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    Jeremy Hill

    That knife cuts both ways, some people are more comfortable with a more abstract model, and some with a more concrete one.

    You were around since the early days, so you may remember when mw did not have the material model it ended up with. There were definite types, and it was one of the strongest points with people, which was lost with the introduction of the abstract mxm model, and then tried forever to recapture, with wizards, presets, extensions.

    Anyway the takeaway should be, I am listening to your input, and thinking hard about how to walk this tightrope, because though you say very definitely “from a user’s point of view” I can assure you from my experience dealing with thousands of emails, answering thousands of questions on the forum (even now, I still have the most posts of anyone on that forum), talking with hundreds of people at trade shows — there is not just one single point of view.


    yeah guess you’re right ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ll be glad to see a better material system that is easy to understand.

    one thing I know for sure – from talking with other friends who also use all sort of DCC apps, is that older approaches are considered outdated and hard to understand or work with.

    most would like to have a solid, deep library that covers 95% of their needs and some wizard ot even paid resources just to save the hassle of dealing with material creation. it’s considered almost as important as ready-made 3d models.


    Yossi, the world is infinite, any library merely scratches the surface, forget presets, learn to see the world and understand why it looks the way it does, then learn to build efficient materials.

    Eric, 2020.

    Seriously though, maxwell’s material editor is its greatest strength, you gain a lot by having one editor, one bsdf, that’s obvious.
    The wizards etc, were stop-gap measures introduced as a PR measure Imho before additve layering worked, the material workflow is so much easier now (that it is finished).


    uhhh yeah I know that…. but I don’t want to learn more and more and more, I need to save time and money for my clients and that’s why everything is better as a preset or as a simple workflow. I don’t want to know how to create a perfect leaf. I want it’s material ready-made and looking good ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I know how to create perfect floors or cladding as parts of my work demand me doing it. But if I have to struggle to get a simple bush looking good, it’s bad.


    Individual leaf textures should have a subtle influence. You’re better off using texture channels on the whole bush (or areas of the bush) to achieve most of the look, and each bush is different.

    You can see here that the way a material is built depends on the type of mapping, and also the maps you have / the way the geometry is built, this is one of the reasons the material editor should be a unified variable in this thought process…

    Anyway, there will always be super basic presets, which would include a couple of leaf types, with almost any renderer, you would hope.

    I can see that some customers just want advanced lighting and can live with a few material types (or at least that is their initial intention)


    I think you didn’t understand my point. I mean, I don’t plan on texturing bushes leaf by leaf but a process of changing a big library of trees, bushes, cars etc. without proper easy-to-use materials will avoid any user from using Bella. it’s nice to play in something new, yes – but if you want to work with it it must comply to some kind of a standard that is easy to understand and follow. as for now it’s impossible for me to create simple materials on a simple and fixed workflow, so how can I take a library made of 100’s of blocks and convert it ?!

    *edit* let me give an example: for now I’m using maxwell for maya. whenever I download a new object, say a tree: most of those are prepared for 3ds max with vray or corona or just a simple FBX. I already bought presets of leaves so I just change the textures to the correct one from the downloaded zip. I use the wizard to quickly create the bark material, and if there are some extras (flowers, fruits, whatever) I use the wizard and sometimes even a simple glossy plastic from the library. I don’t have to search around for nodes bumps or anything, it’s straight forward. that is not present in Bella for now and instead of 1 click material assignment and maybe a few more in the attributes of it, I don’t have a typical easy to follow structure in Bella. I tried a few times to convert simple interiors to Bella and every time it ends with frustration as it’s so hard to quickly create and assign materials.

    Jeremy Hill

    When you say it is hard to assign them, I find that a little confusing since assignment is not in the plugin’s control, so it works in the standard maya way.


    I’ll explain better: when using maxwell for maya, I select an object (with the select tool or through the hypershade’s materials if it’s a model I’ve imported and it has multiple materials on it’s faces), and click a shelf menu button that creates a maxwell material and automatically assigns it to the current selection. super easy. and the new materials opens up in the attribute editor on the right side and the layer structure with global parameters followed by ordered layers makes it real easy to understand what goes where without the need to drag and connect nodes, and it also has the options to pick one from the library or create a new one very easy. from what I tested by now, I need to create a new bella material that I have to know from the beginning what type it should be (and I don’t always know… sometimes I import a model that the material names are phong1000, phong 1001, etc…) , assign it to an object and then start to connect bump nodes to it. long process and not user friendly ๐Ÿ™

    Jeremy Hill

    Okay, so along with a more monolithic interface to materials, some custom shelf shortcut buttons for assignment. Apologies for not always knowing what you mean, I have never even seen the maxwell plugin, so thanks for elaborating.


    I’m sorry that I’m nagging but I’m really looking for a maxwell alternative ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m dying to see if Bella is the answer…

    Jeremy Hill

    No worries, I welcome & appreciate the input, and of course hope to make it that. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Small request, subtractive layers, esp useful for some dirt effects and for mapping wet / damp areas, like the effect you get after the first raindrops.

    Thanks for listening…, what I said before about having seperate editors for thin / opaque / transparent material-types, made no sense… because sometimes you have mapped areas of each type in one material.

    I should try to explain, sometimes I use a glossy additive layer with two weightmapped components, one is pure black and therefore invisible when mixed additively, one is white.
    The components are weightmapped with different channels, and a third channel is used for the layer (this setup is not so efficient). By arranging the channels so that they overlay like a box in 3D, I can map patchy gloss with a 3D noise pattern.

    I would like to do this also to create 3D dirt, but a good 3D procedural noise system would also work.

    I think subtractive layers would also be helpful in some cases. Quicker than weightmapping a darkened version of the whole material stack.

    Jeremy Hill

    We are discussing, trying to envision what you mean, and I think it will probably be necessary to see a concrete example, for us to be sure we understand it.

    My instinct at this point is to say, you are using this complicated approach to accomplish what may be nativelyย  possible in bella without workarounds, using a different methodology. Specifically, and we went to great lengths to make this happen, opacity is pervasive in how it is exposed in bella materials, and specifically in the blend material.

    That is, each material has its own global opacity, and then there is a second opacity applied to it when it is referenced in a blend material. I cannot say for sure, but it may be that you can accomplish what you want by making use of material opacity, blend material ordering, and the per-material opacity applied to each material in the blend.

    So if you can provide a concrete (but hopefully as simple as possible) example, along with maps, I’ll take a look and see if/how I would accomplish it in bella.


    If you imagine a weight-mapped additive layer mapped using a channel, which has 2 bsdfs, one is pure black so it is invisible in this case (it does not add) and one bsdf is lighter. Those bsdf’s are also weight-mapped in other channels, all mapped perpendicularly to each other so that the weightmaps intersect in 3D space.

    I will look for a simple example, It has been a while since I have used this.. It was pretty much a workaround for a 3D weightmap in object space. If Bella has a good 3D procedural noise system working in object space, that would be better. I just mentioned this trick as an example of how additive layers can be really useful workaround in a tight spot, and I think subtractive would also allow cunning tricks we haven’t thought of yet.

    I often use a multichannel additive approach to add topologically placed dust on dark carpaint, technically this should not be additive, but visually it looks great, and I get control over where the dust goes without needing any UV maps. (this only works well on geometry without overhangs)

    When I say subtractive, I am thinking about the behaviour of the multiply layer in Photoshop. I want to take an entire material stack and be able to tint the diffuse output.



    The water drops are using the technique I talked about, because the bush is animated just using 3D procedurals in object space would not be good enough, but using this hack I can keep the 3D noise tacked in place.

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