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In this course, author Dan Ablan walks through the process of understanding the MODO workflow while learning to create 3D models and animations. The course teaches fundamental tasks, such as modeling polygons and applying materials with the Shader Tree, while exploring scene building in depth through advanced lighting, camera, and animation techniques. The course also covers MODO's schematic tools and shows how to render animations for various playback media.
When we talk about surfacing in 3D, often people say node-based shading, and modo's Shader is a layer-based shader. It's not node based. Node-based is more of a network. The layer-based is more similar to something you might find in Photoshop where you work with different layers. So to explain that, let me load up a model. And from the File menu, I'm going to say Open and then in Chapter 05 folder, we're going to load the Apple. Now if you don't have these exercise files--I'll press the A key to fit-- you can jump to the Layout tab and in the meshes that came with modo, you can find a similar Apple.
I'm going to open up the Render, and then you'll see the Apple surface right there. So what does this all mean? Well, when you see the little green with the red dot, that is the surface group, and when you open that up, you'll find three surface groups inside it. You don't need groups inside Groups, but in this case, we have multiple surfaces, or layers, that we're going to stack up to make the final surface. I'm going to jump to Items, and I'm going to make sure that my Apple layer is selected, so we can see it in OpenGL, and then back to the Shader Tree. So what's happening here is that we have our base material for the Apple, for the Leaf, and for the Stem, and as we've created projects, such as our fire extinguisher, we also built those materials. And we're going to load those shortly, and I'll show you how to put different surfaces on them.
But the layer-based shading works from the bottom up. So you can see the visibility icons here on the left. Let's close out to stem and the leaf, and I'm just going to turn those off for the time being and work just with our apple. And what's happening here is that we have a very simple green surface on the material. And you just want to think in these terms. You're going to say okay, well, I need a base color, and then from there, we're going to add a little texture and from there, we might add a little bump, and we might add a little noise. And you work your way up, and then modo looks at that and feeds it up to the Shader, which generates full shading, and feeds it to the Render engine, and when we press F9, we will get a render.
Now our camera is are not set up, so our apple is very tiny in the scene. So if we jump to a Camera view right here from Perspective and then press the A key, we can fit that to view. And this is what our camera will see when we render. So if we press F9 again, you'll see the camera draw this out. But we've turned out those other surface layers, so we don't see them rendered. So once the material is set--and you can see material right here on the right-hand side, the Material Reference that's the tab we're working with. We have Specular Amount, Specular Color, and this is the highlights.
This is the gloss, the roughness. We have just a very simple green and from there, we're layering up some noise. And how is that noise generated? Well, that's done here when we add a layer, and we're going to do that shortly on our own fire extinguisher. And then we're going to add an image map and this mage map is a picture of all this red noise on here. So we've get noise that messes up the green a little bit. It gives a little bit of distress. And then we've got a picture of this redness. And then we're adding a little bit more noise on top, which in turn gives us this nice little shaded apple that doesn't look so plain and so computer generated as just the base green would, because we've layered up those textures.
That then is its own material group. We can close that out. When we talk about the Leaf, we're doing the exact same thing. We're taking a base material, we're adding some specular color, so it's not so white, a little off white, adding a little noise, but we're setting the effect of this noise to a bump map, and we're going to talk about bump maps and how effective they are for fine details shortly. From there, we're adding an image, and you can see that it's an image right there. There is little ghosted label right next to it says Image, or it says Material. You can see right there.
That then feeds up into this material group, and that's our leaf. I will just rotate around, so you can see it. Zoom in a little bit. Press F9 so you can see. Okay, so we have a very nice leaf texture on there. And that's how the layers work, and of course, the same works with the stem. A little bit of texture, a little bit of color, and it's that simple; we're just layering everything up. The surfacing can get much more complex, because you can blend between them. You can create the different layer masks so that you can place a label on top of a bottle, for instance, or on top of a fire extinguisher, or on top of an apple if you'd like.
So the surfaces are wide ranging, going from the very simple material all the way up to very complex shading mixed with image maps. So when it comes to the Shader Tree in modo, the sky is your limit.
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