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Shininess Maps, Hair & IMVU Studio

kat · 1 · 1212

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Offline kat

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Hair is a little tricky to get working properly in IMVU Studio Beta because the Shininess feature itself is quite sensitive to context, the rooms lighting and ambient settings, and can 'blow out' without too much effort, becoming over-bright and bleached. For hair this generally means Shininess maps should err towards the darker side, being predominantly mid to dark greys to tone the effect down - in this context Shininess maps very much instruct Studio where the effect should be, which can then be augmented increasing the Reflectivity setting.
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Design note: a quick way to make Shininess maps is to flatten the hair texture and then 'desaturate' it so it transforms from a colour image to one that's entire grey-scale. This better matches the tonal aspects of the hair style. Some tonal correction may be necessarily where colours then get interpreted as high or low grey values based on their apparent colour - 100% blue may be much darker than 100% red or green when converted to tonal values.



In the image above the Shininess map used has high contrast and relatively high tonal difference - lots of white and black. The result is a very 'bright' Shininess effect that makes the hair look metallic.

Using a much more subtle Shininess map with less contrast and lower tonal range results in a more subtle effect even though it may be using the same Reflectivity value, default 50 (the effect is difficult to see in a static image due to the dynamic nature of the effect responding to scene lighting).

The advantage of using a lower tonal range means being able to 'layer' other visual effects. Want some 'glitter'? Just add much brighter noise spots.