trying to understand node system

Hello,
I am trying to understand the node system, but I gives me real headache! I study the example of the ice_node.blend http://blender.org/cms/Blender_Material_Nodes.743.0.html

  • I can only see 1 Material in the outliner (Ma:ice). This Material has several Textures appended (which I can see in the outliner, too). In the Node editor there are several other Materials (NodeMaterials) that do not show in the outliner (they are created inside the node editor with shift-d, right?) and they seem to use the textures of the Ma:ice. And when I select one of the NodeMaterials, I can adjust the settings in the button window just like that of the base material. But now comes the confusion: Is there a way in the node editor to distinguish between a “base material” and a “node material”? The node materials have the same button panels as the base material, so there is “Map To”, Does that make sense? Is the mapping not done only in the node editor?
  • The node materials also have the “texture” panel. But if I add a texture here, it will not show in the outliner (as opposed to adding a texture to the base material). And somehow I couldn´t get such a texture to work. There also is a texture node in the node editor, but I am not sure how to use it. Is the texture node an alternative to use a node material that uses texture from the base material?
  • The base material (Ma:ice) has a geometry node as input for “Normal”. But it also has the “Map To” setting “Nor inverted”. I tried to see the base material as a kind of “entry point” for the node system, but now it seems that even the base material can have an input (geometry node) from the node system that adds on top of the settings in the “Map To” panel!?I am very thankful to everyone who is willing to shed some light in my confusion here!:slight_smile:

no comment from the profs…:frowning:
Well, actually, I figured out point 2: It seems you cannot add a new texture within the node editor (or you shouldn´t!). The right and working way to use a texture is to create a material (normal blender material, outside node editor) with the texture you want to use and make it active (checked in the texture button panel). Only now you can reference to it from within the node editor.
I got that from Colin Litster´s session at the blender conference: http://www.blender3d.com/cms/fileadmin/bconf06/bc06-2210-9-nodes.mp4.torrent