Revit Materials

From TOI-Pedia


In this article we'll explain you the basics of using Materials.

Materials in Revit represent actual materials such as concrete, wood and glass. They can be applied to objects in the design to give the objects a realistic appearance and behavior.

The properties that define a material are organized into assets. These are groups of properties that control certain characteristics of an object appearance and behavior.

A material can contain Graphics, Appearance, Physical or Thermal assets.

  • Graphics asset: Defines how the material looks in non-rendered views (Visual styles: Wireframe, Hidden Line, Shaded and Consistent Colors);
  • Appearance asset: Defines how the material looks in rendered views (Render and partially for Realistic visual style);
  • Physical or Thermal assets are used for structural analysis and energy analysis.

Material Browser


The Material Browser can be found by going to the Manage tab, click Revit Materials.png (Material).

Revit material 11.png

In the material browser you can find a library of existing materials. And you can modify the Graphics properties and Appearance properties.

Create new material

It is also possible to create a new material. Go to the bottom left of the Material browser and click the Create New Material button. Now you can choose the properties of your material.

Graphics properties

Graphics characteristics control how the material looks in a non-rendered view, such as:

  • The color that displays in a shaded project view (Shading).
  • The color and pattern that display on the surface of an element (Surface Pattern).
  • The color and fill pattern that display when the element is cut (Cut Pattern). For example an element can be cut in the plan view or section view.


Change shading color

You can set a color and transparency. It is used in Shaded and Consistent Colors Visual Style.

Surface Pattern

Change surface pattern

Sets the pattern to be displayed on the surface of an object. It is only used in the Visual Styles: Wireframe, Hidden Line, Shaded and Consistent Colors.

The color specifies the color of the pattern lines. If you've specified a Shading Color, the Surface pattern is displayed on top of this color when you're in Shaded or Consistent Colors Visual Style.

You can choose and modify a pattern when you click the Pattern swatch. There are two main types of patterns:

Revit-Fill Pattern Type Model.png

Drafting Pattern
The specified size (spacing) is always the same size when printed. So it changes with scale of the view. This is preferred for hatches.
Model Pattern
The specified size (spacing) is always the same in relation to the model. This is preferred for visualizing material properties, such as tiles, paneling, sheet joins, etc).

If you click New to create a new pattern or Edit to modify an existing, the following window appears:

Revit Add Surface Pattern.png

Here you can set the direction(s) of the lines and the spacing. If you use Crosshatch, you get lines in two directions. They are always perpendicular to each other, but the distance between the lines that can be controlled separately.

You can also create a custom pattern. This allows you to import existing "Pat files".

Cut Pattern

Change cut pattern

Sets the pattern to be displayed when an object is cut in a Section, Plan view or 3D View with a section. It is only used in the Visual Styles: Wireframe, Hidden Line, Shaded and Consistent Colors.

Note that the Cut Pattern is only visible when the Detail Level of your View is set to Medium or Fine.

Appearance properties

These options are used for rendered-views. It allows you to create highly detailed and photo-realistic visualizations of your Project.

It does however require quite some work to get them right. Unfortunately not all images (textures) that are provided by Revit for the default Materials meet the requirements for high quality. Some are quite poor and show clear signs of tiling or lack detail. If it takes to much effort to get the desired quality, don't settle for less: don't use rendering or Realistic Views and fall back to shaded views with Surface Patterns.

The appearance properties are grouped in one "asset" of the material, and are managed on the Appearance tab.

You can assign an image that is used for visual display when rendering. This image is automatically repeated over the entire surface of the object. Note that special care must be taken when using images to prevent tiling.

You can also use a (gray-scale) image for relief (bump).

More details: Revit Materials Appearance properties

Other properties

Other assets associated with the material are managed on the corresponding tab. Each asset can be changed independently when you edit a material that exists in a project. For example, if you want the bronze material to have a red color, you can replace the appearance asset with Anodized Aluminum, an asset with different appearance properties.

Display of Material Properties in Views

Graphic Display

Graphic Display

The settings in the Graphic Display Options dialog are used to enhance the visual result of your model view.

For example, when creating a model in real-time, using the Realistic visual style, you can enable Ambient Light to give your model more realistic shading and depth. The Graphic Display Options dialog is accessed from the Visual Style tool on the View Control Bar.

Detail Level

Detail Level
Detail Level

You can set the detail level for newly created views based on a view scale. View scales are organized under the detail level headings Coarse, Medium, or Fine. When you create a new view in your project and set its view scale, its detail level is automatically set according to the arrangement in the table.

By predefining detail levels, you can affect the display of the same geometry at different view scales.

You can override the detail level at any time by setting the Detail Level parameter in the view properties.

Specifying the Detail Level for a View

Use one of the following methods:

  • Click in an empty area of the view. On the Properties palette, for Detail Level, select Coarse, Medium, or Fine.
  • On the View Control Bar at the bottom of the drawing area, click the Detail Level icon, and select an option.


Paint colour
Split face
Split face in Modify tab
Create boundary split face
Boundary split face
Paint colour
Paint colour
Paint colour

In a project, you can use the Paint tool to apply a material to selected faces of model elements.

The Paint tool applies a material to the selected face of the element or family; it does not change the structure of the element.

To Split a face

  1. Click Modify tab Geometry panel (Split Face).
  2. Draw a boundary on the face of the object you want to split (Modify tab > Split face > Create boundary).
  3. Click Finish

To Paint a surface

  1. Click Modify tab Geometry panel (Paint).
  2. In the Material Browser dialog, select a material. Note that you can only browse for a material when you select the paint tool.
  3. Place the cursor on the element face to highlight it. You may need to press Tab to select the desired face. If you highlight a face that has already been painted, the status bar indicates the material that is applied to it.
  4. Click to apply the paint.
  5. In the Material Browser dialog, click Done.

Editing a wall assembly

Edit type
Type properties
Wall material
Edit Wall assembly
Change Wall material with the Material browser

Use the Material Browser dialog to manage your materials in the project.

In the Family Editor, when creating or modifying a component, you can use family type parameters to apply a different material to each piece of geometry in the component.

  1. In a project, open a view that displays the Wall element to which you want to apply a material.
  2. Select the Wall element.
  3. On the Properties palette Click the Edit Type button.
  4. Go to the structure parameter and select Edit.
  5. In the edit assembly change and add wall layers. Locate the material column and click on the Category to choose materials in the Material Browser.
  6. In the Material Browser, select a material, and click Apply.
  7. Click OK.
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