Join Steve Nelle for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying and retrieving materials, part of Textures and Materials in 3ds Max.
Let's take a look at a couple of different techniques to both apply materials to a scene and to retrieve them back on the material editor. Now, as far as applying a skin that you've built, you have got a couple of different methods to choose from and getting that material into your scene. To show you those choices, I am going to be using a file named Apply and Retrieve. If we go ahead and open up the Material Editor, you'll see that we have got a handful of different skins here that we want to throw into our scene. The easiest method of application is going to be a simple drag-and-drop. So let's do this. We will take the pattern we built in the upper left hand corner of the Editor and drag it directly on to the bottom part of our pen.
Let's take the material directly to the right of that. That kind of bluish green skin, and we will apply that on the top portion of our pen. Then we'll select the black material, top row on the right, and we will pull that to the bottom part of our pen. Okay, if we give it a render, we can see how things look. Now when you don't have maybe such a clear shot at correctly pulling the right object, you can instead select the object in the view, then use an icon command that offers a little more precision. Let's do this. Before showing you that, why don't we enlarge our Perspective View? We will position our mouse where the viewports meet waiting for the four-arrowed cursor to show.
Then holding the left mouse down, we will simply drag that up to the upper left. Okay, in the viewport, let's now select the clip on the pen, and we can then select the chrome ball at the lower right hand corner of the Editor. Now the command icon we are looking for is located on the horizontal row of icon below the sample slots. It's third in from the left. Holding the mouse in position reveals the name Assign Material to Selection. Go ahead and click that. Now once doing so, you'll notice the white triangles that are now placed around the chrome ball in the sample slot.
This indicates that we have made a good connection with the clip. Let's render it out to verify that. Now let's make a multiple selection of both pen's band around the middle and then the tip where the ink would come out. To do that, we will click on the band, we will hold the Ctrl key down, then we will click on the pen's tip. Now we could certainly again go back to the Assign Material to Selection button, but watch what happens this time when we drag-and-drop. Drag the chrome ball and drag it to the band around the middle of the pen. Now because we have two objects selected, we can assign the chrome material to either only the object that we dragged to or the entire selection.
Let's choose Assign to Selection. Now to select the metal ring at the top near the button, we will go ahead and choose H for the Select by Name command. From the list we will select Cap and we will go back to clicking on the Assign Material to Selection button. One last object, we'll select the button at the top of the pen. Return to the Editor, clicking on the pink skin, and we'll again use the Assign Material to Selection button. Let's render that out to see how things look.
Now to clear our materials out of the Editor, I'm simply going to grab the ball on the lower left hand corner, pulling it on top of each of the others. Now when you are wanting to bring a skin back into the Material Editor and you'll be doing that quite a bit as the Editor is the only place in Max where you can edit and change your material. But here again, you have got a couple of different ways to go. If you've got a good look at something, you can simply use the eyedropper that you'll find below the horizontal row of icons next to where you name your material. Let's do this. We will click on the eyedropper, then retrieve the patterned material on the bottom part of the pen.
Let's also do that with the lighter blue material toward the top of the pen. Now for objects that are a little closer in proximity to each other, the Editor has got a command for that too. Let's do this. We will go to the horizontal row of icons clicking on the far left. It's called Get Material. Now in the Browse From options that you find in the upper left hand corner, let's change that to Scene. This now lists all the materials by name in our scene. At the back of the name, in parenthesis or brackets, you'll see the objects in the scene that have that material assigned to them.
Now the one that we're looking for this time around is the chrome named Metal Parts. Two ways we can do that. We can either double click on it, or we can drag and drop it into the Editor. This time around let's double click. Now the Browse From Scene option works pretty good when you're limited to the number of materials that you've applied. But what would happen in this situation where we had a project where you built in maybe 50 to 100 skins? That list is going to get pretty long. In a situation like that, what I would suggest is select the object you want to get the material off of first, then change the Browse From option from Scene to Selected.
Now we have the button on our pen selected. Let's click over on the Selected option. Now check that out. A single material, much more easily sifted out of the list. For this one we'll select the ball in the browser and drag it over into the Editor. When we get it in position, we want to make sure to say Instance. That way if we change the material, it will automatically reflect those results back in the scene. Now, why don't we render again? Okay, with the materials back in the Editor, let's make a few changes.
We'll go to that light blue material at the top of the pen, changing its glossiness to let's say 15. That will widen the shine of that, when things are re-rendered. Let's render again. Now the rendered window offers a really neat option when you want to quickly grab a solid material off of one of the skins in your scene. Watch this. If we place our mouse directly on top of the render then right-click, you'll notice an eyedropper appears and as we move our mouse around, it's actually grabbing different colors within our scene.
If you'll look at the top above the picture, you'll see a color swatch that's changing as we move to different skins. Let's do this. Let's see if we can grab the green out of the pattern at the bottom of the pen. Okay, let's go back to the pink material on the editor. We are going to replace that now with the green that we have now grabbed out of our render. Back on the render window, we'll grab the green and we'll pull it directly on top of the pink color swatch. When you get it there, you are going to want to copy. Now let's render again. So there you go with a couple of different tools you can use when applying and retrieving materials.
I'm going to save this out as Apply and Retrieve Completed.
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