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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 some techniques for using the mental ray turbulence texture. So this is a special mental ray texture as opposed to the Maya textures and let me show you where you can find this node. Go to Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade and as you know many of the Maya textures are found in the Maya section, 2D and 3D Textures, but there are additional textures found here under mental ray. So I'll click on the Textures heading here and you can see some of these textures. There's quite a few, but I just want to use the turbulence texture just to show you how the set up between Maya textures and mental textures is a little bit different and the turbulence texture is a good way to point out some of those differences.
So, I will create the texture just by clicking on it. You can see it right here in the Work Area, and I'm going to create mia_material for the teapot, so I'll Go to mental ray > Materials. I'll use mia_material_x. Just go to middle mouse button and drag this over the teapot to connect it, and there you can see it's connected now, and let's start by connecting the texture to one of the attributes here. Now, the output of this texture is a single channel as opposed to a vector.
So, for example, many textures such as ramp or any textures that output a color use a vector, an RGB value, but this texture uses a single one so it's going to be connected to the channels of the shader that also use a single value. So, that would be channels just like diffuse Weight, Reflectivity, Glossiness, Transparency, and so on and so forth. So let's take a look at how we can connect this. I'm just going to middle mouse button the mib_texture_turbulence node on top of the mia_material node and I'll choose Other from the pop-up menu and this will bring up the Connection Editor.
So here we can see the outputs of the turbulence node right here on the left. So I want to choose outValue. So this is the output. You notice when I do this that some of the channels on the mia_material become highlighted in bold lettering and some become grayed out. So this is giving you an indication of which attributes will connect to the outValue attribute of the turbulence node. So, if it's grayed out, you can't make a direct connection. And some cases you can expand like the diffuse and connect the out channel to the R, G, or B value of the diffuse channel.
What I'm going to do is I'm just going to connect this to the diffuse_weight, so this controls the strength of the Diffuse value. So, if I have a diffuse color such as this light blue, the Weight is going to control how much of that diffuse when clor comes through in the final shader, and you notice right now it doesn't look like much is happening. In fact if I do a render, the first question you're going to ask is why doesn't it look very turbulent? I have the turbulence texture connected to the diffuse_weight but I don't see any turbulence here on the shader itself, and if I select the turbulence node and start to mess with these settings, I just see overall light and dark values changing but it doesn't seem to be doing much.
Well the reason it's not doing much is because this is a 3D texture but it doesn't have any 3D coordinates plugged in yet. So we need to make another connection here so that the turbulence texture understands how to map the turbulence values to the surface. So this is a little bit of an extra setup. A lot of times when you use Maya textures, the 3D Texture node is hooked up automatically but this is not so with a lot of the mental ray textures. So, what I want to do to create this node. So go down under mental ray and again under Textures I'm going to click on the mib_texture_vector node, and this creates a 3D Texture placement node, and now I'll select the mib_texture_turbulence node and open up its Attribute Editor and what I want to do is I want to connect this to the coordinate in that section right here.
So I could just middle mouse button drag this all the way from the Hypershade on top of the coordinate input on the texture node and now you can see we have turbulence. So now we are in business and in this point it's just a matter of adjusting the turbulence to get some kind of pattern. So if I render now, we'll see that we have turbulence on the surface. We need to make some adjustments here to the node to get something a little bit more interesting. Generally speaking when I'm working with something like a noise texture, the best way to figure it out is just to start to fool around with the values and see what you come up with.
For instance I'll increase the iterations and so we'll start to get more of a noise pattern going there and this is the kind of effect that we're getting now. So we can use this to create some interesting effects. You increase the Spacing a little bit, something that looks more like a cloud, and you can use this texture just as an alternative to some of the typical Maya noise and Cloud and Brownian textures. It's just another alternative for you to use and create some interesting noise patterns. What's kind of fun to do is to actually layer some of these textures together.
So, I'm going to create a second turbulence texture by clicking on the mib_texture_turbulence button here in the Create node and again I'm going to create a mib_texture_vector. Select the mib_texture_turbulence node, middle mouse button+drag texture_vector2 on top of the Coordinate section, and this time what I'm going to do is I'm going to connect this turbulence texture to an attribute of this turbulence texture. So the second turbulence texture is going to control some attribute of the first turbulent texture.
So, I'll select this and I'm going to middle mouse button+drag the mib_texture_turbulence on top of the Strength value just to see how this can adjust the Strength. So now we have basically layered noise. We have two different turbulence textures working together. Maybe I'll set the Iteration up to 24 just to see how that works. And now it's just fun to play with the settings in the two different turbulence textures and see what you can come up with. So, I'm just increasing the variation over the surface by layering turbulence textures on top of each other and you could layer more and more textures on each of the turbulence values to see what kind of interesting patterns you can come up with.
One last thing I'd like to point out here. As you can see we have a very strong value range here and I'd like a way to sort of tune that a bit so that I can make the dark values may be lighter or the light values a little bit dimmer, just a way like a volume knob so I can easily control the strength of the effect. There's a number of ways to do this and simple way is to create a Utility node. So I'm going to create actually the Remap Value node. So, I'm in the Maya section of the Create tab in Hypershade under Utilities.
I'm going to click on Remap Value, I'm going to close the Render View, and I'm going to break the connection between the turbulence texture and the mia_material. I'm just going to select the little connecting line there and press Delete to break that connection. And in this case I'm going to middle mouse button+drag Remap Value on top of mia_material and again, I'm going to choose Other to pull up the Connection Editor. What I like is the outValue of, oh I'm sorry, I made the wrong connection there.
Sometimes if you have these nodes overlapping, Maya gets a little bit confused and it doesn't know what kind of connection you're making. So, let me neaten up the Hypershade Work Area a little bit and try that again. I'm just going to middle mouse button drag Remap Value on top of mia_material, I'll choose Other, in this case I want outValue, and again I'm going to connect outValue of the Remap Value node to the diffuse_weight of the mia_material node. So that connection has been made, and now I'm going to middle mouse button+drag the turbulence texture on top of Remap Value and I'll choose Other again.
In this case I'll do outValue of the turbulence texture and I'm going to connect this to inputValue of the Remap Value node. So now I'll close the Connection Editor and now what I can do is I can use the Value ramp here to start to adjust the strength of the turbulence textures. So I have this little ramp here and you can see I can start to add points to the ramp by clicking on it and move the points around and if I wanted to change the Interpolation of the curve, I can just select one of the points in the curve and change Interpolation to let's say Smooth, and do that for each point on here, and if you want to see a bigger version of the ramp, you can just click this arrow button next to it and now I get a nice large version of the ramp. You really start to create some interesting effects.
This is a good way I think to create something like a marble pattern. I think it works a little bit better than Maya's 3D Marble node. It just takes a little bit more work but you get something that looks really nice. So, I'll render that and this is what we come up with. So, at this point it's just a lot of fun to fool around with the ramp and the turbulence values to see what you can get and this could be applied to something like the Reflectivity or even the Transparency of the mia_material node to create various different effects. It's good for special effects and that kind of thing.
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