What do you think of these FSS rocks?
It would also be nice to know how to get rid of the "table rocks". Unfortunately they appear even with the most well-balanced FSS shapes.
Overall looks pretty good! Yes, too bad you cannot edit FSS populations. How flat is you pancake relating to stone height?
Good displacements you got there.
Getting rid of the stretched table effect is difficult if you want to keep the "relatively" large displacements.
Best bet is to keep the displacements as low as possible, don't un-check "Clamp high colour" and "Clamp low colour" and keep the tweak PF values low. If you're using displacement directly from the PF take the roughness and spike limit down to 0.5 and increase until you see the tabling effect again. If using the colour tab through a separate displacement node take the contrast down to 0.5 and increase is a similar way.
Good luck :)
When you have a really nice set of stones, but one or two nasty ones (hard to avoid indeed), just paint them out (painted shader, invert mask of stone affected). Or small SSS (or more, stacked).
Thanks for your opinions guys. I'm sure glad that I nailed the right displacement and fractal sizes. By the way, the pancake effect is 1.75 in these pictures.
@ cyphyr - Well, there are three levels of displacement but the highest amplitude is 0.3! On the other hand, "large" has a different meaning in regards to something as small as FSS. :) I will keep your advice in mind though and maybe try it tomorrow. The trouble with contrast and displacement roughness is that in this case it produces some really nice effects on those of the stones that do work. I think it is a good bargain... for now at least. But perhaps should be changed in up-close shots.
@ Dune - True. Masking them out (surgically, if you will) is probably easier. Pity such instances cannot be macro managed somehow.
Here's yet another try. The smallest and sharpest displacement also has the noise variation value considerably increased. That makes the displacement, sort of, mask out itself (in layman terms) so it does not cover all stones to the same extent. I also tried to add some reflective flakes to the surface, but they are still a bit overdone:
Looking good, you seem to have it under control in this image.