You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Glossy Reflections/Refractions


glasssuz-goldsuz.jpgGlossy reflections and refractions in the internal renderer has been wanted by lots of users for a long time. Now development of a new patch doing this is shaping up. Matt Ebb (broken) is developing this patch with the assistance of Brecht, the developer of the Sub Surface Scattering in Blender 2.44. The results so far are very interesting.

From Matt's blog

Previously, I've grumpily complained that there aren't enough people interested in working on Blender's internal renderer, and so it was only fair that I put my money where my mouth is. I mentioned I'd been doing some coding recently, and this is one of the products of that time: blurry/glossy reflections and refractions in Blender's internal raytracer. It works similarly in concept to yafray's ‘conetrace', sampling a cone of rays around the current pixel to get an averaged, blurry result. The sampling is using a quasi-monte carlo Halton sequence, which Brecht van Lommel previously converted into C code in an old experiment of his, and which he gave me a lot of valuable help with - thanks a bunch, Brecht!

This has been quite an interesting (though sometimes frustrating) learning experience for me, diving into a new area of Blender's source code for me, and learning about many concepts I was previously unfamiliar with. What I've got so far probably isn't perfect, but I'm very happy with the progress made so far. I'll post again soon about some of the process and things I've learned so far, hopefully in a way that people not used to reading technical SIGGRAPH papers will get some value from. But for now, here are some pretty pictures, and a patch! There's also a bit of discussion in this thread on, too.

maxdist_room.pngMatt has provided a Windows build for testing purposes in the thread mentioned above. Please let him know if you find any bugs. Be sure to read the thread! It has lots of images and good explanations along with them.

About the Author

Mathias Pedersen

Read more about Mathias Pedersen (The M.h.p.e.) at


  1. Dm7: Blender IS a mad open source software. It's only getting better!

    Thanks a lot Matt!!!! This is great for archiviz.

  2. That's GREAT!!!!
    after "solid SSS" (like skin, or such), blender now get's transparent SSS (like unclean water) :D :D :D :D
    and the glossy reflections also look great!

  3. That's pretty awesome, and it's something that will add a lot of realism to renders. Could you use a similar method to provide (pseudo)soft shadows with raytracing?

  4. Everyone: You're welcome :)

    M.B: Yes, not 'pseudo' though, but accurate - I've started investigating it already. I think there are some optimisations that can be done in that area...

  5. Add HDRI and GI into Blender internal, and we can replace Yafray! Then, make an option to have the Blender internal an unbiased render engine, and we won't even need Indigo! Then program an artificial intelligence into it, and we can RULE THE WORLD!!!

    Seriously, though, this is awesome!

  6. Tynach: hey man if you can figure out a robust compositing pipline with yafray using all passes then please post it. I for one have tried to use it and yafray is not fit at this time for robust compositing. IBL in the internal would change that but so would the new render API.

  7. You've got to be kidding me! I'm just rendering a long animation where I created this effect with nodes. If only this would've been available in the last release!

    This is great news, another very important addition to the renderer.

  8. Nice work! We've needed this for a while! So would it be possible to use the same or a similar technique to get soft shadows similar to using an area light but without the additional overhead of raytraced passes? Just curious.

  9. "Nice work! We've needed this for a while! So would it be possible to use the same or a similar technique to get soft shadows similar to using an area light but without the additional overhead of raytraced passes? Just curious. "
    the way this works is by using extra raytraced passes i think.

  10. I love it. Blender is growing so fast it's amazing!
    Quick question. I'll test it out when I get a chance, but how's the rendering speed? A normal raytraced sphere vs. a glossy raytraced sphere?

  11. broken_sword on

    Whoa! Dev pace is too fast, I'm still struggling with 3D paint, now a new (serious) feature is up...


    Kind Regards,

  12. Ivan Paulos Tomé on

    I don know why people still guess Internal Renderer is not good enough. There are a bunch of things that other renderers still did not do that Blender surprises a lot of people.
    Please, Install a photon Lamp, QMC, this patch, dispersion and everything in the world will be unusefull to stop Blender. And I tell more. internal Renderer is good enough, one way or another, if you learn, you will achieve better results than any other renderer !

  13. This is quite cool! I was on a lunch-time walk a few weeks ago, and while looking at the shadows cast by the trees, something became quite readily apparent. The shadows were well-defined toward the base of the object, but became increasingly blurry as the distance from the surface increased. Will this patch work with shadows, or just reflection/refraction?

  14. I really appreciate this. Is it possible, though, for the Yafray plugin to utilize this interface for conetrace? Or will it be lke SSS, which only works for Blender even though there is a similar Yafray feature?

  15. It seems there is no longer windows patch in the net!!!!!!!!!
    Somebody help!!!!!!! Where can i find it?
    There is also information that blender 2,5 should include "the patch".
    I work with 2.5 but I can not find any solutions for Glossy Reflection-refractions.....
    Is it thrue? Help ! .... and thanks

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.