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Textures Nodes

As an alternative to using the Texture Channels, Blender includes a node-based texture generation system which enables you to create textures by combining colors, patterns and other textures in much the same way that you combine Material Nodes.

You can use these textures wherever you can use regular textures: you can place them in texture channels, in material nodes, in particle systems, and even inside other textures.

A texture node system example.
Note
Node-based textures do not work for realtime display, they will only be visible in rendered images.


Nodes Concepts

Nodes

"Nodes" are individual blocks that perform a certain operation, and might have one or many different outputs.

Conceptually, there are three basic types of nodes:

  • Input Nodes
these nodes produce information, but do not have any inputs of their own.
Examples are: Render Layers, Value and RGB nodes.
  • Processing Nodes:
these nodes filter or transform their inputs, to produce one or more outputs.
Examples are: RGB Curves, Defocus,' and Vector Blur nodes.
  • Output Nodes:
these nodes consume their inputs to produce some kind of meaningful result.
Examples are: Composite node (which determines the final output used by Blender), Viewer (which displays the output of a socket), and File Output node.

Noodles

The essential idea of nodes is that you can create an arbitrarily-complex network of nodes, by connecting the outputs of one or more nodes to the inputs of one or more other nodes. Then, you can set appropriate parameters (as you see fit) for each node.

This network is called a "noodle" and it describes how information literally flows through to produce whatever result you want.

Node Groups

You can define node groups, and use those groups as they were a single node.

You can link and append these node groups from other files.

Using Texture Nodes

Opening a Node Editor.

To use texture nodes with the current texture, open a Node Editor window, set it to Texture mode by clicking the “Texture” icon in its header (Manual-Part-I-Interface-Context-Shading-Texture.png), and then click Use Nodes.

The default node setup will appear: a red-and-white checkerboard node connected to an Output named “Default”.

Next pages explain how to use the nodes editor and which type of nodes you can use.

Using Multiple Outputs

An example multi-output tree.
Selecting an output using Texture Channels.
Selecting an output using Material Nodes.

While other types of noodles are limited to only one Output node, for texture nodes, you can create as many Outputs as you like in your node setup.

Each texture that you define with Texture Nodes can have several outputs, which you can then use for different things. For example, you might want your texture to define both a diffuse (color) map and a normal map. To do this, you would:

  1. Add two Output nodes to the tree, and type new names into their Name text-boxes: e.g.Diffuse” for one and “Normal” for the other.
  2. In the Material sub-context for the material you want to use with the texture, add two Texture Channels. Map one to diffuse (Col), and the other to Normal. Set them both to your new texture.
  3. Underneath the texture picker in the texture channels panel, you’ll see a dropdown list with the names of your outputs. In the channel you mapped to Diffuse, pick “Diffuse”, and in the channel you mapped to Normal, pick “Normal”.

You can also use these named outputs if you've decided to define your material using Material Nodes. In this case, you probably won't be using Texture Channels. Instead, you'll insert Texture nodes into your Material Node tree using Add → Input → Texture. Then, inside the texture node that you've just added, you can select which output you want to use (e.g. Diffuse or Normal).

Setup examples


Dev-texnodes-3.png


Dev-texnodes-4.png


Dev-texnodes-fractal.png


See also

Development page