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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 mia_material comes with a number of presets that you can use to speed up your workflow when designing shaders. As a demonstration, I'm going to start to shade parts of this car model using the mia_material, and you'll start to see how flexible this workflow actually is. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go into the Hypershade, just by choosing Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade. And what I'd like to do is create three materials. I want to create a chrome material for parts of the car like the bumper, the area around the headlights, the runners, and the hubcaps.
I'd also like to create a rubber material for the tires, and then I'd like to do maybe like a red plastic for the taillights here. So let's see how we can do that really quick using the presets. So the first thing I need to do is going to the Hypershade. Under the mental ray Materials I'm going to create 3 mia_material X nodes by clicking on the mia_material_x button three times, though at 1, 2, and 3 and expand the Hypershade.
And keep things organized. Let's start by naming each of these materials. So I want to select mia_material_ x1 and I am going to name this chrome_mia. I'll select mia_material_x2 and I am going to call this rubber_mia. And I'll select the third one, and I'll call it redPlastic_mia.
So now let's assign these surfaces, I am going to go into the outliner, expand the car group, I have the chrome surfaces grouped together in a subgroup called chromeSurfaces, so I'll just select the whole group in the outliner. In the Hypershade, I am going to find the chrome_mia_material, right-click over it, and choose Assign Material To Selection. Now for the rubber, I'll just go into the scene here, and I'm going to select the tire just by clicking on it, then Shift-select the second tire, so I have the two left tires selected.
I am going to Shift-select on the right front tire and Shift-select on the left front tire. So I now have all the tires selected. And I'm going to right-click over rubber_mia_and choose Assign Material To Selection, so now that one has been assigned. And then finally I'll rotate to the back of the car. Click on the first taillight and then Shift+ Click on the second taillight. So now I have those selected and I'll assign the redPlastic material. So I now have my materials assigned, so I'm going to press the 6 key, so that I can see the textured view.
Now, I actually use the presets. The first thing I want to do is select the chrome_mia_material here in the Hypershade, and in it's attribute editor there is a button called Presets, so I'm going to click on this and you'll see a list pops up with a whole bunch of different presets for creating different materials. The one at the top of the list is Chrome. So I'm going to select Chrome, move over to the left and choose Replace, and this is just going to replace all the settings in the Attribute Editor with the settings that are appropriate for simulating basic chrome shader.
I could do see the same thing with the rubber shader. So I'm going to select the rubber shader here from rubber_mia_shader and under Presets I'm going to click on Presets. Down towards the bottom there is a Rubber preset, so I'm going to choose Rubber > Replace. You can see now that this is replaced with all the settings appropriate for rubber. So it's doing a lot of the thinking for you and taking out some of the guesswork, which is what makes this material so fun to work with. And then finally, I am going to select redPlastic, and under Presets in the Attribute Editor for redPlastic, there is no taillight presets.
So I'm going to have to do a little bit more work on this one, but at least I can find it in an appropriate starting place. So maybe TranslucentPlasticFilmLightBlur. Let's see how that looks. I'm going to choose Replace, and that will replace the shader. So before I do any tweaking, I want to do a test render just to see how it looks so far. Arrange the camera view so I can see the car and click on the Render button. Now this scene is rendering with the Physical Sun and Sky network, so I have a nice quick lighting setup already arranged.
Now, the chrome surfaces already look pretty darn good. I am happy with that, just right off the bat. So I am going to leave those the way they are. And then to take a look at the tires, they look pretty good to start with, but they kind of look like a toy. They could be a little bit darker. I'm going to save this view by clicking on the store image or the Keep image button and let's minimize the render view, and I'm going to select the tire here. Any one of the tires will do. They all have the same material applied. And I'll click on the rubber material tab, the rubber_mia_tab in here at the attribute.
So I just did need to do a little bit of tweaking to get this look more like darker rubber. First thing I need to do is under the Diffuse section I'm just going to set the Color all the way to black. That will help darken the color and then under Reflection I am also going to bring down the reflection Color, maybe to a dark gray. And I'll pull down the Reflectivity to about I say 0.35. So let's do another test render. So that's looking pretty good. So I'll store that image.
Now the nice thing about working with the presets is if with you come up with something that you like, you can eventually create your own preset out of it, for use in future Maya scenes. So what I'm going to do is I am in the rubber_mia material Attribute Editor, I'll click on Presets, and at the top I'll choose Save_mia_material_x Preset and I'm going to change the preset name to, we'll just call it rubber_tire, and click on Save Attribute Preset.
Now, if you look in the Presets menu, I have a rubber_tire material that I can use in the future, and the nice thing is that this is saved with the Maya preferences, so in future Maya scenes, they could be in a completely different project, this rubber_tire preset will be there for me to use, and after a while you can start to build up your own library of presets very quickly. If you ever need to delete a preset, you can just choose Edit Presets and select from the list and then delete the ones that you no longer need. So let's take a look at how we can quickly define our redPlastic here.
What I want to do is I'll select the surface here. And the first thing I need to do is I know it's going to be red, so I'll click on the Color under the Diffuse settings and choose a nice red color. So let's do a test render and see how the taillights look so far. It looks all right. It looks a bit more like a headlight. It's a little bit too transparent. So what I'm going to experiment with is rather than going here and immediately starting to adjust these settings, I'm going to see how if I can blend presets together, how that might help to look.
So if I go to the Presets menu here, originally I used TranslucentPlasticFilmLightBlur, so maybe something that's a little bit thicker. So what I can do is I'll go down to the GlossyPlastic preset and rather than choose Replace, I'll actually choose Blend. So if I choose one of these, it's going to Blend 75% of the settings in with the current settings or 90% or whatever percentage that I choose. So let's try blending 50%. So this will Blend 50% of the GlossyPlastic preset with the current settings.
Let's try that, bring up the render view and I have this region selected right here, so I'll just click on Render Region and see how that looks. It looks a bit more like plastic. A bit more reflective. I am liking it so far. I'll store the image, but from this point on what I can do is I can continue to blend presets together, all I want, all day long, until I get something that I like. So I think it is too reflective, maybe I'll blend in 25% of the MattePlastic, and then on top of that, maybe I'll go into the Diffuse settings and change the color to a nice deep red for taillights.
And I would also like to go down to the Refraction settings, click on the Color under refraction, and this is the transparency color, and also add-in a deep dark red. Let's render the region and there we go. It's started to look pretty good. So this is generally the workflow that I prefer to do. If I am trying to define a surface, what I'd like to do is go in, choose the preset that I think is going to be kind of close to what I want, and then start blending presets together, just to start to narrow down the general area of what I am trying to achieve in terms of the look of the shader.
And after I've done that I'll go in and start to tweak settings individually, until I come up with something that I like. And you'll find that this is a very quick way to get a nice shader going without worrying too much about the technical details.
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