Do you find that you create the same cycles shader setups again and again?
Or perhaps you could do with a resource file to use as a starting point to build up some cool and complex shaders? If so, I’m hoping you’ll find this blend file of some use.
I’ve framed the typical shader creation into 5 prime elements…
- Weathering (grunge/ao and worn edges)
- Vector Mapping (distorting/blurring)
Having it presented open in frames and not hidden into node groups shows the transparency and hopefully helps from an educational point of view. Demonstrating the complexity or lack of complexity at play.
A quick caveat – this isn’t going to deal much with transparency or subsurface materials, this is mostly for surfaces like stone, metal, wood, plastic and so on.
DOWNLOAD BLEND :
Cycles Shader : Prime Elements
In this video I’ve broken down what’s going on in the file and how to use it.
In an upcoming tutorial we’ll try taking this setup for a test drive so to speak but until then I hope you enjoy the video breakdown of what’s going on here.
If you’re fairly new to cycles I’m hoping this will power you up quickly and give you access to your own useful set of quickstart frames.
Here’s the chapter list of what’s covered…
03:45 Vector Mapping
Here’s a birds eye view of the whole thing. Everything open and transparent so you can see exactly how complicated or uncomplicated it really is. Below we’ll zoom in on the most significant elements.
The Object Info node is all you really need here, that’s taking a ‘random’ output which generates a different number for each object between 0 and 1. That’s being added to the x, y and z axes of the vector coordinates.
VECTOR MAPPING DISTORTION/BLUR
Here’s a frame that we went over in more detail in the previous tutorial.
WEATHERING – AO GRUNGE/WORN EDGES
Very handy for using as masks for other textures, for example dirt in the crevices where the ao is most prevalent and scratches for those exposed edges. The downside here is that you’ll need to have the right sort of geometry and vertex color sets to make this work. However you could of course bake those out into textures instead and use those for trickier models.
To control the reflection we’re going to want to add some extra light at glancing edges to help give in this setup more weight to glossiness on those areas.
Thanks go out to the fantastic Kent Trammel for sharing this render speedup. The collapsed light path node is taking out an ‘is camera ray’ output socket. This means if the camera can see it directly then it’ll return a value ‘1’ which means it’ll use the shader that we’ve spent all our energies setting up. If it isn’t, so if it’s a glossy ray for example then it’ll use the holdout shader instead which basically spends 0 render energy and just outputs a black void. However, for very reflective shaders you’ll probably want to swap the holdout for the diffuse shader and set it to a color you’d like to represent as the reflection color. This will dramatically reduce on those fireflies but still get you the sense of color spill you’d expect.
I’ll give an example of this shader setup in use shortly. Please let me know if you develop it further and if you manage to make use of this in your shaders please show me the results!
Until next time! Aidy 🙂