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I've built a collection of nodes that show the material I want in material view, but renders ignore both the noise texture and the mixed colors. The render does show my height offset texture map. To clarify, I add the texture map to the noise so I can adjust the noise that otherwise generates the continents below. The elevation offset texture is also in the screenshot, and it appears to be what the render view is showing in plain blue.

I also have other texture for biomes, which generate the desert and forest regions, using mix nodes.

And actually, what I really want to do is bake the material result to a new texture (ideally without shading, but I do want normal maps and color, and to arbitrary new UVs). But that seems to go through render to do. If I can bake the material without going through render mode, that's okay for my current needs also.

But both "Why doesn't this render?" and "Can I put my material onto a texture straight from material view mode?" are both meaningful questions here. And I haven't been able to find answers.

I've got some nodes collapsed into groups here, sorry, but this shows the overview of what I'm doing, with material view at bottom left and render view to its right:

Blender screenshot with problem

The comment from @cegaton explains my main problem. Here's a partial solution to my problem:

Blender screenshot with partial solution

I now just need to find a node to mix the displayed shader output with the normal map.

Following advice from @cegaton again, I feed the height directly into the final Displacement, but then the material view (where I do the editing) no longer works (and note that the right-most Diffuse BSDF is unused both here and in the previous screenshot):

enter image description here

Anyway, at least I have an easy way to shift back and forth at this point (by switching the final feeds), so maybe that's what I have to go with for now, if there's no way to combine a shader input with a height map in a way that works for both material and render views ...

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    $\begingroup$ Have you 'debugged' this, viewing the outputs of each node and group as you proceed down your tree? .. can you confirm the output of each group is as expected when rendered in Cycles? Maybe that would help narrow it down? $\endgroup$ – Robin Betts Jun 19 '18 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ It's hard to understand what you are trying to do and what is happening in the node groups that you are using. The main problem I see is that you are trying to feed shader information as color which will only bring you errors. You shouldn't mix data types. Never plug yellow to green sockets. Read: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/33915/… and blender.stackexchange.com/questions/102520/… $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jun 19 '18 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton That seems to be my main problem. See my update above. Do you happen to know what node can mix in the normals? Diffuse BSDF can't do that because it has a yellow (RGB) input rather than a green (shader). $\endgroup$ – Tom Palmer Jun 20 '18 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ Again... it is impossible to guess what is going on in your node group, And I sill don't understand why you insist on feeding shader closure information as color (Green to Yellow) to a node that is not connected to anything. Get rid of that Diffuse BSD and plug in the bump information to the displacement of the material output node (or use it as vector in the corresponding shader node(s) that you want to have bump information. $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jun 20 '18 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ The right-most Diffuse BSDF was no longer in use. Sorry about having the input there. If I feed the height directly into final Displacement (skipping Bump), the render view works, but the material view becomes flat blue. I'm not sure how to please them both at the same time. (And all the hidden group outputs are exactly as expected at this point, by the way. It's just "how to merge shader and height" that's the issue right now. I guess I should make a simpler node graph to focus on that.) $\endgroup$ – Tom Palmer Jun 21 '18 at 2:02

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