Toolbar Menu Panel Gear Menu

Render Tools


Material Editor




The Materials command opens the Materials panel which specifies the color, finish, transparency, texture, and bump for use by the built-in Rhino renderer.

Materials panel

Panel options

Materials panel toolbar

The Materials panel has additional browsing tools.


Selects the previous item in the list.


Selects the next item in the list.

Current item

Displays the current item icon and name.

Search Names

Limits the search to names.

Search Notes

Limits the search to notes.

Search Tags

Limits the search to tags.

  • When tags: is selected, a list of available tags appears. These tags are gathered from the materials, environments, and textures in the document.
  • In the tags list, arrow keys move up and down and the selected tag is appended to the search.
  • Type a semicolon to keep the selected tag and append a semicolon to the search.
  • Backspace removes the last tag from the search.
  • Once the focus is on the tags list, you can navigate the list using the keyboard with the semicolon and backspace keys appending and removing tags from the search without having to use the mouse.
Show Search Tips

Displays how 'name:', 'note:', 'tag:', '?', '#' and '^' are used for searching items.


Displays the Tools menu.


Thumbnail preview actions

Drag and drop actions in the list section

Create New Material 

Click to select an action to create a new material.

Import from material library

Imports a material (.rmtl) from the Render Content library folder.

Create Physically Based material from texture files

Creates a physically based material from image files, or a PBR texture set (.zip).


  1. Select one or more image files, or a PBR texture set (.zip).

    Free or paid PBR texture sets can be downloaded from the Internet.

  2. In the Texture Selection dialog, set the material name, texture assignment, texture mapping, and units.


Creates a new custom material.

Custom materials have all possible settings available in the editor.

Double Sided

Creates a new double sided material.


Creates a new emission material.


Creates a new glass material.


Creates a new metal material.


Creates a new paint material.

Physically Based

Creates a new physically based material.


Creates a new picture material.


Creates a new plaster material.


Creates a new plastic material.


Creates a new gem material.

More types...

Creates a new material from the Material Type Browser dialog.


The name of the material.


The type of the current material.


The default material is white and matte, with no reflectivity or transparency.

Custom Settings


Sets the material's base (also called diffuse) color.

Gloss finish

The Gloss finish control adjusts the highlight from matte to glossy and sets the color of the glossy area.


The Reflectivity setting sets the material's reflectivity amount and sets the reflective color.


Adjusts the transparency of an object in the rendered image.

IOR (Index of Refraction)

This value defines the bending of a ray of light when it travels from a transparent material into another.

Example IOR values are shown in the following table:



Vacuum 1.0
Air 1.00029
Ice 1.309
Water 1.33
Glass 1.52 to 1.8
Emerald 1.57
Ruby/Sapphire 1.77
Diamond 2.417


Textures (images or procedural textures) can be used for color, transparency, bump, and environment.

Supported image formats

Rhino supports the following file formats:

Transparency is not supported in these formats:

Transparency is supported in these formats:

To use a texture

Click (click to assign texture) to assign a texture.

When a texture has been assigned to a setting:


Specifies a texture to use as the material's color.


Uses a texture to control the material's transparency.

Bump / Normal

Uses a texture to control the material's bump depth or object's normal direction.

Bump and Normal maps add details to surfaces in rendering without modifying the shape of the surface.

Bump map

Uses grayscale values of a texture to make a surface appear bumpy.

A terrain material with a bump map makes the Moon look bumpy in rendering.
Normal map

Uses RGB values of a bitmap image to alter surface normal directions.

A chrome material with a normal map adds details of a coin to the flat cylinder in rendering.

Uses a texture as the material's environment reflection.

The image should be an angular map or light probe projection (spherical) image. Other image projections will produce the reflection effect, but it will be distorted and not produce the realistic environment reflection.

Advanced Settings


Allows the material to render the diffuse color with shadowing and shading by enabling diffuse lighting.

Diffuse lighting off (left) and on (right).

If this setting is on, the object renders with shadowing and shading.


If this setting is off, the object will render the diffuse color all over with no shadowing or shading. Turning this setting off ensures that the color the texture of picture frames remains constant over the surface.

Fresnel reflectivity

Causes objects to reflect fully at glancing angles and only slightly reflect when the object is seen head on.

This effect simulates many transparent or semi-transparent materials, such as glass, plastic, and materials that have a thin transparent glaze, such as laminated paper, polished woods, and paint.

Alpha transparency

Allows images with an alpha channel for transparency to make the object transparent in the areas of the image where the alpha channel is applied.

Alpha transparency on (left) and off (right).

Alpha transparency

Reflection polish

Makes the surface reflections fuzzy. For surfaces that are perfectly reflective, such as mirrors and chrome, use 100% polish. Lower values model materials like certain plastics and the sanded surface of frosted glass.

Changing this setting can increase rendering time.

Transparent clarity

Controls the clarity of the material.


Creates translucent materials like tracing paper or hand-made glass.

Changing this setting can increase rendering time.


Creates clear materials such as water, float glass, and diamonds.

Emission color

Adds a color to the shaded result. It does not take into account the lighting, so if the emission color is white, the object will always appear white. If the emission color is gray, all parts of the object will appear brighter than they would otherwise.

Orange material emission color black (left); emission color blue (right).

Double Sided

The Double Sided material allows to display different materials on the front and back sides of a "thin" object that does not have a physical thickness, such as a single surface or mesh.

Double Sided Material


The material displays on the front side of an object.


The material displays on the back side of the same object.


The Emission material can be assigned to an object to make the object into a lighting source.



The illuminating color.


The brightness of the light.


The preset Gem materials offer a choice of preset gems. Other settings are pre-determined by the gem type.













The preset Glass material type allows the Color, Frost, and index of refraction settings to be modified. Other settings are pre-determined.




Sets the glass color.


Sets the transparent clearness.

Low (left) to high (right) clarity.

Sets the index of refraction. Details...


The preset Metal material allows the Color and Polish to be modified.

Other settings are pre-determined by the metal type.






Gold (Yellow)



Stainless steel





Sets the metal color.

Reflection polish

Sets the reflection sharpness.

Reflection polish (left) low to high (right).

Bump texture

Sets the texture style for the bump from a limited list.

Hatch styles available


Cross Hatch






Sets the size of the bump pattern from XXXS to XXXL. You have to select an appropriate size for your model. The bump effect will not be visible in the rendering when the size is too large or too small.


The preset Paint material allows the Color and Glossiness to be modified.

Red paint

Sets the diffuse color.


Sets the Fresnel reflectivity and Reflection polish.

Physically Based

Physically Based Rendering (PBR) simulates interaction between lights and surfaces in the real world to create photorealistic renderings. Different material types usually use different shading methods. The physically based material type integrates several shading methods into a single material.

Physically Based Material

Base color

The diffuse color of the material that displays when no texture is assigned.


Controls the smoothness of object surface. Rough surfaces reflect light rays in a wider range of angles that make reflection blurry.

0% has the sharpest reflection. Increasing the value blurs the reflection.


Enable to give the material a metal appearance.

Metallic is enabled (left) and disabled (right)

Controls transparency of the object.

Move the slider towards left to increase transparency. Transparent materials increase the rendering time.


Sets the index of refraction. Details...

Details settings ▼

Click this button to enable or disable shading methods.

Add textures to current Physically Based Material

Select more image files to add to the current PBR material. The Texture Selection dialog will open for you to assign the image files to PBR material settings.

Detailed settings

Click Details settings to enable/disable shading methods.

When any setting has (click to assign texture), the setting can be controlled by the assigned texture.

  • The checkbox enables or disables the texture.
  • The percentage value controls the influence of the texture.

Base Color / Metallic / Roughness

Base Color

The diffuse color of the material that displays when no texture is assigned.

Alpha transparency

Controls transparency of the object with the bitmap texture's alpha channel.

Alpha transparency is on (left) and off (right).

Gives the material a metal appearance. Details...

A bitmap image as the metallic texture. Pure white will be fully metallic.
A rusted iron material with (left) and without (right) the metallic texture.

Controls the smoothness of the material. Details...

The bitmap image for metallic texture can be used as the roughness texture, but the colors have to be inverted to add roughness to the rusted portion instead of the non-rusted portion.

The original bitmap image as the roughness texture makes the rusted portion reflective.

Inverting the bitmap image makes the non-rusted portion reflective.


Subsurface parameters control how light rays penetrate the surface of a translucent object and scatter inside the object.



Scattering Color


Scattering Radius



The specularity parameters scale the reflection highlight on non-metal objects.


Scales the brightness of reflection highlight.

F0=0.5 (left) and 2.0 (right)

The amount that the specularity is tinted by the base color.

Tint=0 (left) and 1.0 (right)


Anisotropy parameters control the aspect ratio and orientation of the specular highlight to simulate directional brushed metal materials.


Changes the aspect ratio of the specular highlight.

Amount = 0.5 (left) and 1.0 (right)

Changes the angle of the specular highlight. The value can be 0 (0°) to 1.0 (360°).

Rotation = 0 (left) and 0.25 (right)
  • Anisotropy is UV texture space based. The specular highlight can be orientated by editing the object's texture mapping properties.


Sheen parameters mimic the rim specular effect usually seen on some fabrics like silk.

Increasing Roughness blurs the rim specular.

A material with (left) and without (right) the Sheen effect.

Controls the width of the rim specular.


The amount that the rim specular is tinted by the base color.

Tint = 0 (left) and 1.0 (right)


Clearcoat parameters simulates the highly reflective layer on top of the base paint of a car.


Controls the reflection intensity of the clear coat.

Bump / Normal

Bump uses grayscale values of a texture to make a surface appear bumpy. Normal uses RGB values of a texture to alter surface normals.

A bump or normal map adds "orange peel" to the clearcoat to increase realism.

Controls the roughness of the clear coat.

The roughness of the base paint is controlled by the base roughness setting.


Opacity parameters control the transparency of the material.


Changes the transparent level of the object.

  • Refraction will take effect when the value is smaller than 1.0.
  • If you want to make some part of an object completely invisible, use the Alpha texture.

Sets the index of refraction.


Controls the roughness of refraction.

Roughness = 0 (left) and 0.2 (right)

Changes visibility of the object. Reducing the alpha value also reduces refraction effect.

When the value is set to 0, the object will be completely invisible.

A black and white bitmap image.

The difference of using the bitmap image as the Amount (left) and Alpha (right) textures.


Emission parameters turns an object into a light source.

Pipes with Emission as neon lights

The lighting color.

  • When a texture is assigned, colors of the textures will be the lighting colors.

Increases or decreases the lighting intensity.

  • The material will be rendered with the base color when Multiplier is set to 0.

Bump / Normal and displacement

Bump / Normal and displacement parameters use textures to add details to the surface of an object.

Bump / Normal Map

A bump map uses grayscale values of a texture to make a surface appear bumpy.

A normal map uses RGB values of a bitmap image to alter surface normal directions.

Two flat cylinders (right) using a metallic material with/without the normal map (left).

Displacement Map

Displacement uses grayscale values of a texture to move an object's render mesh vertices.

A displacement texture (left) is used to physically distort the object's render meshes (right).
  • Displacement is based on model units.

  • You may need to use custom meshes in object properties to create dense enough render meshes to get a good displacement.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion parameters use a bitmap image to add fake shadows of ambient light to the object.

Ambient Occlusion Map

An ambient occlusion map is a bitmap image baked from a 3D model in a rendering to store the indirect lighting information of ambient light when the model is rendered.

An ambient Occlusion texture (left) adds ambient shadows to the deep gaps between bricks (right).



The name of the material.


The Picture contains a simple bitmap image.



The path and name of the bitmap file.

See also Bitmap Texture.


The Self-Illuminated option causes the image to always display at full intensity and is not affected by light or shadow.

Self-Illumination off (left), and on (right).

The Grayscale option sets the image color to 256-grey


Specifies transparency settings for the image. Specify a transparent color to be used as an alpha channel in the case that no alpha channel is specified in the image.

Transparency is not supported when using JPEG (.jpg; .jpeg), PCX (.pcx), or Windows Bitmap (.bmp)

Use alpha channel

Specifies that the image alpha channel be used to determine transparency.

Use color mask

Specifies that a color in the image be used to determine transparency.

Color selector

The tolerance to be used to determine if the texture's color matches the transparency color.

Object transparency

Sets the amount of transparency for the entire object.


Extra text information stored in the material that appears in the tooltip when you mouse-over the thumbnail.


The preset Plaster material is the default matte, non-reflective, untextured material. Only the Color can be changed.


Sets the diffuse color.


The preset Plastic material allows the Color, Reflectivity, Polish, Transparency, and Clarity to be changed.


Sets the diffuse Color.


Sets the Reflectivity.


Sets the Transparency.

Transparent clarity

Sets the Transparency clarity.

Bump texture

Sets the texture style for the bump from a limited list.

Hatch styles available


Cross Hatch






Sets the size of the bump pattern from XXXS to XXXL. You have to select an appropriate size for your model. The bump effect will not be visible in the rendering when the size is too large or too small.

Save and share render content

Render content (materials, environments, and textures) are stored in models. They can also be saved to files and shared across models. The Libraries panel displays the default content folder. Content can be dragged and dropped between Rhino sessions or between a Rhino window and a disk folder.

To access hidden command-line options

Command-line options

ShowPanel=Yes / No / Toggle

Displays the Materials panel.


Displays command-line options.


See also


The Snapshots command saves and restores Named Views, Named Positions, Layer States, as well as rendering settings, object settings including locked/hidden state, display mode, material, position, light settings, curve piping, displacement, edge softening, shutlining, and thickness.

Use materials and textures

Render your model scene

Merge identical materials

Resolving render content conflicts

Rhino detects material, environment and texture name conflicts in the following file operations:

When a render content item name already exists in the current model, but the content settings are different, the conflicted items will be resolved based on the related advanced settings.

Search for PasteConflictOption (for paste) and ImportRenameConflictingEx (for import and insert) in Advanced settings and change the value as described below.

0 = Do not import incoming conflicted render contents.

1 = Import and rename incoming conflicted render contents with [imported] post-fix.

2 = Import incoming conflicted render contents and overwrite existing ones.

3 = Pop up the Render Content Name Conflict dialog and let you decide how to resolve the conflicts.

Material Basics in Rhino

Materials and texture mapping in Rhino for Windows




Not on toolbars.

Not on menus.

The RenderAssignMaterialToObjects command assigns a material to the selected objects from the command-line.


  1. Select one or more objects.

  2. Select a material by entering its name or ID.

Command-line options


When the selected object has materials assigned to sub-faces:

Keep assigns the material to the object and keeps existing per-face materials.

Remove assigns the material to the object and removes per-face materials.

Ask shows a dialog box to let you decide what to do.


When a block instance is selected:

Yes assigns the material to the objects in the block instance.

No assigns the material to the block instance.

Ask shows a dialog box to let you decide what to do.

See also


Assigns a material to a layer from the command-line.


Assigns a material to the selected object's layer from the command-line.




Rhinoceros 7 © 2010-2024 Robert McNeel & Associates. 10-Apr-2024