WISH: Display Materials as List Names (no thumbnail)

I noticed Rhino has a really hard time loading material thumbnails. If this is not fixable in 2024 with artificial intelligence and robots making robots and the doom of humanity, can we at least have an option to not display the thumbnail at all? I think that is codable? We have chatGPT now!

Thank you.

Linking back to this thread:


I assume this is for performance reasons?

What if there was no performance issue - would you be able to use the Tree or list controls?

I agree with OP. If the material list could display by default as “list” and not “thumbnail” that would be great.

I get a ~1 second lag each time I need to change an object material from “by layer” to “by parent”, for example. And in this example I don’t need to have a preview of all the materials I have in my scene…


Yes, good idea.

The materials in my render files usually have a naming sceme that lets me pick them easily. Since many look very similar, the visual representation isn’t all that helpful for me anyway, the naming is what I often rely on.

If some image placeholder needs to be populated with a rendering, then maybe just fill it with the diffuse color only. No extra rendering work necessary this way.

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that will work for pbr based materials where there is just the basecolor. But for materials based on custom material that won’t work. For instance a metal or glass material will have the diffuse color black, and then either reflectivity color or transparency color set.

What about this crazy idea: do the mini render to get the thumbnail/preview of each material only the first time or when the material is edited, then save the preview as bitmap/png, and keep that stored in the .3dm … like rendermeshes for solids.
This should let an instant and reactive UI, just load some small bitmap.

The simpler list without any preview is still interesting to have them compact and faster to scroll on…

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Hi Andrew, initial motive is performance yes, but even if there was no performance issues, having a list of only text names is sometimes easier to navigate when working with many materials.


Agreed, list of text/names only would be very nice.

I remember I had asked if it was possible to change the font in the layer and material panel (or generally throughout the Rhino UI) to a mono space font. That was here and again here. Like I explained in my previous post here, I often rely on specific naming schemes for the materials (and layers) to find and select materials (and layers) quickly. The slight shift at the end of a name (because of non-mono-spaced fonts), resulting in numbers at the end not appearing in a straight column is distracting, imo. So if the “text/names-only” materials would become a thing, I hope we could also get an option to select a monospace font for the panels, if preferred. I know I’m asking a lot now :sweat_smile:

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You’re absolutely right. My previous screenshot is a good example of that.

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