Material Setup

There are two main approaches to go about setting up a material in Autodesk Maya.

The older method is that of the "Hypershade" window. Essentially a node based material creation system it, unfortunately, lacks many of the modern UI elements of what you might expect from a node based system. It still works well enough and includes, by default, easy access to material types, procedural operations, and a bin for textures used in the current project.

Created more recently is a more modern node based view where the different input / output properties are plainly visible within the node and which don't require the opening of another window dialog to view.

The Hypershade window

The Hypershade window can be opened by selecting "Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade". By default it should display three main areas. A list of node types on the left (which can be searched through via the search box in the upper left), tabbed bins of materials and textures linked to in the project on top, and the work area in the lower right.

The thing that new users should try and keep in mind when using the Hypershade window is that the work area does not always display *All* the present materials. It displays the heirarchy that makes up whichever material you want it to. Should you clear the work area then all (attached) nodes will still be in effect and visible again by right clicking the material in the materials tab and selecting "Graph network".

Again, to display any of the materials shown in the Materials tab in the work area right click (and hold) on them and select "graph" network"

Just as with the main viewport you can use Alt-Middle Click to move around the view of the work area.

Using the Hypershade work area

To create a brand new material or node simply click the desired node in the node type list on the left. It should automatically create a new node within the work area (and within the material bin if it is a material type).

Right click and hold the small arrow in the lower right of a node icon (this is the "out" connection) and select the output property that you wish to connect to another node. Once you select one (by releasing the right mouse button over your choice) you can left click on the target node to choose an input property. Upon choosing you should now see a new line between the first node and second.

Sometimes the desired input node may not be shown in the context menu that appears when you click on the target node. In this case select "other" to bring up Maya's connection manager window. From here you can select the output node for the left pane, the input node for the right pane, and the connection you wish to make from the lists below them.

To delete a node connection simply click the node connection line itself and it should turn yellow to denote that it is selected. At this point simply pressing the "delete" key will remove the connection.

To clear the work area either right click and select "clear" under "graph" or hit the "Clear Graph" button in the toolbar of the hypershader.

You can also create / remove connections with the default connection window (brought up by "Window > General Editors > Connection Editor").

To add a material to an object in the scene simply select the object and then Right Click (and hold) on the chosen material. Select "Assign material to selected object" and the material will be attached to the object (and create a new attribute on the object accordingly).

The node connection window

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