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80 Level Digest: Learn How to Create Complex Shaders in Blender

For this week's 80 Level Digest, we've prepared 7 in-depth tutorials on creating various complex shaders in Blender.

Hello everyone! With Blender's continuous rise in popularity, more and more 3D Artists are starting to use it for seemingly any task possible. From mesmerizing dioramas to photorealistic characters, from juicy props to sophisticated procedural generators, Blender can be utilized in one way or another to create all of them and achieve the result you can be proud of.

And, of course, Blender also has powerful features that allow artists to create a variety of shaders, limited only by their imagination. That's why today, to encourage creators to set up their own shaders and give an overview of the software's capabilities, we collected 7 informative tutorials on making complex shaders with Blender.

We shall begin this week's Digest with an informative guide by Ocean Quigley on creating non-photorealistic hatching and engraving style shaders in Blender Eevee, inspired by Gustave Doré's illustrations for Dante's Inferno. For those unaware, hatching is a drawing technique of shading with closely drawn parallel lines, developed in the Middle Ages.

In this tutorial, the artist showed a method that will allow you to give your 3D models this hand-drawn look and revealed the entire workflow behind turning a scan of Daniel Chester French's sculpture Spirit of Life into a painted-like project.

If the hand-drawn style is not your cup of tea, here's an in-depth tutorial on creating a dispersion shader in Blender Cycles shared by CG Cookie. By watching this tutorial, you will learn how to improve your regular glass shader tenfold by giving it the ability to disperse light as a real-world prism would, as well as the physics behind real-life dispersion and how they can be used to create a realistic-looking dispersion shader. 

If you feel nostalgic for old-school 3:4 TV screens, here's a great shader that you should definitely try to recreate by following this tutorial made by 3D Artist Lane Wallace. In this tutorial, Lane explained how to create a shader that mimics RGB pixels on a real-life LED screen, demonstrated the nodes behind the shader, and shared some interesting tips and tricks along the way.

Our list would not be complete without at least one water shader tutorial, and this one can certainly be considered one of the best. In this video, 3D Artist Hayden Gray showed how to create a high-quality extremely-realistic water shader in Blender Cycles and explained how to set up fake caustics that look indistinguishable from real-life ones. A great tutorial if you want to create a beach scene.

And here's a tutorial on creating a shader that should be useful for the fans of Japanese manga and animation. This in-depth guide, made by Kristof Dedene, covers the creation of 100% procedural crosshatching, line, grey underpaint, dotted line, and screentone shaders, which will allow you to create manga-style models in 3D.

On top of that, the artist also released these shaders and the tutorial's project files via Gumroad. The files are available for free and can be downloaded by clicking this link.

Next up, we've got a character art-related tutorial on creating a photorealistic skin shader for your digital people. In this short guide, released by the YouTube channel KAILVVVEIT, the artist demonstrated the working process behind the shader, listed the nodes required to achieve a high level of realism, how to tweak brightness and skin color, and more. 

And finally, we have an in-depth tutorial for the fans of Borderlands, Telltale's games, and cartoons in general. The guide was posted by Tutorial-Maker Kai, and it covers the creation process behind a 3D line art cartoon style shader made in Blender 2.8 Eevee. The artist explained how to utilize Blender's Freestyle feature and spoke about setting up cell shading NPR effects to give your 3D models a distinctive cartoony look.

These were our picks for this week's 80 Level Digest. Do you agree with our list? What shader tutorials do you consider to be the best? What YouTubers helped you to master shader-making in Blender? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below!

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