PGmath
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How do texture coordinates work?
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45 votes

First, a little explanation of how texturing works. The process of applying a texture to a mesh is called UVW mapping. The result of UVW mapping an object is a set of UVW coordinates that define ...

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Stars background in cycles
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42 votes

First you need to jump over the the Node Editor view, then select Shader Nodes and World. Also make sure Use Nodes is checked. Then add a Noise Texture node and a Color Ramp node. Plug the Fac of ...

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how are the math node operations in cycles calculated?
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38 votes

Here is a list of the mathematical equivalents of each operation. Add: Out = Value1 + Value2. Subtract: Out = Value1 - Value2. Multiply: Out = Value1 * Value2. Divide: Out = Value1 / Value2. Sine: ...

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What is an empty?
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31 votes

An empty is an un-rendered, geometry-less point in space represented by a 3-dimensional symbol of some sort. There are 8 types of empties, each type differs only in its viewport symbol. The Image ...

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Making a curved tube thinner or thicker without scaling its overall size
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31 votes

Yes, in edit mode you can use Alt+S to scale along vertex normals instead of from the median point. So you can scale this... To this... To this... This also works for bezier curves as well, even ...

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What is Dot Product?
30 votes

The dot product is a way of multiplying two vectors that produces a scalar (i.e. real number) value. Geometric Definition The dot product of vectors $\vec{V}$ and $\vec{U}$ can be thought of as ...

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Control a property with no socket (color ramp swatch, etc) from a Group Node input?
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30 votes

As far as I know, I don't think it is possible to drive a Color Ramp or Mapping nodes from another socket (but I am not super experienced in drivers). However I have managed to re-create the color ...

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How to change font for text objects?
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26 votes

You can change the font used for a text object under the Object Data properties panel. Here you can specify different fonts for standard, bold, and italics; as well as various other typesetting ...

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Why is this environment texture image showing only a solid color in the 3D view, using Cycles?
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25 votes

That is because you are in orthographic view mode, toggle back to perspective mode with Numpad 5. Unless your camera is also set to orthographic you should always see the environment in camera view ...

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How to build a Shader for Anodized Aluminium
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23 votes

Here's what I have come up with. The shader consists of a little bit of diffuse mixed into some fairly rough gloss, with a smoother Fresnel gloss mixed in at the end. I also noticed that the gloss ...

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Bevel is not symmetrical
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23 votes

It seems your object has non-uniform scale. Apply the scale of the object with Ctrl+A > scale to fix this problem. Beveling with non-uniform scale: Applying the scale: Beveling after applying ...

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How to make a realistic snow material in Cycles?
22 votes

Here is what I have come up with: In a still shot the sparkles look kind of like fireflies, but when you animate the camera they look great! Here is the node setup: The base material is the diffuse ...

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How to make a 'rocky' material with procedural bump?
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22 votes

I was able to get something pretty close to what I think you are looking for using a voronoi texture. Here is my node setup (click to enlarge): Here is a close up of the nodes that make the holes (...

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Can someone explain the layer system?
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21 votes

Layers Layers are a way of splitting up and organizing the objects in your scene. In the 3D viewport. You can select the currently visible layers in the footer of the 3D view or under properties ...

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Texture Coordinate vs Geometry Node
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21 votes

The Generated and Position outputs each represent coordinate systems. These are often used as texture coordinates for procedural textures since they are 3-dimensional, though they can be useful for ...

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Halo particles don't render in Cycles
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19 votes

For Cycles to render something, it has to have some kind of geometry for the light to interact with. But particles are really just 0-dimensional points in space, by default they have no geometry. So ...

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How to place a .png texture with transparency over a material
18 votes

The image texture node has two outputs, the color data and the alpha (transparency channel) data of the image. The color data only holds the red, green, and blue of each pixel. So if you plug it ...

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How to properly use face smooth shading
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16 votes

You can use the Auto Smooth feature, found under object data properties panel > normals rollout. Auto smooth produces the same smoothing result as the edge split modifier (i.e. smooths across shallow-...

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Using image sequence of medical scans as volume data in cycles
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15 votes

If you don't want to use OSL as in lemon's answer I have created a method to do this using only Cycles nodes. (Remember OSL isn't supported on GPU.) The downside to my method is that it requires the ...

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How to make Shadows-Only Render
15 votes

While Shady Puck's answer covers making a true shadow-only render, here is my approach to creating this type of render using the Cycles Toon shader in combination with a shadow pass and some manual ...

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The anatomy of a Cycles render?
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15 votes

I can't provide explanations of all the steps, but I can explain a few and do some research of my own. BVH: BVH stands for Bounding Volume Hierarchy. It is a method of grouping up the parts of your ...

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Can fire be made stationary?
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15 votes

As long as you don't need the smoke to start animating again after it has stopped you can set the start and end frame for the bake to before the set animation frames start. Above I have set the start ...

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Why do normals exist?
14 votes

In addition to the other answers, normals are also used to create effects like bump mapping and smooth shading. (In Cycles) when a ray hits a face its reflection angle is calculated as if the face is ...

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How do you change camera safe area transparency?
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14 votes

This is called the passepartout. It can be changed or disabled (with the camera selected) under the Object Data properties panel > Display rollout. Note: the Amaranth Toolset addon adds a ...

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How can I bypass a node?
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14 votes

This is called Muting a node. You can mute or unmute a node by selecting it and pressing M. Muting a node will connect the inputs directly to the outputs according to datatype in the same way as ...

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How to make hair material different from the plane itself?
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14 votes

You can change the strand's material by adding another material slot in the materials pane, then go to particle settings panel > render rollout and select the new material in the material slot ...

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Realistic Aluminum Material In Cycles?
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13 votes

Here's my latest render. I'm not fully satisfied with it yet, but it's close. Here is the node setup: Click to enlarge. It's basically an Anisotropic shader with a little bit of straight gloss, ...

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How can I make a realistic cement shader with old/cracks/crumbling/paint chipping on top of a texture?
13 votes

Here is what I have been able to come up with: Here are the nodes: Click to enlarge. The shaders: The bare cement shader is just a mix of diffuse/glossy with a cement image texture controlling the ...

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How to curve just one face
13 votes

A different approach (than my other answer) would be to modify the mesh slightly so that you could perform a bevel operation. Beveling rounds off a corner, so you need a corner where you want the ...

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How to make an object emit light in Cycles?
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13 votes

To make an object emit light you use an emission shader. Go to the materials tab on the properties editor, then add a new material and change the shader from the default diffuse to emission.

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