Stone floor tile material example
Dan Stine

Dan Stine

Published: December 13, 2023  •  7 min read

Revit-Provided Material Options for Enscape Users

Finding and using the right material is a significant part of making a proposed design look its best within Enscape. And while there are many sources for textures, it is helpful to understand what Revit offers out of the box and how those materials and assets are organized. This can save time early in a project and when creating custom assets later in the project as it develops.

This post will highlight the overall structure of a Revit material, its appearance asset, and the individual textures used. Additionally, the resolution of textures and Revit’s newer advanced materials will be covered to round things out.

 

Material browser

When you need a new material in Revit, searching the project and Autodesk libraries is a good place to start. Sometimes, a material does not exist, as in this fence example, but an Appearance Asset does, which will get you part of the way there.

Search Revit MaterialsSearch Revit materials

Asset library

Searching the Revit Asset Library reveals three results, including a chain-link fence option. This is not a Revit material, but an important component of one when it comes to how something looks within Enscape. This appearance asset can be easily added to any Revit material.

Search Revit Asset LibrarySearch Revit Asset Library

Texture editor

When this Appearance Asset is loaded into a Material, it contains several settings, such as image size, cutout, and Bump, as seen in the following image.

Loaded Asset into Revit MaterialLoaded asset into Revit material

Cutout material example

The graphic below shows the images used to create a fence render appearance asset (visible in realistic and Enscape rendered views). The black areas in the cutout (middle image) are the transparent portions seen in the rendered image on the right.

Material Components for FenceMaterial components for fence

For the fence example, you would still need to manually add the Identity and Graphics information to the Revit material. For example, the surface pattern and Texture Alignment (to make the drafting views and rendered views align).

Autodesk shared material library

The image files used above come from a locally shared Autodesk image library installed with Revit. These images can be found in the following location, as shown in the image below. Each folder has the same images, mostly, but at different resolutions.

Revit Material FoldersRevit material folders

Image resolution by folder:

  • 1 – 256 x 256
  • 2 – 512 x 512
  • 3 – 800 x 800, 1024 x 1024 (HD), 4096 x 4096 (4k)

For the fence appearance asset we loaded, Revit used images from the “2” folder.

For Enscape, it is recommended that the highest quality images be used from the “3” folder. FYI: If you have ever had a look at the Enscape journal file, you might have noticed Enscape always down-samples textures to improve performance during real-time rendering, so you don’t want the low-quality images in the first two folders to be reduced further in quality.

Another thing you can do is search the materials and textures folders on the hard drive. The image below shows the results from searching for “fence” at this location (in Windows Explorer): C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Materials\2\Mats

As you can see, there are several fence options not revealed in our previous searches (discussed above).

Revit Material Folder SearchRevit material folder search

As we have seen, Revit has items we can use in multiple locations:

  • Revit Materials: fully developed material, including appearance assets
  • Revit Appearance Assets: fully developed appearance assets, including image files
  • Revit Installed Textures: individual raster image files

When swapping out a texture from within Revit’s material browser, you can search in the Revit dialog as shown below, where I searched for the Revit-provided “carpet” textures.

Material Search with Revit DialogMaterial search with Revit dialog

Tip: switching to thumbnail mode will show the texture graphically. It is also possible to CTRL+Scroll on the mouse wheel to enlarge the previews.

Advanced materials

In recent years, Revit has included a new material type called Advanced Materials. This resulted in the original materials being called Legacy Materials, identified with a small orange triangle, as pointed out in the following image. These materials still work fine in Enscape and, in some cases, work better, as I wrote about in this blog post on glazing: Glass Rendering Tips for Realistic Visualizations.

The advanced materials are PBR-based materials, which are meant to be more physically accurate and are common in the gaming industry. They can produce high-quality results in Enscape, but keep in mind that Enscape’s Material Editor within Revit does not support these materials.

Revit Advanced MaterialsRevit Advanced Materials

FYI: Like all other third-party rendering engines (except Revit’s built-in engine), Enscape does not support Revit procedural materials.

Render appearance paths

When using custom textures in a Revit project, it is important to store them in a shared location.

Additionally, to make sure everyone on the project, including external team members, can access the textures, ensure that the paths to those assets are added to Revit’s Options dialog, as shown in the image below. If Revit cannot find a texture, it cannot show it and replaces it with a gray surface.

Revit Rendering Path OptionsRevit rendering path options

Conclusion

While there is often a need for many more materials and textures than Autodesk provides, it is helpful to have a good understanding of what is installed with Revit and how it can be used. This can save time, especially early in a project, when representative materials are all that are required.

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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.