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I decided to try my hand at making some procedural materials, as a more or less complete newb.

So: I create an object. I add a material. Now I would like to go into the node editor to edit that material. This seems like it should be simple - it's so simple the documentation doesn't even mention how to do it - but ... how do I do it?

Here's what the documentation says:

Accessing the Node Editor

First lets enter the Node editor and make sure that the Node editor has the material node button (sphere icon) pressed, not the composite or texture node buttons.

That's right! The documentation on how to access the node editor simply tells me that I should access the node editor. I must be a complete idiot for not knowing how. (The link doesn't help, it just tells me how to use the node editor once I have it open.)

Here's what the relevant part of my screen looks like:

enter image description here

The button marked "use nodes" looks promising, but if I press it I just get this:

enter image description here

No nodes, just a different set of widgets.

I imagine there's probably some keyboard shortcut for this, and/or some icon in some random other part of the screen that looks like it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the node editor. Could someone tell me what it is?

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah yes, a downvote. Because after all, I am a complete idiot for not knowing that a button shaped like a shiny sphere in a completely different part of the screen would have anything to do with a node editor. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Aug 19, 2023 at 8:56
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    $\begingroup$ I literally typed your question in google and already got a video that gave the basics of the shader node editor snipboard.io/9GUEmO.jpg :) $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ If you're using Blender 3.0 or later, there's a line of buttons at the top of the screen. Clicking the 'Shading ' one takes you to the shading layout with the shading area at the bottom. $\endgroup$
    – John Eason
    Aug 19, 2023 at 9:24
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    $\begingroup$ Looking back at the links in your question, you're also looking at the docs for Blender version 2.79 as you can see in the bottom left corner of the docs so it's not surprising that you're confused! Right-click on a widget in Blender and choosing 'Online Manual' should take you to the correct version. This is the Materials section for version 3.6. $\endgroup$
    – John Eason
    Aug 19, 2023 at 9:57
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    $\begingroup$ Considering the length of the question and screenshots I don't think it doesn't show research effort, apparently you had some bad luck in your research… Watching youtube videos about Blender is crucial, as without it you will easily miss many techniques that aren't intuitive (like being able to copy a value by hovering your mouse over it, and pressing CTRL+C, without any need to click). For example 'Blenderguru' explains a lot of such stuff in his tutorials. $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2023 at 11:12

2 Answers 2

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in every window in Blender, there is a button on the left upper side (it might be on bottom, if your setting is not default) and you can click on that. There you can see and change to any editor/setting you want. What you should choose is shader editor:

enter image description here

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To add to Chris' answer, I think since Blender 2.80, there are Workspaces in Blender. The Shading workspace is the prepared setup for working with shaders. You open it simply by clicking its tab in the interface on the very top of the window:

The documentation of Blender has its flaws, sometimes it contains factual errors, is misleading, omits important info, or isn't clear. You can edit it, but it requires using git, committing your changes there and doing the PR - Pull Request, which is harder than e.g. editing Wikipedia and might be one reason why the docs aren't exactly perfect.

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