Now that we've looked at Textures and the different Material Channels we can start examining Shaders. Shaders often have multiple Material Properties, which means a single Shader can effect color, bump, reflection, and specularity all at the same time without having to be applied to each Channel separately. Shaders are usually applied to the Diffuse Channel. The actual Shaders files are kept in the Shaders folder in the main Electric Image folder. Let's look inside. As you can see there are several files. It actually takes two files to make a Shader: a Resource file indicated by the .rsc extension, and the Shader file, which has the .shd extension. When you assign the Shader you use the .shd version of the Shader pair. Back in Animator, let's pick a Shader and apply it to this sphere in our scene. Just click the Add button, just like you would for a Texture or Image file, and find the Shader folder. I'll choose a simple one to start with. Clouds is a good one. Click OK and it's applied to the model. Next, we'll double-click on the Shader to open the Texture Window. Let's look at the Projection tab first. Notice the lack of Tiling options in a Projection Map Type. These options don't apply to Shaders. Shaders are map-based, not image-based. Their position and repeating pattern, if any, are handled by the formula that's contained in the Shader itself. I do want to draw your attention to the 3D Scale values, however. For the most part, these should all match. Animator will pick a scale that it thinks best fits your model size, but the trick here again is to keep these values identical and let any Scale or Density changes be handled by the Shader's controls. That's not to say you can't stretch the Shader in any direction if you really want that effect. Rule of thumb, though, is let the Shader do most of the work. So, let's jump over to the Special tab, which of course, is where we find the Shader Controls. Click on the button Procedural to see them. Now we have our Simple Cloud Controls. Colors for the clouds in the sky can be changed as well as Density and Spread of the Cloud effect. The Density field is why we really don't need to mess around with the Scale values in the Projection tab. The higher the Density, the more clouds, like this. But now there seem to be a lot of small clouds. We can change the spread with the Cloud Range field; 0.8 is good. And now the clouds are more pervasive. Click OK, and we'll render a Snapshot. Let me turn on a cube in the project and we'll copy the material from the sphere and paste it onto the cube. The Material contains the Shader. Let's render a Snapshot again. And now you can see that the Cloud Shader works in all three dimensions. This is because it is a true 3D Shader. Not all of the Shaders work in 3D however. Let's add another Shader. This time I'll pick Hex Tile. This is a 2D Shader, which means it acts more like a plainer Texture Map. Let's render a Snapshot. You can see how the 2D Tiles stretch as they wrap around a 3D surface. Now if this had been a floor object it would appear fine. Some Shaders are 2D for obvious reasons, like the Shader's trying to emulate a real-world texture that's usually found on something flat. Other Shaders, like the anisotropic Shader are 2D because they simulate a directional light effect. More about that later. One more thing about Shaders with regard to Previews. The Previews you see in Animator, whether in the World View or the Texture Window, are very simple approximations of the Shader and don't really show changes you make, like in Density or Color. Let's open up the Cloud Shader again and make the sky color green. OK. See? No change in the Windows. Because Shaders can affect so many of the Material Channels at once and the Texture Previews can only display one texture per model, the Shader's real effects can only be seen when rendered, so be prepared to make a lot of Snapshots if you're testing modifications of the Shader. In the next few lessons we'll take a look at some of the Shaders El3ectric Image has to offer. Because there are so many, we'll only focus on some of the Shaders I feel are the most interesting or useful. There are also several third-party Shaders available. Check out Electric Image's website for more info about additional Shaders you can buy.
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