How To Use The KeyShot 6 Material Graph

Those of you who've been keeping an eye on Luxion's KeyShot will know that the latest version, KeyShot 6 will be dropping soon, (late summer according to a recent webinar). And if you happened to see that webinar, you'll know there's tons of new features packed into the new release that will really allow KeyShooters to push their renderings further than ever. I was playing around with the Material Graph, which is one of those new features. It offers users a great deal of freedom when it comes to layering textures to get a desired result. This cuts down time spent in post-production, which should make plenty of people happy. 

I wanted to share how this feature works because it's powerful, but understandably, can appear intimidating to anyone who's unfamiliar with how a graph editor works. 

The above images was created entirely with KeyShot 6 (Beta)

Below is a screen shot of the KeyShot Material Graph. The way it works is by using inputs and outputs to organize what textures affect items. On the far right, you see 'Advanced', which represents the material type applied to the sphere above. I began by choosing Advanced for the material type on the sphere because it offers the greatest degree of customization. Next, I chose a rough texture to apply as a Bump, which gave the surface a bumpy, rutted appearance. Bump maps work by 'wrapping' a 2-d image around 3d geometry. The dark areas of the texture map appear as recessed and the light areas appear as raised areas. In the graph, this map is in the center column right above the Paint material.

I continued this process by adding the same texture map as a Specular, which basically told the raised areas of the texture to reflect more light. This results in a more realistic texture. Next, for the patchy appearance, I applied an image as a diffuse texture called 'rusty paint bump'. Diffuse refers to how light reflects off of a material or object. This determines how we see color.   

Above is the KeyShot Material Graph

Below, you can see the results of the material graph within KeyShot. The 'WG logo' you see is represented by the Paint material and the Color, Bump and Opacity maps on the far left of the Material Graph. To the left of the Material Graph, you can see the parameters that you're likely familiar with if you do or have worked with any past versions of KeyShot. Those paramaters still exist and that's where I make adjustments to the individual items in the Material Graph. 

Above is the a screenshot of my workspace and the material graph and its result on a sphere in KeyShot 6.

Below, I went ahead and turned off the textures that were applied to the sphere. You can see the result and how the material graph displays what textures and materials are active. The dashed gray lines show that those textures are applied, but currently not shown. This isolates the logo and you can use what I explained above to understand how the logo is applied and edited. KeyShot 6 supports the application of materials to labels for further customization. 

Above, I've turned off the texture maps applied to the sphere.

Hopefully this was helpful. This is the first post on my design blog. I enjoy writing articles about design and business, but wanted a blog to document my design exploration, tutorials and experiments. I'll gladly take requests if time permits it. 

If you found this helpful, please share it with others! I hope you're as excited for the release of KeyShot 6 as I am!