You can create custom materials by editing the materials in the library and by importing graphic files into the program. This allows you to create the perfect materials to match the requirements of your project and save them to the library for future use.
Customizing Materials in Your Design
Custom materials can be created by using the Customize Materials controls located in the Stage Options tab. In order to use these controls you must first select a surface in your design. This will allow you to edit the material applied to that surface. This will not change the material in the library, but you can save the changes you have made as a new material in the library. This allows you to create multiple versions of an existing material in different colors.
Color Ring: The outer Color Ring allows you to change the base color of a selected material applied to a surface in your design. You left click directly on a color in the ring.
Color Triangle: The inner Color Triangle allows you to adjust the saturation and intensity of the color of a selected material applied to a surface in your design. This allows you to fine tune a color to perfectly match your project requirements. You left click directly on a color in the triangle.
Color Preview: A preview of the custom color appears in the upper preview triangle to the left of the Color Ring. Each time you left click on the Color Ring or the Color Triangle the preview will update.
Hue Saturation Value
Color: The Color Strip allows you to change the color of a selected material applied to a surface in your design. You may left click directly on a color in the strip or use the slider below the strip.
Brightness: The Brightness Strip allows you to adjust the brightness of a selected material applied to a surface in your design. This will brighten or darken the color of the selected material. You may left click directly on the brightness you would like to select or use the slider below the strip.
Color Strength: The Color Strength Strip allows you to adjust the intensity of the color of a selected material applied to a surface in your design. This allows you to fine tune a color to perfectly match your project requirements. You may left click directly on the color strength you would like to select or use the slider below the strip.
Advanced Options: This box allows you to fine tune the selected color by adjusting the HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) and RGB (Red, Green, Blue) values.
Each color has a code. When a material is selected, you can see its Hexadecimal color code such as #123456, below the HSV and RGB values. To insert your own color code, type into the field or copy and paste the code from another customized material.
Selecting Materials to Customize
In order to customize a material, you must first select a material applied to a surface in your design.
If you wish to customize one individual surface, you may select it by double left clicking directly on it. Selected surfaces will highlight in red. To customize more than one surface at a time, hold down the CTRL button on your keyboard and left-click once to select each additional surface.
You may customize multiple surfaces at once even if each surface has a different material applied to it. Every surface you have selected will change as you use the Customize Materials controls.
Surfaces Which Can be Selected: You can select the surfaces of drawn shapes and library items to customize materials. This includes all drawn shapes created in the Design Phase and items inserted from the library.
Each different type of shape has a different number of surfaces. Shapes drawn in the House Stage for example have only one surface while raised planters have multiple surfaces. Each surface of the shape may have a different material applied to it, and each surface may be customized to a different color. For example, a raised planter shape has both a top surface and a side surface. The material on the top surface may be customized to a lighter color than the material applied to the side. The color may be different even if the same material is applied to both the top and the side.
Each library item has a different number of surfaces. Each surface of the item may be customized to a different color. For example, a dining chair has both a chair frame surface and a cushion surface. Each surface may be customized to a different color.
How Customization Affects Materials: As you customize the material, you will change its color but it will retain its pattern. For example if you have a red brick material applied in your project, you may customize it to a brown color, but it will remain a brick material. The customizations you make will only affect the material applied to the surface you have selected. Even if the material you have selected is applied to other surfaces in the design, only the surface you have selected will change. If you wish to change other surfaces, you may use the Change Same button. As well, the material in the library will not be affected by the customization, but you may save your customization as a new material in the library with the Save button.
Each material will change based on its attributes. As you adjust a material with the Customize Materials controls, the material will change based on the different colors and color shades of the material. For example, if a material is white with blue specks, the blue specks will change first as you adjust the Color strip. Using the Brightness and Color Strength strips will allow you to adjust more of the color in the material.
Property Material: It is also important to know that it is not possible to customize the material applied to the ground in your design. You can use the Paint Brush in the Terrain Tools to paint custom materials you have saved to the library on the ground.
Customize Materials Buttons
The Customize Materials section of the panel has four buttons for use in customizing materials. These buttons are Import, Export, Change Same and Reset. These buttons are only active when you have a material applied to a surface in your design selected.
Reset: The Reset button allows you to reset a customized material back to its library default. This button will reset all changes made to the material with the Color Wheel and Hue Saturation Values as well as with the Import button. Pressing the Reset button will reset every material you currently have selected.
It is important to note that the Reset button will reset all custom materials. Even custom materials you have saved to the library will be reset back to their original materials.
Import: The Import button allows you to create custom materials by importing graphics files. You may import graphic files in the .bmp, .jpg, .png, .tga, and .tif formats. You may import all sorts of graphics such as tile, concrete, and paver patterns as well as brick and stucco surfaces. You can even import photographs. Once you have imported the graphic you can save it to the material library using the Save button under the Material Library List View. If you do not save an imported material to the library it will only appear in the project you imported it in.
The imported graphic will automatically tile across the selected surface. You may adjust the way the graphic tiles by using the Scale, Rotate, and Pan tools located under Material Manipulation in the Materials Library.
You may also use the Color Wheel or Hue Saturation Values on materials you have imported. It is important to know that once you edit the imported material, the material will be substantially changed and will have only one primary color. When you import a material it will be imported onto every surface you have selected.
Export: The Export button allows you to export a selected material out of the program as a graphics file. This is useful if you want to transfer a custom material to another computer or share it with another designer. It also allows you to export a material for use in graphics editing software. An exported material may be imported into another copy of the program by using the Import button.
When you export a selected material, a window will open allowing you to name the material and select a location to save it. The material will save as a .png file.
If you have selected multiple materials in your design, you may still press the Export button, but only the first material you selected will be exported.
Change Same: The Change Same button allows you to apply the customizations you have made to one material applied to a selected surface to every other surface that material is applied to in your project.
This button is especially useful if you have multiple surfaces with the same material throughout your design. You may customize one planter and then use the Change Same button to change all the planters to match your customizations.
It is important to note that Change Same will change every material with the same name as the material you currently have selected. This will even change materials you have already customized. For example, in a design you have three planters with the same material. The first planter you customize to make it darker. You then customize the second planter, making it browner in color. You would like the third planter to be the same color as the second planter. So with the second planter selected, you press Change Same. Instead of just the third planter changing, both the third and the first planters changed. This is because all three planters have exactly the same material. It is important to remember that the Change Same button uses the name of the material, not its current appearance or customization.
The Change Same button will also copy the customizations you have made with the Material Manipulation controls. If you scale, rotate, or pan your custom material, those changes will be copied to all other surfaces with the same material when you use the Change Same button.
The Change Same button can also be used with the Import button. If you import a graphic file onto a material in your design, you can use the Change Same button to copy the imported graphic to all the other surfaces in the design with the same material.
Saving Custom Materials to the Materials Library
You can also save custom materials for future use. The buttons located at the bottom of the Library allow you to save, edit and delete customizations you have made to existing materials as well as new materials you have imported to the Materials.
Saving custom materials is the easiest way to make sure that your custom materials are available for use in future projects.
Save: This button will allow you to save materials you have customized to the library.
Edit: This button is used to edit custom materials you have saved to the Materials Library.
Delete: This button will permanently delete a custom material from the library.
Save: The Save button will allow you to save custom materials to the Materials Library for use in future projects. By saving the material, you will create a new material in the Material Library. It is highly recommended that you save all custom materials you create to the library.
When you press the Save button, the Create New Template box will come up. This box will display a preview image of the material. You select the Category and Type you would like the material saved to from the drop down lists and give your new material a Name. You may also enter a Description and Search Tags for the material. To create a new category or type to save the material to, simply type in the new category or type name. Press the Ok button when you are done.
Please Note: Materials that have not been customized may not be saved to the library. The Save button is only available when a customized material is selected.
Edit: The Edit button is used to edit custom materials you have saved to the Materials Library. If a custom material you have saved to the library is selected, Edit will bring up the Edit Template box and allow you to edit the Category, Type, Name, Description and Search Tags of the custom material.
The Edit button allows you to move custom materials between Categories and Types. You can also create new Categories and Types by typing in new category and type names. The Edit button only allows you to edit custom materials.
Delete: The Delete button will permanently delete a custom material from the library. This will remove the custom material from the library for all projects and cannot be undone.