PixelSquid Material Specification

Setting up V-Ray Materials for PixelSquid

One of the great features of PixelSquid is that we create Photoshop PSDs products from Render Elements that the end user can modify. In order for us to offer this functionality, it’s important to set up your V-Ray materials correctly to contribute to all Render Elements. These are relatively standard setting, so fortunately you should not encounter any major issues during the creation of your scenes. These are good rules to follow for your other productions.

Turning this on makes reflection strength viewing angle dependent for more realistic reflections.

1.0 V-Ray Materials

These rules apply to all V-Ray material types that contain the specified parameter.


1.1 Diffuse

1.1.1Diffuse Color Value between 5 and 230

Having a value darker than 5 can cause the Render Element contribution for the Base layer to have little to no contribution. Having a value brighter than 230 will blow out the Render Elements added on top of the Base and Lighting layers in the final PSD product.

1.1.2Dark Diffuse for Metals

Metals must have a dark diffuse value for accurate contribution in the final PSD product. Color for metal materials come from Reflection color.

1.1.3Dark Diffuse for Glass

Glass must have a dark diffuse value for accurate contribution in the final PSD product. Color for glass materials come from Refraction:Fog color.


  • Diffuse_Color

1.2Reflection

1.2.1Reflection Color Value between 5 and 230

Having a value darker than 5 can cause the Render Element contribution for the Reflection layer to have little to no contribution. Having a value brighter than 230 will blow out the Reflection layer

1.2.2Reflection Glossiness Value 0.98 or less

No object in real life has 100% perfect sharpness in reflection.

1.2.3Hilight Glossiness not linked to Refl. Glossiness

Unlinking the glossiness is needed to set Hilight Glossiness value lower than Refl.

1.2.4Hilight Glossiness Value -0.1 less than Refl. Glossiness

Reducing the Hilight Glossiness creates a minor dispersion for a more realistic specular hilight. This also aids in ensuring very reflective objects contribute to the Shine and Reflection Render elements accurately for the final PSD product.

NOTE: If using a map for Refl. Glossiness, you must have an Output Map with Output Amount set to 0.9 plugged into the Hilight Glossiness. Map contributions and Glossiness values must be equal

1.2.5Fresnel Reflections On

Turning this on makes reflection strength viewing angle dependent for more realistic reflections.

1.2.6Accurate IOR

IOR (Index of Refraction) value must be accurate for type of material. Examples are listed.

    • Water – 1.3
    • Glass/Acrylic – 1.5-1.6
    • Shiny plastics – 2.2-3
    • Polished woods and paint – 3.2-5
    • Dull Metals – 12-18
    • Reflective metals – 25-40
1.2.7Max Sudivs 8

Subdivisions on rarely need to be increased beyond the default of 8. Render speed significantly slows as subdivisions go up. Render Settings affect materials visual quality at render.

1.2.8Affect Channels: Color Only

Affect Channels must be set to “Color only” otherwise errors will appear in the in the final PSD product due to incorrect Alpha contribution to the render elements.


  • Refl_Color

  • Refl_Settings

  • Refl_Settings_Map

1.3Refraction

1.3.1Affect Shadows On

Affect Shadows should always be on for Refractive materials for accurate light transmission through the material.

1.3.2Affect Channels: Color and Alpha

Affect Channels must be set to “Color + Alpha” for accurate transparency in the Alpha Render Element necessary for the final PSD Product.

1.3.3Accurate IOR

IOR value must be accurate for type of material. Examples are listed.

    • Water – 1.3
    • Glass/Acrylic – 1.5-1.6
    • Crystal – 2.0
    • Diamond – 2.4
1.3.4Max Sudivs 8

Subdivisions on rarely need to be increased beyond the default of 8. Render speed significantly slows as subdivisions go up. Render Settings affect materials visual quality at render.


  • Refr_Settings

1.4Bump and Normal Maps

1.4.1Blur set to .01

The blur setting should always be set to minimum to retain maximum detail in normal and bump maps.


  • Blur_Setting

1.5Opacity Maps

1.5.1Maps 100% Black and White

Opacity maps must be 100% black and white only. Gradient values in the opacity can cause errors in the Alpha and creates problems in selection maps of the final PSD product. Partial opacity should be handled through Refraction properties using the opacity maps for complete cutouts.


  • Opacity_Example

2.0Sub-surface Materials


Sub-surface materials, such as VRayFastSSS2, contribute to Render Elements differently than standard VRayMtl. To ensure the final PSD product has correct Render Element output there are these points must be followed.

2.1Diffuse Amount 0.1 or Higher

This affects how much the diffuse color contributes to Render Elements and overall appearance of the material. If diffuse amount is 0.0 the Lighting Render Element will be empty and the diffuse color has no affect on the material at all.

2.2No Falloff Maps

The layer contribution does not react to fall off maps correctly and can break the material. This can cause a variety of issues with the Render Elements appearing incorrect.

2.3Trace Reflection On

The “trace reflections” check box must be on for all subsurface materials. If the checkbox is not on there will be no Reflection element contribution.


  • SSS_MaterialPts