Join Steve Nelle for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Slate material editor , part of 3ds Max 2011 New Features.
With its 2011 release, 3ds Max has dramatically revamped the way complex materials can be constructed, with the introduction of the brand new Slate Material Editor. The Slate Editor works off a node- based paradigm, where different srface attributes are wired into a material using a standard drag and drop technique. Now, for you veteran Max users who are right about now thinking, hey, what about my old Material Editor? Well, don't worry. It's still there. Its been renamed to the Compact Material Editor, but it's still as functional as its ever been. Its just been given now a new big brother.
Let's take a look at how things work. The Material toolbar icon has now been reconfigured as a fly-out, with two options available, instead of how it's been in the past with just one. If you hold down on the icon, the top button is the old Compact Editor, while the bottom button is the new Slate Editor. Once one of the two interfaces has been opened, you can easily switch from one of the other using the Modes pull-down menu at the upper left-hand corner of the interface. Now, as a general rule of thumb, the Slate interface is going to be a little more versatile when you're designing materials.
While the Compact interface will maybe be a little more convenient when you're applying what you've built, or when you just want to make maybe up few minor tweaks to a skin. By the way, the M shortcut key still works. When pressed, it will just open the Editor that was most recently used. So if you were last working in the Slate Editor, typing M will open that, and if you were last in the Compact interface, M would open it. As far as the layout of the Slate window, the Editor is divided into three primary areas. On the left-hand side you have your Material Map Browser.
In an essence it is where you go to browse for a particular material on a map. When you find what you want to work on, you just drag it to the middle. We'll be looking at how it all works in more detail in the next video. The middle area of the interface holds what is referred to as the View or View window. This is where you'll be building or wiring your Shader together. It will be the maps from the browser that you drag onto your base material that will determine the overall look of the skin that you're creating. Over on the right, in addition to the Navigator, which gives you control over moving and navigating the window, you have the Parameter Editor, which lists the controls and settings that can be added on a material.
Now, this area should look a little more familiar, as it's basically organized like the older version of the Material Editor, having all the same controls and in the same basic layout. You also have your pull-down menu of options up in the top left corner. And directly below that, the toolbar, which offers the most important functions carried over from the Compact Editor. Retrieving materials, applying materials, showing the maps in the viewports, stuff like that. So that's the basic interface. Now, in the next couple of videos, we'll start taking a closer look at how it all ties together.
- Using Caddies
- Slate Material Editor Overview
- Building a node-based shader
- Understanding the CAT (Character Animation Tools) plug-in
- Building and animating CATRigs
- Using the Viewport Canvas
- Rendering with the Quicksilver Hardware renderer
- Using the SketchUp importer