This tutorial will cover the basics of nodes in Maya, the Hypershade and finally how to use the Multiply-Divide node to control the intensity of a displacement map. It assumes you know the basics of Maya, though this tutorial will describe in detail every step
Maya, Nodes and the Hypershade - The Basics
Maya is Nodes! Everything that is made in Maya is a node. For example, if you create a sphere, Maya creates a Transform Node that stores the data of that sphere. Nodes also have many other functions. They are most often manipulated in the Hypershade for creating connections between objects, shaders and controlling they way they look and feel.
Lets get our hands dirty.
First lets open up the Hypershade and have a quick look around
Behold! The Almighty Hypershade
The left side of the Hypershade lists all the different nodes that you can create. The top pane shows what materials, textures, etc. are in the scene. The bottom pane shows your work area. This is where you build all those fancy connections.
Lets start by creating a Lambert shader. Click and hold down the middle mouse button on the Lambert Icon and drag it into the Work Area. Note, if you don't see the work area, the small red arrow points to where you can change the view setup. The two boxes on top of each other is the below setup.
Now you have a Lambert shader. Its rather boring right now; a dull grey, no prettiness. Lets make it a checker board. If you scroll down the left pane, you will find Checker. Alternatively, you can go to Create - 2D Textures - Checker. Your work area should now look like this
Select checker1 and middle-mouse button drag the checker onto the Lambert we created. A menu should pop up like this
Select color to create a connection between the checker1 node and the lambert2 node. Technically, what this does is create a connection between the checker1.outColor attribute to the lambert2.color attribute
You will get a line in between checker1 and lambert2 saying they are connected. If you put your cursor over the line, it will tell you the connection Well this is terrific. Now we have a wonderful Checkered Lambert shader. A lot of good that does us when its not applied to anything. Lets create a nurbs plane and apply the shader to it