Whenever I try to make a new character, I always try to give that character a particular personality which is different from all my other characters. For “S-Force”, I decided I wanted to make a female character that was not only sexy, but also kind of powerful.
This was the first time that I’d made the whole body of a character and while I searched the internet for references and information, there weren’t many tutorials talking about how to create body material. Because of that, in this article I’m going to focus on the process of making my character’s body sss material.
Okay, I think I’ve said too much, so now I’m going to share my workflow and my experiences with you.
The model was not really difficult to make. Everyone has his or her preferred method to making a human model and here I used the polygon modeling method. Here's the model of "S-Force" (Fig.01).
The textures for the body sss material can be seen in Fig.02. From left to right, they are:
Unscattered diffuse map and epidermal map: Here I used the same map for both unscattered diffuse and the epidermal slot. It's not a hand-painted texture; I used a real photo (from 3dsk) to create all these textures. In Photoshop, I cleaned all the highlights and shadow components of the photo.
Subdermal color: based on the first texture, I made the texture reddish, with some areas redder than others. This step is very important, because it adds more depth to the body material.
Specular weight 1: this texture used the photo with its original highlights and shadows. I just desaturated it and adjusted the level , making it soft and a low contrast. Because this was the texture for the main highlight areas of the body, I don't need too high a level of contrast. I just needed to make the whole body with a logical main highlight.
Specular weight 2: Different from Specular weight 1, this texture was higher contrast. It was used for some areas of the skin that are really wet or oily. In order to make it more realistic, I added a noise filter to it so that the skin wouldn’t look too smooth, like a plastic surface. I also used this texture for the reflection map slot, to make the skin material more realistic.
The sss material components of the body skin can be seen in Fig.03:
Only epidermal component: light transfers into the surface, but there still needs to be some soft shadow.
Only subdermal component: the shader looks softer than the epidermal. The light transfers more deeply into the skin causing the subdermal component to look softer, but it still needs more soft shadow.
Specular weight 1: the overall height of the body.
Specular weight 2: simulates the shiniest part of the body.
Reflection component: this component will give the shader more depth and a more realistic feeling (Fig.04).