Could be promising

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    Jeremy HillJeremy Hill

    Yossi, I do not choose to put “bella” in front of things in maya just for fun, it is because when we get out of our own environment and into a large shared environment like maya (same happens in rhino), we want to be a good citizen, since name collisions can come up, so you will see it as a common convention that a prefix (e.g. “ai” for arnold) is used.

    And we do have too-long discussions, agonizing over what to call things like “uber” — in that case, we do not choose it because we think it is cool, but because it is one of the more commonly-used names used to refer to the concept this material implements. The goal is for people to either have a preconceived notion of what it means, or failing that, to find google useful in learning about it.

    Andreas, I completely agree with you, and think I have talked earlier with you about the idea of creating a very simplified UI for bella, which is something I very much want to do. We are a small team and must choose very carefully where we put our efforts, which have largely been put toward building the foundation that makes it possible/efficient to build nice higher-level things like that. I could slap something together prematurely, but it would not likely be viable in the long run.


    this is what I mean for using simple name and preset approach (sorry having trouble uploading an image so trying again)


    hope it’s clear now

    Jeremy HillJeremy Hill

    Yes, I have considered something along those lines, and in fact I originated the concept you show in mw, it appeared first in the sketchup plugin, where it also included (mxed did not carry this over) the idea that you get to keep e.g. the color of a material, and the roughness, etc, even when switching types.

    But the first idea I tried in bella was providing various definite materials, thinking that people look in the list and say “oh, there’s glass, that’s what I want”. But this produces a lot of material types and that has its own cognitive burden, since you can get overwhelmed by the many types.

    I don’t know that either approach is necessarily better or worse, they both have their strengths & weaknesses, since some people will look at a multi-purpose material like you show, and say, oh now I have to click on every material in my material list to find out what mode it is using.


    Yossi – just my 2 cents on the naming stuff. In Rhino there is a very real possibility of getting confused about whether you are creating a new Rhino material, or a new Bella material (since the interface is governed by Rhino), so I really appreciate have the “Bella” in front. I can’t vouch for how things work in other plugins…!


    hmm…ok. yet still, if me, after more than 20 years of arch-viz, have to ask for help about creating a fabric material in my first few steps in a new render engines because I just don’t understand how…. it’s not because I’m a newbie but more likely, there’s a flaw in the renderer’s workflow. btw the wizard’s screenshot I’ve posted will create a new material but it’s structure is always the same whatever type it is, totally controlled by the parameters such as  BSDF layers, IOR, roughness etc. You don’t need to learn new stuff for each type. It’s always the same structure.


    Apart from GPU rendering issues and the odd “arch-viz” focus (what about “car-viz” and “furniture-viz”?), the great thing about the MS material wizard and material structure is that even the novice can translate the CMF intent by stacking layers, just like materials are observed in the real world (base substrate, top layer, maybe a coating), without nasty yet strangely fashionable “spaghetti node” approaches.

    Jeremy HillJeremy Hill

    Thanks for clarifying, Yossi, I scanned that too quickly and understood it as being equivalent to the same drop-down in mxed, which allows changing a material’s type at any time, with the UI changing to show params for the currently-chosen type.

    Andreas, after previous conversations along these lines, I began exploration for a new feature on the core materials, which will appear as a stack of materials, to overlay the current material. It’s a bit tricky, since those materials then also have the same stack, and so forth, but it looks doable, and can be done in a quite simple way, with each item in the stack just consisting of a material & opacity pair (with opacity controlled by scalar percentage or texture).

    Regarding node systems, the main reasons people use them — whether or not they are represented that way to the user — are just that they represent good software design (breaking functionality out into small, independent units, each with minimal knowledge of the world outside it), and provide powerful extensibility. I agree they are not very user-friendly, and have avoided creating a 2D node graph yet in bella (though this would be a fun type of development), in order to force myself to come up with user-friendly ways of dealing with them. Adding such a graph surface can tend to be used to shift all responsibility onto the user.

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