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The open-source 3D graphics suite Blender now offers Cycles, a rendering engine that adds a new degree of realism and professionalism to your projects. In this course, George Maestri introduces Cycles, and reviews its lighting types, materials, and render settings. Learn how to layer shaders, enhance surfaces with texture and gloss, and add lifelike lighting and shadows to your scenes. In the final chapter, follow along with a small, self-contained project, where a simple architectural interior will be rendered.
Let's go ahead and take a look at some of the basic materials that we have in the Cycles Renderer. Now before we get started, I just want to go ahead and get my screen set up, so I'm going to go ahead and left-click and drag in this Camera Perspective window and close out that panel, so we have a full view of our scene. And then I'm going to go ahead and turn this on to Rendered Mode and you can see that Blender immediately starts rendering this using the Cycles Renderer. Now there's nothing in the scene, because we don't have any Materials applied.
Now these other viewports--I have this one set at a wireframe, which is fine-- and let's go ahead and set this one to at least a Solid View, so we can at least see things like color and that sort of thing. I can go into my User Perspective window and I can select one of the objects. In this case I'm going to go ahead and select the bowl. Now let's go ahead and just change the color of the bowl, but before we do that, we actually have to add in a Material. So I'm going to go ahead and expand this window here and this is mostly because I'm on a small screen. Hopefully your screen will show this fully.
I'm going to go here to the Materials tab; when I click on that, the Materials for this object Bowl are pretty empty. So we need to add in a Material, which is exactly the same way that we always do in Blender. We're just going to click on New and it brings in the Default Material. In this case it's called a Diffuse Material. Now we have three separate rollouts here. One is for the Surface Quality. The second is for Displacement, which is basically bump mapping, displacement mapping, and then the last one is for Settings, which is basically just the Viewport color.
So the most important one here is Surface, so we have a Surface type, we have a Color for this material and we also have Roughness. So let's go ahead and start with the default Material and add in some color. I'm going to go ahead and just click on this and I get my color picker, so I'm going to go ahead and pick a bluish color and you can see that as I start dialing in this Color, you can see it almost immediately down here in the corner as I render, but we can also add in some additional effects by adding in Roughness.
Now Roughness basically just changes the type of Shader. When Roughness is at 0, the Shader behaves like a Lambert Shader. When the Roughness goes up to 1, it behaves like an Oren-Nayar Shader, which is kind of a softer diffused Shader; it's good for things like cloth and velvet and that sort of thing. And Lamberts are good as like the basis for something like a Blend Shader or something like that. So you can certainly dial in your Roughness and you can see how it changes this Material here.
We can also change the type of Surface. Now if you click on any one of these, you'll see that you get a menu which has a number of different things that you can do, and we'll be going through these throughout the course. So let's go ahead and just focus on the Surface menu and you can see we have a number of different types of Surface. By default we have the Diffuse Surface, but we can also add in any number of other types. So, for example, if I wanted this to be a little bit shinier, we could add in a Glossy Surface and you can see how this becomes very reflective and almost mirror-like.
If we want we can also change that to Glass, which is a very nice default Glass Material and you can see how it has some Transparency. We also have Translucent as well as Transparent. Now Transparent is really just a very rough form of Transparency, which might not be good for double-sided objects, such as this bowl, but it might be good for things like cloth or something like that. Then we have some additional ones-- Velvet, it's kind of a very soft type of shader--and then we also have another one called Emission, which allows this object to emit light, so you can turn any object into a light, and in fact.
if we bring up the Strength of this, you can see how this can actually become a very powerful type of Light and then we have a number of other ones, such as Holdout, Mix Shader, Add Shader which are a little more custom, and we'll get to those. I'm going to go ahead and switch this back to Diffuse. So as you see adding Materials in Cycle is pretty much the same as Materials in the Standard Blender Renderer and within our Materials we have a number of different options that allow us to change the Surface Type, Color, as well as Roughness and a few other parameters.
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