Shading the Room

Bookcase - Shading Switch 

Maya's ShadingSwitch nodes are very handy for situations when you have a scene that has many objects that need assigning different textures, such as a bookcase full of books. It enables you to assign different textures to the same shader, saving you time when changing shader attributes because the same shader is assigned to all of the objects. 

A bookcase with hundreds of books. An ideal situation for Maya's Shading Switch node


  • Select the book geometry and assign a Standard Surface shader to them. Connect a Maya 'Triple Switch' node to the Color attribute of the Standard Surface shader.
  • Select the book geometry and click on 'Add Surfaces' on the Triple Switch node (you may need to copy the Attribute Editor tab to do this).
  • Create several different colored ramps and drag them individually onto the books under the column 'In Shape' on the Triple Switch. This will assign different colors to different book models. Another method is to click on a field under 'In Triple' and type the name of the color ramp that you want to use (make sure you have named the ramps according to their color first). You can check your progress using Shading>Hardware Texturing in the viewport.

Colored ramps assigned to different book models using the Maya TripleShadingSwitch node

Multiple colored ramp textures connected to the same Standard Surface shader and a Triple Shading Switch node

An alternative method to assign different colors to different books would be to use the User Data node.

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