuff we've talked about so far. Realistic water is based on the principles of absorption and scatter. As light passes through water, it changes color and it loses strength, intensity. The traditional glass and liquid templates available through Twilight Render are much simpler and just refract light without changing it. The new Water templates (available under the Liquid template category) applies both of these principles to render more realistic water.
Just like glass, the refraction or transparent color is set by the Color channel. Bump effects are added, similarly, by the Bump channel. The new Absorption behavior is set by a combination of the Depth color and the Absorption setting. Depth sets the color that light passing through will fade toward. Absorption sets how quickly light fades toward the Depth color and diminishes in strength.
The image below represents a pool with depth increasing from right to left. With Absorption set to 1, the liquid acts fairly naturally as clear water (the left-most picture below). With absorption set to to 5, the liquid becomes dark quickly giving it a murky appearance (the right-most below). The Depth color plays an important role as well. On the left side below, the Depth color is a very desaturated blue. In the middle, the Absorption is still set to 1, but the Depth color has had it's saturation increased; the water is noticeably more blue and darker.
Scatter is the other setting available for Realistic Water. Scatter refers to light scattering as it passes through the liquid. A spotlight shining on the water provides a great example. Below, scattering is at 10, 50, and 100%. Notice how the intensity of the scattered beam increases with increasing Scatter.
It's important to note that the Interior and Interior+ presets do not support scattering. However, they fully support the absorption property and color.
Lastly, we have the new Floor template. This template is something completely new. By applying the Floor template, you can create completely unique, non-repeating flooring, such as wood planks or tiles, with just one click! The Floor template takes whatever texture or procedural pattern you have applied to your material and breaks it up into random planks or tiles, just like a real wood or tile floor.
The Floor template comes with 2 presets, Wood and Tile. These two presets have been configured to represent 3ft x 6in planks (in case of the Wood) or 24in squares (in case of the tile). Once you have chosen a preset, as always, you can configure it to your specific needs. We will look at the settings below to show how each affects the final result.
Width and Length are, predictably, used to set the dimensions of the individual units (planks or tiles). You can set them according to your desired size. Generally speaking, Length should always be greater than Width. This is not a requirement, but the results may be unsatisfactory if not done.
Along with Width and Length, you need to set the Axis. Axis is either X, Y, or Z and corresponds to the model or component axes. Axis sets the direction of the plank (or tile) Length. Whatever axis you choose, that is the direction the Length, or long side, will run. For most wood floors, this should correspond to the direction of the wood grain (though interesting effects can be created by choosing differently).
While it sounds a little complicated, in practice it's fairly easy.
- Set your plank dimensions. Make sure length is greater than width.
- Examine your texture as applied to your faces in SketchUp. What direction is the wood grain running? (The red axis is X, the green axis is Y, the blue axis is Z.)
- Set Axis to the appropriate corresponding X, Y, Z direction
Offset is used to shift each row or course of tiles / planks by some percent of it's length. The offset always occurs along the length (just like normal flooring). 0% will always correspond to no offset or shift and can be used to set tiles in a regular grid. Most wood floor, on the other hand, has some offset between a third (33%) and half (50%).
Working with Offset is the 'Random Planks' option. Checking this option will add a random offset to the currently set offset as well as randomly change the lengths of each plank. This works great in create realistic wood floors, which are rarely set at regular intervals but instead have some randomness to their positions. Note that this is a randomizing option and can result in nearly aligned seams in some cases; this can usually be fixed by adjusting the Offset parameter.
Finally, there is the 'Use Edges' option. Checking this option will create a thin beveled bump edge between each tile or plank. Most wood floor exhibit some sort of edge, though many laminate floors do not. Correspondingly, many tiles have a grout separation but many marble or granite tiles are joined seamlessly. This gives you the option to highlight the tile / plank edges, or leave them smooth.
In the image below, you can see the transition from the standard Wood template to Floor without edges to Floor with edges.
Feel free to ask any questions you have about using the new Templates. Don't forget to read the V2.5 release notes here: http://twilightrender.com/phpBB3/viewto ... =10&t=5350