The world is full of different materials: stone, glass, curtains, plywood, sheetrock, brass -- and as many ways of describing their variations as there are materials to describe! Is a stone tile for a shower, a kitchen counter, a driveway? This is a hard problem and we'd like to present our approach: one that keeps VIsualizer's straightforward character while still letting you design and communicate expressively when you need to. We call it Enhanced Materials, you can see a before-and-after comparison in the image below:
In these two pictures, the picture on the right is different from the one on the left simply because the Enhanced Materials have been turned on, by pressing the button at the top of VIsualizer's view. Enhanced materials have more sophisticated reflections and highlights, and so the icon displays either simple light (one bouncing arrow) or enhanced reactions to light (multiple bouncing arrows).
By examining lots of models from our users and the 3D Warehouse, we've come up with a good set of looks for the standard SketchUp materials, along with a few extra ones that customer designers have most requested. For most models made with standard materials, click the Enhanced button and it should immediately give you a better, more natural-looking picture, no further tweaking required. Try it out yourself!
Sometimes you do need a little more -- for example, SketchUp has no built-in "mirror" material, but it's a very big deal if you're designing a dance studio or a vanity table. So we've also added further customization based on names of materials (and occasionally, on the names of textures, if no special material can be identified).
For example, if you have a material called "red brick" then Visualizer will recognize it as a kind of "brick." These materials override the existing handling, in case your red brick started life as a default SketchUp material. The names (and some synonyms) currently recognized are listed below, along with some typical uses:
In addition to these common material names, you might also add a few key adjectives:
Here are a few shots of a decorated bunny (a well-known test model) using different SketchUp materials, in both plain and enhanced views.
Default, un-enhanced basic bunny
Enhanced: A bunny who has everything: Tile Mosaic Multi Rough Shiny
Enhanced: A bunny with mirrors
Unenhanced wood flooring
Enhanced: Shiny wood floor
Enhanced: Dull wood floor
Enhanced: Metal Brass Ceiling
Enhanced: Metal Brass Ceiling Shiny
Enhanced: Metal Brass Ceiling Rough
When in Doubt, Try It Out -- as we've said, many, if not most, models should look great right away, even without fiddling with material names. Here are a few more we found on the 3D Warehouse, we're looking forward to seeing what you will create!