External renders

I am new to Blender and am wondering if anybody out there could explain to me how to get get external render/ material into blender rather than creating one from scratch

Many Thanks

Claire

I believe you can only build your materials inside blender. You can, of course, import image maps (stills/animated).

You can also import materials inside of other .blend fies.
If you are looking for materials to get you going, try here:
http://www.blender-materials.org/

It is the blender materials that i am trying i am trying to select from blender but have having no luck in doing so