Blender Essential Training
Illustration by Maria ReƱdon

Diffuse shaders


Blender Essential Training

with George Maestri

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Video: Diffuse shaders

Now let's take a look at the various diffuse shaders we have available in Blender. Before we get started, let me explain that I've set up my interface a little bit differently. I have an image editor on the left and a viewport on the right. This way, when I hit Render I can see my image immediately in that viewport and still keep working. So in order to render, probably the easiest thing to do is just hit the F12 key and that will very quickly render your image.
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Downloading Blender
    4. Notes on Blender 2.7
      2m 8s
    5. Using Blender on a Mac
    6. Using Blender on a laptop
  2. 30m 32s
    1. Overview of the Blender interface
      6m 6s
    2. Understanding 3D view windows
      5m 23s
    3. Navigating in 3D space
      6m 35s
    4. Configuring user preferences
      6m 24s
    5. Creating custom layouts
      6m 4s
  3. 32m 29s
    1. Selecting objects
      6m 12s
    2. Moving objects
      4m 35s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 48s
    4. Scaling objects
      2m 16s
    5. Understanding transform orientation
      3m 53s
    6. Changing an object's origin
      5m 27s
    7. Selecting pivot points
      3m 22s
    8. Using Snap to move objects precisely
      3m 56s
  4. 49m 20s
    1. Creating mesh primitives
      6m 36s
    2. Selecting vertices, edges, and faces
      4m 48s
    3. Editing mesh objects
      7m 39s
    4. Proportional editing
      3m 52s
    5. Sculpt mode (Updated for 2.7)
      5m 3s
    6. Sculpt mode
      4m 45s
    7. Working with edges and edge loops
      3m 42s
    8. Extrusions
      5m 19s
    9. Smooth shading objects
      2m 23s
    10. Subdividing meshes
      5m 13s
  5. 50m 32s
    1. Working with modifiers
      5m 52s
    2. Working with subdivision surfaces
      3m 49s
    3. Creating a simple creature
      7m 54s
    4. Symmetrical modeling with the Mirror modifier
      8m 21s
    5. Joining mesh objects
      3m 37s
    6. Stitching vertices
      4m 52s
    7. Finalizing a simple creature
      4m 48s
    8. Creating text
      3m 29s
    9. Boolean tools
      2m 59s
    10. Vertex groups
      4m 51s
  6. 22m 37s
    1. Using the Outliner
      8m 22s
    2. Using layers
      4m 30s
    3. Creating groups
      2m 48s
    4. Working with scenes
      4m 3s
    5. Creating hierarchies
      2m 54s
  7. 54m 8s
    1. Assigning materials to objects
      7m 53s
    2. Diffuse shaders
      6m 47s
    3. Working with specularity
      5m 56s
    4. Using the Ramp Shader options
      9m 38s
    5. Additional shading options
      2m 37s
    6. Creating reflections
      8m 29s
    7. Adding transparency and refractions
      6m 49s
    8. Subsurface scattering
      5m 59s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Adding a simple texture
      6m 11s
    2. Using bitmaps
      6m 53s
    3. Mapping textures in the UV Editor (Updated for 2.7)
      7m 43s
    4. Mapping textures in the UV Editor
      8m 28s
    5. Using UV projections
      5m 56s
    6. UV mapping a character (Updated for 2.7)
      6m 35s
    7. UV mapping a character
      6m 11s
    8. Fine-tuning UV mapping
      6m 7s
    9. Creating Bump and Normal maps
      3m 15s
    10. Displacement mapping
      3m 48s
    11. Using the Node Editor
      4m 59s
  9. 53m 9s
    1. Adding lamps to a scene
      8m 44s
    2. Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows
      4m 32s
    3. Using spot lamps
      4m 20s
    4. Fine-tuning buffer shadows
      6m 19s
    5. Using Hemi lamps
      2m 32s
    6. Working with Area lamps
      5m 17s
    7. Creating sky and ambient light
      4m 49s
    8. Adding background images
      3m 19s
    9. Creating sunlight
      6m 6s
    10. Ambient occlusion
      7m 11s
  10. 30m 8s
    1. Working with cameras
      4m 47s
    2. Creating camera targets with constraints
      3m 43s
    3. Render properties
      5m 7s
    4. Rendering animation
      5m 13s
    5. Adding motion blur
      4m 10s
    6. Creating depth of field
      7m 8s
  11. 32m 30s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      4m 3s
    2. Animating objects
      6m 26s
    3. Animating properties
      4m 0s
    4. Editing animation in the Graph Editor
      8m 36s
    5. Using the Dope Sheet
      4m 53s
    6. Path animation
      4m 32s
  12. 40m 1s
    1. Facial animation using shape keys
      4m 40s
    2. Understanding armatures
      6m 3s
    3. Fitting an armature to a creature
      7m 23s
    4. Deforming a character with an armature
      3m 49s
    5. Setting up inverse kinematics
      3m 53s
    6. Controlling the hips and body
      2m 1s
    7. Animating in Pose mode
      2m 47s
    8. Creating a test animation
      9m 25s
  13. 15s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Blender Essential Training
7h 47m Beginner Dec 21, 2011 Updated Aug 13, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.

Topics include:
  • Navigating in 3D space
  • Selecting, rotating, and scaling objects
  • Using Snap to move objects precisely
  • Creating mesh primitives and extrusions
  • Subdividing meshes
  • Creating a simple creature
  • Joining mesh objects and stitching vertices
  • Organizing a scene with layers, groups, and hierarchies
  • Assigning glossy and reflective materials to objects
  • Creating bump maps
  • Creating sky and ambient light
  • Understanding ambient occlusion
  • Adding motion blur and depth of field
  • Editing animation in the Graph Editor
  • Building and animating a simple character
3D + Animation
George Maestri

Diffuse shaders

Now let's take a look at the various diffuse shaders we have available in Blender. Before we get started, let me explain that I've set up my interface a little bit differently. I have an image editor on the left and a viewport on the right. This way, when I hit Render I can see my image immediately in that viewport and still keep working. So in order to render, probably the easiest thing to do is just hit the F12 key and that will very quickly render your image.

So let's talk about diffuse shaders. In the default Blender material, we have two main options here: Diffuse, which provides the color and Specular, which provides the highlight. So in this one you notice how the color is kind of a blue and the highlight is white. If I wanted to, I could change the color of that highlight, so make it a much brighter color, something like that, and if I hit F12, you can see how it's kinds of little bit yellower. But for right now, let's just take this out of the equation.

I'm going to go ahead and just remove specularity, so this way we're just dealing with the diffuse shader. So if I hit F12, you'll see that I get kind of matte-colored object. In other words, it's all diffuse with no specularity--and we'll get to specularity in just a little bit. But let's take a look at some of these diffuse shaders. By default we have the Lambert shader applied, and notice how there's about five other defaults that we have.

Now the Lambert is just a good all-around diffuse shader, and what it does is it takes your basic color--in other words this diffuse color--and then it shades it to a darker color depending upon where the light is hitting. So in this default render here, we get where the area is lit, we get this color, and then as a light becomes less intense, or in other words as it falls off, we go to a dark color. Now the shader really controls how this light-dark shading applies, so if we go from Lambert to the next one-- and that's called OrenNayar-- notice we have a new parameter and that's called Roughness.

By default, that's set to 0.5. When it's at 0 it's pretty much like the Lambert shader, but what the Roughness does is it adds a little bit of roughness to the surface so that it scatters light a little bit more. So if I were to hit F12 and render this, you can see that it gets a little bit rougher, and then as I bring it up--let's go ahead and bring up to somewhere about 1.6 or so--you can see how it starts to kind of even out these areas. And you can see it pretty nicely here in the preview.

So you notice as I increase the Roughness, it kind of makes it a little bit darker. If I decrease the Roughness, you can see how I get lighter areas. The next one is the Toon shader. Now what this does is it basically is a two- tone shader. Either it's light or it's dark. In other words, the shading just goes almost immediately from light to dark. So if I were to render that, you can pretty much see how that works. Now, the only options we have here is the size.

In other words, at what point does it go from light to dark? So if I increase the size that will give me more lit area. And then we also have a smoothing option, and that just gives me a little bit of a gradient between those. So if I were to bring smoothing all the way up, it becomes a Lambert shader, so that smoothing is really what your hard edge is. If I bring this all the way down, you can see I get a very hard edge. The next one after that is the called the Minnaert shader, and this actually gives you kind of a rim light affect.

By default, we have this option here called darkness, and let's go ahead and just render it at default, and you can see that well, it's pretty close to that Lambert shader. But if I bring darkness all the way down to 0, notice how it kind of lights up and I get this rim-light effect, so let's take a look at how that actually renders. You can see I get this kind of rim- light effect around the object, and this is a really good way to get kind of a backlight or rim-light effect without having to actually put a light behind the object.

If we go the opposite direction, if we bring the Darkness above 1, let's say we bring it up to, say, 3, what happens is we get a dark center. So really anything above 1 starts to accentuate this effect. Now if this is desirable or not, that's really up to you, but typically when you use this, you tend to keep the darkness between 0 and 1 to get that rim-light affect. Now the final shader is called the Fresnel shader.

Now this works very similar to a Fresnel lens, and what it tends to do is bend the shading towards the side. So if I were to render it like this, you'd get kind of almost a hard line here, because what it's not doing is it's not really shading. So if I bring my Fresnel effect up-- let's say I bring it up to let say about 1-- and I bring my factor, which is kind of multiplication factor, up to about 2, you can see how it starts to get darker where it was normally lighter.

It's almost like an inverse shader. So when I render that, you can see how I get that darkness and if I bring that down a little, that factor, you can kind of see how we can dial that in. Now the last value--let's go back to the Lambert value here. Now the last option that we have--and this applies to all of these shaders--is the intensity, and this is really just the intensity of the color. So it's almost like a color fader. So if I want to, I could bring down the Intensity to fade that color out to black.

Now typically they keep the color at 0.8, but if you want, you can again bring it up or down. So those are some of the basics of diffuse shaders. Now one of the really interesting things about Blender is that it does decouple diffuse and specular, which kinds of makes it a little bit nicer in terms of creating your own custom looks. But for right now, just understand how the diffuse shaders work and we're going to move on to specularity in the next lesson.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Blender Essential Training .

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Q: This course was updated on 8/12/2014. What changed?
A: We added a single movie on unwrapping objects, a technique that works differently in Blender 2.7. The rest of the instructions in the course work equally well with Blender 2.6 and Blender 2.7.
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