If you’re just joining, be sure to check out the other parts of this post or this won’t make sense:

Part 1
Part 2

We left off in the last post with the Maple shader looking pretty good, but it’s not quite there. As I have been known to do, I went to the local lumber store and checked out some real Maple boards in addition to my online research. The ring patterns on Maple are definitely different from Oak, so we should fix that.

We haven’t really talked about the Noise that we added to the Rings, aside from the fact that it makes them not-so-perfect circles, and adds interest to the ring patterns. Let’s take a moment to discuss the parameters and how they affect our wood:

There are three parameters: Scale, Detail, and Distortion. Let’s look at these with our black-and-white ring pattern to see the effects:

The first parameter, Scale, is obviously the scale of the Noise texture. But in this case, since it’s being combined with the pattern, the scale is more like how much the rings are disturbed by the Noise. With the current setting, 0.25, the rings are still pretty round, with a slight bit of waviness. Increasing it to 1.0 makes it a lot wavier:

And at 5.0, it’s getting pretty crazy:

Let’s take it back down to 0.25 since most wood is pretty round. The second parameter is Detail. As the name implies, it’s how much detail is in the Noise texture. For our Oak wood, we have it up to 10, because we want ragged rings. If we take it down to 1.0, it becomes very smooth, so the rings are just barely not perfectly round:

If we leave the Detail at 1.0 and move the Scale back up to 5.0, you can see it’s just as wavy as before, but very smooth and not ragged like above when the Detail was set to 10.0:

So you can think of Detail as the roughness or raggedness of the ring pattern. Again, for Oak we wanted the rings to not be smooth, but Maple has smoother rings. We’ll get back to that in a moment.

Last but not least is Distortion. This is basically how much the overall pattern gets warped. With a low scale of 0.25, a Distortion of 1.0 doesn’t do much, as in the images above. If we set Scale, Detail, and Distortion all to 1, we get this:

Setting Distortion to 2.0 you can see the rings starting to warp:

…and at Distortion of 5.0, things are really wobbly:

But again, Distortion is affected by the Scale, so if we take the Scale down to 0.25, a Distortion of 5.0 isn’t all that crazy, really:

So, for Oak, we had a scale of 0.5, a Detail of 10 to make it ragged, and a Distortion of 1.0, because we wanted relatively straight, unwarped rings.

Maple, however, is not as ragged, but it’s much wavier. We already set the scale down to 0.25, but let’s also set the Detail down to 5.0, but move the Distortion up to 5.0:

And fully rendered:

That’s much more like this Maple board photo I took at the store:

I encourage you to play around with the three Noise parameters to get different effects. Remember that there are two of them, one affecting horizontal and one vertical, so try giving them different values to see what happens!

Ok, one last thing we didn’t really talk about was the Displacement/Bump mapping. Oak has the ring pattern made from the tubes running through it, so it often has noticeable lines even when sanded and finished. Maple, on the other hand, is very smooth. If you really want to, I’d add the Displacement from the output of the Rays, but multiply it by a very small value, such as .0001, to make it really subtle.

That’s it! Our Maple is now complete! I hope you found it interesting to see how much of the Oak we were able to reuse, and how some simple tweaks gives a completely unique shader. Until next time, happy Blending!