Pebbles in a jar - The Pebble

An idea just popped into my mind to spice up the site. Instead of the plank, which more or less a test only, I'll put some pebbles in a jar on the main screen and banish the plank to somewhere else.

Easier said than done... how to create pebbles in a jar?

Let's start with a single pebble.
  1. Create a sphere - done (not even worth a picture)
  2. Deform it a bit, not loosing the smoothness of the sphere.
    1. I choose a non-linear flare first, which basically transforms the top x-z and bottom x-z while smoothly linking them.
    2. Then a bend to add some irregularity
    3. And finally a twist, which turns the top compared to the bottom (or any other axis) for further random seeming displacement
  3. Shape seems OK, now to the shader
    1. I'll start off with a specular, reflective type of material, but only to receive some nice veins within the stone. Generally the stone material will be matte, like usually with water formed stones on beaches or rivers.
    2. I add a grainy look to the whole pebble, with a bump map (I'll use displacement for the veins - as they need to be more accurate. Graininess is only about light scattering). Granite or sand will do just fine with all colors withing a 80% to 100% grey-scale setting.
    3. Now to the veins. I'll lock a marble attribute the color of the material, because that' the most simple to see immediately on the screen. After playing a bit with speculatity and reflectivity, the pebble seems ready...

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