Rendering of Wet Materials

Rendering of Wet Materials

Henrik Wann Jensen
Justin Legakis
Julie Dorsey

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Spilled cognac on a wood table. Note the darkening of the region touched by the cognac.


The appearance of many natural materials is largely influenced by the environment in which they are situated. Capturing the effects of such environmental factors is essential for producing realistic synthetic images. In this work, we model the changes of appearance due to one such environmental factor, the presence of water or other liquids. Wet materials can look darker, brighter, or more specular depending on the type of material and the viewing conditions. These differences in appearance are caused by a combination of the presence of liquid on the surface and inside the material. To simulate both of these conditions we have developed an approach that combines a reflection model for surface water with subsurface scattering. We demonstrate our approach with a variety of example scenes, showcasing many characteristic appearances of wet materials.

Key words: appearance, subsurface scattering, participating media, global illumination, Monte Carlo, rendering, ray tracing.


Henrik Wann Jensen, Justin Legakis and Julie Dorsey: "Rendering of Wet Materials". Rendering Techniques '99. Eds. D. Lischinski and G. W. Larson. Springer-Verlag, pages 273-282, 1999

Click here to download the paper (pdf-file - 4.8 MB)

The Colour Images in the Paper

Spilled cognac

Spilled cognac. 1024x768 with 4 samples per pixel. Rendering time 28 minutes on a dual-PII-400MHz Linux-pc.

Beach with rock (dry version)

Beach with rock (mixed wet and dry)

Beach with rock (mixed wet and dry - including water film on the rock)

Beach with rock (wet version)

Paper with wet spot (light source in front of the paper)

Paper with wet spot (light source behind the paper)