I'm implementing lighting for a WebGL app but I'm not an artist so I don't know how to generate or where to obtain a list of materials with its values (diffuse, specular, ambient and shininess). I've been searching a lot but with no luck.

Is there any list or DB I might have overlooked? Any common repository or something similar?

Thanks in advance.

Note: English is not my main language, let me know if you don't understand something and I'll try to rephrase it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent question! I'm really interested in this as well. Also, WebGL for the win! \$\endgroup\$ – jcora Nov 19 '11 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ For now, all I could find is this: refractiveindex.info EDIT: Thanks to DEElekgolo from /r/gaming \$\endgroup\$ – mikidelux Nov 19 '11 at 20:42

Great question! There are a few online repositories of measured optical data about various materials.


  1. http://www.merl.com/brdf/
  2. http://www.cs.columbia.edu/CAVE/software/curet/

These are tabulated according to incoming and outgoing light direction, so if you want to approximate them as diffuse and specular, you'll have to fit those curves to the data yourself. You'll probably want to read up on BRDFs and also physically-based shading. (This is a huge area of research, so there's a lot to learn!)

For refractive indices. there's http://refractiveindex.info/ as you already mentioned; and in case you're interested, there is also some measured photometric data available about light sources - how bright they are and how they distribute light in different directions: http://www.americanelectriclighting.com/Library/Photometry/

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    \$\begingroup\$ Very insightful, thank you very much. I asked the same question in another page and it came up with some healthy discussion here. \$\endgroup\$ – mikidelux Nov 20 '11 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice to learn that not all of Reddit is "le xDD lololo trollfayce". Also, some dude gave a useful link to another dude's blog about physically based shading, that was awesome! \$\endgroup\$ – jcora Nov 20 '11 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bane, there are really valuable subreddits with really good people, you just have to find them... \$\endgroup\$ – mikidelux Nov 20 '11 at 14:25

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