PRICE £44 ($59, €50) | Company The Pixel Lab | WEBSITE www.thepixellab.net
We take a look to see how useful this material library is
Without doubt, OTOY’S Octane is a very powerful renderer, capable of impressively realistic results. Its complex material system takes some getting used to, so a collection of presets is invaluable for getting you up and running and improving your scenes.
The pack includes 100 presets, split across ten categories: Emitters, Fabrics, Liquids & Glasses, Metals, Minerals, Motion Graphics, Organic, Synthetics, Plastics and Wood. The three emitters are just basic emissive materials, but as it’s a multi-step setup in Octane, they’re useful to have on hand.
Fabrics include things like denim, canvas, velvet and wool, and use bitmaps and some displacement to create the surface texture. These are all fine, although the blue and red velvets lack the plush, mottled sheen of the real material and look more like matte plastic.
Octane does transparent materials brilliantly, and so the Liquids & Glasses work really well. They’re ideal for glasses of wine, milk and beer, and there’s a great material for an oily glass covered in fingerprints.
There are only 14 Metal presets, including the likes of aluminium, copper, steel and gold, but they’re all excellent – finely detailed and ultra realistic. They’re all ready to use as is, but provide a great basis for your own textures, especially when layered with other materials using Octane’s Dirt shader to make chipped, painted metals.
The Minerals folder contains bricks, ceramics, marble, sand and so on, but is something of a mixed bag. The brick textures don’t have a displacement channel, which is odd, and the concrete and marble materials are nice, but nothing you couldn’t really make yourself. Fortunately it has a lovely diamond material and few stone materials, which are worth having.
In Organics there’s everything from human skin to honey and wax, all delivering a variety of neat effects. The one disappointment is wax, whose appearance is faked, rather than using a sub-surface scattering, and it doesn’t react properly to light. Similarly, the cheddar Mix material is weirdly transparent and very un-cheese like. However, the milk, orange juice and honey all look completely believable.
The Motion Graphics, Plastic and Synthetics collections are all fairly similar, with a range of relatively simple but goodlooking surfaces. Nothing spectacular, but all very useful (although the translucent plastics are very handsome).
Finally, the Wood collection has a slightly random selection, but they can all be used for the basis of other wood surfaces – either using your own wood textures or using a Colour Correction node to alter the overall hue and brightness. We would have liked a greater variety of wood grains, like walnut or mahogany, or more complex surfaces. Sadly, the one that looked most interesting – painted wood – was just an empty folder.
With a few exceptions this is a really solid pack of presets – not only for quickly adding materials to a scene, but also providing a basis for your own. It’s just a shame it doesn’t come with documentation on how and why they were built, so you could more efficiently modify them to suit your own needs.
all of the objects in this scene use the octane texture Pack presets, with only one or two needing a minor tweak.