Understanding Autodesk Revit Materials

18 Sep, 2013 By: Daniel Stine

Learn how to manipulate materials skillfully, and you'll be able to get the results you want from Revit.

During the 2013 Revit Technology Conference (RTC), held this past July in Vancouver, Canada, I gave a presentation titled, "Mastering Materials: Getting What You Want from Revit." The class covered many aspects of managing and applying Revit materials — skills that are essential for every Revit user. For those who did not get to attend the conference, I've written this tutorial to summarize that presentation. (The live version contains more information, however, so be sure to mark your calendar for next year's RTC, to be held June 19–21 in Chicago!)

Starting with Revit 2013, there is a new term that users must become familiar with: assets. To better understand assets, let's first talk about the overall concept of a material in Revit 2014. Consider the simple illustration at right: This box represents the primary components of a material in Revit.

Think of a material as a container. Some of the information represents elements you can touch and see when the building is complete, while some does not. Assets are modules, if you will, that better define a material. These modules are optional and can be added or deleted as needed; however, most materials have an appearance asset, which cannot be deleted.

Duplicating a Material and Its Assets

It is important to know how to properly duplicate a material in your model so you do not unintentionally affect another material. The process has changed significantly from previous years. Many experienced Revit users still do not fully understand this process. Not following these steps results in multiple materials being changed when only one material was intended to be modified. If you duplicate a material in your model, the appearance asset will be associated to the new material and the material you copied it from!

In this example, we will right-click on Carpet (1) and duplicate it. Before we duplicate it, notice the appearance asset named Red is not shared (see arrow No. 3).

Once you have duplicated a material, the two carpet materials in this example now indicate they both share the same appearance asset. Changing the new material will affect the original material. Click the Duplicate This Asset icon in the upper right.

Note: Another option, rather than duplicating the asset, is to import an asset from the library. Later in this article you will see an example of this which shows a chain-link fence asset being loaded into a material.

Finally, when the appearance asset has been duplicated, you can expand the information section and rename the asset. You can now make changes to this material without affecting other materials.

This applies to all assets in a material.

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About the Author: Daniel Stine

Daniel Stine

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