The leftmost part of the Material Lab window is the Material properties area. Here you can add extra attributes to your materials by fine tuning them or adding different effects. All material properties are listed below.
With the General properties you can change the following:
- Name: The name of the current material, i.e. equivalent with the filename.
Name the material after changing all properties, or it will revert to being called "Material 1".
- Double sided: Make the material double sided. Use when the material is transparent or when the material is applied to single-sided surfaces.
- Category: Create new or use existing categories to simplify finding materials in the Material Explorer. Create a new category by clicking the Category button and choose New in the drop-down menu.
Add a solid color or an image as the base for your material.
- Color: Specify the color in 5 methods:
- RGB (Red, Green, Blue).
- HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) values.
- HEX (Hexadecimal) color values.
- RAL color standards. (Learn more)
- Click the color preview window to select colors from a palette.
- Texture: Load a .jpg or .png as the Primary color. Select a new texture by clicking the Browse button in the drop-down menu or by double-clicking the Texture preview window. After loading an image, you can modify the texture in many different ways:
- Resolution: Displays current resolution of the texture, which is X pixels wide and X pixels high. We do not recommend using textures larger than 1024 pixels.
- Width / Height: Modify the target width and height for the texture, thus controlling the number of repetitions. If you wish to modify them separately, click the Unchain control. In order for these values to hold true, the model where the texture is used must have uv-coordinates where one unit in the texture space corresponds to one meter in world space.
You must hit Enter after entering a value, or the contents will not stick when you save or apply the material.
- DPI: DPI stands for Dots Per Inch which is really the number of pixels per square meter. Decreasing the texture’s width or height will increase the DPI. Recommended DPI for CET is 13 (512 x 512 pixels) which is sufficient for nice looking renderings. Reducing the DPI will make the texture look nice from a distance, but you will notice a loss in detail when zooming in. This is the whole point, since many renderings are generated from a zoomed out perspective.
- Optimize texture: Reduce the texture resolution so that the DPI comes closer to the recommended DPI for CET. Taking the specified width and height into account, it will reduce the DPI to a value around 13.
- Offset: Move the origin point of the image in order to place the details exactly where you want them. You can change the offset both horizontally and vertically. (See example below)
- Rotation: Rotate the direction of the texture.
- Color intensity: Adjust the dullness or brightness of the texture. Moving the slider to the left makes the color intensity of the texture darker. This can be useful if you are using a bright texture with a lot of reflection.
Primary color Primary texture
Original material Offset material
By applying a Specular effect to your material, you can control how light sources reflect off of the material.
- Amount: Controls the visibility of the specular effect.
- Area: Controls the size of the area on the material being affected by the specular effect.
The Specular property
The Reflection effect controls how much of the environment that is reflected in the material. If you use a material that is very reflective you should compensate by making the Primary color of the material darker, otherwise the material will look too bright.
- Amount: Determines how reflective the material is. The reflection is not visible in real-time, render the material to see the effect.
- Sharpness: Determines how defined reflected objects appear on the material. Moving the slider to the left reduces the reflection sharpness and makes the material less smooth. This is useful for simulating brushed metal materials. A material with low sharpness will take longer time to render.
- Fresnel: When viewed from different angles, the reflection of other objects in the environment will increase or decrease as the angle changes. When faced straight-on, the material's reflectivity is diminished significantly. Without Fresnel, reflections will appear sharp across every part of the reflective surface, no matter the angle, and will have a more mirror-like effect. Fresnel can be added to any newly created materials, but is not enabled by default for any already existing materials in the Material Explorer.
If using the Fresnel effect, increase the Refraction Index in the Opacity section. Increase the opacity Amount to the max (1) to avoid making a material transparent.
The Reflection property
Applying an opacity effect to your material lets you control the transparency of the material. Changing the values for Amount, Refraction index and Alpha mask all help to specify how the Opacity effect should appear on the material.
- Amount: Controls how transparent or opaque your material will appear.
- Refraction index: Controls how light is bent when entering and exiting the material. For example, to make a material look like glass, set it to 1.3, which is the real-life refraction index.
- Alpha mask: Controls the transparency of specific parts of the material. To apply an Alpha mask, a .png file with a transparent background is required. You can change the Rotation, Scale and Offset of the Alpha mask to get the opacity exactly where you want it.
- Rotation: Rotate the direction of the alpha mask image.
- Scale: Adjust the dimensions of the alpha mask both horizontally and vertically. Scale both directions at the same time or one direction at the time by unchaining them.
- Offset: Move the origin point of the image in order to place the details exactly where you want them. You can change the offset both horizontally and vertically. (See example above)
The Opacity property
The Bump property adds visual texture to a flat surface. The images used for this are referred to as normal maps which alter the perceived texture of the surface. You can import any image and convert it to a normal map by double-clicking on the Texture thumbnail, or by choosing "Browse..." in the drop-down menu. Then check the "Convert to normal map" in the Bump section. If you do not convert an image to a normal map you cannot control the depth of the Bump effect, and the image will appear as a black overlay to your texture.
- Amount: This slider controls the depth of the Bump effect across the surface. This is only available if you convert the texture to a normal map.
- Convert to normal map: Converts the chosen image to a normal map which can transform a flat surface into a textured one.
The Bump feature essentially reads the image chosen as a black & white image. Darker parts of the image will appear further away; lighter parts will appear closer. To make the reverse true, you will need to invert the lights and darks of the image which will need to be done in another program like Photoshop, and then you can reload the inverted image as a normal map.
- Rotation: Rotate the angle the normal map.
- Scale: Change the size of the normal map both horizontally and vertically. You can choose to scale both directions at the same time or one direction at the time by unchaining them.
- Offset: Move the origin point of the normal map in order to place the Bump effect exactly where you want them. You can change the offset both horizontally and vertically. (See example above)
The Bump property