If you follow the practical example in Chapter 5, you should have a model of an eye that has the boring, plastic default gray material. If you haven't modeled that eye, don't worry; it's on the companion DVD for this book as well as the companion Web site. The purpose of this practical example is to make that eye look more like an actual eye and less like a gray ball.
When working with materials in Blender, you find out very quickly that you often have to scroll the Properties editor or you frequently have to switch between different sections of the Properties editor. This fact is even more apparent when you start working with textures (see Chapter 8). What it comes down to is that the default screen layout is inadequate for working with materials. The best way to alleviate that problem is to create your own screen layout that shows you all the information you need all at once.
To start, I recommend that you set up this new screen from a fresh Blender scene, so either open Blender now or reload the startup file by pressing Ctrl+N. This way, after you set up this new screen, you can include it with your startup file and it will be available for you in all your future Blender sessions.
With your new scene loaded, go to the header at the top of the Blender window and use the Plus (+) button on the right of the screen datablock to add a new screen. When you do so, not much will appear to change, aside from the screen ...