Kitchen backsplash Enscape tile material
Dan Stine

Dan Stine

Published: March 12, 2024  •  4 min read

Managing Custom Materials for Enscape

When it comes to creating convincing architectural renderings, the quality of the textures can make a profound difference. However, there are an unlimited number of materials, colors, compositions, and arrangements possible in the world of design and construction.

So, inevitably, custom materials need to be sourced or created. To this end, firms (particularly those using Enscape) can streamline the process by organizing curated custom materials in such a way that everyone in the practice has access to them. Not only that, but they should also have access to the same materials in all modeling platforms supported by Enscape.

This article will highlight the opportunities to manage custom materials and texture in Revit and the opportunity to transfer materials between modeling platforms supported by Enscape for increased consistency and efficiency.

Enscape Provided Materials

When selecting materials, one option is to use materials provided by Enscape. There are several high-quality materials with professionally created bump maps and settings that make them look amazing when utilized in a firm’s projects.

For Revit users, since most projects are work-sharing, it is important to think ahead and set things up so these materials are accessible to everyone working on the project. By default, these Ensacpe materials are downloaded to an individual’s local computer. Thus, the textures are not accessible to other designers in the firm.

To resolve this issue, download all of the Ensacpe-provided materials and place them in a shared network folder. Then, adjust the Import Texture Path for every user to point to this folder. Setting the custom path can be automated via the Enscape deployment (as discussed in this previous post, Leveraging Custom Assets).

Revit also provides a material library that Enscape users can utilize. For more on this resource, see the blog post, Revit-Provided Material Options for Enscape Users.


Enscape Material Library PathSpecifying Enscape’s “Imported Texture Path”


The path for both a firm’s custom Revit textures and the Enscape-provided textures can be defined within the Revit Options dialog as shown in the following image.

Tip: These folders are typically read-only and can be replicated across geographic locations as needed.


Revit Options Rendering PathTexture search paths specified within Revit’s Options dialog

Materials in Revit

Revit can create a custom material library, which is a small file that has all the material names and settings along with the path to the textures saved within it. This file can be opened from a shared network location, giving staff access to the same custom high-quality curated materials and textures. The image below highlights a 'wall paint' option within Lake|Flato’s custom material library; the library is named LF Materials.

Notice that all of the Revit textures have a small gold triangle in the lower left. This indicates that the material is a 'legacy material' rather than the newer advanced materials. There are pros and cons to both legacy and advance, but one big thing to keep in mind is that Ensacpe only supports legacy materials within its own Material Editor within Revit. The advanced materials still work (with a few minor exceptions); they are just not visible within the Enscape Material Editor dialog.


Revit Material Browser - Custom Material LibraryCustom material library in Revit


Materials from a custom Revit library can be imported into the project and modified if necessary. Notice that the imported wood material has a primary texture and a complimentary bump map.


Revit Material Browser - Material SelectedCustom Revit material loaded into the current project


Notice, in the following image, that the same wood material is now visible within the Enscape Material Editor within Revit. FYI, this is the dialog that does not list any of Revit’s advanced materials.

Clicking the '…' icon next to a material opens the menu shown below with an option to 'Export Material Package.' Doing this is the secret sauce required to move fully defined materials between the various modeling platforms supported by Enscape, such as Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, and more.


Enscape Material Library Export Material PackageNew custom Revit material visible in Enscape’s material editor

All of the Revit materials can be exported to a shared network folder for use in other modeling platforms, such as SketchUp. The process of using this same Revit-created wood texture will be covered next.


File Explorer - Exported Material Packages Enscape material package exported from Revit

Materials in SketchUp

In SketchUp, the Enscape Material Editor can be used to Import from Enscape-created material packages. FYI, keep in mind this can work in the other direction as well… i.e., materials defined in SketchUp can be exported and then imported into Revit, Rhino, Archicad, etc.


SketchUp - Import Material Package

Importing an Enscape material package into SketchUp


Once imported, the material appears within the Enscape Material Editor. Notice that the material name and settings are identical to the previous Enscape Material Editor screenshot from within Revit.


SketchUp - Material Imported-2

New material now visible within SketchUp – Enscape Material Editor


The more basic SketchUp version of the material is also visible within SketchUp’s material panel.


SketchUp with Imported Material

New material is also visible as basic SketchUp material

The next two images show a before and after highlighting the wood material being applied to the outside corner of the building.


SketchUp Model - Enscape Before Enscape-rendered view of the building before applying new material


Notice that the custom material defined in Revit has now been successfully defined and used within SketchUp. The visual look and performance of the material (within Enscape) are 100% identical between the two modeling platforms.


SketchUp Model - Enscape AfterEnscape-rendered view of the building after applying new material


Notice that textures for imported materials end up in the “Imported Textures” folder. None of the Enscape-supported modeling platforms store textures within the project file. This means it is important to ensure that the location and access to these custom resources are well managed (including automated replication across geographic locations).


SketchUp Material Texture PathImported material texture location


More can be said about the process and the benefits of organizing and managing customer materials within a design firm. However, the overall concept covered here should be enough to guide those getting started or who have not yet taken steps to streamline their Enscape installation and material or asset management processes.

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Dan Stine
Dan Stine

Dan is an author, blogger, educator, design technologist and Wisconsin-registered architect. He is the Director of Design Technology at Lake | Flato architects in San Antonio, Texas. Connect with Dan on LinkedIn.