August 19, 2021
3 min

Cloth Shaderball

Understanding the Basics

Hello!, this is going to be the first post of the new page, as you guys have been seeing in the last few days, I have been updating everything, new site, new images and also the new download section with all  my material library to download. (one step at a time)

I have been working  a lot on this new shader ball for the materials and to update everything to vray 3+, as always working on maya.

Well, enough jibber jabber,  I will explain the new method that I’m using on the cloths and some basic techniques.

The Scene

The scene its relative simple, but the work behind its a little bit complex, the 3D its on a scale of 1 maya unit equals 1 cm. And for the cloth shader ball itself the model was developed on Marvelous Designer, with the textures, wrinkles and stitches on zbrush.

For the UV map marvelous its extremely amazing, making it almost perfect, and everything is modeled on quads

There are some points that you have to take into account when you analyze each scene, first the “Ansel Adams zone system”, this is the black to white box gradient in front of the shader ball, having all the information about the lightness and the amount of exposure on the scene for the material to look as it should on the render.

The left most part of the information its the “white” box, with a value of “1”  and it has a gradient of “0.1” on each value, making it “0.9” white the next box to the right.

For more information about the zone system you can check here: Ansel Adams Zone System

There are other basic textures that contain important information on the scene, one of then is the grid on the floor, as I mentioned before the check board has a 20 cm scale and a 2 cm boxes inside, and the amounts of gray that has to amount on the render.


There are two light sources on the Shader Ball scene, one V-ray Dome light with a Customized HDRI, and a secondary V-ray Rect light with a HDRI texture for diffuse emission.

The Indirect light is just a basic HDRI, made for simulate a more smooth distribution of the light on the side of the shader ball, and for a better result on the reflections of the cloth.

The main source of light of the cloth shader ball its a V-ray dome light, this has a HDRI image as texture, the base image of the HDRI is the Newport Loft from Hdrlib ( its free to download  and a great resource ).

When I say that its a custom HDRI its because some of the main light sources on the image were on positions that didn’t quite work for my scene, and the brightest point its a little bit over expose for my goal on the neutral look of the cloth shader ball.

The first step on the customization was to remove the colors on the HDRI, to black and white, my goal its a neutral light so I did not need more colors than the ones on the materials and textures.

The second one was to fix the overexposed areas and lower the bright values on the HDRI, to work with my secondary light on a congruent manner. In this step I also change the sun on the image for a custom one on another that had a better halo for the speculars and reflections.

And the final step was to add and move the light sources on the HDRI that way I can have the specular points and shadows just where I want them to be on my render. And it came out looking something like this.

There is no obvious change on the image itself unless you check all the exposures that the 32 bits image can have. But believe me it was a lot of work around it.

Download the Shader ball scene on Patreon