not sure if anyones done this yet, I spent yesterday in a trance creating matcaps, I got to about 80.
and I just took a quick stab at implementing them in unreal engine, and got it working rather swiftly.
My question to you guys is; would any of you find an unreal matcap library useful? I’d be willing to compile a library, maybe with categorical folders and release it freely for you guys
with that intention in mind, I am creating a more robust master material, with parameters for brightness, detail normal texture, and will keep expanding.
I went from unlit back to lit, and the brightness determines the scenes lighting influence on the mat (emissive influence), it’s starting to look more useful already
just added parameters for the usual suspects metallic and roughness etc
well this is a good example, really sexy cheap car paints, iridescence pearlecence etc without having a cluster f*** of material nodes
also good for prototyping and previewing what materials work best on a given asset, without having to go through the tedium of setting one up and refining them. also it’s a rather cheap method for doing some otherwise expensive or hard to nail surface effects
yep, the limitation you need to keep in mind of course is the matcaps are static, and look more or less the same from every angle, however you can blend them with scene lighting as i have started doing, and it works quite convincingly, and works with baked or dynamic lights of course. so yeah working with that in mind, totally.
Also highlighting other benefits of matcaps, you can create shaders just by painting a 2D sphere i did the bulk of mine by painting, Gaussian blur and masking
and you can rapidly create surface based shaders without messing around with dot products, special vector nodes, and the general extrapolation that involves, and just figuring out vector relationships and all that other technical wizardry…
So it facilitates a lower point of entry for fancy materials, something non-technical-artists/non-artists (and generally those who don’t want to spend a long time learning and refining materials) would appreciate I’m sure.
You can also create highly stylized shaders with ease and even blend multiple matcaps like so:
of course the surface detail needs to be there to support them.
I will create a few master materials, one of which being a 2 matcap blender
you can also create some rather convincing sub surface effects on the cheap
Pouring all my free time into this, and having fun!
I was having some difficulties getting the mapping correct, but I found the transformVector node to cast the tangent vectors into view, thanks to finding a nice UDK article on SEMs
so now i have 2 methods of mapping, view aligned reflection mapping VAR and spherical environment mapping SEM, and have been making robust VAR and SEM master matcap materials. I’ve added color tinting. And because color tinting is the baseColor and the matcaps themselves influence emission, you can effectively make it appear like light reactive subsurface, using the base color as the desired subsurface color, like this example
that removes the ability to utilize “glow” maps you ask? Kind of, however you could get your standard glowing emissive effects via seperate materials OR I can make another master material that supports glow maps within the same material by using a mask based system that blends with the matcap, using masks and having a glowPower parameter. I could theoretically include this feature in the master mats, with null parameters by default. Although i have a feeling a series of case-specific materials would be far more efficient than one bloated multi-case one
jumping into some explanatory rambling:
Both methods can be used for distinct rendering styles unto themselves.
-The VAR method is less static and really good for exotic materials like pearlescent paints metals and gloss materials, it has the distinct benefit of bending more to the view angle and reading more dynamically from different angles.
-The SEM method can be exclusively beneficial for it’s own list of applications, including cheap environmental lighting influence on dynamic actors, outlines, toon shaders and many other things.
as you can see I have been having quite a bit of fun playing with the matcap based materials
And these are justVAR so far! I’ll be concentrating on the SEM mat next.
there are so many exciting possibilities! Can’t wait to let it loose and see what you guys do with it, it shouldn’t be long before i have the first version ready. And… well… I will stay quiet about some really exciting developments that may (or may not ) be happening!
I am sure it will become very clear what they can be used for when it’s released, as I am planning to create content examples with specific usage cases
but very much capable of being used for production, in terms of roughing out they could be useful for look development too. but you could just use basic materials for that. it has use cases that defy what unreal can easily do, like magical effects, pearlescence, iridescence, and other uses I’ll try highlighting in my project
Here is a clear example of SEM compared to VAR
you’ll notice VAR wraps around once, as highlighted you can see the centre color on the backside when towards the screen’s edge.