Enscape provides a native Material Editor which is available for use in Vectorworks.
As a Vectorworks user, you should already be familiar with the Vectorworks’ Object Info’s Render tab, as well as the Resource Manager, as these are the the areas in Vectorworks where a material can be assigned and also where you can initiate the use of keywords for Enscape’s Special Materials, such as Water, Grass, and the Clearcoat materials.
Therefore, before a material becomes available for further adjustment or editing in the Enscape Material Editor it must be firstly applied to the surface in Vectorworks, via the Vectorworks’ Resource Manager and / or the Object Info’s Render tab.
Once that has been done, you can open the Enscape Material Editor to work on the material there, where the name of the material assigned to the surface in Vectorworks will become available in the Enscape Material Editor under that same material name.
Some options for materials in Vectorworks will still affect the materials appearance in the Enscape viewport (such as the Scale option) but this article will concentrate only on the Enscape Material Editor and how to use it.
Vectorworks Object Info dialog
Vectorworks Resource Manager dialog
To open the Enscape material editor, make sure the Enscape Tool Set is available via Tools -> Third-Party -> Enscape -> Add Enscape to workspace and then click the Enscape Material Tool button in the Enscape Tool Set:
Enscape Material Editor button
Material Editor window open for a project
This is the view in the Material Editor for a Vectorworks’ project that has already had the materials assigned before Enscape was installed and this is indicated by the materials various slots showing as ‘Embedded Texture’.
Both Vectorworks’ Class Textures and Textures will show up in the Material Editor as ‘Embedded Texture’ where they have already been applied in Vectorworks.
Two other functions that are available in the Enscape Material Editor are the menu button at the top which allows you to either Batch Import *.mattpkg files, or import materials from the Enscape Material Library.
You can also set the location where materials will be stored (such as a network drive) via the ‘gear / cog’ symbol at the extreme bottom left of the Material Editor dialog and this is also cover in the Material Library article.
Other Material Editor options
The “Generic” material type is suited for any materials that aren’t supposed to be rendered as grass blades, water surface, or have translucency applied.
This is the default material type and can be used for the majority of all possible materials.
Default Material Type
The Albedo area controls the basic color of the surface you’re designing. You can either select a color, or choose a texture by clicking the [+] symbol. If choosing a texture, you’ll also receive a “Tint Color” menu, allowing you to easily change the color of the texture used. Control the amount of influence on your texture using the “Image Fade” slider. Of course, Enscape will use any UV information (texture placement) it gets from Vectorworks.
Albedo Texture slot with Tint only applied
Albedo slot with texture applied
Albedo texture applied to a sphere
It is also possible to add a video texture to the Albedo texture slot. The following formats are currently supported: .mp4, .mpg, .m2v, .3gp, .avi, .mov, and .mk,
When selecting a video file as the Albedo texture, transparency-related material settings become limited to Cutout-Transparency allowing for the application of a mask texture. The adjustment or inversion of the brightness of the video texture in the Enscape Texture Editor becomes unavailable in this scenario.
Video texture applied to Albedo texture slot
The Transparency area lets you control the opacity of your model, or, in other words, the amount of light that can travel through the surface, allowing you to see what’s behind it.
The Transparency area
Transition from transparent sphere to one with transparency texture applied
The Height option in the Enscape Material Editor allows you to utilize so called Bump, Normal, or Displacement maps in order to simulate bumps, wrinkles and dents and the lighting of these.
Bump maps can be any black and white 2D images. They tell Enscape to interpret a surface as protruding (bright parts of the texture) or recessed (dark parts of the texture).
Normal map are a type of Bump map that require an image with RGB values. These RGB components correspond to the X, Y, and Z coordinates, respectively.
Displacement maps are an enhancement of the bump mapping or normal mapping techniques applied to textures. Normally an Occlusion Map is the type of image you will use for Displacement maps. The actual technique employed in Enscape is called quadtree parallax displacement mapping for optimum performance. It’s worth noting that Displacement maps are incompatible with transparent materials so the entire “Transparency” section becomes unavailable where a displacement map has been applied (including mask textures). Furthermore, the brightness of Displacement maps cannot be further adjusted or inverted when editing the texture inside the Enscape Material Editor itself.
Height maps are incredibly valuable for realism in your images and this can not be overstated enough!
Height maps can make for incredible surface detail and noise, without actually affecting or adding more geometry. You can use this feature for noise on concrete surfaces, wood, tiling, or even full reliefs! This can go a long way in convincing the viewer that they are looking at a realistic picture.
Textures that are available online, either paid for or free, will generally have a Normal, Bump / Height, Occlusion map included or available additionally to the basic Color texture.
It is also worth noting that normal based self-shadowing of material surfaces implemented. This feature further improves the depth perception of materials, especially with displacement maps. It’s active for sun light only when the Rendering Quality level is set to “High”. On Rendering Quality level “Ultra” artificial lights will also cast normal based shadows.
Applying a Bump map
Applying a Normal map
Applying a Displacement map
As powerful as this feature is, it’s very easy to setup. Just select an image file using the – button. A Bump map doesn’t even have to be black & white, as Enscape will take care of that for you.
Normal Maps must have an RGB value in them.
As already mentioned, Displacement maps would be best served with an occlusion map if available.
You can switch between using a Bump, Normal, and Displacement map via the Type drop down option.
Select the Intensity (Bump and Displacement) or Amount (Normal) of the effect, using the respectively named slider. Negative values for bump maps. will invert the effect, causing dark areas to stick out and bright areas to be pushed in.
Displacement Maps will only adjust the amount, whether negative or positive values, in the same single direction from the minimum height value.
The Height Map Settings options
This area is all about the microscopic roughness of your material, determining how much of the environment you’ll see reflected in its surface.
The Reflection settings area
Sphere with checker texture applied as a Roughness Map
The Grass type material, as seen in the material editor, looks almost the same as the Generic type. While it’s lacking the Transparency part, it instead features a Grass Settings area. Apart from the Albedo area, which you can use to color your grass (also using a texture), the Height– and Reflections parts are only useful if you plan to toggle the Grass Rendering setting on and off (this can be found in the Enscape General Settings -> Performance -> Grass/Carpet Rendering option).
'Grass' selected as material type
The Height slider will stretch the sprites being used as grass blades, making them appear larger, making for higher grass.
Changing the grass height
The Height Variation slider adds a random factor to the grass height. This makes for a wilder looking, ragged grass.
Randomizing the grass blades
Wind Settings in the Visual Settings window
The Carpet material acts in the same way as the Grass Material, in that it can be applied to a horizontal surface only, and the Height and Height Variation are controlled in the Enscape Material Editor.
Carpet material applied in SketchUp using an underlying texture file in the Albedo slot.
The Height and Height Variation Settings title is amended with Carpet when Carpet is selected as the Type in the Material Editor.
Carpet selected as the Type in the Enscape Material Editor
Carpet Material Settings in the Material Editor
Here are the available settings for Water in the Enscape Material Editor.
Setting the Water Type for a material will tell Enscape to treat any surface it’s applied to as physical water, including waves & caustics.
Separate faces and materials have been used in this image
Control the water movement. Change the speed and the direction your water is flowing to simulate e.g. a river.
This can be set using the global Wind Settings to be found in the Visual Setting-> Atmosphere tab, the same as for the Grass material. These global settings can be overridden for Water however, and this override is available in the Material Editor when Water is selected as material Type.
Override Wind Settings option
Fine tune the look of your waves, whether it’s the overall scale to match the proportions of your model, or just the height to control whether your water looks rather wild or calm.
The Wave Settings sliders
Height: The Height slider controls the height – or intensity – of waves in water materials.
Size: The Size slider controls the overall scale of your water. This way you can adjust the water behavior for various project sizes, close ups etc.
No caustics to 100% caustics visibility
The Self Illumination setting, when enabled, tells Enscape to literally handle your material as if it is glowing and emitting actual light. You can choose a brightness between 1 and 100000 candela per square meter (cd/m²), as well as the color of the light.
Self Illumination set to active
Checker texture applied to Self Illumination Color
When selecting “Foliage” as material type, the Enscape Material Editor interface will look identical to when selecting “Generic” as type.
The difference this material type will cause is only visible on single-face objects. Please make sure the object you apply this material to doesn’t have any depth, and also that the material is applied to both sides of the face.
If these conditions are met, Enscape will apply Translucency to objects this material type is applied to. This means that, if the Sun (yes, this doesn’t work combined with artificial lighting) is located behind said surface, it will be illuminated on both sides. This is common in nature for example with leaves, which is why this is the most common use case for this type of material.
You can apply a material to two sides of the same face
Regular material on the left, Foliage material on the right
When selecting “Clearcoat” as material type, the Enscape Material Editor interface removes the transparency option altogether.
The Clearcoat material imitates the type of paint that you find on car bodies. So, essentially the Clearcoat is a transparent resin material, and the color is defined via the Albedo option in the Material Editor window.
This material, therefore, is shiny and reflective by default, although you do have the option to dial back the reflective properties, as well as add a bump map.
Clearcoat material with Enscape orange selected as the base color.
All texture slots used showing the two possible ways to access the Texture Editor
By clicking any of the texture symbols at the top of the Enscape Material Editor, or any of the blue and underlined image file names next to any of the “Texture” slots, you’ll enter the actual Texture Editor interface.
Here you can:
The Texture Editor
The Texture Editor interface is the same for any texture type. It’s meant to allow for simple image editing operations without having to leave the material editor.
In order to be able to utilize existent materials, you can import multiple materials simultaneously via the Batch Import feature, or by importing a single material. You can also export single materials as a *.matpkg file.
To import a single material hover the mouse over any material listed on the left hand side of the Material Editor dialog and the material Type symbol will change to 3 dots.
Clicking on the 3 dots will reveal the menu options Export Material Package and Import Material Package. In order to import an existing material, click on Import Material Package which will allow you to navigate to the location of the *.matpkg file you wish to import.
Import and Export Package Material options
To export a material package file (*.matpkg), click Export Material Package and this will allow you to choose the location you would like to save the file to.
Export Package Materials options
Finally, to Batch Import .matpkg files you need to click on the three horizontal lines menu next to the Materials title at the top left of the Material Editor dialog and choose the Batch Import *.matpkg… option. This will open a dialog window to allow you to navigate to the “.matpkg” files you would like to import. When Batch Importing the *.matpkg files you want to import must be in the same location.
Export a Single Material
Enscape synchronizes with Vectorworks in real-time, so any changes you make to your materials in Vectorworks will immediately show up in a realistic render in Enscape as long as you have implemented the material correctly.
What follows is a summary of the material keywords that can be implemented in Vectorworks.
Keywords and their effects
The following keywords inform Enscape how to display a material more realistically.
|KEYWORD||DISPLAYS IN ENSCAPE AS:|
|Water, Ocean, River||Draws the material as a water surface.|
|Vegetation, Foliage, Leaf||Adds translucency to thin surfaces (single face only).|
|Short Carpet, Long Carpet||Creates a carpet material with either short of long sprites.|
|Grass, Short Grass, Tall Grass, Wild Grass||Grass blades as medium, short, tall, or with varying blade height|
The next set of keywords change the material parameters without changing the color image of the original shaders, which are may already be defined in the material.
NOTE: the following keywords should be applied in the Edit Texture dialog under the Name field.
It’s also worth pointing out at this point that the above listed materials, as well as some Enscape Assets, are affected by the global Wind settings that are found in the Visual Settings -> Atmosphere tab, where you can adjust both the wind Intensity and Direction Angle. This means that these materials animate when moving around in the Enscape Window, as well as when a Video is exported or when using Virtual Reality.
Wind Settings in the Visual Setting's Atmosphere tab.
Keywords and their effects
|KEYWORD||ROUGHNESS (0 -> 1)||SPECULAR HIGHLIGHT|
|Steel, Copper, Metal, Aluminium||0.3||Metal|
A simple example of this is to show the difference between the same material with and without the keyword ‘Aluminium’ in it’s name.
No keyword contained in the material name
'Aluminium' keyword is contained in the texture name.
What follows are some examples of the implementation of some of the material keywords mentioned above. These examples will give you an idea as to what you should expect to see when using these keywords.
The Grass keyword has four options, as mentioned above. The following images are what you should expect to see in your project when implementing these keywords.
The Carpet material is similar to the Grass material, in that it can be applied to a horizontal surface only.
The water texture will animate when you move around in Enscape and, like grass, has several keyword variations. Like the Grass and Carpet material, water can only be applied to horizontal surfaces.
The different water keywords will give you varying types water. So, for example the ‘Ocean’ keyword will display water with a larger scale of waves.
As mentioned at the top of this article, water movement can be affected by the Wind settings in the Visual Settings dialog under the Atmosphere tab. Change the speed and the direction your water is flowing to simulate e.g. a river.
Wind settings that will affect how water behaves
When selecting “Foliage” as the keyword, the difference this material will cause is only visible on single-face objects. Please make sure the object you apply this material to doesn’t have any depth, and also that the material is applied to both sides of the face.
If these conditions are met, Enscape will apply Translucency to objects this material is applied to. This means that, if the Sun (this doesn’t work when combined with artificial lighting) is located behind said surface, it will be illuminated on both sides. This is common in nature, for example with leaves, which is why this is the most common use case for this type of material.
Regular material on the left, Foliage material on the right
Selecting the “Clearcoat” keyword will imitate the type of paint that you find on car bodies. So, essentially the Clearcoat is a transparent resin material, and the color is defined via the Color Shader in the Vectorwork’s Edit Texture dialog.
This material, therefore, is shiny and reflective by default, although you do have the option to dial back the reflective properties, as well as add a bump map, which are both achieved once again via the Shaders in the Edit Texture dialog.
Clearcoat material with Enscape orange selected as the base color.
One keyword that is not available in Vectorworks is the Emissive keyword. However, there is a workaround to this issue.
By converting the surface into an area light you can achieve the same effect. Simply select the surface that you would like to be emissive and in the Vectorworks’ top menu select Modify -> Convert -> Convert to Area Light.
NOTE: An emissive surface will only be emissive if the surface is in camera view, or if the surface included in the current view. This means that if the surface is off screen, it will have no affect.
Self-illumination set to texture on a cube
When rendering in Enscape, mirrors may initially appear to be black because the material color is set to black. They do actually reflect properly but the black makes it hard to see. Please ensure you set the material color to white in order for the mirror to show up correctly in Enscape.
Editing the Color Shader for a Mirror