Materials are used to provide surface properties like color, opacity, reflective index, roughness, etc. to an object in Max.
The Material Editor is the interface with which you define, create, and apply materials. You can open the Material Editor by choosing “Rendering>Material Editor” menu command or by clicking the Material Editor button on the main toolbar. It has four small rendered spheres on the icon. You can also use the keyboard shortcut M.
Figure 5-1: Material Editor
Material Editor Controls
At the top of the default Material Editor window is a menu of options including Material, Navigation, Options, and Utilities. The menu commands found in these menus perform the same functions as the toolbar buttons, but the menus are often easier to find than the buttons with which you are unfamiliar.
Six sample slots that display a preview of some available materials come below the menus. Surrounding these slots are button icons for controlling the appearance of these sample slots and interacting with materials.
The button icons to the right and below the sample slots control how the materials appear in the editor.
The sample slots permit you to maintain and preview materials and maps. You can change the material by using the Material Editor controls, and you can apply the material to objects in the scene. The easiest way to do this is to drag the material from the sample slot to objects in viewports.
Twenty-four slots are available, but the default layout displays only six. You can access the other 18 slots using the scroll bars. You can also change the number of displayed slots. To change the number of slots, choose “Options>Cycle” Sample Slots (or press the X key), or right-click on any of the material slots and select 2×3, 3×5, or 4×6 from the pop-up menu.
Creating a Simple Material
The simplest material is based on the Standard material type, which is the default material type. Standard material type provides a single, uniform color determined by the Ambient, Diffuse, Specular, and Filter color swatches. Standard materials can use any one of several different shaders. Shaders are algorithms used to compute how the material should look, given its parameters.
Max includes several shader types. These shaders are available in a drop-down list in the Shader Basic Parameters rollout. Each shader type displays different options in its respective Basic Parameters rollout. Other available shaders include Anisotropic, Metal, Multi-Layer, Oren-Nayar-Blinn, Phong, Strauss, and Translucent Shader.
Figure 5-2: Shader Basic Parameters
The color is selected for the material. After the color is selected, the material is required to be applied on the object in our 3d scene. When you need to apply this material to a sphere shape in the viewport, you can do so by The Shader Basic Parameters rollout also includes several options for shading the material, including Wire, 2-Sided, Face Map, and Faceted.
Wire mode causes the model to appear as a wireframe model. The 2-Sided option makes the material appear on both sides of the face and is typically used in conjunction with the Wire option or with transparent materials. The Face Map mode applies maps to each single face on the object. Faceted ignores the smoothing between faces.
For creating a simple material, Blinn shader type is used.