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I know that Shader is a type of computer program that used for shading. And it looks like Material also define how model looks like. That means for me, that in Blender "Material" equal "Shader" (or not?) But if it so, why same thing named differently in different parts of interface:

enter image description here enter image description here

Is there a some inconsistency here, or this is a different things? Can I call it "Material nodes" and "Shader tab" or it will be wrong?

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    $\begingroup$ A material can be made of different shaders. Sahders define what happens to a light ray when it reaches a surface. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Mar 19 '19 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ So, shader is BSDF? $\endgroup$ – Crantisz Mar 19 '19 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ blender.stackexchange.com/questions/785/what-is-a-bsdf $\endgroup$ – user1853 Mar 19 '19 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ Can be a combination of different bsdf's as well. You can think of it as a description of the actual surface (or volume) when hit by any ray travelling through the scene @Crantisz $\endgroup$ – brockmann Mar 19 '19 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ No they are not $\endgroup$ – user1853 Mar 19 '19 at 22:51
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Answer from Brecht Van Lommel:

In Blender terminology material, light and world are datablocks that contain two things:

  • Shaders to describe the look.
  • Settings to control the quality.

Shaders can be mixed, grouped, and shared between datablocks.

The reason it’s not called the material editor is because you can also edit world, light and freestyle shaders there.

So materials define how object looks like, and have some additional material-specific settings. Shaders define object materials and also lights, world and freestyle as a part of each data-block.

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tl;dr: Shaders are an essential part of any material, but they are not the same.

Materials define the optical properties of an object. They define the object's color(s), reflectance, transparency, translucency and emission.

They can consist of

  • Textures
  • Shaders
  • Halo
  • Ray-Tracing
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  • $\begingroup$ Path(Ray)-Tracing is a technology shooting rays from the camera into the scene - definitely no part of the material itself, rather defining materials is part of path tracing :) $\endgroup$ – brockmann Mar 20 '19 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ @brockmann - No. Blender is capable of two different types of raytracing. The part that provides transparency is a per-material setting. Without this setting you won't get any transparency. So it is in fact primarily part of the material. $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set Mar 20 '19 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ In case the shader has any kind of transparency assigned to it, the ray is allowed travelling further through the volume of the object, that's it. I'm not really sure what you mean by "per material setting" and "different types of ray tracing" because as far as I know Bidirectional path tracing isn't implemented yet right? Probably we are talking about different things, I don't know. $\endgroup$ – brockmann Mar 20 '19 at 14:44

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