Materials in Revit

Overview

Enscape provides its own native Material Editor that can be used in conjunction with the already powerful native Revit Material Editor. Although,  there are some limitations in regards to Revit Project Materials that have an Appearance other than Generic, as described here.

Also, please be aware that Enscape now also provides a Material Library with pre-built PBR materials that can be imported into the Enscape Material Editor. This is currently the only way to bring in materials into the Material Editor without first creating the material in the native Revit Material Editor.

All materials listed in the Enscape Material Editor will also be available in the Revit Material Editor.

To apply any material that can be listed in the Enscape Material Editor to a surface in a Revit project, you will need to find and apply it via the Revit Material Editor in Revit itself. Applying a material to a surface via the Enscape viewport is not possible.

NOTE
For Revit 2018 users, the Enscape Material Library and Enscape Material Editor are not supported. This is due to an API hook not having been made available in these Revit versions.

You can open the Enscape Material Editor at any time, whether Enscape is running or not, from within the toolbar in Revit under the Enscape tab.

Location of the Enscape Material Editor button in Revit

Location of the Enscape Material Editor button in Revit

When opening the Enscape Material Editor in Revit, there will always be materials listed by default, even with a new blank Revit project file.

Enscape Material Editor opened

Enscape Material Editor opened

Revit Materials

Before we explore the Enscape Material Editor fully, lets take a look at working with materials in the native Revit Material Editor. Enscape will generally be able to display the following Appearance parameters without having to use the Enscape Material Editor these materials will not show up in the Enscape Material Editor, so editing them inside Revit is recommended:

NOTE: It is possible to duplicate these materials as a ‘Generic’ material and this will result in them being listed in the Enscape Materials Editor. However, it is not recommended to alter these Revit materials, as the material will then look different in Enscape. For example, a Metal material that is Type Aluminium in Revit will lose its Aluminium qualities pre-built into the material in Revit. It’s advised to build such a material from scratch in the native Enscape Material Editor instead of duplicating the Revit Project Material, or simply leave the Revit Material Appearance as it is, Enscape will still interpret it correctly.

Roughness / Glossiness
Bump Map
Glossiness Map
Cutout Texture
Texture Offset Scaling, and Rotation
Tint
Metal Type / Metal Finish Variation
Image Fade
Self-Illumination + Color Temperature
Refraction
Self-Illumination Map and Filter
Hardwood Tint

Additionally, new material classes available in Revit 2019 – including Normal Maps – are fully supported.

Glass

By setting the Revit material class to Glass, Enscape will render the material as glass according to your settings.

Reflectance
Roughness / Glossiness
Tint

Enscape Material Editor

After opening the Enscape Material Editor you will notice that the list is already populated with most of those materials contained in the Revit project file (apart from Revit PBR materials, as mentioned in the Overview section). Shown here, the Aluminium Green is the only Aluminium material that is set to Generic in Revit’s Material Editor. The other two Aluminium materials listed (Aluminium and Aluminium Black) have an Appearance set to Metal, and are therefore not listed in the Enscape Material Editor.

The Revit Material Editor (left) and the Enscape Material Editor (right) showing the omission of Appearance materials other than 'Generic'

The Revit Material Editor (left) and the Enscape Material Editor (right) showing the omission of Appearance materials other than 'Generic'

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

Other Material Editor options

IMPORTANT
Before importing any materials, you should decide whether the project will be shared with another user for collaborative purposes. If this is the case, a storage location, where all users working on a project will have access to, should be specified. Therefore, you should pay attention to the ‘gear’ icon that can be found at the bottom left corner of the dialog in both the Material Library, and the Material Editor. If you do not adjust the storage location at the start of a project, then when a project file is opened by another user, that user will not be able to access the materials assigned in the project due to the default storage location being assigned locally by default. This means that the materials assigned in the project will need to be manually reimported and reassigned.

For that purpose, either import all the materials from the Enscape Material Library, or download the Enscape_3_1_Textures.zip file, unzip it to a shared or personal folder. Then, add the folder you unzipped the textures to as a path in the “Additional render appearance paths” in Revit itself.

Material Types

The Enscape Material Editor can set each material to be set to a certain Type. Each Type has a set of pre-built qualities.

These following Type of materials are available to choose from:

  • Generic – Suited for any materials that aren’t supposed to be rendered as grass blades, water surface, or have translucency applied.
  • Carpet – Contains pre-built sprites that act like carpet fibers which can be adjusted.
  • Clearcoat – Imitates the type of paint that you find on car bodies.
  • Foliage – If the Sun (not artificial lighting) is located behind said surface, it will be illuminated on both sides, common in nature.
  • Grass– Contains sprites that represent grass material which animate when not at rest.
  • Self-illuminated – Makes a material appear as if glowing, and emitting actual light.
  • Water – Acts as a liquid and animates when not at rest.
Enscape Material Editor's material Types

Enscape Material Editor's material Types

You will notice that the materials listed in the Enscape Material Editor also have symbols next to them that reflect the material Type to make it quicker to work with.

The Material listed with its Type symbol

The Material listed with its Type symbol

The Material listed with Albedo color

The Material listed with Albedo color

If the material contains a color in the Albedo slot, this will also be indicated by the associated symbol displayed with the same color.

In addition to the native Revit materials, there are some special materials that can be called either from within Revit’s native Material Editor via the use of keywords, or via the Enscape Material Editor via the material Type selection menu.

Generic

The “Generic” material type is suited for any materials that aren’t supposed to be rendered as grass blades, water surfaces, or have translucency applied.

It gives you control over the colorreflectivitytransparencysurface relief (height) and light emission of your material.

This is the default material type in Enscape and can be used for the majority of all possible materials.

In Revit, there is no keyword for this material type, but the material’s appearance should not be anything other than those found under the Revit ‘Generic’ class.

Generic Material Type

Generic Material Type

The available options for the Generic Material Type in the Enscape Material Editor are as follows:

  • Albedo – Controls the basic color of the surface you’re designing. You can either select a color, or choose a texture by clicking the blue folder 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 Revit. Its also possible to add Video Textures to this slot.
  • Height Map – 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. Jump to this section for more information on implementing these.
  • Reflections – This area is all about the microscopic roughness of your material, determining how much of the environment you’ll see reflected in its surface.
  • Transparency – 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.
Generic Material Type

Generic Material Type

NOTE
When using an Albedo color, if a material has ever been modified through the Enscape Material Editor and the material had originally contained a diffuse texture in the Revit Material Editor that additionally had the Image Fade set to less than 100% in the Revit Material Editor, any subsequent changes made to that material’s Albedo color via the Revit Material Editor will be ignored by Enscape. Only the changes to its Albedo color performed via the Enscape Material Editor are considered.

Carpet

Another material, very similar to Grass, is Carpet. There are two keywords for this material, Long Carpet and Short Carpet. Just as with the Grass material, the keywords should be inputted in the Material Name that is shown in the list of the to the left of the Revit Material Editor.

The following image shows the Carpet material applied with the addition of an image file in the Image slot in the Revit Material Editor to create a patterned carpet.

The Carpet material in Revit

The Carpet material in Revit

Clearcoat

A Clearcoat material which imitates the type of paint that you find on car bodies or enamel paint, can be implemented in the following ways.
Either select it as the material Type in the Enscape Material Editor, where you will have the same settings as in a Generic material, apart from Transparency.

Clearcoat option

Or, open the native Revit Material Editor, and create a new default material.
Then click on the Open/Close Asset Browser window button in the Revit Material Editor.

Open the Asset Browser window

Open the Asset Browser window

Once the Asset Browser is open, perform a search for Metallic Paint, and from the returned results select one of the assets and click on the arrow symbol in the Type column to replace the asset in the material.

Search and replace the asset of the material with a Metallic Paint asset.

Search and replace the asset of the material with a Metallic Paint asset.

Back in the Revit Material Browser, make sure that the Top Coat Type is set to Car Paint, and set the color of the Metallic Paint in the Color slot of the Browser.
Click Apply to apply the material to your object.

Clearcoat material with Enscape orange selected as the base color

Clearcoat material with Enscape orange selected as the base color

Foliage

When selecting Foliage as material Type, the Enscape Material Editor interface will look and behave 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 surface.

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.

NOTE: Foliage can not be applied via keyword in the Revit Material Editor.

Regular material on the left, Foliage material on the right

Regular material on the left, Foliage material on the right

Grass

There are four types of grass material that can be applied through keywords, so by including one of the associated Grass keywords and applying it to the Revit Material Name, Enscape will render the material as actual grass blades. The color is determined by the color / texture of the material, so you can also use it for other grass like materials, carpets for instance. “Tall Grass” will display taller grass blades, while “Wild Grass” will make for a more uneven look and “Short Grass” will give you a freshly mowed lawn. Using the keyword ‘Grass’ itself will give you something in between the short and long grass types.

Take note that only the actual Material Name that is shown in the list area to the left of Revit’s Material Browser needs to be changed. You can place any word you want in the Name slot in the Revit Material Information area, as these Material Information fields have no impact on the result.

Setting the name of the grass material

Setting the name of the grass material

Here, the four types of grass materials are applied using their associated keyword.

'Short Grass' keyword applied to material

'Short Grass' keyword applied to material

'Grass' applied to material

'Grass' applied to material

'Short Grass' keyword applied to material

'Short Grass' keyword applied to material

'Grass' applied to material

'Grass' applied to material

Additionally, selecting the Grass Type in the Enscape Material Editor itself will allow a finer amount of control over the material.

Here, you can see the material assigned in Revit, as well as how it is assigned in the Enscape Material Editor.

Grass Material Type

Grass Material Type

Notice the addition of sliders to control the Grass Height and Height Variation.
There is no Transparency slot associated with Grass.

Slider Control for Grass

Slider Control for Grass

Self-illuminated

The Self-illuminated Material Type, when selected, tells Enscape to literally handle your material as if it is glowing, and emitting actual light. You can choose a brightness between 1 and 100,000 candela per square meter (cd/m²), as well as the color of the light.

Self-illumination options

Self-illumination options

Self-illumination with checkerboard material

Self-illumination with checkerboard material

Water

By setting the material class to Water, Enscape will render the material as animated water with refraction and caustics. Enscape will take the settings set in the water material into account and display them accordingly.

The easiest way to create water in the Revit Material Editor is to duplicate the existing Revit default Water material. Once that is done then you can change the type of water from a list of presets in the Type dropdown. You can also set the Color and Wave Height, both of which will affect the final result in the Enscape window.

Selecting Water as the material

Selecting Water as the material

Here is the water applied to the same surface as the grass material above.

Water is set as the material to the surface

Water is set as the material to the surface

Alternatively, you can select Water as the material Type in the Enscape Material Editor.

Water Color – Choose a color your water should be tinted in. No textures can be used here – water color is set globally

Wind Settings:

  • Override Global Wind Settings – When checked, this will override the global wind settings found in the Visual Settings -> Atmosphere dialog.
  • Intensity – Controls the speed in which the water is flowing.
  • Direction Angle – Controls the overall direction water is moving in.

Wave Settings:

  • Height – Adjusts how wild or calm the water is.
  • Scale – Adjusts the overall scale of the waves to help you match your project size.

Detail:

  • Caustics Intensity – Controls the amount of light that is being refracted through waves in water. Keep in mind you will only see this effect as long as there’s a surface beneath the water for the light to reflect off of.
Water options in the Enscape Material Editor

Water options in the Enscape Material Editor

Height Map

You can now use Height Maps in Revit. It is possible to assign a displacement map directly in Revit’s Material Editor via the Bump slot and give the Amount a value above 500 which will implement the displacement function.

Displacement Map assigned to the Bump slot

Displacement Map assigned to the Bump slot

However, it is much easier to assign in the Enscape Material Editor. The following options are available:

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 Bump map

Applying a Normal map

Applying a Normal map

Applying a Displacement map

Applying a Displacement map

As powerful as this feature is, it’s very easy to setup. Just select an image file by clicking the blue folder button next to the Texture slot. 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 BumpNormal, 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.

Bum map setting's options

Bum map setting's options

Tip
When using a Bump map, if there’s already an Albedo texture applied to your material, you can just click “Use Albedo“. Enscape will then assign the color texture to the bump value. This offers a uniquely streamlined way to set up existing projects for Enscape

Reflections

The Reflections slot provides the following options:

Reflection slot and associated options

Reflection slot and associated options

  • Texture – Either click the blue folder icon to select a custom texture, or Use Albedo to use that texture assigned to the Albedo slot.
  • Roughness – The smoother the material (Roughness -> 0%), the more it will reflect it’s environment. The rougher the material is, the more it will diffuse incoming light.
  • Texture – Again, you can also use 2D Images as a ‘Roughness Map’ to control the roughness value per location on your surface.
  • Metallic – The Metallic-slider tells Enscape to treat the surface either as a non-metallic (e.g. plastic, ceramic..) reflective surface, or as a metallic one.
    Let’s say metallic surfaces behave more like a mirror, reflecting a clear image of their surrounding, while non-metallic surfaces show more of their actual surface, reflecting the environment rather vaguely.
  • Specular – This value controls the amount by which light is being reflected when hitting a non-metallic surface at a steep angle, as opposed to light that’s hitting it rather from the side.
    If you’re not too familiar with this setting, it’s best to leave it around 50% for realistic results.

Transparency

The Transparency slot provides the following options:

Transparency slot and associated options

Transparency slot and associated options

  • Type – Choose between Cutout and Transmittance. When selecting Cutout, only the Texture slot is available for that Transparency Type.
  • Texture – The Texture parameter allows you to control the transparency using a 2D image, a map. It refers to the Opacity value, so a black area (which equals zero) on the image used will result in a perfectly transparent portion of the surface, while a white area will appear perfectly opaque. Grey areas will appear partially transparent, such as glass. If you load a colored image, Enscape will automatically convert it to black and white, so you don’t have to worry about that.
  • Opacity – The Opacity slider controls the overall transparency of the surface. If you’re using it combined with a transparency map, it will define the maximum opacity, so white areas on said map will appear as opaque as you’ve set using this slider.
  • Tint Color – This menu allows you to choose a color that should be added to any semi-transparent areas of your material. Very much like colored glass.
  • Refractive Index – The Refractive Index slider determines by which factor light is being bent when traveling through a transparent surface. You know this effect from looking at a glass of water, or very thick glass.
    Air has a refractive index of 1.0 – so light rays travel through it in a straight line -, water has an index of 1.33, window glass 1.52, and, for example diamonds have an index of 2.42 – they bend light quite heavily.
    For further information on this topic, feel free to have a look at the Wikipedia article .
  • Frosted Glass – If the Frosted Glass checkbox is enabled, Enscape will blur what’s visible through the transparent surface. The amount by which it’s blurred is being determined by the Roughness value in the Reflections area.

Enscape Texture Editor

Access the Enscape Texture Editor in two ways

Access the Enscape Texture Editor in two ways

You can use up to four textures at a time per Enscape material. Textures are being used to control ColorVisibilitySurface Detail and Roughness of a material.

You can either click on the blue texture reference link, or on the small thumbnail next to the texture reference link which will take you into the Enscape Texture Editor.

Here you can:

  • Choose the image file for your texture
  • Change the brightness
  • Invert the colors of your image
  • Apply explicit texture transformations, if you don’t want to use the ones delivered from SketchUp

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.

The Texture Editor

The Texture Editor

Video Textures

Video textures can be applied to surfaces in Revit, and this can be done by either adding some information to the materials Description Information field found under the Identity tab in Revit’s Material Editor.

So add [video:<path>|<X>|<Y>|<rotation>]

Where:

  • <video> = the absolute path to the video file
  • <X> and <Y> = a multiplier outlining the texture scaling (X * width, Y * height)
  • <rotation> = the desired texture rotation (0 – 360)
Revit's Material Editor showing Description Information field under the Identity tab

Revit's Material Editor showing Description Information field under the Identity tab

The other option is to add the video file to the Albedo slot in the Enscape Material Editor via the blue folder symbol. 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 are limited to Cutout-Transparency only allowing 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

Video Texture

If you want to make use of Revit’s Graphics settings, make sure to switch the associated Enscape option which is found in the General Settings General Settings button -> Revit -> Material Selection option.

Switch Between the Graphics and Appearance

Switch between using Revit's Graphic and Appearance Materials in Enscape

Switch between using Revit's Graphic and Appearance Materials in Enscape

Importing and Exporting Materials

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 Material Package options

Import and Export Material Package 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 Material Package options

Export Material Package 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.

Batch Import .matpkg option

Batch Import .matpkg option

Unsupported Properties

Enscape does not currently support Revit’s procedurally generated textures such as Noise, Tile, Checker, etc. Only an Image file can be used.

Material Test Project

Visit our Free Sample Revit Projects page to download a sample material test project and see some examples of what materials are possible

Material Sample Project for Revit

Material Sample Project for Revit


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