Quick Tip: Create a Great Looking Glittering Flakes Material in Modo
In author Tomasz Lechociński's latest Modo quick tip, you'll learn how to create an awesome glittering flakes material in Modo 601 using fur. Although Christmas is a long way off, this type of procedural material is great for any decorative themed project and was originally created as an entry for Luxology's preset contest, which you can find out more about it in this thread from the Luxology forums.
Download the default-preset scene from Luxology forum, or search the Luxology forums for: PresetScene-Yazan.lxo to get the latest version (there are also videos explaining its usage). In the Shader Tree palette locate the group 9ball and create a new Group inside it by going to Add Layer > Group. Rename this new group X-mas ball with glitter flakes, and then add another group inside it named glass. Next add a Material to that group using Add Layer > Material  and Rename it glass base.
With this material selected go to the Properties Palette and edit its Material Ref sub tab. Set its Diffuse Amount to 50%, choose a dark blue color and check Conserve Energy for real world light absorption. Next set the Specular Amount to 40%, Fresnel to 60% and adjust the Specular Color to a light blue to tint the highlights. Set the Reflection Amount to 40%, Fresnel to 60% and change the Reflection Color to a dark blue, Clearcoat Amount to 100%, Bump Altitude and Displacement Distance to a small value of 1 mm.
Now it is time to break the surface and make it little bit distorted. We will use a procedural material for this. To do so, in the Shader Tree, Add Layer > Textures > Noise. In its Properties Palette select the sub tab Texture Locator  and change its Transform Size to 7 cm on every axis. Change its Projection Type to UV Map, and from the UV Map drop down, select Texture. For the bitmap tiling options leave the Horizontal and Vertical Wrap set to one. In the Properties Palette, select the sub tab Texture Layers  and set the Noise Type to Fractal.
Next add another procedural layer. Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Processing > Gradient. Set it Blend Mode to Multiply with Opacity: 70%, and Edit the gradient curve. To do so, press Edit Gradient and a new window will open. On the left side select the three color Channels and by using the Middle Mouse Button, add a key to the viewport in the middle  and change its color to a dark blue. Add a second key  and change its color to light blue. And change the Gradient Blend Mode to Multiply 80%. Now we are done with our material base.
Now it is time to make a material for the pattern. Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Group. Now change its name to flakes. Next Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Material and name it flakes base. Change it properties as follows: Diffuse Amount: 80%, Specular Amount: 10%, Fresnel: 20%, Roughness: 16.5%, Reflection Amount: 30%, Fresnel: 40%, Bump Amplitude: 0 mm. Displacement Distance: 0 mm, and finally check Double Sided. Make sure that your material is inside the flakes group folder.
Now load a bitmap into the Shader Tree using Add Layer > Image Map > (Load Image). Select any black and white bitmap with a tiling pattern from your hard drive. In my case I have an image named x-mas 2a mask. When you finish your material, the white areas of the bitmap will have fur visible. And in the black areas, there will be no fur visible at all. In the bitmap Properties Palette, select the sub tab Texture Locator  and change the Projection Type to UV Map, and from the UV Map drop down menu, select Texture. For the bitmap tiling options Set the Horizontal and Vertical Wrap to your liking to make it look interesting.
Select the bitmap that you added in the previous step, and change its Effect to Fur Length . Next select the flakes group and in its Properties panel, change its Scope to Fur . Now the pattern will disappear, but don`t worry it will come back in the next step.
Now the fur fun really begins. In the Shader Tree, from the drop down menu choose Add Layer > Special > Fur Material. Make sure that it is above flakes base. First in its properties, under the Fur Material tab . Change its properties as follows. Render Density: 1000%, Random Seed: 1234, Spacing: 700 um, Length: 1 mm, Width: 50%, Taper: 0%, Offset: 0 m, Geometry type: Leaves, and finally check View Frustum Culing. This last option save a lot of memory, and makes render times shorter by removing strands of fur that are unseen by the camera from the calculations.
Now it is time to make the fur look like small flakes stuck to the surface with glue. Go to the fur Properties panel, and under the Fur Shape tab, change its values as follows: Clumps: 0%, Strays: 1%, Strays Strength: 100%, Growth Jitter: 25%, Position Jitter: 50%, Direction Jitter: 80%, Size Jitter: 50%, Flex Amplitude: 0%, Root bend: 0%, Curls Amplitude: 0%, Fur Bump Altitude: 0%.
We'll now add some shine to our fur flakes. Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Processing > Gradient. Place this layer above the flake base material. Edit the gradient colors using the Middle Mouse button. First add a key  and change its color to light vivid blue. Add a second key  and change its color to a vibrant pink. Now the flakes will glitter based on the incidence angle you are looking at them from.
Now your glittering flakes shader is ready. Now you can select the top group called X-mas ball with glitter flakes and Right-click on it. Choose the Save Preset With Thumbnail ... option, and Save your preset to disk. Next press F9 to render a full resolution preview.
Open the preset browser by pressing F6 and navigate to the folder that your preset is saved in. Find the X-mas ball with glitter flakes preset and Right-click on it, choose Replace Icon with Last Render. Now your preset is ready to use and you can make some nice decorative Christmas balls!