Basic Shader Types in Autodesk Maya

Materials allow us to define the visual characteristics of our objects. They can be bumpy, smooth or reflective, shiny, rough etc…

To assign a new material:

  1. Select the object (or objects)
  2. Change the dropdown in the top left to ‘Rendering’ (From ‘Modelling’, dropdown located under the ‘file, edit, Create’ top main menu)
  3. Open the ‘Lighting/Shading’ menu in the main menu
  4. Select ‘Assign new material’ (Assign new material dialog will open)
  5. You can narrow down the materials in this dialog using the left column, the Maya volumetric and surface materials are supported by the built in Maya renderer.
  6. Likewise there are also some Arnold specific materials
  7. Popular materials are Phong, Phong E and Blinn (Check these out)

To assign from the Rendering tab in the shelf

Lambert (Matte)

  1. Select the object (or objects)
  2. Click on the ‘Lambert Material’ button (Looks like a matte grey ball)
  3. Once clicked, the attribute editor will open
  4. The attribute editor will contain a node for the new lambert material (this wont be called ‘lambert1’, why?… Because lambert1 is the default material in maya, and you don’t want to change that)
  5. The Common Material Attributes section allows you to select:
    – Colour
    – Transparency (The object will also become transparent, not just the surface colour)
    – Ambient Colour (Glow of object)
    – Incandescence (The emission of light)

Blinn (Shiny)

  1. Applied using the same steps as above but selecting the Blinn material option
  2. There is an additional section in the attribute editor, this is called Specular Shading
  3. Blinn materials are shiny by default, whereas Lamberts are Matte

Phong E (Shiny)

  1. Applied using the same steps as above but selecting the Blinn material option

Anisotropic (Angular Shiny)

  1. Applied using the same steps as above but selecting the Blinn material option
  2. The reflections are angular
  3. You can change the angle, spread, roughness of the reflection