Creating a Velvet Shader

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  • Film & VFX
  • Rendering
  • Shaders
  • Maya
Skill Level
  • Intermediate

Hello, this is a tutorial on how to create a velvet shader within Maya, although this shader can be primarily used to simulate velvet, it also has other uses too, which we will go into later. This tutorial also introduces the user to the Sampler Info node, of which we will be utilising the facing ratio, again, more later. I've created this simple model, you can create your own model, it's similar to a cushion.

In order for us to see things a bit more clearly that our end result will be working I have added some small additions such as wrinkles that will hopefully gather light like velvet would, we will see this happening later. For now, depending on you preference, smooth your object using either Modify > Convert > Polygons To Subdiv and then press 3 on the keyboard for smooth display, or Polygons > Smooth (This will probably be defaulted at smoothing level 1, so apply it again to ensure a nice smooth looking object), you should now have something like this, see below : -

Next step, now open up your Hypershade, and create a new Lambert material, I normally like to name my materials, so I've named it Velvet_LambertM, as seen below : -

Red is usually a colour I associate velvet with, so open up your new materials options and click on the colour box and then change the colour to the following red, RGB = R 255, G 60, B 0 : -

Now, just so we can compare an original and a working version of our velvet shader, let's create another 'cushion', and move it across slightly so we can see it better, select your original object, press CTRL + D to duplicate it and then move it slightly to your right as you're looking at the screen, see below : -

During this tutorial, I will be just using the FRONT view for doing renders, the original object I built has already been placed in such a way that it will catch the light quite nicely, so for now, do a quick test render, you should get something like this :-

Ok, that's fine for now. We need to assign a new shader to the second cushion, the one that we will actually be working on to create the velvet look, open up your Hypershade, select your Velvet_LambertM shader, then outside of the box, right click and select EDIT > DUPLICATE > SHADING NETWORK, you should now have a second material called, Velvet_LambertM1 : -

Let's get straight into the rest now, open up your new material, and in its options, click on the Incandescence options box : -

Once you've done that, within your 2D Textures area, select the RAMP node : -

Edit the ramp so that it looks like this, you select the boxes on the right side to delete a colour entry list and you select the circles on the left side to create one or edit it's current colour, so delete the middle ramp colour entry and then edit the colours : -

Next, change the Type of Ramp to a U Ramp, this option essentially makes sure our ramp runs on the U part of the UV space of our object : -

Next, change the interpolation to Exponential Down, this option essentially favours the colour at the top of the ramp towards the bottom, i.e. the black will show more than the red in this current ramp : -

Now, to ensure a nice falloff for our velvet shader, we need to set up a much lighter colour of our red, I've made this version which is slightly off red, and kind of reaching into the pinks and oranges, obviously this would need to change if your object was a different colour, i.e blue velvet would require a nice sky blue cyan type colour for it's falloff, notice I have also moved the bottom colour entry list up slightly, you do the same : -

The colours I used for my falloff were, RGB = R 255, G 135, B 100 : -

Now the most important bit of the shader, the Sampler Info node. So again, open up your Hypershade, then scroll down to the utilities tab or alternatively do what I do and change where it says 'CREATE MATERIAL' to 'CREATE ALL NODES', and then just scroll down to where the sampler info node is, now middle mouse drag the sampler info node onto you work area as below : -

Then middle mouse drag the sampler info node directly on top of the ramp as shown : -

The Connection Editor should now open up automatically, the sampler info node will be on the left and the ramp will be on the right, find the facing ratio within the sampler info options (the facing ratio is calculated between the surface normals and the viewing angle) : -

Now, finally, do another a test render from the Front View, you should now have something like the figure below, which looks very nice and simulates a good looking soft velvety look, which is what we were trying to achieve : -

You can download the final scene file here or at the bottom, which includes the velvet shader : -


As you can see in these other examples, you can choose any colours you wish, as long as you follow the rule of making sure you change the second colour entry in the ramp to match the colour you are creating a velvet shader for. For people who are wanting to take this further, you can add extra things like a very fine procedural bump to catch the light even more and look even more like velvet, it's up to you to experiment. I sometimes use this type of shader for lots of everyday objects such as clothing, skin and cartoony looking objects, as it's just a nice shader in general. If you experiment further with the sampler info node you can also create effects like x-rays and electron microscope imagery. Well, that's it for now.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find this tutorial useful.

By: Steven J. Tubbrit

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| 12 years ago
Very nice On to trying it
| 12 years ago
could you explain the sampler info more.
| 12 years ago
I have a couch pillow that would love to be covered in velvet-Thanks
| 12 years ago
Awsome tutorial, thank you!
| 12 years ago
cool, you shoul try it with a bump map conectted to the sampler info, :)
| 12 years ago
greate tutorial , very good tutorial , thanks a lot . thank u
| 12 years ago
yes, this tutorial is worth trying. Not only would it work for velveteen effects, but for electron microscope imaging or other semi organic items. Don't transparencies are tricky but worth while. Using this with Final Gather casts a little light off the pillow do to mapping on the Incandescene node.
nice one , thanks a lot . thank u
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