Introduction to Anisotropic Shading

Discover how to use the newest shader in Cycles called Anisotropy.

18 minutes
Blender 2.65
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (124 votes cast)

In this tutorial you will discover:

  • What Anisotropy is
  • When to use it
  • How to use it to create a realistic saucepan

If you’ve heard the term “Anisotropic” thrown around the blender community recently, it’s because the last release (2.65) included a new shader called Anisotropy.

This new shader allows you to create some complex materials like brushed metal, vinyl, saucepans, kitchen sinks and other materials which have been sanded.

It’s kinda like the glossy shader but nerdier.

In this tutorial I’ll be giving you some in-depth information on what it is, when it should be used and how to use it.

Finished Result

Download the HDR kitchen lighting probe used in the tutorial here.


Text Summary

Not a fan of videos? I’ve summed up the tutorial into this easy to read text version:

What is Anisotropy?

Photo by Kurtis Garbutt

A real world example of Radial Anisotropy. Photo by Kurtis Garbutt

Anisotropy is similar to a glossy shader, only it pulls the reflection in a certain direction:

Comparison of a glossy shader and a (linear) Anisotropic Shader


Take this example:

Viewed from the side, the reflection is stretched sideways.

But when viewed 90 degrees to the right, it creates a very different reflection:


So Anisotropy allows us to (finally) create materials like; brushed metal, CDs, vinyl, fry pan bases, kitchen sinks etc.

Photo by Guido Muermann

Brushed metal. A real world example of Linear Anisotropy. Photo by Guido Muermann

Using the Anisotropy Shader

For this example we will be applying both linear and radial Anisotropic shading to a saucepan. Modelling the saucepan isn’t really part of the core lesson of this tutorial, so I won’t write it out, however it’s covered in the video version at the top of the page.


With the saucepan selected add a new material, and from the shader dropdown, select Anisotropic BSDF.


Go to the node editor and you should see the Anisotropic Node. Here’s a brief description of what each setting does:



Set the Roughness to 0.05 and the Anisotropy to 0.95.


The saucepan should now look like this:

Pretty easy right? Well the base is finished, but technically the walls aren’t correct yet as it’s using the default radial anisotropy when it should be using linear.

Creating Linear Anisotropy

So we need to make another material and only assign it to the walls.


Linear shading needs UV coordinates to know which direction the light should stretch. So before we can continue, we need to UV unwrap the saucepan.

In front view select all the vertices, press U and select Cylinder Projection.


Then select the base of the saucepan and from top view, press U and select Project from View (Bounds).


If you look at the UV view you should now see this:

The anisotropy will stretch the light vertically along the UV coordinates. So if you’re using this tutorial for another purpose, make sure to rotate the uv coordinates according to which way you want the light to stretch.

Now that you’ve UV unwrapped it, go back to the Node Editor (making sure the Linear material is selected) and add a Tangent node (Input>Tangent). Set the type to UV Map and select the name from the drop down box:


Throw it in a scene and you’re finished!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you create something cool, post it in the comments below :)

Introduction to Anisotropic Shading, 5.0 out of 5 based on 124 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • CradleofFilth#1

    I watched tutorial video and this is my result… me please.
    blender version is 2.69, OS is Windows 7.

    • CradleofFilth#1

      I can solved this problem. I forgot to set UV before press numeric keypad.

  • zac

    that gday scared the flip out of me!

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  • Dinesh Bhatt

    Hi Andrew,

    Great Tutorial and thanks for the tut….here my test :)

  • Varel

    Hello Andrew
    This is my Result
    and Thanks For The Tutorial

  • Shachar

    I didn’t understand how I make the texture of brush metal radiel in photoshop. can you add an image so I can see how does it look?

  • nastys

    Here is my result and the node setup. As you can see I didn’t use an image texture. Instead I used a mix of a brick and a noise texture. Although it doesn’t look perfect it looks very good. I should experiment with mixing these textures.

  • Filip

    Help the reflection isnt bright at all in the same way the first rendererd picture is. How can I fix this?

  • alex

    I cannot find the

    Anisotropic button on Blender version 2.68 ..

  • alfred


  • ZeloZelos

    Here is my result. I ended up making an entire motorcycle but the brake disc is what i applied the anisotropic shading to. Thanks for such a great tutorial!

    • Eduard Gotwig

      WoW, this awesome!! KEEP IT UP :O

    • John Cardozo

      Hello ZeloZelos, could you share with us the material nodes setup?
      Thanks a lot…

    • zelozelos

      Sure! But you can get the entire “70′s Motorcycle” at blendswap :P

  • Menux

    Hello Andrew,
    Nice tutorial. Have been following your tutorials for quite sometime now, and i would say i appreciate what you have been doing to the blender community. I have always had one problem following up your tutorials, and it is because they mostly have been videos. This said, i was so pleased when i noticed this text version of your tutorial on the same page as the video. Where i live, the internet bandwith is so low, so much that video streaming is a nightmare, and learning something new under such conditions always proves to be boring. But this tutorial has sparked my interest once more, since i really don’t have to wait for like eternity to get the full insight of what you are doing..LoL.. Thanks for all.

  • Jacco van Leeuwen

    Nice tutorial. Like some other people I also have a lot of noise in my render. I turned up the samples to 1000 (resolution 1920×1080) wich gives a better result. Does somebody know if there is another solution to this problem?

  • Sefa Öztürk

    Hi Andrew this is my job and this is so bed :(

    • Rark

      You’ll want to give it more samples rendering.

  • Daniele

    Hey Andrew, congratulations for the really nice tutorial. I had Blender 2.63 before seeing this tutorial. I actually downloaded the 2.66 version to try the Anisotropic shading, but i’m having troubles with my Magic Mouse. When i try to zoom in, i rotate the visual instead, like a track ball. I don’t really know how to explain the problem, it’s like i’m using a trackball instead of the mouse wheel. I’ve checked the User Preferences, which are the same of 2.63. I have no idea of how to zoom in and out, or fix this problem with my mouse. I’m using a Mac, please help me:)
    Greetings from Italy :)))

    • Beau Wright

      To get around that bug, use the plus and minus keys. I actually like it better now that I’ve got used to it.

  • Lukas

    How come theres so much noise on the “testrender” image above as compared to the “final” image? My images also have alot of noise on them which i find really annoying. I had the same issue when i did the tutorial with the glass, water and icecubes on the reflecting table surface…..

  • ria hati

    please tutorial and finishing kitchen set

  • jonas allesson
  • zelozelos

    All of these materials are using the anisotropy shader. Thanks for the great tutorial. It inspired me to make this motorcycle. I started with the brake disc and just kept going. I added a displace texture to it to make the stronger swirl pattern. Thank you again for all the wonderful tutorials

  • Miguel

    Muchas gracias por hacer estos tutoriales tan buenos. Que opinas de mi resultado? saludos.

  • Niklas Blume

    Very good tutorial. Iearnt much more about Blender. This is my work. :)

  • Amon

    great tut, as always!
    But is there a way to do texture with Gimp?
    would be great!

  • Johan

    thanks you so mush

    designer it was really importan to know a good 3d program
    blender is this program (not perfect for the product modeling but it works)
    3 ds max was to expensive and I needed Vray with cycles there is no problem

    and with your tutorial I learn Blender and english

  • Abdul-mu’min

    Hey Andrew, I know you probably get this alot but, what are your computers specs?
    Great tut btw.

  • jonathan

    i have blender 2.65 but it is totally different to yours !
    for example i don’t have render mode :s
    Help !

    • vBlack

      You have to switch the Render-Engine in the Top-Bar to Cycles!

  • NinjaMonkey6742

    How do you use the anistropic bsdf? I cant find it anywhere

    • ElectroBiT

      you should change the render engine on “cycles render” in top bar

  • Jesse

    Why your properties-panel looks different? I’m using the latest version :/

    • ghansham

      you mean it is a bit zoomed out ….if it is the case you can do it by ctrl+ dragging middle button in property panel