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Gemstone Shader Breakdown

Breakdown of the shader/texture nodetree on my gemstone render: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/V0KKZ

Anthony pilon ruby breakdown

Throughout the breakdown, I preview renders where color is important with the film look applied, and renders where brightness value is important (mix factors) without it.

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The ray depth hack especially really helps brighten up glass in any Cycles scene. Note: throughout the breakdown, there are nodes with excess outputs hidden with Ctrl+H, which is why they don't all show up.

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I'm using the surface version of absorption instead of volumetric, mostly because I didn't want get two separate layers of volume shader working together, not when a node group like this renders so much faster

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The idea is that the 3d procedural texture will effect the absorption in 3d space. Not sure that's what's happening though.

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I use Lerp as an inexpensive alternative to MixRGB when I just want to blend two grayscale passes. I use Remap more to set the range for roughness, bump strength, and other simple gradients. They're the same operation.

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The SSS looks so much brighter now than it did on its own because the transparent materials above it are letting much more light shine through. I spent most of the time on this layer looking at it already mixed in, the difference is so big.

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I'm actually using RGB values of 1.1 for the volume, to give it a little extra pop

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Node tree overview

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Readable version Q1

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Readable version Q2

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Readable version Q3

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Readable version Q4