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An Introductory Guide To Marmoset Toolbag's Emissive Materials

Marmoset's latest quick guide breaks down Marmoset Toolbag's Emissive shading models and explains how to animate and customize emissive materials to add flair to your scene.


A very popular type, Emissive materials are self-illuminated surfaces, which are widely used in creating glowing effects that don't have external light sources, such as light bulbs, TV screens, sci-fi panels, and so on.

Marmoset Toolbag's material editor includes an Emission shading module that simulates different emissive surfaces. Since emissive materials are self-illuminating, they're generally considered a visual enhancer rather than a source for illuminating a scene. The developers at Marmoset released a new article to guide you through each of Toolbag's emissive shading modules and explain how you can add interest to your scene and animate emissive parameters to create dynamic video renders.


Depending on your desired outcome, you can choose from these three Emissive shading models found in the Emission module:

  • Emissive – the primary shading model that emits light, designed for minor light sources, such as the light emitted from screen displays, glowing gems, and neon signs
  • Heat – simulates materials that emit light due to high temperatures, such as lava, bulbs, red-hot metal, and more, with the intensity and hue of the light matching the real-world "glowing-hot" behavior of heated objects
  • Fluorescent – emulates the behavior of fluorescent materials, which emit visible light when exposed to UV rays, good for retroreflective materials such as reflective vests and traffic cones


Setting up an Emissive Material is fairly easy. Create a new material in the Material window and change the Emission shading module dropdown from None to Emissive.

The color and glowing effect can be adjusted via the Glow color parameter. Note, that Color is used to tint an Emissive Map, while the Glow is used for a global emissive effect. 

You can tweak the Intensity slider to achieve a stronger emissive effect and enable Ray Tracing in the Render settings to achieve a more realistic outcome.


The Emissive Project Map is enabled by default in a Texture Project. That means you can immediately adjust the emissive color and add some masks to the layer to achieve the desired result. In this example, Marmoset demonstrated the creation of Lava material using crack masks:


As for animation, all emissive values except the textures can be animated in the Timeline window. You can set up multiple keyframes with the emissive material's different Intensity or Glow values for effects such as glowing gems, flashing lights, fluorescent sci-fi elements, and more.

The team at Marmoset has a dedicated and regularly updated Resources website section with quick beginner guides to help artists get started with Marmoset Toolbag. Read the full Emissive Materials guide here and don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitterLinkedInTikTok, and Reddit, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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