With the Layer Painter addon we can make complex materials without using the Node-Editor. Because many users are not familiar with the node editor, and the node editor doesn’t give a clear overview, this add-on is very useful. Especially handy when you want to mix textures from different materials.
How does the Add-on work?
At the background, this add-on for Blender is quite complex; The developer seems very knowledgeable in coding and shaders. And because users are asking for a tutorial and the developer doesn’t have all the time, I decided to make a tutorial. Below a video for those who can or prefer to watch a video.
In case you cannot watch the video, I give a few tips here below, but typing out the whole video would make the article to big. Besides that there is extensive documentation already made by the developer. So below the tips:
Think always in order of Layers, then Channels. That is where you want to perform an action. Then decide what you want to do there: Masks, Filters of Vector FX.
Mind that a materials can have several Layers. And each layer can have several channels. For example you have two sets of textures: sand and Grass. For each of these sets you downloaded the albedo, roughness and normal maps. These are the channels of a material.
So let’s say you have a Sand layer and a Grass layer. Now you can add a mask on the albedo channel (or full layer) so you see the grass at some places instead it covers all of the sand. This mask can be anything like: Noise, another texture, Musgrave, etc.
There will be an update soon of the Layer Painter and it looks quite promissing. Here a few headlines:
When activating Layer Painter, instead of reset, we get now a preset and we can enable the channels right away.
This makes that the node-group in the Node-editor will be much cleaner: only the activated channels will get extra nodes.
Custom channels: we can then add for example also a Specular channel. I will discuss this in the next tutorial.