BB-8 and Dalek rigs and realistic materials?

I am trying to use a free BB-8 3D model from here:

How would I go about creating the most realistic materials for the model? I figured out the glass eye/lens pretty well but am stuck on the main metal parts. 

Also, is the reflection map the same as a specular map?

Thanks for any help!



  • I have this same model set up and rigged in Hitfilm with pretty good materials set up. I'll get you a link to my project file next time I'm on my PC.

    Specular vs reflection maps? Technically not the same thing. Specular maps control "hotspot" highlights and reflection maps control where reflections appear (obviously), but Hitfilm ties "mirror" reflections to specular highlights, so, yeah, in Hitfilm if a reflection map is supplied, but no specular map, use reflection for specular. 

  • @Triem23 thanks! Can't wait to see the project.

    Also, will you be doing a tutorial and material properties? I could use a real in-depth loot at each setting and what it does and why I'd use it... It would also be cool if someone did a video on how to replicate certain materials, like wood, metal, glass, rock, etc.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited September 2017

    Eventually I'll get into 3D Model Materials (I think it'll be 3D Models pt2). That's after I finish cameras, lighting, point tracking, text, and masking/roto.

    Those topics finish off the basic Express functions before jumping into the Pro-only trio of particles, projection and models.

    Now, mixed blessings time here. The layout of the townhouse we live in has no room I can enclose to make a studio/office, so tutorial recording is done fairly late at night after Dad heads off to bed. But, I've been picking up more gigs in August/September, but they've all been night (8pm-3am) work on the nights I have set aside for Hit-U work (this is why I only got one video out in August and one so far in September--plus two guest tutorials for FXHOME). The income is helpful, but it's been frustrating to fall behind on Hit-U. ESPECIALLY as I'm also trying to build up a backlog since I'm out of the country with no computer for all of November...

  • @Triem23 Well I'm still looking forward to the videos, whether they come out soon or not. :)

    I also have some videos in mind that require Daleks. I have some good models (I think the same ones you use) of the 2005 gold style, and was wondering how to set up the material realistically for them as well? Any help is appreciated!  

  • Gah! I never sent that BB-8 file! I'll try to remember to send that tonight along with my rigged 2005 Dalek (which required some Blender tweaks).

    My Dalek actually could use tweaking as I think I set it up in Hitfilm 3 and actually might not have updated the materials for full Cook-Torrance yet.

    Specific tips. I'll need to think. A lot of it just comes down to knowing what the controls do. There's always some back and forth from materials settings to the project window.

    A good reference is this website. You should be able to figure it out. Basically, by searching for various materials types you can get rough starting values for diffuse and specular reflection values, roughness and Fresnel.

    Let's look at polished aluminum  (which we'll use for a Dalek's sucker arm shaft and gunstick)

    Total reflectance is about 92%. This would be a good starting number for Diffuse Reflectance (how much diffuse light a material bounces). 

    Specular Reflectivity  is also about 92%, so we use that value (that's our "mirror-like" reflection) .

    Now you'll see values for "R-reflectance," "G-reflectance," and "B-reflectance." These numbers are how much light OF EACH CHANNEL bounces. The Fresnel value in Hitfilm controls how much light of the RGB values reflects as the material angles, measured on a scale of 0-1. The order of the three values is RGB. 

    R-reflectance is 91.38% so we'd make the first Fresnel value 0.914

    G-reflectance is 92.19% so the second Fresnel value is 0.922

    B-reflectance is 92.46% for a Fresnel of 0.925

    Note this means that aluminum has a slightly cool reflection.

    Aluminum has a Roughness value of 0. Easy. It's smooth.

    So, I guess the prime advice is to take advantage of reference sites where people have already figured out how materials should be encoded! 

  • Thanks so much @Triem23 !

    I will have to try out that website. Now to find out what material Daleks are made of...

    I'm excited to see your project files. I'm sure I'll learn a lot. :)

  • Well, prop Daleks are mostly painted wood and plastic. I cheat my Daleks and give them metallic materials, mostly. Bronze for the main shell, gold for the sensor bumps, chrome or aluminum for eystalk, gunstick and sucker arm, rubber for the sucker, eyecup and grating, with plastic for the eye rings and flashers.

    One thing the above site doesn't cover is Index of Refraction. A Google search for Index of Refraction of Materials will find websites with lists. Vaccum is 1. Air is 1.01. Water is 1.33 (roughly--depending on salinity). Glass is about 1.35 to 1.75 (depending on type). Diamond is 2.something.

    Obviously a Refractive Index is the Refraction value of Cook-Torrance. 

  • @Triem23 did you find those projects? If the Dalek is the same as that used in your unfinished short film I'm in for a treat :) 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited September 2017

    Yeah, I found them. Currently on hold with my credit card company. Soon as I finish disputing a charge I'll Dropbox those. 

    EDIT: Dropbox Link: and

    In the Dalek folder, the Gold-low-res-full-rig version is the one you'd want to use. That's the one with a full rig for sucker arm, head, eyestalk and gunstick.

    Also attached is this project: Beam Particle Sim.hfp?dl=0

    That's a particle sim setup for a Dalek blaster including wall damage and sparks. When you open it, it will flag a bunch of missing files. Most of them relate to the Dalek model in the zip file if you want to relink. Otherwise, look in the NOTES comp for some directions. If you haven't played around with the particle sim with deflectors and how they interact with particles, you might find this interesting. Basically the wall deflector is set up to kill mobile emitters. There's a mobile emitter in the rig with an "invisible" texture. When the mobile emitters hit that wall, they die and spawn the wall damage and sparks particles. Basically you can just parent the emitter to the point that should be set up at the end of the Dalek's gunstick. I can't actually go into too much detail on how I built the bam since I did it over two years ago and, since them, I've loaded it up and used it as is.

    If you DON'T need a Dalek beam interacting with a surface like the particle setup shows, then you can always use Lightning or Lightswords for the beam..

    Loosely related to the Dalek beam is this tutorial:

    Near the end of the video it shows how to rig a photon torpedo particle to die and spawn a shield impact animation when the photon hits a particle deflector. It's more or less how the Dalek beam works.

  • @Triem23 Thank you! I'll take a look...

  • Zach. re-read above comment. I was literally just editing it as you posted. :-)

  • @Triem23 ; wondering if it's ok if I download those files as well to play around with?  Didn't want to presume or anything.

  • @tddavis Yeah, go ahead. Now's a good time to do that, because I won't leave them up for long.

    I mean the two models that are rigged up are free, but their creators haven't exactly given me permission to re-distrubute them or anything. ;-)

  • @Triem23 ; Thanks, all done.

  • @Triem23 I see... 

    A few questions about the rigs:

    1. The BB-8 looks great except whatever environment map I use it reflects upside down on the BB-8, even if I flip the image...

    2. The Daleks are phong shading so I guess I could try to convert them to cook torrence? Any ideas there?

    3. You said the Dalek models were modified? Is that to properly add the textures? Do you have a fixed version of the high poly model in there?

    Either way I have a good idea about all this, so I'll replicate and hopefully improve what's there. Thanks again!

  • Yeah, I had to go into Blender because for some reason the sucker arm was coming into Hitfilm wonky. I just realigned those groups and resaved. I believe I did the high-res Daleks too.

    For converting to Cook-Torrance, I refer you back to the above post where I linked to that lighting materials site then broke down how its data for aluminum translated into Cook-Torrance. Main thing is other 3D artists have already worked out material settings for tons of real world materials, so a little Google-fu will find good starting values.

    I think above I also broke down what materials I'd look up for Dalek parts.

    Hmmm. Environment Map upside down? Wondering if that's where the Environment Map Transform effect comes in.

    I'm about to go into a meeting about potential work. I'll see if my brain works this in the background. Since I worked for this guy a decade ago, he never paid me, but used my first draft video on the front page of his website for eight years, I don't expect great things. 

  • @Triem23 Thanks I'll do some research...

    Hopefully all goes well with the client :)

  • Bah. I was offered an insultingly small amount of money to do a two hour location shoot with everything being all slider dolly, and full edit of a ten minute infomercial with the desired style being chock full of custom animated graphics.

    $100 for a shoot and edit. Please... That should be at least $500. And that's still a lowball price. No wonder the former videographer was just shooting on a static tripod and using Videoblocks templates!

    Hell, that's less money than this fool offered 10 years ago for, let's remember, a project he stiffed me on. 

  • @Triem23 I hope to sometime be able to make money off of the video work I do... Do you have any suggestions for someone starting out? Like maybe a place to sell vortex animations or something?

  • @Triem23 So far so good with the Dalek! 

    I've rigged the high-res model (one I downloaded a while ago). I converted it to .obj when I first got it but the textures didn't work... Today they did. Yay!

    I also used your method (from the project you sent) to rig the glowing parts for the eyes and flashers. I didn't realize how great the light rays worked as flashers, they even change as the head  rotates and what not! Fantastic!

    Now to dive into setting the cook-torrence materials properly...

  • Yeah they work well. So, you see how I have multiple Daleks overlapping with different textures? It's a technique I stole from Hitfilm legend @SimonKJones and it's great for layering up 3D models that need to have self-illuminated parts.

    As an example, this technique is how I layered up these starships: overlay layers for windows and engine glows. There's a blinking light on the boom of the Klingon which is its own layer.


  • @Triem23 it is a very useful technique...

    A couple more questions :)

    The website you linked doesn't have proper plastic, rubber or bronze materials, so do you happen to know any other sites or the proper "search words" to type to find good results?

    Also is the default colors that came set with the model okay for diffuse, specular, and ambient?

    I know I've been bombarding you with questions but you and the other members of the Hitfilm community are a huge help! Thanks again!

  • I've got another site bookmarked for materials on my PC. Will try to remember after work.

    The current colors in the model are what I'm using, but, editing the colors and dropping the lightness/brightness by about 32 would probably look better. 

  • edited September 2017

    @Triem23 Did you find the website?

    In the mean time, time to learn mocha camera solving. I'm going to try a test shot. It will contain hand held footage tracked with mocha, the Dalek rigged and moving, the lights flashing to a voice line, maybe a laser, and of course making the Dalek match the scene properly...

  • @Triem23 also for your beam rig, could I track, say, a door in the scene with Mocha, and then parent a plane to it? Then could it act as the deflector and stay in the right place?

  • @Triem23 Do you have that materials website link? 

  • Sorry Zach, I worked Thursday night till 3am, had to be out Friday by noon, worked Friday night till 3am, and have been at another job since noon (its 215pm) and will be here till midnight. I know where the bookmark is, I just haven't had the time to get on my comp. 

  • @Triem23 No worries, just making sure you hadn't forgotten :)

  • @Triem23 When you mentioned refractive index, which setting is that for; index or refraction or refraction amount? Than what do  I do with the other value?

    I have the gold and aluminum/chrome parts of the Dalek looking nice and shiny from the website you linked. However, for the bronze, I'd like it to not be polished because it'd be dirty and worn. 

    When you have time to find that other site that hopefully has the bronze settings, how would I convert it to a more worn look? Would I just add roughness?

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