Fundamentals of Blender Materials and Shading

Jonathan Lampel

Shading and materials are essential for every Blender artist

After you’ve created your 3D Blender models and added some lighting, the next step is to apply materials and create shaders or Blender Materials. 

Shading is one of the key pillars of computer graphics. 

Knowing how to do it well will improve every render you make, whether it’s realistic or stylized, whether you're making characters in blender or kit bashing models, working on hard surface modeling, most of the things you do in 3D will benefit from building great materials.

40+ lessons, 6 chapters, 1 challenging exercise

In this 40+ lesson course about the fundamentals of materials and shading, you’ll learn everything you need to know about creating materials. Bear in mind, we won't be doing any blender modeling or retopology, composting or blender animations, our focus is a deep dive on the subject at hand.

You'll also learn about all of the different shaders in Cycles and Eevee, the basics of how to add textures in Blender, the principles of physically based rendering which will make your materials more believable.

I'll show you how to avoid the most common shading pitfalls, the right workflows for rendering different types of material effects, and how to create your own custom Blender shaders that are super user friendly. Lighting in blender and UV unwrapping go hand in hand when working with materials, you can scroll down for links to further courses about these subjects.

You'll create realistic Blender materials...

...and stylized ones! 

A Final Challenge Awaits at the End

The whole course will come together in one challenging exercise: you will get a scene to shade and submit the final render.

I will review all submissions and grade them "pass" or "fail" in 3 different areas: realism, aesthetics, and effort.

Don't worry - we'll first do a few objects together to get you started.

More Blender Courses

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Fundamentals of Mesh Modeling

How can you start 3D modeling in Blender? This course will take you through all the essential mesh modeling workflows and useful Blender tools. Included is a mini-project for practice, plus a graded modeling exercise. 

Fundamentals of Lighting in Blender

In this course about the fundamentals of digital lighting, we’re going to look at how light works, how it’s simulated in Blender's Cycles and Eevee, and how you can use it to make your renders look amazing.

Get this course and 261 others by joining CG Cookie

Awarded upon completion:
100xp +
Course Curriculum
3 Reviews
  • RedRay Visuals ·

    I write this review as I am a little bit unsatisfied with this course. What I generally find very annoying when learning by myself from Youtube tutorials is that most of these video are just click journeys: click here and then click there, add this shader and change the value to XY and voila - here you have the desired effect. But not many Youtube tutorials actually teach WHY I choose shader XYZ and what the tweaking of the values actually does. The result is that I have a click-receipt to achieve a very specific effect but after that I don't know how I could apply these shaders and settings for other things. This is why I have booked CGCookies: I hoped to find better information and to be able to ask the tutor for more details when I have questions. Just to be clear: in general I think I find this with CGCookies!!!

    Unfortunately this course is - in my opinion - lacking some backgrounds as well. Most of the time the tutor rushes through the shader nodes, tweaking some settings now and then and saying "look, this has a cool effect" or "you can tweak this as you like". Usually nodes are added to the material without explaining BEFORE why they are actually added and what the tutor wants to achieve with them which is very difficult to follow and to understand. And sometimes important settings are not really explained: for example in the nearly last video "Create Materials and Shaders for a Scene" he describes how to make the clock emissive. In one second he says "I make the base color black" in the Principled BSDF and then directly he connects the image texture node to the emission socket. I missed the step with the black base color so I wondered why my clock is not showing anything just until I found out that the black base color is actually important to gain the emissive effect. There are several things like this in this course where I would have liked being more clearly informed WHEN one of the settings is important and WHY. 

    Don't get me wrong - this course explains shaders and materials quite good, it is a good overview on that topic and some related issues with the render engines and glass shaders. But many times I feel lost like I feel when learning on my own with Youtube tutorials because the course lacks a little bit of methodical and didactical structure, 

  • Martin Aversa(cgtin) ·

    What a great course! Another one of those that we all should watch. So so so many things to learn... and this is only the fundamentals hehe. 10/10 

  • Mister Hermit(hermitesque) ·

    So, I sort of knew how to make things, but my own stuff, it looked kind of ugly.  And I didn't know why.  I realized that I was totally overwhelmed with all the details of material and it felt like I was just sort of wiggling at the controls and hoping.

    There is so much information here and it took me quite a while to process it, but it helps you form a fully formed view of just how everything works in materials.  I cannot recommend it highly enough

In playlist: Road to HUMAN