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Back in the day, Blender Internal engine supported this thing called subsurface scattering. Subsurface scattering is used for objects that have a tiny bit of translucency to them. Skin is the main material that subsurface scattering is used for.


You can emulate the light refractions from blood vessels, pores, muscles and the epidermis using this feature. The Blender Internal engine made this feature available to Blender users, but it was very complex.

Now, the Blender Foundation has released a subsurface scattering shader for Cycles. This option is available as of Blender 2.67. The release candidate is available now on the Blender website. This feature is only available with CPU rendering. Your render will be slower, but you can get this amazing feature with amazing realism.


To use this, you have to switch to CPU rendering, and add a subsurface scattering shader to your material. You can keep it there for a nice effect, but if you want to do anything realistic, you have to put more work into it.

There are a couple of settings that make it an amazing feature. First is the size setting. Size in this case is the softness of the material. The higher the size amount, the more it scatters.

Next is the radius. There are 3 radius settings. They represent red, blue, and green. This indicates how much of each color is scattered. If you raise the red amount, the light that is scattered within the object’s surface will look redder.

This is a fun shader to play with, but until it is available with GPU rendering, I will not be using it too often.

Happy Blending,

Nick Bobryk


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