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I'm not a beginner to 3d. However, the node editor seems confusing when creating materials. I like the way I can make materials in c4d.

My question is simple. What is the difference let's say between the way materials are created in blender vs other non-node based methods?

Also, am I overthinking that the node system is that hard to learn? Can someone post a video or article which explains how to for example create a plastic or glass or chrome etc., which shows the workflow?

By the way, I think Blender is a great piece of software. The only thing stopping me from switching to it completely is just that, nodes.

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  • $\begingroup$ You may already know this. This site is a quick answer site. All the experienced people here have seen videos. Videos are quite relevant for education today. Nevertheless .... Many people get put [on hold] for asking for a tutorial video and multiple questions and questions which might take a long time to answer. $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger Oct 6 '14 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps you can minimize your interaction with the materials node editor. It might useful to know if you have use Python or a visual programming environment before. Do you need elaborate materials at this time? Could you settle for simple materials without going into the node editor? Can you reuse existing materials from some catalog using them as black box ... as is .. resisting modification? $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger Oct 6 '14 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ You can use Blender internal and not use nodes at all. I do think that nodes are quite flexible, they take a bit to learn, but once you understand the logic behind them they can open a big door for creativity. I suggest you go to Andrew Price's website and try a few tutorials like this blenderguru.com/tutorials/the-secrets-of-realistic-texturing $\endgroup$ – cegaton Oct 6 '14 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ You can create simple materials, like the ones you mentioned, without the use of the node editor. However, as soon as you want something more complex you would need them anyway. Imagine nodes as a modular construction kit. Very powerful and flexible, because you can decide, how your material behaves instead of the developers giving you a limited set of options you can choose from. You can even mix it with OSL, which means, you don't even need to paint tileable textures(procedural) anymore . $\endgroup$ – user2859 Oct 6 '14 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Here we like to split up separate questions into multiple posts. That said, your other question might already be answered here: blender.stackexchange.com/q/5820/599 $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Oct 6 '14 at 18:25
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You can in theory create any material in the properties editor just as well as the node editor, but in practice the node editor is a lot easier and faster to work with once you get used to it.

Material nodes mostly work by mixing together different aspects of the way a surface interacts with light (shader nodes) and by mixing together different textures, whether they are 3D procedural textures or 2D image textures.

For instance you might mix some diffuse and glossy together based on fresnel node to make a simple ceramic shader:

enter image description here

Or you might use a procedural voronoi texture to add some displacement and make a kind of hammered copper shader:

enter image description here

The possibilities are pretty much endless.

I'd recommend you look around for some tutorials to get used to working with nodes. There are plenty on youtube and similar sites. Here are some others to get you started:

And the manual is a good a reference for information on specific nodes.

And of course you can always ask around here if you have more questions ;)

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