So, alright, I understand the basics of PBR in theory after going through Epic’s excellent youtube Material tutorials and starting to pour over the documentation. That having been said, I’m finding that there’s a gigantic gap between my understanding of how PBR and materials work, and how I see people with actual art and technical art backgrounds using them.
Take roughness, as an example: my instinctive approach is to plug a simple float in, vary its value, recompile the material to see what changed, and continue until I’ve gotten it looking roughly the way I would like. However, the other day I read someone casually comment that if you lerp the roughness between two values based on the texture you end up with a roughness that matches the texture underneath it. This looks tremendously better, makes perfect sense, and I would have never thought of this while experimenting on my own.
There must be some domain of knowledge that I’m missing, since trying to work out what even simple mats, like the ones in the Infinity Blade content are doing, utterly confuses me, but I’m genuinely unsure where I should be looking for more background. So is there anywhere I can go that bridges the gap between “Here is how PBR works,” and “Here is a forest of brilliant but cryptic math”?