Realistic Skin with Quixel

The purpose of this exercise was to try and make a nice looking procedural skin shader. It’s nothing revolutionary, just a small playground in new Quixel Suite 2.

Of course, you have to start with a good base. I used a semi detailed sculpt of a mouth area I made before because it had some nice normal map details to test out the shader. I made the model and normal map from Zbrush but everything else I baked out in Quixel.

So, this was my starting point. I started building the texture from the basic Alien Skin smart material. It gave me very nice sub-dermal veins and details with that blue-purple color that I needed for the lower layers. I haven’t changed anything in this material, dynamasks were OK and so were the reflectance values. Only thing you might want to change depending on your model is the scale of the material.

To bring back some warmer tones of the skin I added a regular Human Skin material on top of it. Switched the Albedo Texture Intensity blend mode to Linear Light, Albedo opacity to 90, as well as Albedo blend mode to Soft Light. For the Gloss properties of the material I’ve reduced the opacity to 53 and lowered the Gloss value a little bit since it felt to shiny. Also, the Normal opacity was toned down to 81 as well.

On top of that I added another Human Skin material but this time I only changed the Albedo opacity to 60 and Gloss opacity to 70, rest was left as it was by default. That overlayed the colors I had with a nice skin coat, making it less zombie.


I felt like the skin was good so far but it was lacking some more surface details to break it up. I used the Cow Flipped Hide material for that with Albedo opacity, Gloss opacity and Normal opacity set at 70. Dynamask I used was Big Soot. It isn’t a big change but makes the skin feel more alive and old.

I was happy with the skin and moved on to the lips where I the Human Lips material. I just hand painted a custom mask and increased the Gloss value to make the lips stand out more from the skin.

The color of the lips was kinda flat so I added a Color overlay layer (hold CTRL and pres the Add clean layer icon) with Reflectance value of #6b557f and painted some color in the cavity and corner of the lips. And I increased the Gloss value of the Color overlay layer just a little bit.


We are almost there. Last thing I did was adding a final material for some dirt buildup. I used Oil Accumulated Mechanical Grease material for that. Reduced the Opacity of all the maps to 55 and used a Rich Occlusion dynamask. Below you can also check out my final layer stack and as you can see it’s quick but gives out nice results. But I’m guessing you would have to go through a bit more trouble if you were texturing the entire face.


Here is GIF breakdown: