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Mango: Materials Shaders Presets

Nicolò Zubbini from the Mango team shares his Cycles materials workflow.

Nicolò writes:

It’s about materials in cycles , shaders-preset nodegroups in particular , next videos will be more strictly about modelling and texturing , but i’m starting with this because .. it’s just such a cool topic : while setting up textures for the dome it was necessary to organize them in a way that lighting and shading artists could make sense of it , tweak it or rearrange the material for the final shot .

So i started using nodegroups for organization … But it’s more than just keeping the node-tree tidy and readable , it speeds up material creation , keeps things consistent and allows to refactor and do quick ‘global’ changes on materials.

It’s also a good starting point to just discuss best-practices for texturing and shading in Cycles, so i’m looking forward to comments , and the presets you see in this video could be expanded with more types and variants ( .. there’s quite a few threads on BlenderArtists i need to dig through :)



  • Brian Lockett

    The more people share their workflows with using Cycles, the happier I am.

  • Paul J Mason

    I love Cycles so much. Procedural texturing with Cycles is... I don't even know how to describe it.

    • Not_Me

      A headache?

      • DrBaronVonEvilSatan

        Depends on the user, I suppose

    • Kirill Poltavets

      Guys, is it possible that Cycles' procedural textures eats more speed on rendering (with GPU) than image textures? I didn't checked this yet but asking if somebody had some problems of this sort. I made some pretty complex texture trying to make some kind of soil (it's not looking natural but interesting though). There are a lot of math operations on different procedural textures so I'm guessing about them.

      • Matt Heimlich

        Of course it will take longer, it's computing the maths behind the texture on top of all of the render maths. The math behind some of the procedurals is deceptively complicated.

  • Nicolò Zubbini

    Ah procedural texturing/ shading . big topic !

    The reply could be endless : but 1st are we talking strictly or broadly ?

    Strictly procedural textures meaning "algorythms" , textures exclusively generated by math at rendertime :
    As Kirill Pltavets and Matt Heimlich are saying , yes can be problematic : math calculation time but also the resolution : it's said that the advantage of procedurals is that you get 'infinite resolution' right , but that might be an overkill .. in an engine like Cycles (not unbiased , but still very physical and 'brute-force' ) i had the impression -put very simply- that sometimes when Cycles samples a pixel it finds too much stuff going on in that point , and since afaik there's no filtering or AA at texture level , sometimes that makes procedurals and hi-res tileable bump textures a huge slowdown.

    I discussed this with Sebastian Koenig -for the early Bridge test for mango- and Andy -for the greeble and dome objects later-, but i don't have a clear technical answer yet , i'm really curious to know more.

    Broadly speaking ... "procedural shading" could be something else , probably 'procedural' is not the right term , but gives an idea of many tecniques aimed at making materials work on any object , with little or no custom paint and manual unwrapping.
    That includes blending tileable textures , using automated dirtmaps , vertex color paint and masks , etc..

    That is a life saver for many projects , and i used a lot of such tecniques for the dome, using also some developed by Kjartan Tysdal for the robot, his shaders also use quite a bit of such 'proceduralness' not many algorythm/noisemap afaik but tileables, ao-based dirtmap, blended-box-mapping , blending ops , masks and layers of color.

    Regarding my next videos , there won't be much of the 1st , but a lot of the 2nd , and it's a really exciting topic and a huge headache too :)

  • Christos Georgakas

    Damn it seems there are few of us that don't quite like/get cycles.I guess it needs time to be like the internal.Iam hoping for a material preset in the future or more material options!

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