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Complex Material Setup

Essential Terms:
First things first, this tutorial is covering the Marmoset material system and how to achieve the most from your diffuse, normal, specular, and gloss maps while representing a variety of material types. Lets start by explaining what each map does and how it will relate to the Marmoset material system. There are more advanced features of the Marmoset Toolbag rendering/shader system, but for the sake of simplicity were going to limit this tutorial to the four c ommon texture maps in the default shader. Note: Your specular and gloss values apply to dynamic lights as well as the default environment lighting.

Diffuse Map
The diffuse map is your basic color texture, here you will define the color information for your materials.

Normal Map
The normal map provides per pixel lighting/shading information. Your normal map will be either generated from a high resolution model, or generated from a 2D bump map. You can add extra normal map detail to your baked map to help further define material properties, with theNvidia Normal Map filter, Crazybump, nDo and other similar programs.

Specular Map
The specular map is used to define both the color and strength of the specular reflection highlights.

Gloss Map
The gloss map is used to define the sharpness or roughness of the specular reflection highlight, essentially how wide or narrow the highlight is. Darker gloss values are used to define matte materials, while brighter gloss values are used to define glossy materials. In Marmoset Toolbag you adjust the gloss value with the Specular Sharpness slider, and if you save a gloss map into the alpha channel of your specular map it will automatically use that for your gloss value. Be sure to save a 32 bit image otherwise your gloss map with not load.

Background: Image Based Lighting

Toolbag uses Image Based Lighting (IBL) for sky lighting. This uses a single large panorama image to describe the lighting coming in from all directions. Each pixel of this image gets treated as a tiny light source, and rendered accordingly. This can be used to render with light captured from digital photos, or with any handmade or artificial backdrop. This technique allows for a lot of artist control, and an essentially unlimited number of light sources.

What is HDR good for anyway?

High Dynamic Range (HDR) images contain a higher range of brightness with greater precision than the ordinary 24 bit color images we come across every day. This is useful particularly for capturing things brighter than our monitors can display. A reflected image of the sun, for example, will appear correct when HDR images are used, but may look rather washed out and dirty otherwise. HDR images are fully supported as input to the sky tool, and we recommend you use them if you have HDR data available to you. You will get better specular highlights and sharper lighting for many scenes. Many image editing programs, notably Adobe Photoshop CS3 and later, support the creation and editing of HDR images.