Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding material appearance, part of Revit: Rendering.
- In this movie, we're going to dig into the settings that affect a material's appearance. So to do that, I'm going to go to the Manage tab and click the Materials button. That will display the material browser and previously, I just stretched it down here to make it a little bit larger, so that it will fill the screen. Now, you can select any material here on the list and I'm gonna select Brick Common because I'm using that there in the background for that wall. And you'll notice that when I select Brick Common, it's got five tabs across the right hand side here in the material editor portion of the dialogue.
Now, right above that there's a material called Analytical Wall Surface and it only has three tabs. Now if I click this small plus sign, you can see that the two tabs that are missing are Physical and Thermal. So let's just briefly talk about what each tab does and then we'll focus on Graphics and Appearance. That's gonna be our main focus here in this movie. Identity is just the information that would appear in schedules. So any information that you just wanna report about that material is gonna be under Identity data.
So it doesn't do anything graphically. Graphics and appearance are gonna control the graphics. We're gonna dig into those shortly. Physical is for structural materials. These are the aspects of the material that your structural engineer would care about. So for example, if I come over here and I start typing in concrete and I locate a concrete material, you'll notice that it has some structural characteristics to it. Some of the other materials might have that as well, but there will certainly be materials that won't have any structural characteristics. In fact, in some cases the materials won't even have that tab.
So when I click on Carpet, for example, there's nothing structural about carpet, so it doesn't have the Structural tab at all. Now you could argue that there might be some thermal characteristics to carpet. Maybe there's some slight insulation value. So if you wanted to, you could add the Thermal aspect to it. Thermal aspect is about it's R value and it's insulating properties and so on. So you can see here that there's a variety of properties for it's conductivity or it's permeability and so on. So your mechanical engineers would be interested in that tab.
So really this tab is for the MEP folks, this tab is for the structural folks, and the two tabs that we care about for rendering, certainly, are Graphics and Appearance. So let's start with Graphics because this is the one that you see most of the time. With the Graphics settings, you've got Shading, Surface Pattern and Cut Pattern. Now I'm going to take the browser here and kinda move it out of the way, so that we can see the wall in the background. And you can see this reddish color here is clearly reflected here in the background on this wall surface.
That's because down at the bottom of the dialogue, I have the view set to Shading. So whenever you have a view set to Shaded View, whether it's a 3D view, a plan view, a section, an elevation, it will use this color on the surface of any object that uses this material. If you're looking at the brick wall, it will show you this pattern. And if you're cutting through it in say a section or a floor plan, it will show you this pattern.
Now, I can't change the view with the dialogue open. So, let's go ahead and click OK to get out of there. And then, let's see each of those three settings at work here. Now we've already talked about the shading, so we've got that. Now, the shading and the surface pattern are not exclusive. So actually what controls whether you see the surface pattern or not is the level of zoom. So if I zoom in a little bit, I'm just rolling the wheel, you'll notice that the surface pattern is being applied to the surface of this wall. It just stop displaying it when you zoom out far enough that it would become too busy to see it.
So I'll zoom in enough that we can see it there. If I change to Hidden Line, it continues to display the surface pattern but it will turn off the color. Okay, so shading is only going to be visible when you choose Shaded or Consistent Colors. If I look at this in a floor plan and zoom in, you're gonna see that the pattern that we see within the thickness of the wall is now that cut pattern. So it's the crosshatch instead of the actual bricks. And the same would be true if you cut a section through this wall and took a look at that section, you'll see that it uses that same crosshatch there.
And then, of course, if you look at it in elevation and zoom in well enough to see it, you'll see that surface pattern. So all of those aspects are visible in any Revit view. But when you're in your 3D view, this is where we do our renderings from, you can display it shaded, of course, and if you wanna do kind of like a preview of what it's gonna look like when it renders, you can actually do realistic. Now if I do realistic and I zoom in a little bit, you'll see that instead of showing the surface pattern and instead of showing the color, it's now showing something that kinda looks like actual bricks.
So let me go back into the material browser. And I'll click on the Appearance tab. So as we saw, we've got that texture on the surface of the wall and that's actually loaded right here as an image in this material. And you can see right below it, there's the name of this image. It's a PNG file and the path location to it on your hard drive. So you could actually click this link if you needed to and choose a different texture. I'm gonna cancel that.
Now there's sometimes other settings as well, like what kind of masonry is it? Is it just generic masonry, is it CMU in this example, or is it finished or not, or glossy and so on. There's an option for a relief pattern. Now, some software will call this Bump Map, here it's called Relief but the idea is to give a little bit of texture to this material. So what you'll see is that also allows us to use a texture and in this case, the texture is just a black and white texture. And the software interprets the black and the white as being depth within the image and it starts to make the image appear like it has a little bit of texture when we generate our rendering and gives it a little bit more life and believability.
So you can see that there's different settings there. Now the important thing to understand is that right here it says Masonry. So this is actually using a masonry template. Now you may recall in a previous movie, we talked about filtering the list here by the different kinds of materials and you can see that there are several different options. Well, right below Brick Common here, here's one called Carpet. We'll notice that Carpet is using a different template entirely called Generic. And then beneath that is one called Cherry and that one's using a Wood template.
So it's very obvious that there are different settings available depending on the template that you choose. Now I'm not gonna get into the details of how we choose those different aspects in this movie. We'll save that for a future movie. But, just keep in mind that when you're looking at the different kinds of materials, you may actually see different settings. And that really just depends on the real-life qualities of that kind of substance. I mean, brick is very different than glass and glass is very different than carpet. And so each of those substances has their own unique characteristics.
And we try and bring that out in the various templates that are available to us when we create those materials. So the main focus of materials, if your primary concern is rendering, is gonna be these two tabs, the Graphics and the Appearance. Actually, Appearance is probably even more important if renderings is your goal because that's what you're gonna see when you actually generate renderings. However, there's lots of different types of presentations that we can do. And sometimes the settings that you're gonna see on the Graphics tab are actually perfectly fine for certain kinds of presentations.
So as we move forward throughout the rest of the course, our main focus will be on these two tabs, Graphics and Appearance in your material browser.
- Creating 3D views and 3D cutaway views
- Adding details to the model
- Creating and editing materials
- Working with the sun system
- Working with lighting groups
- Configuring render settings
- Preparing a cloud render
- Creating a walkthrough
- Rendering a plan