Introduction to SuperFly Materials

May 18, 2023 at 10:30 am by nemirc

We have previously talked about Poser’s SuperFly renderer, our photo-realistic renderer grounded on the Blender Project’s Cycles engine, more specifically, Cycles X, the latest iteration of this render engine. SuperFly uses PBR (physically based rendering) technology, developed to reproduce the look of real-world materials using various parameters.

If you are new to Poser or new to the SuperFly engine, I would like to share some tips to get you started. The best way to start is to grab one of the existing materials from the Poser Library (you can obtain some materials by downloading the P13 Bonus Materials pack from the Purchases tab). Starting from a pre-existing material can save you some work, but can also be a very valuable learning resource as you can see how the material was built.

In my case, I loaded the “Gold” material from the “SuperFly Basics” Material Library. I am applying the material to a statue model I have.

If you look at the material, you will see two different networks. The one on the left, named “PoserSurface” is used for the FireFly renderer (Poser’s previous render engine), as denoted by the checked box next to “FireFly Root”, while the one titled “CyclesSurface” is used for the SuperFly renderer, as denoted by the checked box next to “SuperFly Root”. Since we are using SuperFly, you can ignore the network on the left and only focus on the network on the right. One thing you can note is how a FireFly or SuperFly root can be active only on one network a time. For example, if you check the SuperFly Root in the PoserSurface network, it will uncheck in the CyclesSurface network.
Our gold material already has a connection to the Surface parameter of the CyclesSurface node. The GlossyBsdf node is the one we will be using to tweak our gold material. PBR materials will mainly have 3 base parameters, color, normal and roughness (they have more, but let’s focus on these three for the moment). Color defines the “colored” parts of the material via a single color parameter or a texture (for example, in a wood material it would be the wood texture, and in a plastic material it would be the color of the plastic); Normal is our normal map, and roughness is how reflective a material is (for example, a matte plastic is way less reflective than a mirror or a piece of metal), and uses grayscale values to define it.
This is how the statue looks after applying the textures. You can see different parts of the model have different levels of reflectiveness, and that some parts look more “worn” than others, thanks to the combination of the different textures.
Poser 13 also includes a PhysicalSurface Root node that you can use to make SuperFly materials.
After applying a PhysicalSurface material to the statue, with the same textures, this is the result. Note I have set the Color and Specular values to full-white, and increased the value of Metallic to 1.

The final image is a very good result with little work. From here, you can experiment with other values, and plugging the textures in other inputs to see what you get. And, when you master the basics, you can move on to more complex materials.

While in this case, the PhysicalSurface material looks better than CyclesSurface, that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Using one or the other will greatly depend on the material and look you are after. This is why it’s a good idea to learn to use both.

Which are your favorite Poser 13 features? What kind of work do you do with Poser? Share your thoughts in the Poser forums! 

Nemirc, aka Sergio Rosa, is a freelance graphics technology reporter and video game creator/developer. He has been working and creating in 3D for over two decades. He loves movies and writing as well. Nemirc was introduced to 3D from one of the very first versions of Poser.