The offer in procedural materials is booming, but the FX Nodes Addon is one from another realm. Let me explain that. Imagine you draw a square on a piece of paper. You can do a lot with the drawing or ink, but what if you cut, stretch, bend, deform and copy the paper. If you think about it for a moment, you will realize there are mind-boggling possibilities here. And this is how you will experience the FX Nodes.
As a creator of another procedural material nodes addon, I took a peek into the nodes. Here I found pure math and vector math that operates on the texture coordinates, the piece of paper. In the nodes, you will find not basic math but advanced math with all kinds of formulas, including the more exotic ones. These nodes are categorized in Mappings, Shapes, Utilities, Patterns, Fractals, and Text node. I will discuss the categories below.
In the Mapping Categorie, you’ll find 25 nodes that modify the mapping coordinates. Cut, bend stretch, and deform the paper let’s say. Here are a few interesting ones:
When you use the vector output you can make tiles like below. Here I plug the vector output of the Tiling node into a shape (Hexagon). You could also use procedural textures but tiling images would not be that special.
But when you use the Position Output you can pixelate shapes, patterns, and images. I used an image here so you can see the tiling effect well. The reason you see a repetition of the image is that I didn’t use a UV Texture coordinate.
Interesting is the half-tone node together with the halftone color node.
Radial Symmetry 2
Interesting here is to animate the values (go to a frame in the timeline and press i on the value in the node).
Loads of shapes in the Shapes Category. These are single mathematical shapes, but of course, you can make patterns of them. You can plug the output in nearly everything, from Mix Color RGB to Bump, Mix Shader, you name it.
Example – Astroid
Here is an example of the Astroid Node where I use it to make a metal sheet.
There are loads of shapes that you can tile, mix and combine in different ways. And you can plug them in nearly any socket. Here I used it to mix color, bump, and alpha.
There are a few very interesting nodes in the Utilities category: Blender Puddle Shader, Image Edge Detection, and Landscape Slope Vector (I didn’t try them all yet).
Blender Puddle Shader
Here is the Blender Puddle Shader in action:
In the Blender Puddle Shader, you just plug in the textures (pbr) like albedo/color, roughness, normal. And if a heightmap is provided you can use that, or a bump map. If there is no map you could try to derive it from another map with a color ramp. Wetness affects the soil, and Water Height the water level.
The landscape Slope Vector is very handy. Before I had to bake a slope texture but here we can just plug in the node.
One of my favorite categories is the Patterns one. With these nodes, we don’t need a shape and a tiling node for example, but just the pattern. Here is the list:
All these patterns are interesting and easy to use. I pick random examples.
Threads 2 Pattern
Example with the Threads 2 Pattern:
Another pattern example; Truchet.
Example of Mandelbrot Pattern
The last example is the Text Node. With this, you can work with text straight in the shader editor. Here is an example:
This was a short introduction to the FX Nodes. The library is that huge, that I can’t cover everything in one article. Also documenting the FX Nodes is not an easy task: it’s pure math behind it, and how you apply it is up to you. There are so many possibilities, that it is a matter of trying and maybe look at the above examples.
If you want to dive into the other realm of nodes, check out the FX Nodes on Gumroad.