How to apply materials?

So I have been using Rhino for about 4 years, but I have really only used it for form studies and Grasshopper. Now that my rendering engine of choice (thea render) works natively within Rhino, I might try applying materials right in Rhino. What is the easiest way to apply materials in Rhino. Sketchup makes it really easy to paint things with the paint bucket tool. I’ve worked in sketchup a lot have found that their models look quite nice just having materials applied even before rendering (in the sense that it gives the user a good idea of the material and color composition before rendering). Does Rhino have a display mode that looks more like sketchup?

Hi Lawrence-I’m not sure how Thea is integrated but the most straightforward is probably to use the Material page of the object’s Properties.


So does that mean you have to select each object before you can paint it? What if one face of a polysrf needs to be a different material from all the others?

Do you have an example of a fully textured model I could see? I feel like all the Rhino models I have encountered have focused on form and not materials. Would you see the textures in shaded mode?

In Rhino 5 you need to use ExtractSrf on that surface first. Separate objects equal separate materials. In the next version we are looking at supporting sub-object materials.

Check out the 3dm files are usually set up with Vray but they’ll still be helpful I bet if you use another renderer.

Only if you change the Shaded mode settings in Options>Display Modes to use the rendering material.

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Hi Pascal
This is an old thread but I think it would be helpful to weigh in here. I just had a helpful thread with Brian on this same topic but want to just reiterate / continue on Lawrence’s point here. I think McNeel could please a lot of Rhino users by really getting to know the process by which Sketchup assigns materials. Sketchup makes it very easy to apply materials to surfaces by dragging/painting them. For Rhino, the issue is that often times just assigning materials to objects or layers doesn’t cut it: You need to fiddle with texture mapping etc to get the right scale of material. Then you have to use the render display mode and turn curves on, all the while making your processor/video card work hard to continually update these views as a display mode. It’s too complicated. Please take a look at how Sketchup allows material mapping in modeling viewports in an easuer way still than the Rhino WIP processed usage of the Render Display Mode with curves turned on. I know McNeel can improve on Sketchup materials while modeling.
Again, You guys are doing great. We’re just picky Rhino fans. MB

Hi MBA - yeah, thanks, I like that as well. In V6/WIP, you get similar result by Ctrl-Shift faces of an object(s) to select them and you can then assign a material to all at once. I do like the ‘painting’ mode in SU though - it is intuitive.


Hi Pascal
Do all surfaces need to be texture mapped separately or theoretically
should you be able to select individual surfaces and just apply the
material (without using texture mapping tools for surface vs planar vs box
Thanks Pascal

Hi MBA - currently in V6/WIP, if you do nothing else with mapping, the face UV is used for the texture and texture packing is respected. If you have mapped the top level object with some kind of custom mapping like cylindrical, all faces respect that mapping, but apply their own materials. Not sure if that answers your question…


is there a chance that you make material applying similar to sketchup’s, i really like how fast sketchup is, and ive never been motivated to apply materials the rhino way because i feel like it takes time and time isn’t something architects have. i really like how you can just scale and rotate textures in sketchup (the edit texture option) and i feel like rhino could benefit alot by having a similar way.

Thanks for the feedback. I don’t use SU but I looked up how what you mentioned works there for editing texture position and scaling. This appears to be done in one of two ways in SU… either through a right click context menu to edit with a widget or in the materials section of the tray using the numeric fields. The mapping also appears to use the world coordinate system (WCS).

In Rhino you can adjust the WCS mapping of library materials within the texture settings within the material. To edit the mapping via a widget, you’d need to switch the textures in the material to mapping channel 1 and then apply Box mapping for instance in the objects properties>texture mapping settings. Within these texture mapping settings you can edit with a widget.

Are you looking for a widget you can scale and rotate directly in the viewport that impacts WCS mapped textures? Let me know more and I’ll make sure a feature request gets filed. Thx

I think being able to adjust the texture (scale,rotate,transform,warp) directly in the viewport makes it easy and intuitive in Sketchup. The bigger thing is that sketchup has a paint bucket feature where you can apply materials by clicking on the faces you want to paint with a pre-selected material. Also being able to paint the different faces of a polysrf individually would be extremely useful.

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Hi Lawrence - you can do this now in V6 with sub-object selection of polysurface faces (Ctrl-Shift select) and then in the material list, ‘Assign to objects’.