Get a free year on Tuts+ this month when you purchase a Siteground hosting plan from $3.95/mo
In this quick tip, new author Tomasz Lechociński will show you how to create a fantastic looking glittering star material in Modo 601 using fur. This type of procedural material is great for decorative projects and was originally created as an entry for Luxology's preset contest, which you can find out more about in this thread from the Luxology forums.
Open Photoshop and create a new document 1024x1024 in size and set to RGB. Add noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise.... Set it's value to 400% and the Distribution to Gaussian . Next change the color mode by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale. After that create a new layer and name it: "2 noise" .
Add some noise to the new layer using Filter > Noise > Add Noise... . Set its value to 400% and the Distribution to Gaussian . Set the layer opacity to 50% and it's effect to Multiply. Flatten the image and save it as a "specular.jpg". Next, create another new document 1024x1024 pixels in size, set to Grayscale. Using the Shape presets, draw a black star. Make sure it's centered on the canvas and then Save it as a "Star stencil.jpg". For the stencil option Modo reads only the 100% white or 100% black. This means that there can`t be any transition or gradients from white to black.
Download the default preset scene from the Luxology forums , or search the Luxology forums for : "PresetScene Yazan.lxo" to get the latest version (there are also videos available explain it's usage). Open Modo and in the Shader Tree palette locate group 9ball and create new group inside it by going to Add Layer > Group. Rename it "glittering stars". Add another group inside it and call it "glass base". Next add a Material to that group using Add Layer > Material  and Rename it "glass base BRDF". With this material selected, go to the Properties palette and edit it's Material Ref sub tab to the following settings:
- 1. Set the Diffuse Amount to 60%, and choose a dark red color and tick ConserveEnergy for real world light absorption.
- 2. Set the Specular Amount to 60%, Fresnel to 20% and adjust the Specular Color to slightly break the white highlights.
- 3. Set the Reflection Amount to 40%, Fresnel to 60% and change the Reflection Color to a dark orange.
- 4. Set the Clear coat Amount to 100%.
- 5. Set the Bump Altitude and Displacement Distance to a small value of 1 mm.
Now load a bitmap into the shader tree using Add Layer > Image Map > (Load Image). Select the specular.jpg from your hard drive, and in it's Properties Palette select the sub tab Texture Locator  and change the Projection Type to UV Map, and from the UV Map dropdown, select Texture. For the bitmap tiling options, Set the Horizontal Wrap to 2.0 and the Vertical Wrap to 2.0. Next in the Properties Palette, select the sub tab Texture Layers  and change the Opacity to 80%.
Now it is time to break the surface and make it a little bit distorted. We will use a procedural material. To do so, in the Shader Tree go to Add Layer > Textures > Noise. And in it's Properties Palette select the sub tab Texture Locator  and change it's Transform size to 7 cm on every axis. Change it's Projection Type to UV Map, and from the UV Map dropdown, select Texture. For the bitmap tiling options, leave the Horizontal and Vertical Wrap values set to 1.0. In the Properties Palette, select the sub tab Texture Layers and set the Noise Type to Fractal.
Now you'll learn how to use the shader tree items to be memory efficient. For this purpose, Modo has special items called Instances. They are simply duplicates of the existing shader tree items, but in special way. They use a lower amount of memory and it's good to use them instead of importing the same image a second time to the Shader Tree (in this case Modo is treating the same image as if they were a separate file). To create instance, select the layer called Specular and Right-click on it to bring up the context menu, choose Create Instance and change it's Properties. In the Properties Palette, select the sub tab Texture Layers and change it's Blend Mode to Multiply, and set the Opacity to 10%.
Add another procedural layer, and go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Processing > Gradient. Set it's Blend Mode to Multiply and Edit the gradient curve. To do so, press Edit Gradient, and you'll see another window. On the left side select the tree color Channels and with the Middle Mouse Button, add a key in the middle . With all three points on the curve selected , change the first key color to White and the second  to a dark red, and we are now done with our material base.
Now it is time to make the material for the stars. Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Group. Now change it's name to "Star flakes", and in the Properties panel change it's Scope to Fur . Next Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Material, and name it "Flakes Base BRDF" . Change it's properties as follows: Diffuse Amount: 80%, check Conserve Energy, 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 "Star flakes" Group folder.
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's above the Flakes base BRDF. First in it's Properties (under the Fur Material tab), change it's properties as follows. Render Density: 125%, Random Seed: 405, Spacing and Length: 4,6738mm, Width: 50%, Taper: 0%. In the fur Type, choose Strips, Max Segments: 9 and finally check View Frustrum Culling. This last option saves a lot of memory, and make render times shorter by removing unseen strands of fur from the calculations.
Next, go to the Fur Shape tab and change it's Properties as follows. Set Growth Jitter, Position Jitter and Direction Jitter to 0%. The Size Jitter to 50%, and change the Flex to 60% and the Root Bend: 80%.
Now it's time to make the fur look like a stars. Load a bitmap into the shader tree by going to Add Layer > Image Map > (Load Image) and choose the Star stencil.jpg. In the Texture Locator tab, from the drop-down menu choose Implicit UV. In the shader tree, Right-click in the Effect column and choose Special Effects > Stencil.
Now we will add some shine to the stars. Go to the Shader Tree and Add Layer > Processing > Gradient. Change it's Effect to Reflection Color. Press Edit Gradient, and add 2 keys by middle mouse clicking on the RGB graph. Change the first key color to Blue and the second to Pink. Make sure that the first key position is at 0.0, and the second is at 0.8.
Now your glittering star shader is ready. Now you can select the top group called glittering stars and Right-click on it. Choose the Save Preset With Thumbnail ... option to Save your preset to disk. Next press F9 to render a full resolution preview.
Open the Presets browser and navigate to the folder that your preset is saved in. Find the Glittering Stars preset, Right-click on it and choose the Replace icon with the last render. Now your preset is ready and you can use it to make some Holiday images.