A library of over 400 materials and textures is included with the product. The materials are available on tool palettes after they are installed and are displayed on the palettes with a checkered underlay.
A typical installation installs less than 100 materials on the Materials tool palettes. An additional 300 or more materials are available by optionally installing the Materials library. The library can be accessed through the Configuration button on Add/Remove features in the installer. By default, all of the Materials tool palettes are installed in the Tool Palettes File Locations path specified on the Files tab of the Options dialog box. (See Texture Maps Search Path on the Files tab for the location of texture maps.)
Hi Edwin,I'm having trouble finding anyone who can help me with my problem. I have a student version of AutoCAD 2011. When I render, I can see the materials in the materials browser. However, when I try to attach them by layer, the images of the materials disappear. I only see black boxes. I also get a completely black image when it renders. There is no image at all even though I have lights and cameras on and in place. I read online that I might need to reinstall the materials library. I followed the instructions exactly and reinstalled it, all three sections. Still, I'm getting the same results when I try to render. Any suggestions at all? Thanks for your help.
Note: Remember that Material Libraries are shared across products. Don't remove them unless you want to uninstall all Autodesk products. If you do remove libraries, uninstall the medium resolution image library first, then the base resolution image library, and the Autodesk material library last.
When applying a material with a texture image, it is important to get the parameters right for AutoCAD to show it as you expect. Here is a YouTube video that shows the steps to map a material on to a cylinder using the AutoCAD UI. The recording uses a AutoCAD 2010 and the materials UI in newer releases of AutoCAD has changed since then.But the video should still give you an idea of the parameters required to get the material mapping right.
At the bottom of the dialog are three icons. The first two are drop-down icons to create and open libraries and create and duplicate materials. To create a new library, from the first one, click the drop-down and then choose: Create New Library.
Browse to a location where you want to store the new library and give it a name. It will now appear on the list. You can begin placing materials in this library, or optionally you can right-click to create categories. If you plan to add many materials to the library, categories can help keep it organized.
To add materials to it, just drag and drop from the Project Materials pane directly above. You can drag directly onto the library folder, or into any of the categories if you created them. Selecting the library will display all contained materials and selecting a category will show only the materials within that category.
There may be good stuff on the horizon though. On the Materials Editor materials have an information tab where you can add a description and keywords. If we can start to sort and organize based on this information, managing a large material library may get better than ever. At present, however, naming glazing rendering materials as "Clear" and "Blue" just makes it more difficult to find in a long list of in-scene materials.
The default Autodesk Library has a very appealing set of materials but the categorization looks so much like the material types listed on the Create Material list that it is easy to get confused. For example, I was curious about "Fabric - Leather" and thought there was a unique material type for this but as it turns out, there isn't even a Fabric material type; it's just Generic. In AutoCAD 2010 there was a Fabric Type (consistency would be nice). I would also like to recommend that the material categories have one of those cute icons Autodesk seems to love making, something like a folder, so it is clear that these are categories.
I would really prefer one Palette similar to the one in the 2010 release. I can accept two but would still like the option to keep material editing in one Palette; perhaps a toggle to strip editing tasks out to other Palettes could be added.
If you decide to set the preview image quality to something high, like "mental ray - Production Quality", be prepared to wait and you will need to make the preview tile large in order to get anything out of the wait. In addition, once you change the preview image quality, it affects all of the materials you decide to edit - more waiting. I'm leaving mine at "Fastest Renderer". Existing Material Types are UnchangeableIt seems that every time Autodesk modifies rendering and particularly render materials, AutoCAD Architecture users take a significant hit in any library work they have invested in over the years. In the past three or four releases I have seen so many screwed up things happening to render material settings that I am starting to question why I still use this product or any other Autodesk products for that matter (it's not like Revit doesn't suffer from these types of disruptions either).
In the illustration to the right I show how an existing glazing rendering material I created in AutoCAD Architecture 2010 comes into AutoCAD Architecture 2011 as a Generic Material Type. This seems acceptable but I don't think I should have to reset the Transparency values and even if I am willing to accept that nonsense, why on earth am I forced to keep my legacy material as "Generic" when I want to take advantage of the Glazing or Solid Glass Material Types?
Though my system is running as good as new, it does appear that rendering changes/improvements in 2010 and 2011 have made rendering to large resolutions problematic on systems that don't have enough power to handle the load. The EndAs critical as I have been in this article about the changes to the Render Material tools in AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architecture, I have found that the changes are providing superior rendering results. The main improvements I want are List options for the in-scene materials, a "Fit to Object' Scale option and the ability to change material types after creation.For those of you who are trying to render work created in an earlier release of AutoCAD or AutoCAD Architecture, you may want to know about some of the new settings I found in the Help; below, quoted directly from the Help:3DConversionMode - "Used to convert material and light definitions to the current product release" ValueDeviation Value0No material or lighting conversion takes place when the drawing is opened1Material and lighting conversion takes place automatically 2You are prompted to convert any materials or lighting. ConvertOldMaterials - "Converts materials created in previous drawing file formats to the current format". MigrateMaterials - "Finds any legacy materials in Tool Palettes and converts them to generic type".Note:The file I used to create the rendering comparison at the beginning of this article had "3DConvertionMode" set to the default value of "1" and I had even tried "ConvertOldMaterials". Perhaps these conversions work better with 2010 files. Illustrated above is a vignette based on a new plug-in we are working on for our Kitchen Cabinets eKits product: Modern Cabinets. I wanted to see what the cabinets would look like using the OOTB "Flaked Satin - Blue" Render Material. I rendered this using the default Sunlight settings and the "High" Rendering Preset.
Other Upgrades The list of new features extends to a few other noteworthy updates.External reference highlighting. If you now select an externally referenced file (file types DWG, DWF, DGN, PDF, or various image file formats) the file name will be highlighted in the External References palette. Conversely, selecting a file in the External References palette will highlight the objects belonging to the file on screen. Highlighting behavior is now governed by the ERHIGHLIGHT system variable.The External References tab and drawing environment are now linked via object selection.Help. To keep Help files up-to-date, AutoCAD 2011 now points the Help system to the Autodesk web site by default. This feature may be disabled in the System tab of the Options command.Missing fonts. If a font file is missing upon opening a drawing, you now have the option to bypass assigning a font if you so choose, rather than having to specify a replacement.Missing fonts may now be bypassed if desired.Materials library and browser. AutoCAD 2011 now derives its rendering materials from the Autodesk Materials Library, thus providing a consistent set of tools across other Autodesk Products such as 3ds Max. Organizing materials is now easier via the ability to create your own materials libraries in the Materials Browser and the ability to search throughout the material library using characteristics-based searching. I hope this quick overview of the new features in AutoCAD 2011 gives you a head start in determining whether this version would be a worthy upgrade for you or your company. 2b1af7f3a8