Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Did you know That Nodes and Noodles Can be Saved, Recycled and Shared?

Did you know that you can save your own nodes and noodles to reuse or share  with other OS builders.  I have created several node templates that I use everyday to save time and frustration.  Then all I need to do is thread my nodes with the maps I make on the fly, AO, Normal and Diffuse.  My key node is always fresnel that I noodle to the Glossy or Glass Shader so that I can ratchet it up or down depending on my lighting and desire.  I can also add other nodes or even groups to the layout.  I've shared my node groups with friends who want to experiment with them.  I  love to experiment with any node groups I am offered.

These are the steps to keeping and using/sharing node template groups.
You must be using Blender Cycles with a model ready to surface.  Activate Node Wrangler in Addons.
Part 1 Saving the group.
1.  Add your nodes and Set up your original node group.

2.  Select all nodes that you want to group and choose Make Group
3.  Change the name of the group and change the color to help you remember what it does. (N properties in the cycles window provide options for this process).  Be sure you change the name in the three applicable entry options).
4. Now save the Blender file with the node group to a folder where you keep your favorite Blender files for  reuse. Note:  a one cube model file works well (less bytes to store. 
5. The group can be opened in the window by tabbing in and out of the group.
Part 2.  Using the Group
6.  The next time you need to use the nodes navigate to File, Append, The folder where you stored the blender file that you saved and drill down through the Blender file to find the node tree and the group you made previously.
Be sure you are in Object Mode while you Import through the Append option.  
7. Navigate to Add, Group and you will see the node group listed now.
8.  Select the node group.  To use this node group you will need to unravel it by ungrouping it.
9.  Noodle the group to the output (delete the unnecessary diffuse node) and start working with it.  Most likely you will only need to thread your maps, change your mapping repetitions and adjust your shaders, but you can add or delete nodes as needed too.  Deleting nodes from a group is a lot less fuss than adding and resetting them.