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So I'm wanting to create a laptop with a keyboard (obv) and I've got the brushed aluminium material I want to use as well as a texture with keys for the displacement of the physical keys and a mask to apply different materials to the plastic of the key rather than the aluminium of the rest of the body. So I want to apply a plastic material to keys according to white regions of an image and fall back to the aluminium for black parts. But as far as I know, there's no way to link materials into other materials. Essentially, the space between the keys should be aluminium.

Image of node setup for keyboard material

The Aluminium texture is just a principled BSDF following a matte aluminium look. In theory for the black regions of the mask, I could simply use a copied version of the node, but if I do that, then any changes to the original material would be noticable.

Thanks

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    $\begingroup$ Group the contents of the material, that you want to have in multiple locations, then insert the group. Changes to the group will be updated everywhere. $\endgroup$
    – Leander
    Jun 20, 2020 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Leander You want to post this as an answer so I can accept it? Cause it worked. Thanks so much $\endgroup$
    – J-Cake
    Jun 20, 2020 at 7:03
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, that's perfect. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – J-Cake
    Jun 20, 2020 at 12:11

1 Answer 1

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To use nodetree elements multiple time and have all update, when you change a single instance, use node groups.

Grouping nodes can simplify a node tree by allowing instancing and hiding parts of the tree. Both material and composite nodes can be grouped.
Conceptually, grouping nodes allows you to specify a set of nodes that you can treat as though it were “just one node”. Node groups are similar to functions in programming, they can be reused in many places in a node tree and can be customized by changing the “parameters” of the node group.

To make a group, select the nodes and press CtrlG.

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