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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.
In this movie we're going to take a look at how you can add a little bit of detail to your shaders using the 2D textural nodes. In this case I have my teapot set up to texture. So I'll go to the Windows > Rendering Editors > Hypershade, and under mental ray, Materials I'll click on the mia_material _x node, and one way to apply a shader to an object is just to middle mouse button+drag it on top of the object. That applies the shader.
So, I'll select the shader in the Hypershade and open up its Attribute Editor, and under Presets I'm going to choose the Copper preset, so I'm clicking on the Presets button, choosing Copper and then Replace, and this has a nice little Copper preset. So, let's do a render and see how that looks. Looks very shiny and new. What I like to do is maybe add a little bit of variation to the reflectivity so it looks a little bit less brand-new. I can go to the Attribute Editor for the mia_material_x shader and down under Reflectivity, I'm going to click on the checker box.
This will open up the Create Render Node and under 2D Textures, I'm going to choose Fractal and it supplies a Fractal procedural node to the Reflectivity channel of the copper pot. So if I go to the Hypershade, choose the material and select Graph > Input and Output Connections, you'll see I have that shader here and then if I hold the mouse over the arrow that connects the Fractal texture to the shader you can see that the outAlpha of the Fractal texture, the alpha channel, is connected to the Reflectivity.
So, I'm going to select the Fractal texture and under Color Balance you can see that Alpha Is Luminance needs to be checked, so that the Luminance value is connected to the Reflectivity channel, and I'll do a render. Now you can see how by doing that I've got a little bit of dirt going on here. It's a little bit extreme at this point and I like to adjust the size of it so it doesn't look quite like this. So I'll store this render, go into the Fractal Node, and this is called a Procedural Node because unlike a file texture which is just essentially a photographic image applied to a channel, you change the look of the texture by adjusting the sliders, hence the name procedural.
So, what I can do is I can tone it down a bit by bringing the amplitude down and you can see that little preview swatch here. It's getting a little bit less extreme. I'll raise the Threshold, so this brightens the overall look of the image just a little bit, and then to change the size of the fractal pattern on here I can start to play with the Ratio and the Frequency Ratio and see how we can add a bit more detail to it. I'll also play with the Levels just a little bit.
And the Bias slider, a negative value is just going to make it almost invisible. So I'll put it to about a Bias of -2.83. I'm going to open up the Render View, select a region here in this highlight and choose Render Region. You can see now this is what I get. Let's render the whole thing. There you can see it's adding a little bit of dirtiness to the reflection there, so it's breaking up the highlight, making it look a little bit less brand-new or little bit less CG.
When I'm designing a shader what I'll do is I'll start to add the texture nodes of various types 2D texture nodes and so on and so forth to several of these channels and that will start to break up the overall look of it and start to make it look more realistic. That's the basic idea behind the procedural nodes. Some of the other nodes include Bulge, Cloth, Fractal, Mountain, Noise. Noise is like another version of the Fractal node. So experiment using the various 2D texture nodes within your shader networks and see how you can start to expand the realism of your surfaces by applying these nodes to different channels.
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