Connecting ColorRamp node to BSDF acting weird... why?

Hi all, still getting to know shader nodes and such and am scratching my head over this one. I have a ColorRamp gradient node that when connected directly to the Surface Material Output node looks as it should…

But if I connect this node into the Base Color of a Principled BSDF node, even with all the other settings in the BSDF essentially turned off, it is darkened considerably. Why would this happen?

Shouldn’t the BSDF take the color input exactly how it comes and simply pass it through, if it isn’t being modified by the other settings?


The roughness and specular aren’t at default.

1 Like

When connecting a color directly to the Material Output Node, Blender automatically creates an emission shader with that color.
Using the Principal to get the same effect, you need to plug the color to the Emission socket and turn the other colors and factors to 0.

1 Like

I have a ColorRamp gradient node that when connected directly to the Surface Material Output node looks as it should…

yet this is not the intended way to create a shader. If that is how you want your shader to look like, you probably need an emission shader in between (as Secrop mentioned, the effect would be the same here).

If you use a principled shader with those settings, you will have your material affected much more by all the sorrounding lighting and thus it might not look as you want, but the raytracing is working properly. Either light your object proberly or put the color ramp into the emission input and let it shine :wink:

1 Like

Thank you for all of these responses, all of this makes sense and I’m getting a better grasp on Blender’s logic toward material nodes.

Being a Cinema 4D convert there are a lot of concepts that I have to unlearn from C4D… the Principled BSDF felt comfortably familiar at first, but then there are these kinds of differences that really throw me for a loop!

Cheers for helping a brother out, really appreciate it!

Man this explanation is everything. I had no idea, now so much stuff makes sense. Thank you!!

Thank you. And yeah, that material isn’t even close to finished, I was just confused about the difference because I didn’t realize Blender assumed an emission shader in between a color node and the material output. I have a tendency to want things to make sense before I continue, hence my post. Thank you for your input!

1 Like