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Shader Tree Essentials

Shader Tree Essentials

Shader Tree Essentials training video

Video tutorial for MODO 401

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Retail Price: $35.00


If you use MODO for rendering, any time you put into learning the power of the Shader Tree is well spent. In this three segment video tutorial series, we delve into the Shader Tree while creating three beauty shots.

Each of the three images created in these instructional videos present their own challenges but they all share one thing – each makes extensive use of the Shader Tree in MODO 401. Working with supplied models and images, the videos will guide you through the thought processes and mechanics of increasing the visual sophistication of the final image in a step-by-step fashion. By watching and listening to Ryan explain his expert approach to getting the most out of the Shader Tree, each of the three supplied videos will deepen your knowledge of this critical part of MODO.

The videos are narrated in English and are most appropriate for people with some MODO experience. If you are new to MODO’s Shader Tree system, this free video will provide you with a basic overview.

This tutorial was developed for MODO 401. Users of later versions of MODO will find the tutorial useful, but will have to adapt some instructions to new techniques found in more recent versions of MODO.


Detailed descriptions of video tutorial segments


Video segment 1

Game controller product shot

This first video segment guides you through the creation of a final product shot from a supplied model. The almost stark white on white scene makes every tweak and nuance of the final “beauty pass” image highly visible. The approach in this video is to simulate (to some extent) studio lighting techniques and to use Photoshop to perform image post-processing on separate render outputs.

Topics covered include:

Lighting a scene with luminous polygons
Environment and camera settings to “sell it”
Adding and duplicating materials
Instancing materials
Controlling highlights
Blurry reflections
Subsurface scattering
Visibility settings
Use of image maps in lieu of modeling
Subsurface scattering
Gamma correction
Ambient occlusion to add edge detail
Preview renderer


Video segment 2

Notebook computer product shot

This second video segment is a step-by-step creation of a final product shot from a pre-built model of a notebook computer. Particularly challenging areas are creating the brushed aluminum material, achieving a realistic screen reflection, and making the keys “pop” in the scene.

Topics covered include:

Shader Tree organization
Multiple environments
Control over reflection
Use of light probe
Leveraging render outputs in Photoshop (e.g. colorization)
Global illumination
Anti-aliasing settings
Shadow Catcher to capture ground shadows
Adding directional lights
Render region
Noise elimination via render settings
Gamma control


Video segment 3

Riverbed nature scene

In this third segment, we present a natural, organic setting as the setting. The scene is depicted at early morning, with nearly still water running down the stream and a colored mist rising from the wet ground. Scene complexity is radically increased at render time via the extensive use of MODO replicators for rocks and leaves.

Topics covered include:

Physically-based sunlight as environment
Shadow parameter adjustment
Boundary box mode to maintain interactivity
Group and layer masks
Extensive use of image maps across scene with tiling
Creating water
Using gradients and weight maps to drive where rocks are replicated on streambed
Achieving mossy looks on rocks
Stencil maps
Subsurface scattering
Gamma correction
Instance replicators
Mist effect via volumetric lighting

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