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When it comes to outputting serious, high-quality renders from our 3D application, one of the things we have to recognize very quickly is that a lot of the finished quality, a lot of the power, and functionality housed in our rendering engine of choice comes from the materials and maps that are written specifically for that engine. In fact, we can, without hesitation, say that all of today's high quality render engines, of both biased and unbiased varieties, would be nowhere near as appealing or convincing in their output if not for the engine-specific materials and maps they use.
V-Ray is, of course, no exception in this regard. In fact, if we come up to the Window Menu, and open up the Hypershade for ourselves -- so Rendering Editors > Hypershade -- and if we just come and filter in the text area by the word V-Ray, you can see we get a whole bunch of V-Ray nodes that become available to us. If you want to look at the V-Ray materials, just come over to this left-hand column under the Maya dropdown, and select Surface, and you can see a number of V-Ray materials.
If we want to have a look at 2D Textures, we can see the map types that are available, we have Environment Textures, Other Textures; as you can guess, a whole bunch of options are available when it comes to using materials and maps with V-Ray. Not that we will need to use every single V-Ray specific material and map on every project we undertake. As you'd probably expect, a few of these materials or maps are used on pretty much daily basis. They have a part to play in the finished quality of every project we work on. While some maps and materials are used a fair amount of the time, they will popup with reasonable regularity, but there are others that are pretty specialized in their application, and so they have a more limited, though powerful, role to play.
In this fifth chapter, we're going to focus on just one of these materials: the V-Ray material itself, because well, it is quite literally the Swiss Army Knife of material working V-Ray. And it is going to be the material that we will use to re-create the vast majority of surface types and surface properties that we will want to work with. Over the next few videos, we'll walk you through the major controls of the V-Ray material, showing you how they are used to create, not only surface properties for a number of different object types, but also how the component parts combine to create complex and realistic surface materials that massively enhance the quality of our final output.
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