SSS for curtains help.


Hi, I’m working on this interior shot using my shiny new plugin :slight_smile: by Masteroflight. Problem is with the curtains, I’m trying to get good SSS but have had no success It comes out too dark and contrasty from lit areas to shadow areas. I want it to be a pretty smooth transition from lit to shadow. If anyone can help me or has a preset setting I would be very grateful for I have wasted more time than expected trying to get the desired look.

Here is the wip, I’ve used backlight effect on this one but it just doesn’t look right, it should be a softer transition.

Thanks in advance,


And this is more or less what I’m after,


I’m not 100% on this, but it could be that because your light is outside the house the square window is adding a hard edge to it. I just did a few tests, and sss does seem to work for me. Try using a square spotlight lined up with the windowcasting in. Perhaps keep your current lighting, just limit the new light to the curtains only. The default falloff worked for me.
Sorry if this isn’t what your talking about. Nice room anyway.



Thanks Kico, I’ve tried it with simpler geometry it works just fine, but not with the curtains maybe wrong modeling. Heres the curtain if any soul would take the time :shrug:


You said you got the sss to work with the curtains? I’ve played with the file. The sss only works with objects with mass. The best way to add some mass fast is to drop in an Explosion FX deformer, set it to the time of 0, then set the “depth” very small under cluster. Once the object has mass, the sss should work.


Thank you very much Kico! That`s pretty much what i needed its working now! Thanks again.

I thougt I had made it work it was like 4 am yesterday so I might have seen wrong.


Very nice render, but the chairs look a little bit floaty. I’d use backlight rather than SSS for curtains, but I haven’t actually compared the two directly.


Hello panchopantera!
I made one image with courtains with SSS. I couldn’t do a thing with c4d’s SSS. Try Translucent Pro plugin, it rockz! My advice :slight_smile:


While personally I love both SSS and Translucent pro, dealling with single thickness objects works best with the backlight shader as AdamT already suggested, this is what the shader was designed for was single thickness objects, while the othertwo are more designed for volume objects. not to say none of them can’t do the other, but would you rather waste time tweaking settings for hours with one shader or using the one better designed for the task in a few minutes?

Also why are you using a hard shadow? All Translucent plugins don’t like hard shadows that mcuh, and honestly it doens’t make sense for your render. You’d be beter off using a soft shadow, or array of lights with soft shadows, set to a high maps size, like 1000x1000 or even 2000x2000, it will give that hard look but work better with distances and such then hardshadows, which unrealisticly remainhard the whole way. Interiors shouldn’t really have hard shadows, harder soft shadows of course but never a hard shadow itself.


use transparency or alpha map for curtain material. not for sss effect, just for correct curtain shadow.



Thanks for your advice everyone,

AdamT, I did notice the floating chairs but I Havent found whats causing this, they are touching the floor but thanks for pointing it out, I’ll have to find out whats causing this.

Robodesign, well i think from the tests below Translucent was the best choice for my particular scene so thanks a lot.

Kaiskai, well its almost embarrasing to have not known that hard shadows wouldn’t work with the effect i was looking for. I’m going to go with the soft shadows at 1500x1500 as in this next tests. Thank you very much.

Thanks Pupii, I’ve done that in the translucent test, I had not used any transparency for the colormapping would give out artefacts but It looks fixed now with the new build.

So… since I’m such a stubborn guy I went and tried the curtains with the three different options and defalut shader settings ( I had to see for myself).

All three were done with soft shadows, :hmm: backlight and translucent took about 10 minutes each but the SSS see for your self 40 minutes and it kept on going. I’m sure that with the right settings all three give out nice results but I’m sticking with translucent free, since it worked better for me this particular scene without tweaking anythinging.

the three shaders have different colors in the shadow areas I don’t know why.

This is backlight

This is Translucent Free wich I’m going to go with

And this was done as Kico suggested, giving it mass and with SSS but I stopped it at 40 minutes I think it would’ve taken at least another 20 minutes to finish and I wasn’t liking the result neither the long waiting.


Backlight is the one i like most, i’d add a lil transparency to get the effect Pupi pointed.


double post sorry


in fact the translucent example has transparency if you look close there’s 2 shadows from the frame and from the curtains but I think the shadow wouldn’t look that detailed with the small holes from the curtain also I think that the soft shadows are taking the small detail that perhaps the curtains would cast, maybe I should use area shadows. But I’m planning to drop in a lot of detailing geometry and blurred reflections so I don’t know if the render times will go up too much.

you got me thinking again about wich of the 2 I should use.


the backlight gives a nice sense of volume


I’m glad you succeded into doing the the courtains how you wanted… with my suggestion: Translucent plugin. When I made my 3D scene, it was a little bit more complex than yours, i tried many, many tricks: backlight, C4D’s own SSS, blah and blah, but nothing as Translucent :bounce: ! One more thing i need to mention, as i said my 3D scene was more complex, C4D’s own SSS doesn’t have any effect on the courtains if you put a glass object - like a window - between the light source and the courtains. In my 3D scene the window was in depth details: all the frame of the window detailed, glass, blinds and the courtains. My scene was totally lit from outside.

Anyways, congrats! Your image looks promising.


from a rather render noobish point of view the backlight one looks more natural to me. its not drawing the attention immediately to the curtains like in a real room.



If there’s not going to be anything crazy in the shot, like animation of the sun setting or something, then I’d say to paint a luminance texture for the curtains in photoshop, and just map it right on there. For pure artists control and rendertime, nothing beats faking it.


although I don’t use it much, taking brent’s approach further, adding a very subtle glow can help soften the curtain edges a bit, too.


I don’t like to fake 3D in photoshop - 2D -… i want to do as much as I can in 3D, so when i animate the scene, move thru the room or whatever it is, i won’t have any problem! If you are good at 2D then do it totally in 2D, don’t combine… as much as you can :). Anyway, i’m using too these “dirty” tricks :frowning: :banghead:


Why not fake all you can fake? If your goal is to create stunning imagery, and not a science project, then do anything you can to make your images a cut better. If you find yourself a fan of Hollywood effects, then I hope you know that pretty much every effects movie is jam packed with camera projections, fake GI, fake shadows, fake raytracing, miniature models and 2d pantings.

Anyway, back on topic, of the three tests, I’d say the backlighter one is the most realistic.