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Creating Textures and Shaders in Maya with Eric Keller shows how to create textures and materials, and then apply them to models to render realistic surfaces. The course covers working with the mental ray shading nodes, including the mental images architectural node, subsurface scattering nodes, occlusion, and car paint shaders, as well as how to incorporate these nodes into shading networks using the Hypershade editor. It also explores using textures, Maya software nodes, normal maps, and displacement maps for adding detail to models. Exercise files accompany the course.
The 3D textures found in the Hypershade are similar to the 2D texture node. These are more additional procedural nodes that you can apply to the channels of your shader networks. The main difference is how they are mapped to the surface. By default 2D texture nodes, whether it's a file texture node or Fractal or Ramp or so on and so forth, use the UV texture coordinates to map the pattern created by the node to the surface. 3D texture node uses a special 3D Placement node in order to map the pattern to the surface, and this can help you get around some of the drawbacks of using UVs to apply procedural texture nodes.
So for this copper pot shader, I have a 2D Fractal texture node applied to the Reflectivity channel, and for the most part this looks okay, because you don't see any of the problems that can be caused by doing this, because it is fairly subtle. So for example, the Fractal pattern seen on the surface of the pot looks fairly even and I think part of that is just because we're getting little bit lucky with the way the UV texture coordinates are mapped. So let me show you where this might cause a problem. I am going to the select the tea ot and hide it for a moment, and I'm going to choose Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube, and then drag on the surface to create a cube.
I am going to make this cube a little bit rounder by pressing the 3 button so now we see a smooth mesh preview and to make this a little bit easier to see, I'm going to apply Lambert material to the cube and then in the Lambert material of Attribute Editors, under Color, I'll click on the color swatch and choose Fractal. I am going to choose high quality renderings, so you can clearly see the pattern. But you can see the problem right here. The UV seems on the object are very clearly visible, because of the way it's been mapped to the surface.
If I select the object and choose Window > UV Texture Editor, I am going to turn off the display. These are the UVs of the rounded cube. If I click on the little face icon that shows the texture and you can see how the texture is just mapped as a 2D texture, and so that's why we end up seeing these seams here in UVs. So 3D Textures offer a way around this. So what I'll do is I'm going to select the Lambert that I created and right click over it and choose Graph Network, so now we do see this network.
I am going to click on the Show bottom tabs only, so I can zoom in on the work area of Hypershade. And in the create area of the Hypershade, I am going to click 3D Textures and I'm going to choose Solid Fractal. So this is another type of fractal texture that's very similar to the 2D Fractal texture, but this is created from the 3D Texture section. So now what I am going to do is in the Hypershade on middle mouse button, drag the Solid Fractal texture on top of Lambert and choose Color, and that's to break the connection from the Fractal Texture and replace it with a connection to the Solid Fractal texture.
And now if I take a look in the window, you can see I can't see the seams anymore. They are not obvious. The reason is, because I have now what's known as a 3D placement nodes. You see this place3Dtexture node. This is what's mapping the Fractal texture to the Color channel, as opposed to the place2Dtexture node, which was mapping the 2D texture to the Color node. So in the outliner, I can actually select the place3Dtexture node, I am going to press the 4 key, so that we can clearly see it in the Wireframe view, and you can see I have this little icon here representing the cubicle mapping.
I am going to press the 6 key, and notice what happens when I start to move this place3Dtexture node around. You can actually see the texture moving on the surface. I can scale it up, rotate it, and so on and so forth. So this gets around the fact that I can see the UV seams on the surface, but there is one other problem that you have to keep in mind when using 3D Ttxture nodes, and that is, if I start to move the object around, the texture node is stationary, so you can actually see the object swimming through the texture which can destroy the realism if the surface is actually animated.
So there are a couple of techniques you can use to get around this. For one thing you can actually parent the 3D texture node to the object itself. So I am just middle mouse button+ dragging the place3Dtexture node on top of the cube here, in the outliner. And now as I expand the cube, you can see the texture node is actually parented to the surface, so the surface is moving around. Now I don't have that problem, however, what if I actually have the surface animated? So I'll choose a vertex here in the surface and start to move it around.
So what if the objects are actually deforming? Well, then I still have the same problem. That texture is obviously moving around on the surface, which destroys the realism. So I'm going to back up, just hit Undo a few times, until that place3Dtexture Node is no longer parented to the surface. To get around this problem, there's a way to bake the texture onto the surface, so that you no longer encounter that problem with these surfaces as it is actually animated. So I'll select the surface, I am going to go to the Rendering menu set, and under Texturing, I am going to select Create Texture Reference Object.
When I do this, this creates a secondary object, which is hidden from view, but it's a reference object that Maya uses, so that it can map the 3D texture to the object. And so now if I start to move the object around, you see I don't have the same problem. So you just have to remember that when you're using 3D textures, remember to create that 3D texture reference object, if the object itself is going to be animated. There are a number of 3D texture nodes including Granites, Leather, Marble, Solid Fractal, Stucco, Volume Noise. I am a big fan of the Volume Noise texture.
It's one of my favorites to use, because it has an awful lot of options. It's similar to the Fractal in that it creates a procedural noise pattern. What I do is, I just clicked on the Volume Noise button to create the Volume Noise texture, and on a middle mouse button drag it over the Lambert shader and choose Color to apply to the Color channel. And I'll just show you some of the reasons that I like it. Like the Fractal Noise texture you have, settings like the Threshold, the Amplitude, you can change the Frequencies and Ratio. Frequency Ratio.
Frequency, you can increase this or decrease it to change the size of the pattern. But one of these settings that I like is down here under Noise Type. you can choose various different types of noise for this texture, so Perlin Noise, Billow, Volume, Wispy, SpaceTime and so on and so forth. And these can be used, depending which one you are using, you can adjust the settings and custom design the noise. You see a few more options when you are using the Fractal textures, so these are some of reasons that I like it.
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