Thursday, July 12, 2007

Orientation: B2 in the Material Editor

Material Editor

Remember: when we get here, we already have Brazil 2.0 assigned as the current renderer and have turned off the Material Editor renderer lock. Review the previous section again if you need to get your environment set up before proceeding.

The Material Editor is where you set up, apply, and adjust the settings that define the surface of your objects. Brazil r/s supports 3ds Max compatible materials and textures as well as installing several new materials and textures that give access to Brazil r/s specific features.

Open the Material Editor

  1. From the Rendering menu, click Material Editor...
    The Material Editor Dialog opens. You navigate between different materials within the Material Editor by clicking on the different Sample Spheres shown in the top of the dialog.

Note: Please refer to the 3ds Max User Reference, "Material Editor, Materials and Maps" chapter for more information on the vast number of features and controls available within the material editor. The Material Editor makes extensive use of intuitive drag-and-drop, double-clicking, and tooltips, which can be a big help in quickly becoming familiar with material construction and design. For our purposes we will limit ourselves to a relatively small subset of features within the Material Editor.

Changing Materials and locating the Brazil2 Materials

  1. In the Material Editor Dialog, click the button that says, "Standard". This button is known within the 3ds Max documentation as the Type Button. This opens the Material/Map Browser Dialog.
    You use the Material/Map Browser Dialog to select new materials and textures for use in your scene. The materials that have names starting with " Brazil2" are Brazil r/s specific materials that will give you access to special Brazil r/s features.
  2. In the Material/Map Browser Dialog, double-click " Brazil2 Advanced Material"
    This creates a new Brazil Advanced Material that you can work with and assign to models in your scenes.
  3. Click the gray Swatch to the right of "Diffuse (Cs)" in the new material.
    Tip: "Diffuse" is a technical term for the color of an object. For example, if you were trying to model a piece of orange plastic, you would say, "the diffuse color of the object is orange."
  4. In the Color Selector Dialog, change the color to something like a bright red. The current Sample Sphere changes color to giving you a preview of what your current settings look like.
  5. Click the Type Button -- it is now displaying the text, "Brazil2 Advanced" -- to open the Material/Map Browser Dialog again.
  6. Double-click "Brazil2 Utility Material."
    This time you see the Replace Material Dialog. This happens because Brazil2 Utility Material can take another material as a sub-material -- the dialog is asking if you want to discard the Brazil2 Advanced Material that you started with, or if you wish to keep it as a sub-material in this new Brazil2 Utility Material.
  7. Click "OK" on the Replace Material Dialog to accept the default, "Keep old material" behavior.
    Note that the "Base" channel in the new Brazil2 Utility Material has your red Brazil2 Advanced Material already assigned to it.

Assigning Textures and locating the Brazil2 Textures

  1. In the Material Editor Dialog, click on the second sample sphere. Note that the interface below changes to show that you are now editing a *Standard Material"
  2. Open the Maps Rollout by clicking on the Rollout bar that says, "Maps."
  3. Click on Map Button to the right of "Diffuse Color".
    Note: the Material/Maps Browser Dialog opens, but this time it's showing you a list of Textures and Maps, not Materials. The new textures that are installed with Brazil r/s are listed with " Brazil2" in their names.
  4. Double-click to choose a Checker texture from the Materials/Maps Browser Dialog. Note that the sample sphere changes to show the colors of the new Checker texture map.
  5. Click the Go To Parent button in the Material Editor to get back to your standard material.
    Tip: In addition to the Go To Parent button, you can also use the Material/Map Navigator or the Material Name Field drop down list. It is always a good idea to rename your materials as you work to make future navigation easier.