With the Material Wizard addon we can design PBR materials and is using it’s own editor. While we can do this in the Shader Editor in Blender, with the Material Wizard we can do this faster and more convenient. At the background, Material Wizard manages the nodes in the shader editor. Meaning it is like a platform on top of the Shader Editor to make (PBR) materials.
Since I developed my own Material Nodes addon, I can easily see the differences with the Material Wizard. That way I have some reference when reviewing Material Wizard.
Differences between the Material Wizard and Material Nodes
Material Wizard addon:
- More focused on PBR textures (images), rather than procedural textures.
- Has it’s own “platform” of nodes.
- Compiling of shaders is faster but memory use is higher because you use more textures.
- (Check Interesting Features, see later in this article)
Material Nodes addon:
- More focused on Procedural textures, rather than textures (images)
- Time to compile the shaders is longer, but RAM usage is very low.
- Works in Blender’s shader editor.
Summarised, The Material Wizard addon has it’s own platform, is focused on (PBR) Textures (images), has higher RAM usages but lower time to compile the shaders.
Interesting features of the Material Wizard
A very, very interesting feature of the Material Wizard is that you can bake Ambient Occlusion, Edge Mask and other Masks with Live Preview. For example we can bake such in the textools addon but then Without preview. Whereas in Textools we have to change setting and bake over again, in the Material Wizard we can turn on Live Preview and adjust the Mask before we are going to bake it.
Another interesting feature is that we can Mix the Mask with with Grunge Textures that come with the Material Wizard. And this saves a lot of time because you don’t need to search for Grunge Textures(in other addons, or on disk) but it’s right there in the same Node in Material Wizard. Here is a screenshot of that node where I am talking about:
So the above is the node to generate masks. And after baking, you still can change the grunge texture, the slope and most other settings. One thing to keep in mind is: if you add this node, be sure to click advanced (Bake options) to see all the settings. This, because you have to give it a directory and give your texture a name.
There are more features of the Material Wizard, but the above is my favorite feature.
How the Material Wizard Works
It would take a few articles to explain how the Material Wizard addon works in details, so I provide the only the big picture here. You always start with the Output called “Material Generator” because every material needs it, and we got that out of the way.
Next put in a layer manager I suggest, because most of the time you want to mix two materials and mix them with a mask (modulated with a grunge texture).
Then add in some materials. You can choose between a Material composer (that looks more like a principled shader) or Material from Textures. Most likely you will want to use the Material from Textures
Plug Two Materials into the Layer Manager. And then add a Mask Generator and plug that into the Layer Manager (in the socket between the to materials). Here a screenshot with an example:
Where to get the Material Wizard addon
You can get the Material Wizard on Blender Market.