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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now as you start creating more and more complex materials in Maya, you are going to need to manage those. Now we can certainly manage textures by clicking on them and going into the Attribute Editor and managing them one at a time on a per-object basis, but probably the best way to do it is by using the Hypershade window. So I'm going to ahead and close this down and let's go ahead and bring up the Hypershade window. So I'm going to go into Rendering Editors' Hypershade. Now Hypershade is similar to the Hypergraph, but it is a different window.
So here's where we find it, and there it is. Now the Hypershade window has a number of different panels that we can use. Along the top there are a number of menus, most of which duplicate the functionality of the graphic options here in these panels, and then we also have a little bit of a Graphic panel here. Now probably the first thing you'll notice is this big Create menu here, and this allows you to create new materials, very similar to the floating Create menu. So, for example, if I right-clicked over this and did Assign New Material, it would bring up an Assign New Material and allow me to create a material, and I can do that same thing here in Maya and just create the material and then apply it.
Now up until this point what we have been doing is we have been creating the materials on a per-object basis. But typically in Maya what you want to do is you want to create the materials in the Hypershade window and then apply them, because what you can do is you can create standard materials. So, for example, here I have a wood texture and I can apply it to this picture frame, but I can also apply it to any other object that is made of wood. Now here we actually have all of our materials in the scene, so we have a number of tabs here. The first one is called the Materials tab and this shows you everything that's in the scene.
So, for example, I have this Wood texture. If I double-click on it, you would actually bring up the Attribute Editor for that material and I can edit it. So, for example, I could go into the Color here. I can change the color of that texture and so on. Now if I want to go into the Photo, which is that photo in the picture frame, I could double-click on that, go in here, change the photo, and so on. I am going to go ahead and close this down so we can actually see a little bit better here. Now what you can do in Maya is actually apply these materials to really any object in the scene.
So, for example, let's just go ahead and create a simple cube. Right now, that has no texture on it, but I can right-click over one of the Materials in my Hypershade and do Assign Material To Selection. So when I do that it assigns that Wood texture to my box. This one texture is affecting both objects, so if I were to double-click on this and change the color, you can see how it changes on both the picture frame and the cube.
So this makes it easy to make a library of standard materials that you can use within scenes. Now there are additional tabs in the Hypershade. Probably the next most important one is for the textures themselves. So, for example, we have all of these different textures creating the surfaces in our scene, and I can actually go just directly to the textures, and double-click on those and manipulate those. And also like with materials where I can have one material affecting many objects, I can also do the same with textures. I can have, for example, one picture of a donut, but I can use it several different ways in several different materials.
Now there are some additional tabs here, most of which we will be using too much, but one is for Utilities, one is for the Lights in the scene, Cameras in the scene. So, for example, I could double-click and get into my Camera Attributes, that sort of thing, shading groups so on and so forth. Now along the bottom here we have what's called a Work Area. Now this is very similar to Connection view in Hypergraph, and what I can do is view the connections that make the material. So if I go to Materials and then right -click over the Photo material, I can graph that network and this shows me exactly how this particular material is comprised.
So I have a Photo node and I can actually double-click on this and get to that node, which is receiving its color information, in fact, if I hover over that little line there, it will tell me File1.outColor > Photo.color, so this is actually determining the color channel. And if I double-click on that I can see my file and I can also see how the file is mapped to that image, and we can do the same for my Wood texture. So I can right-click over this graph network and see how that material is created.
This is a really great way to see how your materials are constructed. And this really works well when you start getting things that are actually very complex. so you have you know Bump Maps and Transparencies and in a lot of different things feeding into other things. You can actually look at them here, but you can also author them here, so you can actually disconnect and reconnect all of your nodes within this Work Area. So those are some of the basics of the Hypershade window and I'd suggest that you start using it to manage your materials as you work in Maya.
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