This part of the tutorial will cover the basics of nodes and connecting nodes.
Setting Up The Interface
Now, you could just go to window>render editors>hypershade to open the hypershade in a new sub window inside of the Maya interface, but the reason we're not going to do this is because it takes up more screen space.
The way we're going to be doing it is, first, on the view port menu set, go to panels>panel>hypershade. We're not going to need the 3D view port. Now go to window>attributes editor. This way we can edit the attributes of the nodes.
The Hypershade Interface
Look at the image below; all the sections have been marked off.
1. The hypershade menu set.
The first two are toggle. The one on top lets you see the shader or texture preview, or a node's icon. The bottom one only shows the name of the node. Th next four allow you to change the size of the nodes in the display.
There a couple ways to create a node in the hypershade; The first one is, on the hypershade menu set, go to create>.. and select the category and then create the node you need.
First create a Lambert shader from the surface section of the create node side of the hypershade. Now go to the 2D texture section and create a ramp.
There are four different ways to connect the ramp shader to the color attribute of the Lambert. The first one is, using your middle mouse button, click on the ramp shader, hold and drag, release over the Lambert shader; a pop-up menu should come up, and select color. This will connect the ramp shader to the color attributes.
The second way is to do exactly as you did up above, only hold shift as you do it. Instead of a pop-up menu coming up, the connections editor will come up. The field on the left allows you to select the attribute that you want that you want to connect. The field on the right lets you select the attribute that you want it to connect to. For this, on the left select outcolor. On the right, select color.
The third way is to click and hold triangle on the right side of the ramp shader (this lists all of it's out values); this should open a small menu. Go to out color>out color. You'll notice that it also has the option to connect individual color channels (RGB). Now there should be a line from the shader to your courser. Click and hold over the Lambert. Another small menu should appear; go down to color and release.
The final way is to select the Lambert so now you'll see it in the attributes editor (assuming you still have it open). Middle mouse button click on the ramp shader in the hypershade work area and drag until you're over the color attribute in the attributes editor. The attribute that you're over will be outlined. Release and the connection will be made.
(This doesn't have to be a Lambert shader or a ramp shader. This is just used for an example. When you connect nodes it'll be the same way, except for different attributes).
Removing A Connection
As you can see, when a connections made a line is draw between the two nodes(stream). To delete a connection, select a line and hit delete on your keyboard.
Creating A Shader Network - Basic
This part of the tutorial will cover the basic nodes needed to create a shader network.
The Layered Texture Node
This is the backbone of all shader networks. This allows you to stack nodes on top of each other with a specific blending option. To add a new layer, simply click in a blank area inside the red boarder. To connect a node to a layer, middle mouse button drag the node that you want and drop it in the red outlined area. This will create a new layer. The layers color attribute will be connected to the nodes out value. To delete a layer, click on the X below the layer.
Step one - Select the layer then middle mouse button drag the ramp shader (middle mouse button shall be referred to as MMB). Drag it into red outlined area attributes editor. This will create a new layer with the ramp shader connected to the color attribute of the layer. Now delete the first layer that was already created by default. Now MMB drag the noise shader and add it to the right side of the ramp shader. This will make this layer below the ramp layer.
Step two - Select the ramp layer. Take a look at its blending mode option. What this does is allow us to decide how this layer will sit on top of our noise layer. By using different blending options, it will change the way the output of the layer looks. Try setting the layers blending mode to difference (sw only). You can now see the noise layer underneath the ramp layer.
Try going through all the different blending modes. If you come from an Adobe Photoshop or similar layer capable software, you may already recognize some of these options.
Now, to turn this into a real shader network, we need to create a shade to connect this texture to. Go to the surface section of the create Maya nodes side of the hypershade. Add a Lambert shader; it is relatively basic. Connect the Layered Texture to the color attribute of the Lambert (this is explained above). Now assign the Lambert to a model. If you don't know how to do this, see the chapter below.
(Optional) How To Assign A Shader To A Model
This is in case you don't know how to assign a shader to a model. Since this doesn't have anything to do with this tutorial, we'll make this simple.
Viewing a shader network
Now, back to our tutorial. Let's say you want to see a specific shaders shader network. To do this, right click on the shader in the top or lower half of the hypershade ( a pop-up should come up) and select "graph network". Even if you can already see all the nodes of the shader this will automatically organize it. This can be quite helpful when dealing with a lot of nodes.
End Of Part 1
Part two will cover creating a more advanced material and using the samplerinfo node.