Chrome texture, how do you make it?

So I’m checking out their Realistic rendering level and a lot of furniture has chrome. How do you make chrome? is it just a grey colour with metallic and roughness turned up?

You should be able to see how they achieved the effect by investigating the material it uses.

There’s a number of methods of achieving believable chrome effects. The chrome in the sample level I believe is simply a material with a constant plugged into the roughness channel set low (the higher the value, the more blurry the reflections).

The trick with metals, especially mirrored metals like chrome, is that it’s all in the reflections.

Desert-chrome (the chrome effect that’s commonly seen in old airbrush painting and has stuck around as a shortcut for communicating metallic surfaces to our eyes) is all in environment: blue sky, brownish earth. Whether that’s achieved through real-time reflections or a cube env map doesn’t really matter, except for fidelity when you’re dealing with objects reflecting other objects.

Another common chrome effect is studio chrome, where a metallic object is shot in a dark room, illuminated by a number of reflectors and diffuse light sources to create white reflections on the surface. This is used heaps for product visualisation (beer, cars, watches, etc.)

I’m from a pre-render pipe, and I’m somewhat new to UE4 so forgive me if I provide information which is not particularly useful for UE4. Right now I’m making the assumption that UE4 works in much the same ways. But the ‘rules’ for good metal are:

> Dark diffuse (black for chrome, dark yellow for gold, dark brown for copper, etc.)
> Brighter version of the same colour for the reflection colour (which I think is the ‘metallic’ channel, but may not be, perhaps you need to plug the colour into specular)
> A good environment for the metal to reflect

When working with anything other than absolutely perfect studio chrome, you probably want a subtle varigated texture of faint scratches and smudges plugged in to the roughness (and maybe spec/metallic) channels to provide some slight dirtiness that enhances realism greatly.

I’m jumping into the material editor over the weekend, so if I come up with anything more helpful than general advice, I’ll come back and post it. Hope this is at least somewhat useful to you. If you want any examples of good metallic environment maps, let me know and I’ll dig some up.

Specifically, Metallic at 1 and Roughness near 0. Probably like 0.1 or so. Also, make sure you have a reflection capture actor somewhere in your scene.