Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Sharing materials libraries, part of Revit: Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting.
- [Voiceover] I'll do a little bit of material management in this movie. The Materials Editor is a tool that has been modified over several releases in Revit. So, it's often possible that new features sneak in without notice. Well, one of the features that's actually been around for a little while, that you may have missed is that we have Material Libraries. And a Material Library is a separate file, it's a text file, or an XML file, or something like that, that actually stores the material information. And what's significant about this is, really two things.
Number one, is you can make one of these Material Libraries and use it to store custom materials, or even standard materials from Autodesk that you use frequently and share those with your team. That they can use, either in the same project or in different projects. And even potentially more interesting, is that the library concept is not limited to just Revit. So, if you're using AutoCAD or Showcase or 3ds Max, all of these other Autodesk products also can access these Material Libraries.
So you can actually create a custom material here in Revit, and then share it with AutoCAD or with 3ds Max or any of the other products in the Autodesk portfolio that support this system. So, let's take a look at the Material Library. We'll make a custom one and we'll take a look at some of those features. So, I'm gonna go to Manage, and click the Materials button here. So I'm here in the Material Browser and it's just highlighting the very first material, the Acoustical Ceiling Tile. And over here it's showing me the Properties of that Acoustical Ceiling Tile. Pretty straightforward.
Let's take a quick look at the interface here. Probably the most important thing, since we're talking about Material Libraries is, let's make this a little bit larger. The Material Library appears down here, but it's not showing up right now, because you have to click this little icon right here. This shows or hides the Library Panel. So when I do that, I can then re-size it. And this is your Material interface down here. Your Material Library interface. Now, it's got Home selected, and if I expand that, you'll see that there are some built-in libraries.
They have this little padlock next to them. So these are the ones that come with Revit. But you also can use this icon here and create a new Material Library. And that's what I'm gonna do. And it'll ask you to put this somewhere, I'll just put it on my desktop. And I'll call this Office Standard Materials. Now, I'm assuming that I'm gonna have one big library for the entire office, but you could just as easily create a library for each project. So it's really up to you how you want to manage this.
Now the next thing you can do, is click this little drop-down again, and create a Category. So a Category gets indented beneath the Library and it's just sort of like a sub-folder, if you want to think of it that way. I'll make a couple of these. And I just called them Brick, Wood and Metal. Now, at the moment, these are all empty. And you'll see a little pencil icon appears next to the Material Library while you're editing it. Let's find some materials to put in this Library now.
So I'm gonna search for brick up here at the top. The fastest way to find materials, is to just simply search for them in the browser up here at the top. Now, I've got a couple different brick materials here, like this Brick Soldier Course or this Masonry Brick. So let me just go ahead and highlight that one. Now, unfortunately that hides my Library, cause at the moment my Library is empty, right? But notice that it is showing me brick materials inside the Autodesk libraries. So what I'm gonna do, is before I finish with this search, I'm just gonna choose, maybe this Brick Pavers here.
And do you see that, when you highlight it, a small little up arrow appears? You can use that to import that material into your current project. So, I've got that one selected and I'm gonna click the little red X here. And that will go back to displaying everything. Cause it clears the search, but it keeps my Brick Pavers selected here. I'm gonna close the Autodesk materials. And there's my Office Standard. Expand that, grab Brick Pavers, drag it on top of my Brick category and let go.
So now if I click the Brick category, there's Brick Pavers. And I'll scroll down a little bit. And that other one was under Masonry, so I'm gonna scroll down here to where Masonry was. And take this brick and also drag it into that category. Then, maybe find some metal materials. Carbon Steel. And search for Aluminum. Once again, it will hide it down here, but I can just simply select it first.
Metal Aluminum Brushed. Then when I click cancel, it's still selected. And then, drag that to my Metal folder, right there. And then finally, let me scroll down here and just find a wood. Maybe this Wood Shakes, and I'll drag that here. So, at this point, if I highlight the Library, it shows me the complete Library, if I highlight just Brick or Metal or Wood, it shows me those items.
So if I'm done editing my Library, now what I can do, is right click it and say Release Library. And that'll turn off that little pencil icon. And so now, the library is free for somebody else to edit. Okay, so now what do we do with this? Let's go ahead and click Okay there, and I'm going to Create a New Project. I'll create it from the Architectural Template. Click Okay, and I'll just draw a wall. Go to 3-D, select a wall, edit type, duplicate, just gonna accept that name for now, edit again and click Browse here, by Category.
That's gonna take me to the materials. Well, now if I expand this, notice my Office Standard Materials Library is still there and loaded. Now, that's because I created it on this machine and it was already loaded. But if you want to share it with one of your colleagues, all they have to do is click the icon here and say Open an Existing Library. So instead of Ccreating a new library, they would open an existing one, point to that same file. So I'm gonna expand this out and I'm going to select my brick here, and Masonry Brick already exists in this file, so let's go ahead and put the Wood Shakes on the wall.
I know that's kind of silly but we'll import it in. We've selected it, click Okay, Okay again and now if we go to Realistic, you can see that I have a wall that wood shakes on it. But more importantly, I now have this library that I can use elsewhere including AutoCAD. So if we switch over to AutoCAD, I can load that library in here. So let me just create a simple object first. I'll just type Box and draw a simple box here, give it a little bit of a height, and then go to a 3-D vantage point.
So there's the box. Then I'm gonna go to the View tab and here under Palettes, I'll choose Visual Styles and maybe choose the Realistic Display here, this one. Then I double click that. And you can see that it's just sort of gray right now. Let me close this Palette. And then, I'm gonna go to Palettes again, and choose Material Browser. Now this looks pretty similar to what we saw over there in Revit. Let me move this out of the way.
And I'm going to click that same little icon, open an existing library, go to My Desktop, select my Office Standard Library and click Open. And notice that right here, you see all of those materials that we had in the other library. If I expand these down, there's the Office Standard Library, including each of it's sub-categories right there. And I could take something like the, you know, Wood Shakes here, drag it and drop it and place it on that solid, which is considerably smaller than the wall, but notice that with a simple drag and drop, I'm taking a material that was created in Revit, and I'm using it over here in AutoCAD.
And that's just a really simple example of that. We could do the same thing in Showcase, we could do it in 3ds Max. And it goes both ways. So if you create materials in one of these other products, you can put them in a Library and easily use those back over in Revit as well.
NOTE: The exercise files for this course can only be opened in the most recent version of Revit (Revit 2017).
Skill Level Appropriate for all
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