Simulating the light transport on biological tissues is a longstanding challenge, given its complex multilayered structure. In biology, one of the most remarkable and studied examples of tissues are the scales that cover the skin of reptiles, which present a combination of photonic structures and pigmentation. This is, however, a somewhat ignored problem in computer graphics. In this work, we propose a multilayered appearance model based on the anatomy of the snake skin. Some snakes are known for their striking, highly iridescent scales resulting from light interference. We model snake skin as a two-layered reflectance function: The top layer is a thin layer resulting on a specular iridescent reflection, while the bottom layer is a diffuse highly-absorbing layer, that results into a dark diffuse appearance that maximizes the iridescent color of the skin. We demonstrate our layered material on a wide range of appearances, and show that our model is able to qualitatively match the appearance of snake skin.



Code and scenes will be released soon.


Bibtex will be released soon.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956585 (PRIME). The work was also partially funded by MCIN/AEI 10.13039/501100011033 through Project PID2019-105004GB-I00.