Any tips on improving ma sushi?

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Old 06 June 2012   #1
Any tips on improving ma sushi?

Hello helpful people.

As a challenge to myself and in order to better understand sub-surface scattering, I've made a sushi scene.

It's not complete yet, I intend to give it a nicer table, better lighting, etc.

The rice, however, has been especially troubling for me and I'm not sure if I'm there yet.

Any tips on improving the look?

I'm using Maya and VRay for this.

3D Reel, Photography and Blog
Old 06 June 2012   #2
Going well!

Your rice however look more like tablets or tic tacs. Try too add more variation and look closely to references.

Old 06 June 2012   #3
The problem is that your rice isn't translucent - this isn't just a matter of using SSS, you actually need to ensure that your shader has some translucency. Notice how in the photo posted in the last post, you can see the dark colour of the nori through the rice - your rice doesn't do this, which is why it looks like styrofoam balls. Your salmon should also be a little translucent and it needs a bit more SSS too.
Old 06 June 2012   #4
Thanks IconicDrei, maybe the rice needs to be thinner, do you think?

Leigh you raise a very good point, the translucency thing is something I've been struggling with in VRay. It seems that the only way this is possible with the VRayFastSSS2 shader is to select 'Raytrace (refractive)' from the 'Single Scatter' pulldown. This jacks up the render times to intolerable levels, making it really difficult to tweak. The results I've gotten so far have been unappealing (see render below).

I've tried using a normal VRay shader with transparency but that didn't look great either. I tried turning the Subsurface Scattering setting on in this shader but that didn't appear to do anything.

Anyone got any ideas on how to get VRay to do this translucency thing properly?

3D Reel, Photography and Blog
Old 07 July 2012   #5
Well, I've made it into a bit more of a scene, the rice is looking a bit less tic tac-ish I reckon.

I'm open to any feedback about the scene at the moment, fire away!

3D Reel, Photography and Blog
Old 07 July 2012   #6
This looks great, but can look greater if you reach the Realism level! Patience is needed.

To me, you should add noise to the soy sauce "cup", just a little "stone noise", a very subtle noise, and the sushi seaweed should be more irregular.
As for the rice, i agree with IconicDrei, look more like tic tacs. What to do? Hmm

May be you know this already, but in case you don't, here it is!

Good job!
Character WIP
Old 07 July 2012   #7
the candles are too even in shape, look at some well used candles for reference.
Old 07 July 2012   #8
Good advice from everyone else, I too thought the rice needed more translucency. I don't know Vray's shaders well, but if you have the option for transparency and translucency controlled separately (such as the mia_mat_x in mental ray), you should be on the right track. I don't think you really need SSS for the rice necessarily - but again, I just don't know Vray well enough.

The bamboo mat looks great! The wasabi might be a little chunky, but that of course depends on if it were store-bought or home-made.

It's really coming along, keep at it!
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
Old 07 July 2012   #9
I agree about the rice. I reckon more transparency combined with glossy refractions would be the best way to do it.
Everything else looks very neat!
Old 07 July 2012   #10
Cultrix thank you, yeh I have seen that tutorial but I didn't buy it because he uses Mental Ray and i created this scene specifically to gain a better understanding of VRay shaders. Having said that, I am interested to know how he modelled the rice... hmmm.

tobbew Yes, I noticed this as soon as I looked at my real candles and not google image search ones.

InfernalDarkness The VRay shader has options for SSS but the results look terrible and take for ever. Is there a difference between translucency and SSS? Any time I try and give the rice transparency, it just looks like the small square in my second post, worse in my opinion. I've spent ages trying different materials and adjusting sliders but to no avail. I'm thinking now that the best way would be to fake it somehow, any tips for this would be appreciated :-)

I'm trying to give everything in the scene a slightly rough, home made feel, would you say the wasabi paste looks home made?

pap87 Thanks, only thing is, I have tried this and it ends up looking very similar to the little square of grey looking rice in my second post
3D Reel, Photography and Blog
Old 07 July 2012   #11
That's cool then. Either you could reduce the transparency just enough to bring some whiteness back to the rice or if the shader permits have a transparence depth value where once it goes in deep enough it will return an opaque value.
I'm not familiar with vray materials, thinking more of the architectural shader in mentalray but I'm sure there would be such an option in vray.
Old 07 July 2012   #12
VRay has a max depth setting that works quite similar to Mental Ray but the problem is I don't think, in either renderer, it works through more than one mesh.
3D Reel, Photography and Blog
Old 07 July 2012   #13
Is getting good look.
But, the sushi and rice need a few more touches in the shader.
Like in Mental Ray, in Vray you need to take into account the size of your scene or objects, to let sss pass light through objects. I think in FastSSS2 shader you have a scale attribute try play with it .
Old 07 July 2012   #14
Well, this is where I'm at at the moment. I tried to replicate the way that, in the reference, the edges of the rice looks a lot whiter than the interior (the part that got cut when the roll was sliced).

I tried changing the scale of the SSS effect but it started to look worse when I adjusted in either direction.

I've also re-worked the candles and given them a proper volumetric flame using Maya fluids.

As usual, all feedback is very much appreciated.
3D Reel, Photography and Blog
Old 07 July 2012   #15
I think the sushi roll rice looks great now, that's a pretty significant difference.

But the rice under the salmon looks almost puffy and... like popcorn, I guess? The shaders that are working for the sushi rolls don't seem to be working there, I mean visually.

The candles look amazing, really good stuff there! Lovely scene.
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
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