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Using Subsurface Scatter on DAZ Figures

Author: DanaC78

Tools Needed

  • Carrara 5
  • V3


Recently, we been seeing a slew of artworks showing up that been closing in on the realism, and we been wondering how they did it. One method that has come to light is known as Subsurface Scatter. According to the manual for Subsurface Scatter, it is a phenomenon that occurs by light scattering inside an object, and filtering through a diffuse material. This effect causes the skin to look nice and fleshy rather than dry as Raytrace tends to lead it to. How I get it done for a Victoria 3, you wonder. Just follow me.:) This tutorial is meant to show you an enhancement to your DAZ/Poser figures, and it assumes you understand the basics of Importing these figures.:)

Step 1: Import Figure

Really any character will do. For this demonstration, we have Kayla offering her services.


As you can see, the Raytracer Engine leaves her a little to be desired. Her skin just feels very obviously computer generated. Let see if we can fix that.

Step 2: Preparing For Subsurface Scatter


What I would like you to do go to Texture room, and click on instances. Note: In this example, I am using Native Import, however you can do the same thing in Transposer objects, just requires a little more work.:)


The first thing we are going to do is make things easier for you who used Native Importer. Victoria (which Kayla based on) is made up of 11 Body Shaders, and 7 Head Shaders (not including Eye, Eyelash, etc..Leave those alone;)) I want you to select a Body Shader, in my example, the Nipple for the Global Shader. What this will do is put a texture into a Domain (an area that needs a shader for color/etc) from the Global if it is blank. After you done that, delete the other Body Shaders from their domains by selecting the Trashcan. It will help you a lot.


Now For the Head Shaders, change anything in the domains for the Head Shaders as shown below to SkinHead (or whatever Shader depicts the head)


This simplifies the process for later. Once you done that, you might as well use the Remove Unused Shaders in the edit menu. It makes your Shader box looks neat.:) Doesn't always work in some cases, but it is a good practice to get into.

Step 3: Setup For Subsurface: Body


Now I want you to double click on the Global Shader, and it will open up the tab. After you done so, select Subsurface Scatter, and Enable it.


You might find her turning a little gross color like above. Don't worry, we are not leaving her body color like that. What we need to do is make some adjustments to her settings to get her a decent Subsurface Scatter.:)


Above are the settings for what normally works out OK. For those who can't make out the picture, it is as follows:

Color: HLS Wheel: H: 99.68%, 56.57%, 51.52%

Intensity: 25%

Actually the settings were extracted from Ringo Monfort's tutorial at Creative Cow on Subsurface Scatter as a reference. My tutorial, however, make the process a little easier for those who use Native Importer though (We will only use modify two shaders total instead of modifying everything in Ringo's tutorial, also Ringo's is based on Importing with Transposer.. However, Ringo Montfort did write a nice tutorial for Creative Cows, and this in no way meant to defame his work.:) It is merely a different way to achieve the same effect. However, these settings are absolutely perfect for the effect.:)

The reason for 25% rather than 100% is like the tutorial mentioned is that I used as a source for some information, it is way too intense. Now that we set it up, let take a look at her now.


Wow Much Better! Now what about the head?

Step 4: Magic Head

I am going to employ a very magic technique to getting subsurface to setup on the head WITHOUT re-entering the values by hand. With the Body shader you are still open, open the SkinHead shader.



On the body Subsurface Scatter, right click and select copy, then right click on the head Subsurface Scatter, and click on Paste..And all that information is good.:) Like I said, Magic.:) Let take a look.





What a difference right?:) Now I have given you the ability to add this to your own humans to give them a little more lifelike look that is sometimes deprived from Raytracing.:)