Poser 8 Revealed: Creating and Applying Materials - Part 2
Animating Material Attribute Values
The values with key icons can be animated. Clicking the key icon opens a pop-up menu where you can select to enable animation mode, view the Parameter Settings dialog box for the given attribute, or open the attribute’s animation graph. When animation mode is enabled, you can animate the parameter by selecting an animation frame and changing the parameter value. More on animating materials is covered in Chapter 13, “Animating Figures and Scenes.”
The material attribute key icon turns green when animation mode is enabled.
Creating New Material Nodes
There are several ways to create a new material node, such as clicking a Value Input, clicking the Shader Window’s pop-up menu, or right-clicking in the Shader Window. All of these methods open a pop-up menu that includes an option to Create New Node.
Figure 8-19 shows a newly created 3D Texture node called Marble. This new node includes several additional values and a Value Output icon in its upper-left corner.
Connecting Material Nodes
To the right of every value is a plug socket icon, known as a Value Input. Clicking this icon opens a pop-up menu where you can create and attach a new node. You can connect any two material nodes using the Value Input and Value Output nodes. To connect two nodes, simply drag from the Value Output to the Value Input or vice versa. When connected, a light blue line (or cord) is shown connecting the two nodes and the node with the Value Output controls the value of the node with the Value Input. For example, connecting a Marble output node to the root node’s Diffuse Color value makes the marble texture appear as part of the root material, as shown in Figure 8-20. You can disconnect nodes by clicking the Value Input icon and selecting Disconnect from the pop-up menu. Each Value Input and Value Output icon can be connected to multiple different nodes.
Copying and Pasting Nodes
The Shader Window pop-up menu (or by right-clicking in the Shader window) includes commands for deleting, cutting, copying, and pasting the selected nodes. The pasted nodes are given the same name as their original with a different number attached on the end.
Using Normal Maps
Earlier in this chapter we covered bump and displacement maps. Bump Maps are great for adding a small amount of texture to an object’s surface, and displacement maps actually alter the geometry, which is good for correct shadows, but they can take a long time to render. A third choice called a Normal Map is available in the Advanced panel.
Normal Maps are also textures, but they work with the lighting to make surface details appear by changing the surface normals. They don’t add a lot of overhead and can make trickier details more visible. To use a Normal Map, you simply need to connect an image map node to the Gradient Bump channel and then set the Gradient mode to either Normal Map (tangent space) or Normal Map (object space). The option to use depends on the process used to create the Normal Map.
New Poser 8 Feature
The ability to load and view Normal Maps is new to Poser 8.
Poser cannot be used to create Normal Maps, but can use Normal Maps created by another program.