Create shader nodes and connections in the Slate Material Editor in 3ds Max 2017
- [Voiceover] Now let's take a look at the Slate Material Editor. Go ahead and open that up. I can press the M key on the keyboard and we still have the Compact Material Editor loaded. So we can switch modes over to Slate and let's talk about all of the various interface elements here. On the left we have a material map browser, which allows us to select different types of materials and maps and create them. So these are all the options of things that we're able to create. In the center is a work area and this work area is, once again, kind of like a sandbox or a staging area for building materials and just because you see a node or a box here in this view does not mean that it exists in the scene.
Just because we got something in here doesn't mean we've actually placed it onto an object. And another thing about this is that just because we don't see something in here does not mean that it is not in the scene. In other words, I could actually delete everything from this view panel here and that will not change the state of materials in the scene. For example, I've got this white diffuse material that I previously created and it's actually assigned to everything in the scene except for these lights and in some programs if you selected one of these nodes and then just press delete, that would actually delete the material, but in 3ds Max that's not how it works and if you want to sort of clean up the view, then you will routinely go through and just delete everything that's there and that does not change the state of your scene.
Over on the right here of the Slate Material Editor we've got the parameters of the selected node and then we've also got a navigator here that let's us kind of see an overview of the entire panel. Let's create a material. Now we've previously created a standard material because that's what was loaded by default into the Compact Material Editor, but if you're using the ART renderer, then you'll want to take advantage of the physical material and this is all part of Push, the part of Autodesk, to move towards a so-called renderer agnostic workflow.
The idea is that we're going to define physical properties for material or a light and then each and every renderer will be able to hook into those properties and render the scene according to those physical parameters. The physical material's actually very cool. We're gonna take a look at that in a little bit more depth later. For now I'm just gonna take it and put it into the view section here. Just click and drag, move it over there, and now it's been created. We can zoom in with the mouse wheel and we can navigate with the middle mouse button.
You can see the navigator here is showing us where that node is relative to the canvas. If I dolly back we can see how that's affecting the navigator view. I don't actually use that navigator view 'cause I don't really need it. I need more space for the parameter editor. I can close that navigator view by just clicking on the X box here. If I ever need to get that back, then I can go into the Slate Material Editor menu and choose Tools and then unhide that navigator.
Okay cool. Now to see the parameters here in the parameter editor, we should double-click on the node and depending upon where you double-click, different things will happen. If you double-click here on the name, then it will load that material into the parameters. If you double-click on the little sample swatch here, then it will make that sample swatch bigger and that's pretty cool 'cause now we can see a better idea of what our material's going to look like. I want to make a dark brown material for the tabletop and with the physical material the way I'll accomplish that is by changing this base color and that is analogous to the diffuse color in a standard material.
Click on that base color swatch and then choose a color. Now notice with the physical material, we're not seeing numbers from zero to 255 over here. We're seeing numbers from zero to one, the minimum value is zero, the maximum value is one, and we have a lot more accuracy here than we did with a standard material. Remember I was saying we have problems when we get down to this lower value range because with the standard material we can only move in increments of one and that's one out of a possible number of 256.
We just don't have a lot of control with that standard material. But here with the physical material, we can actually type in values if we want that have a great deal of numerical or decimal precision. I can bring this value down to .001 if we want and that's almost totally black, but if I set it to .01, then we can see that's actually increased the brightness value. This is actually very, very important for these darker materials that we have that level of accuracy and again the physical material is really great so you can actually get that accuracy.
Okay so I want this to be a little bit brighter here, maybe a value of .1 and more saturation or maybe a value let's say of .05 and that's kind of a dark brown, that's pretty saturated. I can click OK, let's give this a name, the name of the material is listed here and I'll call it dining table and then I can assign that to the object. We can assign it using this button up here, we can assign it to the selected object. Okay so I've selected the dining table, but because it's in a group I've also selected the legs of the table.
Let me open up that group, then I can select that table and as I was going to say, I can assign the highlighted material, the one that's got the brackets around it, the broken line around it, I can click to assign material to selection or I can drag and drop. To drag and drop in the Slate Material Editor, you want to go to the output of the material, that's this little circle on the right-hand side, click and hold the mouse down and wait for a heartbeat 'cause it's kind of slow and then drag over to the object or objects and then release the mouse.
If I had multiple objects selected I would be prompted do you want to assign to all of the selected objects or just the one object. Cool, that's really the basics of the Slate Material Editor.
AuthorAaron F. Ross
Learn how to get around the 3ds Max interface and customize it to suit your production pipeline. Discover how to model different objects using splines, NURBS, polygons, subdivision surfaces, and tools such as Paint Deform. Then find out how to construct hierarchies, add cameras and lights to a scene, and animate with keyframes. Author Aaron F. Ross also takes an-depth look at materials and texture mapping as well as the rendering options in 3ds Max 2017, including the new Autodesk Raytracer (ART) renderer.
- Customizing and configuring the interface
- Selecting, duplicating, and editing objects
- Working with sub-objects in the modifier stack
- Performing polygonal and subdivision surface modeling
- Freeform modeling and sculpting
- Modeling with splines and NURBS
- Linking objects in hierarchies
- Framing shots with cameras
- Creating and editing keyframes
- Controlling lights and shadows
- Building materials
- Mapping textures
- Rendering sequences
Skill Level Intermediate
1. Getting Started
2. 3ds Max Interface
3. Manipulating Objects
4. Using the Modifier Stack
5. Spline Modeling
6. Polygon Modeling
7. Sub-Object Polygon Editing
8. Subdivision Surface Modeling
Baking subdivisions3m 27s
9. Freeform Modeling
11. Layout and Camera
12. Keyframe Animation
15. Mapping Textures
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