Making a Simple Diamond Material in MDL

It’s MDL Monday again and this week I am going to show you how to put together a simple material for simulating diamonds, including dispersion based on an Abbe number. Now, I’m not a 3D artist by any means, but MDL allows me to create a material like this based on the real physical properties of diamonds rather than trying to tune abstract parameters. This material is very simple but very useful if you need to simulate jewellery. You can build on it easily to simulate other gemstones, glasses and similar substances without much effort. Today I’m just going to start with a basic, colourless diamond and cover some concepts which are important for creating physical materials.

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Procedurally Retro with MDL

NVIDIA Iray 2015 will introduce some great new features, including the ability to write your own procedural functions for use in materials. This is fantastic for creating resolution independent effects which can cover large areas without noticeable tiling artifacts (unless you want them of course). Iray is built into our RealityServer product so I love to test out its latest features. To put procedural functions through their paces I decided to try to emulate something procedural from my childhood, the now famous 10 PRINT program. This little one liner, originally designed to demonstrate the capabilities of the Commodore 64 prints a maze by randomly alternating between two diagonal characters. Iray uses the NVIDIA Material Definition Language (MDL) both to define materials as well as custom functions, if you haven’t tried it out this little tutorial is a great way to get started.

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