Every material in Revit has an appearance asset that controls how it looks in the realistic visual style and in renderings. These assets come in different types and each type has a different set of properties. For instance, you can give a generic asset an image texture, but a paint asset can only get a solid color.
It’s a really good idea to spend some time exploring the asset browser to familiarize yourself with all the pre-made appearance assets at your disposal. You might find that an appearance you thought you’d need to create from scratch already exists! Or you might find something similar that you can tweak until it’s just right.
Open the asset browser and set your view to show the largest possible thumbnails, so you can get a sense of what all the appearances are really like. Then scroll through all the categories to see what’s in there!
When you create a new material from scratch, it will have a generic appearance aspect. You can’t change the type of an existing asset.
If you want to make a new metal material, for instance, you can’t just create a new material. You could duplicate and rename an existing material that has a metal appearance, but you might have to override a lot of properties afterward to get it how you want it.
Alternatively, you can create a new material and then replace its appearance asset. Open the asset browser and find the list of default appearances. Choose the one you want and click the button to replace the current asset.
There are a lot of asset types. Sometimes it’s obvious which one is the best fit, but sometimes it’s hard to know which one to choose! You can look at the help files to get a detailed list of the properties that go with each type, but here’s a quick list of the options:
- Generic Material
- Metallic Paint
- Paint (color only – no image option)
If you have a material you want to use in other projects, you can save it to favorites by dragging the image icon into the favorites window. If you want more organization, you can create material libraries to hold different sets of materials.