Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] In this week's Blender's Tips, Tricks, and Techniques, we're going to talk about how to make a wood floor using cycles nodes, plus we're going to look at a new add-on, the node wrangler. Let's turn it on real quick by going to File, User Preferences, clicking on Add-Ons. Type in Node Wrangler. Click this checkbox, and then click on Hotkey List. And if you scroll through all of this, you can see some amazing shortcuts that the node wrangler will add so that while you're inside the node editor, you can do things a lot faster.
Click Save User Settings, and exit out. And let's switch this to Cycles Render, kill this cube, and kill this lamp. Now I'm going to add a plane, with Shift A. Plane, scale it up, Shift A again, monkey. Bring him up, rotate him a little, scale. There you go, so he's intersecting a little. Next, Shift A, go to Lamp, and add a sun, and let's make sure that this sun is pointing in this direction.
And then I'm going to come over here to this little menu, middle mouse drag until I see this little sun icon, and I'm going to kick up the strength to about three. I'm going to middle mouse back over, click on this camera, hide dimensions and output, go to Sampling, and change this to 16. That way, Blender will render a little quicker. All right, now I can click on this plane, drag this up over here, and go to the Node Editor.
Make a new material, hit N to give us some real estate, and right-click here and go to Maximize Area. So we have the maximum amount of view space. Now, this node setup will be fairly complicated, but I'll do my best to explain it as we're making it. First, let's hit Shift A, click on Search, and type in Texture Coordinate. If our object has no UVs, Texture Coordinate will generate them on the fly. Next, Shift A, search, and add a mapping node.
Mapping will let us manipulate these UVs. And then let's add a noise texture. I'll put that right here for now. Let's add a brick texture. And let's add a math. Okay, now this is getting pretty complicated pretty fast, so let's connect a few things. I'm going to click this little purple noodle, connect it here. Connect these two here. Noise is going to be our grain in the future.
This brick texture down here will generate the grout between the wood and generate the panels, so let's go to vector vector. Now over here, I want to connect the color to the value, and I want to make this a multiply, so click on Add and go to Multiply. Now for the next set, I want to hit Shift A and go to Combine XYZ, so I can flatten everything to just the X axis.
Next, I want to add an interesting node, Vector Math. So let's add that in here and duplicate it with Shift D, and I'm going to drag the factor down into the first area here, and then I'm going to drag this vector down over here. Now, let's come back over here and connect my texture coordinates to this first vector math. That way the coordinates are aware of where the object is at.
Combine XYZ, we're going to put it down here at the bottom. There we go. Next we're going to add one of my favorite nodes, the Voronoi texture. Always gives you a cool cell kind of color pattern. So let's go to vector to vector. Then we're going to add a mix RGB, not a mix shader, but a mix RGB. Let's add two color ramps. One will actually be the color of the wood, the other, down here, Shift D, will be the glossiness.
We'll add a hue and saturation, so that way we can take some of that color information and pump it into our glossy as well. In fact, let's make a glossy really quick, and let's make it diffuse. A mix shader, put it right here, and finally a material output. Okay, now let's connect this next section. Voronoi, we're going to connect the color to the first color of our mix.
That way we get the color correctly. We're going to take this factor and pump it into my glossies color ramp. On this mix right here, I'm going to take the color and pump it into factor. Then I'm going to go over here, color to color. And color, again, to diffuse. Color in this case goes to roughness to determine how glossy that area is or isn't. And then I'm going to go over here and take this hue saturation and pump it into color itself.
Finally, I'm going to take these two and connect them to my shader, and to my material output. And the last thing, we can play with this when we're in there, but I'm going to switch this to cells, because that's what I want, I want a Voronoi cell. Don't worry, we'll preview it here in a second. Now let's go to Tile Area down here at the header. We're going to zoom out, and we're going to go to Render. Now, on first glance, this looks nothing like a wood floor.
Actually, it looks a bit like a concrete floor. But don't worry, we're able to adjust all of these things. Let's start with this top color ramp. I'm going to zoom into it, I'm going to click this little black one, right here, and make this a bit of a lighter wood. I'm going to come over here. All right. Maybe it's a little too bright, but there we go.
Now let's come over here to our mapping. Now that we have the color about right, why does everything seem so, well, not like wood? Well, let's stretch out our patterns here a little bit. There we go, that's going to stretch out everything just a bit. We can add more detail to our noise, so there's more subtlety in it. In fact, I'll just go all the way. And for this actual pattern of the wood grain, well, I think I want something a lot wider. Like real wooden slats.
Now you know what? Something seems to be missing. Aha, it simply is mixing in this final color. So take this brick texture, attach it to color two, and bam, now we're starting to layer that nice little wood grain, like, mortar between everything. You see that? If you actually go to this hue saturation node, you can actually play with the glossiness level or the shininess of everything, so I'm actually going to kick it up a little bit.
You could go real crazy and actually add a bit of a tint to it, too, but I'm just going to keep it at .5 for now. And remember when I was talking about the Voronoi and I said cells? Well, if you switch to intensity, you can get more of this dry, darker-ish wood. But I really like cells. I feel like that makes it feel a little bit more like newer, cleaner wood. And here we are. We've made ourselves a nice wooden floor.
Of course, we can play with all of these settings and really, really finesse them, but I want to show you one more thing, and that is the power of the node wrangler. Now, like I said earlier, these are all very complicated nodes that can really confuse you at first. So what do they all do? Well, if you hold down Control Shift, you can click on any node and it will render out a quick preview of what that node is actually doing. So if I click on, for example, my vector math, you can see that I'm adding the object's UVs and this noise and creating this cool pattern.
The second vector math adds that nice mortarboard floor look to it, which if I go to brick texture you can see exactly what that looks like. So Control Shift click again, and you can start to just work your way down each and every one of these nodes. Let's go to Voronoi. Whoa, isn't that cool? You can go to intensity, but I personally think cells is a lot better. Mix is going to start putting all of these things together, Color Ramp is where you actually add your color.
So if you wanted to adjust this, you definitely can. This down here, this specifies the shininess of everything. Now, this is really interesting. I can drag this little black area here and you can start to see how it'll affect the shininess of this entire piece. Let's go to Mix Shader. And you can see how, if I drag it all the way over, it almost looks like one of those nice wet floors. If I drag it all the way over here, it kind of loses some of that wetness.
I can come over to Hue Saturation, Control Shift click on it, I can see what it's doing. So I'm going to filter between these two. Glossy, diffuse, and then finally, let's add it all together and make a mix shader. And of course I can play with the values and see what more I can get out of this. And there you have it. You've made an awesome wooden floor for your monkey to stand on. Good job! Now, I know this is one of the most complicated node structures we've ever made, but don't worry.
Using the Node Wrangler add-on, you can Control Shift click through each one of these and see what they do. Now why don't you get in there and see what interesting things you can do with your newfound material and wooden floor? Until next time, this is David, for Blender's Tips, Tricks, and Techniques.
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