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Beautiful Skin with the P5 Skin and Translucence Nodes

Author: karen1573

Tools Needed

  • Poser 5


The Skin and Translucence nodes in the Poser 5 material room are the best ways to achieve a realistic-looking skin material on your Poser models. By experimenting with different colour and strength settings, you can also achieve some interesting and fantastic effects.

For this tutorial I am using Steph 3 Petite with the default Steph texture maps, apart from the eye texture, which I have taken from another pack. (I just don't like the default supplied eye maps.) I am using an eye texture without painted-on highlights, as I prefer to set my own for greater realism.


Step 1 - Setting up the material room

The first thing we need to do is get the basics all right. If you have loaded your model and applied your texture via a MAT file, then you will need to make some changes. If the texture that you're using comes with a bump map, then you'll probably need to disconnect the bump map from the gradient_bump channel and plug it into the main Bump channel instead. Reset the bump value - I find 0.01 works best for closeup shots like the one I'm going for here.

I'm also going to add an anisotropic shader to the lacrimals and corneas. This gives a much more effective “wet-look” to the eyes. In addition, I'm going to make set my eyesocket material to almost black, and about 0.9 transparency, and also add an anisotropic node to this. I just prefer the way this looks, especially when I'm doing close-ups on the eyes.

The anisotropic node should be added to the Alternate_Specular channel, and can be found under Lighting > Specular > anisotropic.


Step 2 - Gimme some skin


Now we're going to set up the skin node.

We connect the skin node to the Alternate_Diffuse channel. You'll find the skin shader under Lighting > Special > skin, as above.


Now, what we do is connect the SkinColor to the texture that we're using, and turn the main Diffuse_Color value to 0, as above.

The SkinColor can be set to any colour you think will work for you. This colour affects the underlying hue of the skin, just as the diffuse_color node does. I usually use a very light skin colour, as seen here, or pure white can also be effective. This will depend on the texture you're using, the light set, and the mood you want to create.

The SheenColor again can be set to any combination you think effective. This colour will affect how the light bounces off the surface of the skin. Just for now I am using a neutral white colour.

This is how my scene now looks rendered, before getting into the translucence node.


Step 3 - Translucence


The translucence node can give a similar effect to the SheenColor section of the Skin shader. However it does work in a slightly different way, and the two can be used together to great effect.

To set the translucence colour, we need to plug a simple_color node into the Translucence_Color channel. No, I don't know why you can't just set the colour directly in the channel, so please don't ask! You can find Simple_Color under Math, as above.

Once you've got your node in, you need to set the main translucence color to white, and put a value into Translucence_Value. 0.20 is a good starting point.

OK, if you've done all that, your material room should now look like this:


I've set my scene up with pure white lights - I've used SnowSultan's Snowglobes set, available in the freestuff at Renderosity. We'll get into coloured lights in a minute.

If I render my scene now, it looks like this.


You can see a big difference from the previous render without translucence. The skin has become lighter and looks, well, translucent!

Step 4 - Playing with Colours


Setting the simple_color node to a different colour can change the effect in different ways. These 4 examples show how you can achieve a different feel just by changing this colour.

A quick tip: when choosing a colour for this node (or any other node), click on the colour bar to open up the colour picker, then click on the red, green and blue stripes at the top-right of the box:


This then brings up the classic Windows colour dialogue box, and you can save your selected colour as a custom colour. Then on your other materials, just access the dialogue in the same way and select the custom colour. This avoids having to select and copy all nodes or doing select > apply to all, when all you want to change is one colour on one node.

Step 5 - Crazy Colours


For this render I set the translucence colour to a dark blue, without changing anything else (including lights).


I thought that gave an excellent moonlight look, so I ramped it up to look even more spooky by adding blue lights to the mix.


Then I got really silly: I made the translucence colour green, changed the skin node sheen colour to yellow and added some red lights. A very interesting effect for those dark fantasy scenes!

Step 6 - Fitting it all together


To achieve the final effect you see below, I decided to use a blurred background picture. This is part of Runtime DNA's Poor-Man's HDRI set, so it comes with a matching light set, which saved me setting one up ;-)

To match the lighting, I made the skin_color a very pale beige, left the sheen_color at pure white, and made the translucence color a very pale green.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to experiment for yourself with these two nodes and enjoy the results!