Poser 8 Revealed: Creating and Applying Materials - Part 1
Using the Shader Window
The Shader Window, shown in Figure 8-2, is a large interface for creating and editing materials. The material displayed in the Shader Window is applied to the material group listed in the Material List at the top of the Shader Window. The Material List includes all the material groups for the object selected in the Object List. The Object List lets you select from the scene props, lights, the current figure, or the background or atmosphere. The top of the Shader Window also includes a help icon that opens the Room Help and a pop-up menu.
Using the Group Tool and the Group Editor palette, you can create your own material groups. This is covered later in the chapter.
Selecting Material Groups with the Material Select Tool
In addition to the Material List located at the top of the Shader Window, you can also select material groups using the Material Select Tool (which looks like an eyedropper) found among the Editing Tools buttons. When you drag this tool over the figure in the Document Window, the cursor looks like an eyedropper. Any material group that is selected automatically appears in the Material List and its material is displayed in the Shader Window.
Using the Simple Material Panel
The Shader Window is divided into two separate panels, each opened with the corresponding tab. The Simple Material panel includes the most basic materials and offers a quick and easy way to build and apply materials. The materials included on the Simple Material panel include Diffuse Color, Ambient, Highlight, Reflection, Bump, and Transparency along with all the controls to define and edit these properties. The panel also includes a Material Preview pane, which displays a rendered example of the designated material.
For some loaded materials viewed in the Simple panel, a small exclamation point icon is visible in the upper-right corner of the various properties. This icon indicates that some additional parameter values are available for this property that can only be accessed from within the Advanced panel.
Using the Advanced Material Panel
The Advanced Material panel, shown in Figure 8-3, includes panels known as nodes. Each node has many material properties and you can connect multiple nodes to create unique and diverse material types. In the top-right corner of each node are two icons that you can use to show or hide the material values and the preview pane.
Accessing the Wacros Palette
To the right side of the Shader Window is a side window control bar. Clicking this bar opens the Wacros palette, as shown in Figure 8-4. Wacros are scripted actions that you can access to help automate the building of advanced materials such as adding refraction and reflection to the current material and setting up toon rendering. Using the User Defined button, you can access custom created wacros. You create custom wacros by using PoserPython, a scripting language available within Poser. More on creating custom wacros is covered in Chapter 18, “Writing Python Scripts.”
If you have selected the OpenGL Display option for the Document Window, you can preview actual shader nodes within the preview window. This is a huge help because it lets you see your advanced materials without waiting for the image to be rendered. Some effects such as Bump Maps cannot be previewed.