I research sub surface scattering (SSS) online and SSS is the translucency of an object, or the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the object.
In Maya two main kinds of SSS shaders one can be used for inanimate objects such as plastic and wax and then there’s the misss fast_skin_maya, this shader has a considerably more amount of controls on than the standard SSS shader. Such as: epidermal, sub dermal colours; these are used to imitate the different layers of your skin.
The SSS shaders took me a couple of days to get my head around. What was helpful was to watch the videos several times, taking notes and implementing it myself during the tutorial, this took long time, but I am glad I did this because I have a better understanding because of this.
After I got a better grasp of the Sub Surface Scattering skin shader, I applied the material to the basic rig character who is in the previous Pontoon test renders. A problem that I have come across is that if I set up some standard Maya lights, the SSS shader comes out quite nicely, however when the shader is put in the same scene as the physical sun and sky light system, the SSS shader is rendered horribly.
Please see render below to see what I have been writing about.
So after I came across this I entered the following search criteria in to Google; to see if there was a solution to this problem: “subsurface skin scattering not working with physical sun and sky”.
The problem was with the sub surface shader. By default the shader does not account for indirect lighting, which is what the physical sun and sky is.
This can be turned on by going in to the sub surface scattering shape node and turning on the “include indirect lighting”.
What you also need to do is uncheck the composite mode (under algorithm control) on the Sub Surface Shader itself. This will then allow the sub surface shader and the Physical Sun and Sky to work together.