Jump to content

Photoreal Honeycomb help needed


Recommended Posts

Hey ya'll,

So I've been working on this photoreal honeycomb for a project and I'm not happy with the amount of detail I'm achieving. I'm relatively new to Houdini and I've been trying to use it as a Generalist package however as soon as I have to use any code I start to feel out of my depth. 

In saying that, my current solution is almost all procedural and all with nodes and no scripting. I have opted for using attribute noises and point VOPs to generate roughness, displacement/surface noise as well as using shader displacement/normal noise to get High frequency noise without having an insanely heavy mesh. I should mentioned I am using redshift to render currently.

So my main question is how can I make this look more detailed and more photoreal?  (I have provided a render of a test section as well as photo reference of the detail level I would like to achieve.) That test render is the starting point of a camera animation, so that is as close as I intend to get to the honeycomb. 

I was wondering if I should use a solver to get an organic growth effect or maybe a volume vop? I have tested a volume VOP set up with no luck. 

Also I find my shader in redshift gives me a plastic look with too much sheen and the normal/displacement looks fake but I can't get it looking better. 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I feel I've reached the edge of my knowledge on this. As mentioned I am currently using Redshift, however if someone has a Mantra solution that works well I would be happy to look at that too. I have provided a hip file with the dome light HDR and the mesh cache as well for simplicity. Annnnd this is a small section of the actual amount of honeycomb needed, the actual size is probably 10x that section. 


Thanks in advance for your help!










Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey jonjon,

I know your situation. I won't go into full details about how to make it, but I can try to tell you how I'd go from the place you're at.

From the render you are showing us, I feel that so far you've got the main mesh, but only the main mesh. My point is that I wouldn't try to achieve the honeycomb in one go, as a single object + shader. I'd rather break it down into at least 2 components.

I feel like the you could try to scatter some honey crystals (simple faceted meshes) here and there to "complexify" the object topology. The real things seems to be a lot more complex the the mesh you're showing, and sure, you could reach this level of comlexity with some complex noise layering, but man, it's an hassle (at least for me).

Next, is to hide the fact that you will have 2 separate things, but there, I'm sure that the fact that you have to use SSS for the shader you be a big help. And that's my second point, your shader in redshift, it seems more transparent then a true SSS.

Are you using SSS ?

Also, your "big scale" noise, the one that should break up the geometric pattern of you 3d made object to make it look more random and natural is a little too shy I believe. You need to deform it more.

That's it for now, a lot will come with the settings of your SSS shader.

Hope this helps.


It seems that your SSS scale is way too big, only the center of the object appears to have a color change.

dunno if there's a similar thing in redshift, but in Arnold, you can set "trace sets" for objects that should share the same SSS calculation (in order to blend them correctly and hide the physical separation)

Another important aspect of rendering such a thing, the lighting setup, of course. Yours seems a little poor in that test render. I know I'm stating the obvious there, but...

I didn't open your hip file, so all my comments are purely from comparing your ref and your render. Maybe you only light up your scene with that parking hdri, which might not be the ideal way. Don't hesitate to add a couple of area lights.





Edited by 6ril
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
10 minutes ago, 6ril said:

have you managed to do it ? Show us a pic !

Hey 6ril, 


sorry but I haven't had a chance to take a look at this again, we moved flats as well as having to set up remote working with all this covid-19 stuff going on. I will try to get back on to this in the next few days. 


But just in reply to your notes...


ok I think i know what you mean about the honey crystals. at first i was sceptical because I had tried something (sort of ) similar with copy points-ing lots of sphere then boolean or remeshing to try and be more break up but I will try scattering little crystal shapes around in the hopes it will make the mesh look more complex. 


I am using SSS but I might also be using some transparency. and yes the scale of the SSS was very big. Basically I wasn't getting a good result with subtle/realistic SSS values so I just started fucking with it. I will go over it again and try make it more realistic. Also yes the light isn't great yet I have got a couple of other lights in there (unless I deleted them for the simplicity of this demo scene but will reassess the lighting too. 

on the note of lighting, for something like this which is a macro photo-real render woulf be using gobo's/shadow casters to get more dynamic lighitng ? or would you just paint something like that in comp ? 

thanks get replying to my post as well btw



Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, 6ril said:

have you managed to do it ? Show us a pic !

also on the second photo ref, you can see colour variation in the honeycomb, my thoughts are that is is a combined of variation in density of the honeycomb as well as the natural colour variation in the organic object. How would you go about making this in a shader? I know you mentioned arnold instead of redshift but perhaps the principles will transfer between render engines

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the lighting, I'm not sure I understand your question : /   paint in compositing?

About the color variation, I feel like a noise and the proper SSS setting could give you this effect. But what I feel and what I get when it comes to SSS is often worlds apart :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 6ril said:

For the lighting, I'm not sure I understand your question : /   paint in compositing?

About the color variation, I feel like a noise and the proper SSS setting could give you this effect. But what I feel and what I get when it comes to SSS is often worlds apart :D

yeah sorry on reading back what I said it doesn't really make sense. But I thought maybe some sort of dappled lighting effect could be created in comp but it would be better to get that look in the render otherwise I guess it could look really fake or two dimensional. 


And I hear you on the SSS front :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...