SEM Lightbulb Filament

This piece replicates the look of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), which produces images without the use of light. To create this effect, OSL and the occlusion integrator in Pixar's RenderMan were used. I am responsible for all aspects.

Software Used

  • Maya

  • RenderMan

  • Substance Painter

  • Photoshop

Reference & Stills

After researching SEM images, I decided on an image of a lightbulb filament. I chose this image because it has a strong composition and an interesting contrast between the complex helix and simple sphere.

SEM Reference Image
SEM Reference Image

Visualizer Integrator
Visualizer Integrator

Camera Change
Camera Change

SEM Reference Image
SEM Reference Image

Coil
Coil

Outer Sphere
Outer Sphere

Inner Sphere
Inner Sphere

Coil
Coil

Hypershade Networks, OSL

& Textures

Because of the unique characteristics of SEM images, a majority of the shading was achieved with custom OSL nodes. I also created texture maps for the outer sphere, as it would have been difficult to replicate procedurally.

Displacement Map
Displacement Map

Precense Map
Precense Map

UV Map
UV Map

Displacement Map
Displacement Map

OSL Scripts: Noise and Ridge
OSL Scripts: Noise and Ridge

OSL Scripts: Directional and Edge
OSL Scripts: Directional and Edge

OSL Scripts: Noise and Ridge
OSL Scripts: Noise and Ridge