Published in ACM Transactions on Graphics, Volume 29, Issue 4 (SIGGRAPH 2010)

Fabricating Spatially-Varying Subsurface Scattering

fabrication resutls

Our system automatically generates a layered material volume for approximating a custom BSSRDF. (a) The appearance of a real material sample under diffuse lighting and a beam light. (b) A collection of layers generated by our system for assembling the output volume. (c) The appearance of the fabricated material volume under the same diffuse lighting and beam light.


Many real world surfaces exhibit translucent appearance due to subsurface scattering. Although various methods exists to measure, edit and render subsurface scattering effects, no solution exists for manufacturing physical objects with desired translucent appearance. In this paper, we present a complete solution for fabricating a material volume with a desired surface BSSRDF. We stack layers from a fixed set of manufacturing materials whose thickness is varied spatially to reproduce the heterogeneity of the input BSSRDF. Given an input BSSRDF and the optical properties of the manufacturing materials, our system efficiently determines the optimal order and thickness of the layers. We demonstrate our approach by printing a variety of homogenous and heterogenous BSSRDFs using two hardware setups: a milling machine and a 3D printer.


BSSRDF, fabrication



 author = {Dong, Yue and Wang, Jiaping and Pellacini,
 Fabio and Tong, Xin and Guo, Baining},
 title = {Fabricating spatially-varying subsurface 
 journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
 issue_date = {July 2010},
 volume = {29},
 number = {4},
 month = jul,
 year = {2010},
 issn = {0730-0301},
 pages = {62:1--62:10},
 articleno = {62},
 numpages = {10},
 url = {},
 doi = {10.1145/1778765.1778799},
 acmid = {1778799},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},


The authors would like to thank Steve Lin for paper proofreading and Matt Callcut for video dubbing. The authors also thank Matt Bell and William B. Kerr for operating the 3D printer. The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions and comments. Fabio Pellacini was supported by the NSF (CNS-070820, CCF-0746117), Intel and the Sloan Foundation.


Printing Spatially-Varying Reflectance for Reproducing HDR Images