Materials, sometimes referred to as shaders, are small programs that determine the surface qualities of the geometry they are assigned to. In common terms, surfaces are described as rough, smooth, shiny, dull, and so on. A material uses a shading model, which is a mathematical algorithm that simulates the interaction of light with a surface.
The Lambert material is considered a “parent” material in Maya. That is, four other Maya materials (Blinn, Phong, Phong E, and Anisotropic) inherit common attributes from the corresponding Lambert node (see Figure 1.5).