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fullyAnimated
08-24-2009, 07:27 PM
Hi all,
I'm not a noob, but I have a noob question. Could someone explain the "Shading Group" node in Maya for me? The only time I've used it is when I've had to apply displacement maps to a shader, but the idea of it still eludes me. And if you could dumb it down for me, I'd really appreciate it. Is having one dependent on creating geometry (as in, each piece of geometry has a shading group node) or is it dependent on materials (as in, each material has a shading group node). Any and all advice on this is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

Domain101
08-26-2009, 12:28 AM
Basically, the "Shading Group" is every action taken by the renderer to display the final geometry. Since you can apply multiple types of shaders (such as Surface, Displacement, Volumetric, etc...) to a given object(s), the Shading Group holds all those connections for the renderer to take advantage of.

In Maya, when you assign a shader (such as a Blinn or Lambert) to an object, you're not actually assigning that shader. Maya created a Shading Group, attaches the Shading Group to your object, and then assigns the Blinn/Lambert as the Surface Shader for that Shading Group. Maya just tries to save you some time by automating the SG creation/linking process for you.

Depending on your object and shaders, you can apply many combinations. For example, a sphere with a semi-transparent Surface Shader can also take advantage of a Volumetric Shader to fill the interior void (like a drop of murky liquid), and a Displacement Shader to disrupt the perfectly spherical shape.

There are additional shader types that can be used as well to affect the output of the Alpha channel (Matte), and post-process shaders for things like Glow. The Shading Group keeps all those instructions for how to render an object together for the renderer to utilize.

Hope that helps!

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