Question about the reality of gloss

polycounter lvl 7
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Macattackk polycounter lvl 7
So I understand that specular highlights are really just a reflection of a light source but in reality, can a surface be so glossy that it makes the specular highlight tighter and smaller than the actual reflection? Or are the glossiest surfaces really just directly reflecting everything around them?

like is say, a mirror one of the glossiest surfaces you can have since its just directly reflecting everything and not spreading out the highlights/reflections or can there be surfaces that are glossier than a mirror?


  • Computron
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    Computron polycounter lvl 6
    Keep in mind that most lighting models that are used in real time graphics are just hacks or old empirically determined ways to mimic real life lighting. Specular reflections don't accurately represent the size of light sources without other hacks or ray-tracing. Realistically, glossiness alone will not make the specular reflections smaller than the source.

    Glossiness can be used to make the reflection bigger, or more accurately more diffused, this is because of micro-structures on the surface distorting the reflection.
  • malcolm
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    malcolm Polycount Sponsor
    The glossiest surfaces in real life are just reflecting things around them like a mirror. Changing the size of the specular dot in a shader/material in 3D is the equivalent of making the surface rougher/bumpier or smoother in real life.

    I think a mirror is one of if not the glossiest surfaces as it reflects light back at the eye without any diffusion.

    Changing the size of a specular highlight is possible in the real world, but not its tightness. Imagine a bunch of chrome balls outside on a sunny day, the smaller the ball the smaller the reflection of the sun will be on it, but if you were take a picture with a zoom lens the sun's reflection would look just as tight on the small ball as the big ones.

    So no, light sources can only get bigger as the surface that is reflecting them is rougher diffusing and spreading the reflection out.
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