Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Reference Cinema 4D Cinema 4D Prime Material Manager
Function available in CINEMA 4D Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio & BodyPaint 3D

Material Nodes

With the introduction of Cinema 4D Release 20, materials can also be made up of node-based networks. This offers hitherto unknown possibilities for creating materials.

A Node Material integrates almost seamlessly into the old material system. Many material channels no longer exist because nodes are based on a physically-correct concept (which is why, for example, the Environment channel no longer exists, which itself was a "cheap trick" that simulated real reflections), whereby other material tabs such as Basic, Illumination, Editor and Assign are still available.

This makes it possible for Node Materials to work with the usual renderers (primarily the Physical and Standard renderers; ProRender can only work with bitmaps baked by nodes (automatic) and OpenGL (see also Several tips about Node Materials)).

Everything you need to know about Node Materials can be found in the following sections.

General information about the node-based material system

The node-based material system introduced in Cinema 4D R20 is a universal material system that can be used alternatively to the standard or physical material systems. It can in particular be used to define complex material properties that cannot be realized using other material systems.

This is possible because the Nodes, among other things, evaluate information supplied by the render samples and integrate this information into the calculation of the material. The Node system also uses physically-based BSDF shading, which – comparable with a physical material – calculates diffuse shading using dispersed reflections.

The anacronym BSDF stands for Bidirectional Scattering Distribution Function – a method that emulates the physically correct transmission and reflection behavior of surfaces, i.e., reflections and transparencies are rendered realistically.

To make it easier to get started with the new material system, a Uber material, which can be created from the Material Manager’s Create menu, can be used which is based on nodes but makes many of the channels and options used by other material systems available.

When texturing a scene using a node-based materials, the following information is important:

Node Material Editor
Individual Assets