I posted this stuff a few years ago. Now I’m attaching an improved file with four samples to go with with a related tutorial I am posting about gradient backgrounds.
Gradients are powerful. They are aesthetically beautiful, and because C3D colors have values between 0 — 255 gradients can be plugged into material nodes to vary colors, transparency, brightness, and scale.
This all started with a Frank Beckmann material using a vertical gradient to add a green tint to a car windshield. At first I used similar materials for blending diffuse colors. I was surprised to find that grayscale gradients can also be inputs for varying transparency, brightness, and scale.
The purpose of the attached file is to demonstrate how gradients can be both funky and functional. The examples are intended to be starting points for making new materials. The UV Mapper was an integral part of the process; three were Cubic types (selected polys only), but the Voronoi was Spherical. Note that I had to scale up the Voronoi cube 400% and burn the transform to get the right scaling effect; there may be a better way.
Concentric gradients (State node = IN) plugged into an emissive material can make glowing effects, but I had to do a lot of trial and error. Laser swords and rocket exhaust can be faked. Until C3D introduces volumetric materials, this might work.
I don’t do animation, so I don’t know how this might be applicable. I’d like a simple technique to cycle through the colors of a gradient if someone could post an example.
Using grayscale gradients and textures as inputs is simple and intuitive. It can easily be adapted for all kinds of new materials.