For a while now, I've been using the emission node to create shadeless materials and textures: that way, no matter what the lighting or environment is like, the appearance of the material does not change.

However, is it possible to create a shadeless material that is affected by lighting?

For example, I have a shadeless object with a texture using the emission node. I want the environment/lighting surrounding the object to affect the object's "tint" or "color," just like any other type of material, but in this case it's shadeless.

Thank you!

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    $\begingroup$ There is no way to make shadeless shader receive lighting - if it did, it would not be shadeless anymore. There is however a way to tweak a shadeless shader based on almost anything - through drivers and driving it's node values. So you can drive the material texture tint based off the light's color. Or if you are using the game engine mix in the real-time generated reflection map. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Oct 8 '16 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, thank you very much for the answer, @Jerryno ! $\endgroup$ – FlyingSquid Oct 8 '16 at 19:46

What you describe is not a shadeless material.

You can try and mix an Emission shader with another non emitting shaders like Diffuse or Glossy shader, giving you a blend between shadelessness and light interaction with your scene.

Just connect a Shader Mix node input sockets to different combinations of emission/diffuse/glossy and try them yourself.

Alternatively look into an Ambient Occlusion shader node. It doesn't react to scene light, instead being self shadowed by other geometry only. If correctly setup with a low distance value it can simulate shadelessness to a certain extent while keeping proximity shadows.

One final note, if you are not looking for photo realism and instead rendering lost of NPR stylized stuff Cycles, being a physically based render engine, may not be the most indicated for you. There are other faster less resource hungry engines out there that may be better suited for your work, like Blender Internal or even simply the OpenGL viewport.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for your response! I'll definitely experiment with mixing shaders or using the Ambient Occlusion shader node, and I'll see what kinds of results are yielded. $\endgroup$ – FlyingSquid Oct 13 '16 at 4:03

Depending on the engine you're using (blender render, in my case), you can create a diffuse material, apply it to your mesh, and change the "Translucency" parameter under the Shading section all the way to 1.

It should make a material that appears shadeless AND is affected by lamps and lighting.

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