A very common workflow in Revit is to edit a type, duplicate it, and the modify the settings of the duplicate. However, if you use this workflow with materials, you will inadvertently modify both the original and the duplicate material. This is because, by default, duplicating materials has both copies reference the same appearance asset. Therefore, be sure to always take the extra step of duplicating or replacing the appearance asset before modifying.
- [Instructor] Last week, we talked about applying materials to the surfaces, system families like walls, and we did that both in edit type and using the paint tool. This week I'd like to talk about applying materials to component families or loadable families, and I want to focus specifically on what occurs when you create a new material, and a gotcha that you can run into if you're not careful. So I've got a couple different component families here in this scene. I've got some doors and windows, I've got some furniture, and the basic behavior is the same as it was with system families.
If I select the door, go to edit type, I should see some material parameters in here. Now, I've currently got gloss white paint applied to the frame material of this door. Let me kind of move this out of the way. So, you can see I've got one instance of it here, another one here, but notice the door panel itself is still using, like, a wood material. So, I'm going to do control-C and then select that door panel material and do control-V and then click OK, and, you know, as you would expect, it applies that new material to both instances of the door and anywhere else in the model that that door is being used.
Now, you can only do it that way if whomever built the family built it that way. And not every family has been built that way. So, this reception desk right here, as an example, if we go to edit type, does not have any material parameters. So, if you look through the list here, there's no way to change any of the materials. And, furthermore, if you try and use the paintbrush from last week, that won't work either, because the paintbrush won't see the surfaces inside that family. So, the only way to modify the materials of this family, in particular, is to use edit family and actually do it in the family editor.
Now, it might be good to turn on shading here so we can see what we're changing and then I could select, maybe, this rounded portion here. I note that it's currently using violet paint, and I could change that to some other material like the tabletop material here. And when I okay that, it's applied. And then if I load it back into my project, it will prompt me to overwrite, and then that change will be applied. So, sometimes you have to go that extra step and edit it in the family editor in order to be able to make that change.
Now, the chairs here, on the other hand, I'll be able to change the same way as I did with the door. So, I'm going to go to edit type, and you can see that there's a cushion material, and it's currently assigned to leather-black. But, when I click browse here, what I'd really like to do is actually assign it to brown leather, but I don't have that material available. So what do I do? Well, this is really what I want to talk about today, is the right way to create a new material, particularly if you're duplicating it from an existing one.
So, it's very common in Revit to duplicate an existing and then modify the change. We do edit type, duplicate all the time, right? And then modify the duplicate, so, seems pretty logical. Right-click leather-black, duplicate it, and create leather-brown. Well, here's the gotcha that you need to be really careful of. When I try and change the color, first of all I'm not able to do it. I'm not able to do it because, right above, it's using the render appearance to determine the color. Now, that's actually a good feature, so rather than uncheck that, I'll go over to the appearance tab and look at what's causing it to be black.
And it's down here, this image right here that looks like a piece of leather, and this color above it, that's what's causing it to be black. Now, right below that is the name of the texture that's being used in that slot, and you can click on that, that's actually a link. And that will browse you to your materials folder. And if you scroll through the list a little bit, you can see that there are other colors of leather in this list. So, here is a brown leather jpg, I'll select that.
Then, right above it, I'll change the color. And if you look back over on the left-hand side of the list of names, you're going to see something odd has occurred. Notice that both leather-brown and leather-black have changed. So, somehow, even though we did edit type, duplicate, they seem to be tied together. Okay, what's going on here? Well, the material editor behaves a little differently than the other aspects of Revit. So, unfortunately I'm going to have to cancel here to dismiss those changes without preserving them.
So, what do we do instead? Well, let's repeat the process. Next to leather-black here I'll browse, I'll right-click and duplicate, I'll rename that duplicate as leather-brown. Before I change anything on appearance, I want to take note of the fact that the name of the appearance asset is smooth-black one. In other words, this over here is the material itself, and the material itself is thought of as just kind of like a bucket, it's like a container that contains assets.
And one of the most important assets is the appearance asset. But as you'll see here from this little hand icon, this asset is currently shared with one other material. Which other material? The one that it started from. So when you just simply duplicate a material, you're just creating a new bucket that points back to the same contents. So both materials are sharing this asset. So when we make changes, it affects both of them. So what do you do about that? Well, right here you've got replace, and next to it you've got duplicate.
So I'm going to duplicate the asset as well. Notice the name says smooth-black two. Now if you're not happy with that name, you want something a little better, you can twirl down this information group right here. There's the name, and instead of smooth-black two, how about smooth-brown? Now that I've done that, this asset only applies to the duplicated material, leather-brown. You see how this changed to a zero? And if you hover over it, it says this asset is used only by the selected material.
So, that was the key. Not only do we have to duplicate on this side, but we have to duplicate right here as well. When you do both, now you're free to make the modification I showed you a moment ago. I can select my brown jpg, I can change my color, and notice that it's only affecting leather-brown. Leather-black is still using the original. So, I'll click OK, OK again, and now my chairs are brown. If I change my mind and I want to go back again, because I did it properly, I can go back to leather-black just as easily.
And they'll change back because I preserved the original characteristics of leather-black by doing duplicate first. Now, there was another option. So, you don't always have to configure the appearance. Let's go back to leather-brown here. You don't always have to configure the appearance independently. In other words, when you do duplicate, you're on your own to make modifications to it. Well, what if you'd rather work with something that's pre-built? Well, right next to duplicate, there was this other icon called replace.
And, when you click that, it will load up the asset browser. Now, in here, you have hundreds of pre-built assets that you can load in to any material. So, all you want to do is search for leather. That will filter down the list. I'm going expand fabric, select leather, and now I've got all these different colors of leather to choose from. So, here's a dark brown leather, right there. You've got this small, little arrow icon here, that will replace, and notice, it substitutes anything that's going on in the appearance tab, with whatever you just replaced it with.
And then I'll click OK, OK again, and now it's using that dark brown leather. Now, actually, that's the way that I prefer to do it, because, why not? It saves me the trouble of having to configure that appearance asset on my own. By using replace, I can go from that very long list of pre-built assets, load in one that's close to what I want, and then use that for my material. Now, you could certainly modify it further if you wanted to, or duplicate it further if you wanted to. But, in a lot of cases, you can find exactly what you need by just going to replace and searching, and then using it directly.
So, when it comes to creating your own custom materials, if they're based off of existing materials, it's absolutely critical that you pay attention to not only duplicating the original material name, but you also have to decide what to do with that asset. You either want to replace it or duplicate it. You need to do one of those things, otherwise you're going to be changing the original material, whenever you make modifications to the new one.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
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