some improvements youcould do to the process:
- instead of making a blinn object one color, you could put in a color slot a noise texture with broad even distribution and apply two very simillar colors
- on reflection card you could make a radial gradient so that the edges of the ref cards are not as sharp as from simple 100% color material
- you could make a bump map channel to "carve in the details" which will catch specular lighting and, thus further emphasise metallic quality of the object
If this was a character or some other more complicated object...before material settings, I would do the following:
- define the UVs (with a help of lambert material and checker texture)
- if object was NURBS, then insteadof laying out UVs (we already have them since it's NURBS)... I would run a 3D Paint (inside Maya is just fine) and color the regions so I know where to paint what.
- after UV map, I'd make a color map.. and follow the process below
- after lighting is nearly finished, I'd jump in displacement and specular mapping
One thing to know, which kinda helps, is to try to lock down the camera angle first, and then do all of your work (lighting in particular)...since then you can measure what you are working on...because if you don't have camera set, you'll haveto light up your whole scene, which is a disaster - you can never light up your scene from every angle and make it look good from every angle
Hope it helps...
Regarding simple stuff like assigning shaders..I suggest you really dwell into Using Maya User's Guide (comes on the CD as PDF also)...and start with several tutorials...
to assign a shader:
- open up a hypershade
- press little checker button (first on top left)
- select blinn from material section
- you should now have blinn material show up in hypershade
- drag blinn icon from hypershade with middle mouse button onto object in the scene
- select object in the scene
- press and hold shift and select blinn in hypershade (so that both nodes are selected)
- press right mouse button in hypershade over blinn icon and move your mouse over the top menu shown (I think it's assign material to selected or something...don't have maya here