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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.
As you start working with the Cycles Renderer, you'll want to get used to working with the Node Editor. Now the Node Editor allows you to rewire the way a Shader works and this is very critical for the way that Cycles works. So let me give you a quick brief introduction to it and then we'll start using it throughout the rest of the course. So the easiest way to get into the Node Editor is to select an object here. In fact, let's go ahead and select this bowl and let's make sure we have our Rendering turned on here, so I'm going to go ahead and turn on Rendered in my Perspective Mode here, so we can see what we have.
And I want to take a look at the Nodes for this Material. So what we can do is go into a Viewport. In this case let's go into this Viewport here and let's go ahead and change this to a Node Editor and when I do that, you'll see that the window changes and I have what's called a Node Editor. Now what this does is it basically shows me how this Material is wired, so I have a Diffuse Shader going into my Materials, a very, very simple type of system.
So if I were to change this--let's go ahead and change it, say, to a Glossy-- you'll see that this Glossy now is showing up. So this just reflects the type of Shader that we have plugged into our Material. Now if I wanted to I could add in additional things. So, for example, I could change the Color here. I can change it either here or I can change it here. Now if I start playing with this a little bit--let's say I wanted to add something a little more interesting to this Color--I can click here and add in any number of Nodes. So just for the sake of argument, let's go ahead and add in a Checker Texture. So when I add that in, you'll see that this bowl becomes a checker board pattern and in addition to this, we have an additional Node here that is plugged into our Glossy shader.
So as you can see, when I start adding things in to my Materials, they show up in the Node Editor. Now the more powerful way of doing this is to flip that on its head. Add things into the Node Editor. So I'm going to go ahead and select this Checker Texture and delete it and as you can see, it deletes here in the Surface as well. So if we want to, we can add our Nodes in right here. So if I wanted to I could go in Add and we have a number of different types of Nodes that we can add in.
So if I want to add in a Texture-- let's go ahead and add in that same Checker Texture--so I'm going to go ahead and add that in and you'll see that, well, it shows up actually down here. I have to kind of zoom out here. I'm just rolling my mouse button and navigation is just as simple as left-clicking and dragging in this window. So I'm going to go ahead and left-click and drag this up and you'll see that I have this Checker Texture and it's in this Material, but it's not showing up here; that's because it's not wired in.
So what I need to do is select the Color Out of the Texture and plug it into the Color In of the Shader and once I do that, you can see it shows up here and it shows up here. And now I can change my Color and I can do whatever I want. So this just one simple way of connecting Nodes together and as we start working through some of these materials, we will be using this Node Editor more and more.
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