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Trying to not hijak the important thread by Andreas ... switching the subject to its own thread.......

Matteo, you asked about how to add dust, sratches and slight surface imperfections to a material.
My apologies for losing track of your important question, while trying to understand the omission Andreas cited about lack of a tutorial for dust and scratches in the Maxwell documentation.

But I have not forgotten your question, and have been thinking of you - so I made something for you.

The short answer to your question is that there is a simple way to add slight imperfections to a material. The most common method is to add a "dust overlay map" or a "scratch overlay map" - a black and white texture map to the Height Slot of the the material you are making in the Material Editor.

Here is an illustration of the method:


Changing the value that you would use for the "Bump Amount" is not quite as easy as using a slider - but it is near to that simplicity. Larger values make the "dust particles" more prominent, and smaller values make the "dust particles" less prominent. You also can "invert" the black and white colors of any map to create a more dense dust effect, of course.

If you are working on an interior setting for an architectural render, this will make the "bumps" on an object prominent enough to maybe achieve the desired effect.

If you are working on a product shot where the camera is close to an object, and the object has metal parts, it is better to put one of these dust or scratch overlays in the "Anisotrophy" slot. These will be shown as more subtle scratches .

Assuming that you need some Dust and Scratch texture files to use, I made a little package for you to download.
Inside the package, there are two folders - one for "dust" and one for "scratches." And, there is a folder that contains all the Maxwell Diffuse RAL Color materials, along with a little sample Maxwell material with "dust" just like in the illustration above.

For the "scratches," I have shifted to using a Substance *.sbsar file that I made a while ago. It generates 100 different scratch patterns. The use of the Substance *.sbsar file allows me (and now, you) to make these scratch patterns in any size that you might need, and to make random variations of those first 100 patterns. (This is called "OneHundredScratchPatterns.sbsar")

You may not be familiar with the Substance suite of applications, so I also included a copy of the "Substance Player" application in this little package. If you are not familiar with this - you'll need to install the Substance Player application first. Once it is installed, you can just click on the "OneHundredScratchPatterns.sbsar" for anywhere in your computer, and it will open to let you play with the settings. Then, when you have a pattern that you like, you can "export" that pattern as a texture file. I recommend using the *.png file format for your export.

I'll probably create an *.sbsar file in the future for making "dust", and maybe one for making "splotches." It is much easier to use a generator - than to keep a bunch of dust and scratch overlay maps around. However, there are 41 dust overlay maps in the package - these are those I've made the most use of in the last few years.

Two comments . First, I've given you the 40-plus dust maps I've made the most use of over the last several years. But, these generally are big images. They take up a lot of the space reserved for texture files in your computer's memory. Lately, I've found that smaller images - maybe 1024 x 1024 pixels work just as well when they are multiplied in the Maxwell Material Editor. Second, in experimenting with all of this, I've found that black and white maps work better than grey-scale maps, unless you are working with glass or other translucent materials. Black and white maps don't take up as much computer memory as grey-scale maps.

Anyhow, you can download this package at http://www.expandingwave.com/clientdown ... rester.zip
Anyone is free to download these dust and scratch map items - but please do so by October 2021. (I'll be closing down my website and moving everything to Artstation Marketplace sometime in October.)
Ah, I forgot, also, adjust the Nd value to create a more shiny or a more dull material. Here, I deliberately made the plastic be dull - not glossy.
Consider playing with the angle of the anisotropic map vis-a-vis the angle of the light source.

And please take note that the imported object must have a UV map for any of this to work.
Forester wrote:And please take note that the imported object must have a UV map for any of this to work.
You don't necessarily need UV co-ordinates, when the scratches are subtle microscratches, or mild scuffing, because then you can use the cubic UV projection method with a real-scale scratch texture, or, even better, a triplanar UV projection ; )

However, for very large scratches or defects, like the ones shown, or fingerprints, you would need UV co-ordinates (via UV unwrapping in Maya or the like) indeed.

Another case would be when the defects texture shall be applied only in a specific area. That requires UV co-ordinates, too. Although on flat or flat-ish surfaces, the planar UV projection works perfectly well and no UV unwrapping to create UV co-ordinates would be necessary. Cylindrical objects like tyres, cooking pots or vases straight from CAD are easily textured with the cylindrical UV projection in MS : )

Going to change the "debate" in favor of a tutorial of sorts ...

Surface Imperfections - Old Technology

In the above two (or three) postings, I described the simplest possible method for adding surface imperfections to a Maxwell Render Material.

Essentially, you obtain a black and white, or greyscale "overlay map" of dust, scratches, dirt, fingerprints or any other kind of surface imperfection from a publisher of your choice.

In the Material Editor, for one of the BSDF layers, and you place the overlay map in the standard Maxwell Material "Bump" or in the "Anisotropy" slot.

In either slot, the surface imperfection overlay map acts as a height map.

When placed in the Bump slot, you can adjust the value of the Bump amount to create a relatively prominent set of dust or dirt particles (or whatever is the nature of your surface imperfection). Larger values create more prominent imperfections, smaller values create more subtle imperfections and negative values create good sunken effects, such as scratches.

When an overlay map (either a black and white image, a grey-scale image or a proper colored anisotropic image) is placed in the Anisotropy Slot, the placement process is a little more complicated. You first must place some image/texture file into the image slot immediately adjacent to the title "Anisotropy". This then makes available the "Angle" parameter and corresponding texture slot. Now place the desired image into the texture slot opposite of the title "Angle", and remove the image from the parent "Anisotrophy" texture slot.

Finally, you can make two different kinds of adjustments to create a small range of different visual effects.

First, you can adjust the value for the amount of Anisotropy. A minimum value of "45" or "50" produces small amounts of blur on your material. Larger values produce larger amounts of dullness and better defined surface imperfections.



Second, you can make adjustments to the index of refraction - that is to the "Nd" and "K" parameters (or "overall reflectivity" of your material). The two images below show the effects of altering the Nd value.



This technique for creating surface imperfections on a material is simple, straightforward, and works well when time is short, your desired surface imperfections are relatively simple, and you have access to an appropriate set of "overlay maps."

Unfortunatly, you have a limited range of options in terms of how well you can tweak the appearence of these overlay maps to achieve the desired visualization. You can, sometimes increase the quality of the visualization by creating additional layers of mostly BSDF, but most of what you can achieve is going to depend on the quality and appropriatness of the your overlay maps.

Fortunately, there is a better way!
Last edited by Forester on Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:54 am, edited 4 times in total.
Surface Imperfections - Maxwell Render And Substance Designer

Let us start with some "basics."

Maxwell Render is a physically based rendering engine. It is one of the very few applications whose user interface and control set allows a user to "think about" lighting, atmospherics, scale, positioning of objects and material creation in a manner that closely mimics our understanding of the natural world.

Along with the recent technological advances in physically based rendering engines has come an absolute revolution in the nature of physically based rendering materials. This "revolution" was created by Sébastien Deguy and a small team of French developers (Allegorithmic) who built and perfected a application called "Substance Designer."

Substance Designer is a tool for assembling small bits of mathematical procedures to create a set of texture files that together display as a physically accurate material in a physically based rendering engine, such as Maxwell Render.

The set of texture/material files that together form a physically based render material ("PBR material") consist of the following --

- A base color map (essentially the same as the conventional "diffuse" map)

- Normal map

- A Height Map

- A Roughness Map, and

- A Metallic Map

(Typically, A Substance Designer material will generate a diffuse map, a specular map and a glossiness map, as well, and artists often create, opacity, ambient occlusion and curavature maps, as their needs require.)

The most recent version of Maxwell Render brings you into the modern world, and allows you to work with the material files created by Substance Designer (or by Substance Painter) to create significantly higher quality materials, a wider array of them, and a much more precise set of surface imperfected materials. For example, here is an example of the standard Maxwell Shiny Plastic - Signal Black.


And here is "Plastic Base" created by Substance (brought into the Maxwell Render Material Editor), along with some riffs on that base plastic that are created by changing the various parameters and "roughness maps" assigned to the black plastic base material.


Notice that the Substance "Plastic Base" is not as shiny, and when the material is loaded into the Material Editor, it comes with a lot of parameters than can be changed to create different effects.

(Side Note: As you can see, I don't think this is the place to go into the history of the Substance Revolution, the recent acquisition of Allegorithmic by Adobe, or to justify my focus on Substance. Here, I just want to quickly get to the business of the new, workflow(s) for creating superior surface imperfection materials for Maxwell Render.)
Last edited by Forester on Fri Aug 20, 2021 9:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
Our task here is not to focus on the wealth of parameters that may appear when loading a Substance Designer material into the Material Editor. Here, we want to focus on the issue of surface imperfections and how to get these into our material.

The Simplest Workflow Using Pre-Made Materials

OK, I should mention that this is going to cost you a little money. (But purchasing a good set of dust maps from Shutterstock or another reputable vendor will cost you money, too.) In general, you need a monthly subscription to Substance Designer/Substance Painter. The current price is $19.99 USD per month, but you can purchase this for a single month at a time.

Once you have a license to use Substance Designer and Substance Painter, you can use the pre-made materials in the online Substance Source Library.

The Substance Source Library is a huge library of professionally made materials, most of which have various parameters to allow you to change the color and other features of the material. Currently, it is showing 401 different Plastic materials. Here's a peek at a few of those.


When you download one of these materials, it comes in the form of an *.sbsar file.

Save this file to a directory (folder) of your choice.

Now, open the Maxwell Material Editor and do the following, as shown in these illustrations.


That's pretty much it. Give the material a name: for example, title this one "Base Plastic" and save it.

Now you have a plastic material that you can "open" in the Material Editor and change at any time, in any way allowed by the parameters of that material. You can change the color of the material, the shinyness, almost any property, and you can do this while live in Maxwell Studio, or in the stand-alone Material Editor when you are preparing a lot of materials for future use. To my knowedge, if your subscription to Substance expires, you can still use your *.sbsar and your Maxwell Render materials made from it.
Last edited by Forester on Fri Aug 20, 2021 9:03 am, edited 4 times in total.
"Everything in the world has some sort of surface imperfections."


Back to the "Surface Imperfections" part of this tutorial.

The most important thing to know about surface imperfections using a Substance Designer material set is that the imperfections are made by two different kinds of maps. They can be made by the Height and the Normal maps, as in the traditional Maxwell material workflow.

But, the more important element in the Substance workflow is the "Roughness Map."

The difference in the image above is created by application of a Roughness Map.
This brings us the the second workflow, ... one which has several possible junctures.
The basic idea is that you purchase or create or "borrow" a Roughness Map, and manually insert it into either the Bump Slot or the Roughness Slots of your material, in the Material Editor.

OK, possible sources of "Roughness" maps -

"Simple Generation Of A Roughness Map"

If we assume that you have a subscription to Substance, you probably have downloaded more than one pre-made Substance Material by now. You should have downloaded the "Substance Player" application as well. The Substance Player application allows you to open any *.sbsar file, change any of the available parameters, and generate a full set of PBR textures.

If you have the Substance Player installed, and you click on the "plastic _base.sbsar" file, you'll get this tool --


Substance Academy provides a complete guide to all the parameters of this tool, but they are pretty self-explanatory in practice. Just play with them. The key thing is that you can use the Substance Player to generate and "export" a complete set of PBR maps, including the height, normal and roughness maps. Or, you can just export those maps that you need - perhaps just the height and the roughness maps.


You can create a specialized "Surface Imperfections" folder for roughness and bump maps, download different kinds of pre-made Substance Materials from the Substance Source Library, and fill your "Surface Imperfections" folder with an array of useful scratches, bumps, splotches, water and fingerprint stains, and all sorts of things.

"Purchase Of Roughness Maps "

Another source of good Roughness maps is the professional marketplace. The image of the grapes used above was made by Travis Davids as an advert for one of his two collections of Roughness maps. https://www.artstation.com/marketplace/ ... arketplace

Mr. Davids has two packages of over 50 excellent Roughness Maps for $18.00 each, and your $18.00 investment comes with a great set of tutorials about how to make them in Substance Designer, and how to use them in Substance Painter and Cinema4D. The first package actually has 150 maps.

Of course, these roughness maps can be used as bump maps in the conventional Maxwell render Material creation workflow. You don't need to follow the Substance workflow. (But you'll get better, more adjustable results if you do.)

Another source of some beautiful maps is Evan Buchanan, also on Artstation Marketplace. He has 100 excellent overlay maps - grouped by which material they are best applied to ... https://www.artstation.com/marketplace/ ... -maps-pack

" Creation Of Rougness Maps In Substance Designer"

And finally, you can create your own Roughness and Bump maps using Substance Designer. For this process, I'll defer to the Travis Davids tutorials.

Mr. Davids has four or five video tutorials in his $18.00 USD package that explain (step-by-step) how to use Substance Designer to build an infinite array of scratch maps.

Substance has a dedicated "scratch node" that forms the foundation for scratch maps and makes it very easy to make a scratch map generator. Even if you've never used Substance, you can just follow the step-by-step instructions to create your own maps. One of the short tutorials deals with making general-purpose scratch maps that are seamless and can be of any size. Another of the tutorials shows how to create scratch maps where just a portion of the map is scratched. That is, when you want to apply a map to something like the coffee cup where only the bottom is scratched. Other tutorials deal with smudges and blotches.

The final step is to "export" your maps from Substance Designer into a folder of your creation.

In all of this, Mr. Davids speaks with a clear pleasant voice - the tutorials are easy to watch and to learn from. Quite a bargain for your $18.00.
Last edited by Forester on Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:20 pm, edited 15 times in total.
So now, the last step in this workflow is to insert your Roughness and Height maps into your Maxwell Render Material.

Here is a small version of the roughness map Travis Davids made to put that white smudge on the grapes in his glossy vs smudgy grape image.


To insert this into our Substance Plastic Base material, in the Maxwell Material Editor, we simply need to click on the "Convert To Advanced Button."


This opens all the Material Editor settings for a Substance Designer material.

In this case, to illustrate application of the "grape smudge" to our plastic base material, I'm going to make the smudge really prominent. I'll first click on the Global Properties line to plut the roughness map into the Global Bump slot. Notice that I changed the value for the Global Bump parameter to "-25.00" to invet it.



Next, to create the material shown on the default preview ball, I simply moved to every "bsdf" line and added the "grape smudge roughness map" to every "Roughness" map slot.


That's pretty much all there is to this workflow. Of course, you can tweak any of the settings of the Material Editor to obtain the visualization that you want.

And the only thing left to mention is that if you've come this far, you might be wondering how you can paint just part of the scratches or smudges on your object, how you can combine roughness maps, or how you can "paint" more than one roughness map on an object.

All these things are possible, but for this, you need to learn how to use Substance Painter. One of the tutorials in the Travis David's packages shows you how to do these things, even if you've never used Substance Painter. (Although any purchaser of a Substance Subscription should go to "Substance Academy" and watch the Painter tutorials - they are well made. They'll get you up and running quickly.)

Maxwell Render imports and manages materials from Substance Painter just as it does for Substance Designer. (... or maybe, even more easily than what I have shown here.) The Substance Painter process of mixing roughness maps, or just painting a part of an object with scratches or dust or whatever is pretty simple and straighforward.


Lastly, there is a third possible workflow. In this workflow, you create a material in Substance Designer that has all the properties of your desired material - for example, a finely grained-plastic, but this material also includes a scratch or smudge generator will a full set of user controls.

Because this is a little bit of an advanced top, I'll start another thread for this final workflow.
Last edited by Forester on Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I made a beginner tutorial for industrial and product designers using the simple cubic UV projection real-scale material method, so for subtle imperfections no UV unwrapping or extra software is needed https://youtu.be/QwxIOg4jdoY apart from some suitable textures from Poliigon or other vendor. One can also do fingerprints or dull/scuffed areas this way, as long as they appear on surfaces that are flat or have little compound curvature; otherwise, one must generate UV coordinates for the CAD mesh by UV unwrapping in another software.
Now you guys are absolutely ROCKING IT 🤘🏼😎

My heroes!! Well done :)

I would opt out of placing roughness map into a bump map, or comparing PBR with unbiased rendering. :))))) as those are not the same - but the point is that you are absolutely right that those are super useful tools to use together with Maxwell. And possibilities are practically limitless.

It is a good thing to note that UVs on your geometry are vital in order for any sort of imperfection to work properly and in predictable / art-directable way.

I know that CUBE mapping, or even Tri-planar might provide some fast-hacks, and be totally satisfactory in a variety of situations - but for ultimate control it is important to have a proper UVs made. If you're not using a DCC (Maya, Max, etc) then there are plenty of tools for unwrapping your geometry - in case if you need that precise control over how exactly things should look

RizomUV, 3D Coat and similar could help you with unwrapping.

And just to add, https://www.poliigon.com/textures/surface-imperfections is a great source of surface imperfections .. massive library and has quite a lot of "organic / scanned" textures, rather than procedurally generated.

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