[Style Swap] Crystal Material
Hello everyone! I only discovered Quixel a month ago, but i want to participate and show my skills. My objective with this design is to create crystalline materials, and the crystal type im going for is called Titanite - more commonly known as Sphene. I have provided some examples below. I like how it has a greenish-yellowish hue and even strong colors in either direction. I want to create more gem textures, as i see that Quixel doesn't seem to have any. The hardest parts of this design will get the crystal texture just right, as well as making sure that if there are see through components that they properly highlight detail underneath while still showing that it is completely encased in crystal.
Update: Im really liking this stylized version of Titanite. Im probably going to be using this as the stylized form, and try to go for more opaque but busy form as the realistic. The biggest hurdle i have is that i don't have a reliable way of setting semi transparent materials. I tried to opt for a liquid layer (i took some ideas from my stylized material) and set it as somewhat transparent. Unfortunately, it REALLY drops it down from what i set as it's threshold. If i could set a liquid layer (or another more noisy layer) higher up and just mess with it's transparency value, i could set up patterns underneath.
Working on the realistic texture, having a bit of a harder time than the other texture as im trying to create both the cuts of the crystal, and the patterns underneath, but i found a way to cheat the transparency problem i was having. Will update you more as time goes on.
Great progress! It's really come a long way already.
For the patterns/cuts, you might want to try experimenting with the Worley 1 noise pattern in the mask stack. This pattern right away has some pretty unique shapes if you play with the sliders. And with a few modifiers on top of that, you should be able to get some really cool patterns that give you that crystallized look. You also might want to bump up the threshold on that layer to make those crystal shapes a bit more pronounced.
Creating underlying details will always be a pretty big challenge without a shader giving you some fake depth through some sort of pixel offset and even secondary texture maps. However, what you might want to try is push the depth of your overall height map a bit more (as I mentioned with the crystal pattern) so you have some extra room to play with. Then start bringing in those underlying layers with very little to no normal detail and a lowered opacity so that it doesn't overpower any of the normal detail on what would be the top of the surface. You would also want to try and match the roughness value of those layers to what you have for the surface layers, so that, the reflectance properties aren't overpowering the top layer's surface. This should help sell the idea that the detail is beneath the surface, and not on top.
Lastly, it looks like you are perhaps using metallic values or higher specular values that is causing it to read a bit more like a gold-plated aluminum foil in places. While it's actually a pretty neat look, it does stray away from the look and feel of the reference images you chose.
Really great start! Can't wait to see this shape up!
I want to thank you for all of the critique. Every bit is extremely helpful. I tried to do each one, and i think i've got an extremely better material. Though, Mixer is still a bit limited and i may have to go to an outside program to add in something like Subsurface scattering to get that nice crystal look. This material just looks a little too solid for what im trying to go for. But the surface is looking a lot better. I did use a mask layer with noise and scatter to get better and tried to tone down the overall metalness and i may try and tone down the gloss as well. Any more critique is welcome as well. I would rather make good materials than to get "Ok" materials.
Definitely getting a lot more of that crystal vibe with the shapes and harsh cuts. Nice job!
One thing I notice on the reference images you've posted and the mix is that the surface on the reference image is very smooth and polished with very little noise across the surface. Perhaps reduce the amount of smaller noise across the entire surface, and maybe have some scratches/dents/dings more concentrated on the edges? Have you tried out the curvature mask yet? You can get some really great results with those sharp angles using that feature.
As for rendering, feel free to render it in Unreal or Marmoset to get that nice SSS look, or even some depth offset. Those types of rendering techniques are great, but can be a bit heavy to use for 3D mixing like Mixer, so it would probably be best to do your renders (at least your final renders) through another program :)
Great progress! Keep it up.
So this render was done in Blender 2.8, imagine my surprise though when the new render engine does not fully support displacement maps. In any case, my first thought was to make my realistic and stylized textures as stated above, but as i put it on a mesh i think im going to flip it around. In any case, here's my realistic render:
Edit: had to resubmit as i submitted a snip instead of a full render, so here's the full render.
Stack Textures for realistic
Texture stack for the stylized version
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