How to Make Metal Material in Blender?

And give a grungy look to it

Discover how to make metal material in Blender in 5 steps. We going to make it Silent Hill style – grungy as hell. And also a bit Rammstein style (for the fun of it).

The main steps

1. The base layer
2. Rust
3. Edge scratches
4. Some more scratches (can’t be enough)
5. Lighting

metal material in blender

Lighting and Material perception

I can stress this enough: lighting plays an important role in creating convincing metallic shader. In creating every shader, to be honest, but material is especially sensitive. No way we can make bombastic heavy metal with poor lighting. Never ever.

Especially rim lighting – or back lighting – that’s important, use it.

metal lighting

Bonus metal shader tips:

Box mapping

We don’t want to unwrap high-poly models, don’t we? If so, use box-mapping as a texture projection mode (in material editor). And, of course, Generated or Object coordinates.

A dull texture can be a good texture

As we are going to project our textures from different sides of the ‘box’, we need a tileable textures. For that reason, let’s keep away from fancy stuff, because it will make our tiling pattern very apparent. The interesting parts, like scratches, will be added as a material layer. So don’t worry about it being dull for now.

tileable textures tip

Metal and Fresnel?

Technically, applying fresnel falloff to metal material isn’t physically correct. But who cares? Fresnel reflections get stronger at sharp angles, so it will enhance the rim light effect near the edges and reveal the shape better. Go for it.

fresnel mix factor

Few more notes:

Written tutorial with all steps covered in detail can be found in 3dWorld magazine.

Built upon the source model of the Drill by Frank the Smith (CC-0). You can download it from Blendswap. Thanks, Frank!