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Material Libraries

Material libraries provide an easy way of describing a set of materials in Colorway. Each library contains names of materials, names of texture layer files, and several other variables that define the material, such as diffuse color and diffuse amount. You can also add metadata, which doesn't affect the appearance of the material, but adds useful information.

Each material is made from up to eight texture layers.

Colorway imports a material library from a .csv (comma-separated values) file, which can be generated using any spreadsheet software such as Excel or Google Sheets.

Using a Material Library Spreadsheet

Note:  Click here to download a sample material library with a spreadsheet that you can populate with your own materials.

A single material is defined in one row of the spreadsheet, and there's no limit to how many materials you can add. There are a few rules for the material library .csv to be recognised by Colorway:

There should be a single row at the top that contains #MaterialLibrary. This identifies the sheet as material library data.

The second row should contain the column headings, which are used to identify the values. The first column heading should start with a # (hash) symbol to tell Colorway that this row contains column headings, and not data, for example, #id.

The id and name columns should be present.

Each material can consist of up to eight texture layers. To fit this into the spreadsheet, a set of columns are prefixed according to the texture layer they describe. For example, the first layer's columns are prefixed with T0_, the second T1_, and so on up to T7_.

Prepare a Material Library

1.   Using your preferred spreadsheet software, create the spreadsheet using the correct column headings and values (see Material Library Spreadsheet Parameters).
2.   Save the spreadsheet as a .csv file in the same folder as the material images (textures).

Load a Material Library File

Colorway stores the location of the material library in the preferences.

1.   In Colorway, select Edit > Preferences.
2.   In the preferences dialog, select Material Library.
3.   Click Choose. In the file browser, navigate to and select the folder that contains the material textures and .csv file.
4.   Click Apply to store the material library location.
The Preview panel shows the materials.

Note:  You can preview using a list or thumbnails using the List view and Thumbnail view options. Both views are available in the main Colorway UI in the materials tab. You can add columns from the spreadsheet to show as labels and tooltips. To do this see Assign Labels and Tooltips to Materials.

5.   Click OK to close the preferences dialog.

The materials are available in the LIBRARY panel of the materials tab, accessed using the materials button.

Assign Labels and Tooltips to Materials

You can add up to five parameters from the spreadsheet as labels, and two values as a tooltip to a material.

Note:  The labels are only visible in list view.

The steps below assume you've already loaded a materials libary (see Load a Material Library File).

1.   In Colorway, select Edit > Preferences and choose Material Library.
2.   Select up to five columns to use as labels from the Values section.

3.   Select one or two columns to use as tooltips from the Tooltip values section.
4.   Click Apply then click OK.

Material Library Spreadsheet Parameters

The following column names are interpreted by Colorway to define the material. You can add other columns, but these will be interpreted as metadata. Other than id and Name, any of the values can be left blank, though this will of course mean that Colorway ignores that cell entry and uses the default.

Warning:  The spreadsheet must as least have the id and Name columns to be recognized by Colorway.

Note:  Make sure you use a # before the first column name. The # tells Colorway that the row contains column headers, and not actual data.
The columns can appear in any order but the first column must be prefixed with #.

Column Description Default
id A unique id for the material. This appears alongside the material in Colorway. (If this is the first column it would be #id). <none>
Name A text field to name the material. <none>
ColorSpace Colorspace type. Choose from sRGB, AdobeRGB, or linear. sRGB
Category A text string that allows you to group materials by category. Assign the same category to materials to group them. Category supports spaces and special characters. <none>
DiffuseAmount Amount of diffuse color. Specified in the range 0-1. 1
DiffuseColor The diffuse color in hex, #000000-#ffffff. #ffffff
BlurRadius How much blur to apply to the material: 0-1. 0
BaseColor The lowest material on a part needs a fill color to act as a base. By default, Colorway uses Unassigned Material Color in the general preferences. To override this, set BaseColor to your preferred base color.

In any case, you can replace the color by assigning a new one from a palette.

Note:  BaseColor is only used if the material is the lowest (T0) material on the part.

TintMode This determines the blend mode for the material's DiffuseColor and the tint colors of the layers (T0_tint etc.), when you apply new colors in Colorway. Set this to either multiplied or replace. multiply
Roughness Only seen when rendering thumbnails; determines how rough a surface appears: 0-1. 0
Metalness Only seen when rendering thumbnails; adds metal shininess to a surface: 0-1. 0
WrappingS Whether to repeat the texture horizontally: none, repeat, or mirror. repeat
WrappingT Whether to repeat the texture vertically: none, repeat, or mirror. repeat
UvMode This is how the texture is applied to the item:

uv - the texture is wrapped using the UV map exported from Modo.

flat - the texture is mapped in flat screen space.

The following columns describe the texture layer. Eight texture layers are permitted, and each column is prefixed in the range T0_ to T7_, with T7 as the uppermost texture. For example, the first texture layer file is T0_file, the next is T1_file, and so on up to T7_file (max). This prefix naming convention applies to all the columns that are specific to the texture layer.
T0_file The texture layer filename. If the file is not in the same directory you can use ../ to go up directories, providing you don't go higher than the main material library folder.

For textures that are not under the main material library folder, you should prefix the file with /file/, for example, /file/c:/materials.

Note:  Relative paths using ../ are only supported within the top material library folder. To access a folder outside of this you must use /file/ prefix.

T0_blendMode This is the blend mode for the layer below: normal, multiply, and mask. In mask mode Colorway uses the R (red) texture channel as a mask, and uses T*_tint (in this case T0_tint) as the actual layer color. normal

Inverts the texture: 0 (for off) or 1.

Note:  true or false also works.


Indicates if the image RGB channels were multiplied by the alpha channel before saving. This can cause loss of information in .png files and so should be avoided. Modo lets you choose whether the output is premultiplied.

Note:  true or false also works.

Note:  This only affects .png images as .jpg files have no alpha channel.

T0_opacity This is the opacity of the texture layer: 0-1. 1
T0_tint Adds a tint of color to the material. The tint is specified using a hex value: #000000-#ffffff. #ffffff
T0_scaleX Scales the layer in X by multiplying with this value. Values with numbers after the decimal point are supported e.g. 2.14. 1
T0_scaleY Scales the layer in Y by multiplying with this value. 1
T0_rotation Rotates the layer by this number of degrees. A positive value rotates in the clockwise direction. 0
T0_offsetX This lets you offset the texture against other textures in the X direction. Use any float value. 0
T0_offsetY This lets you offset the texture against other textures in the Y direction. Use any float value. 0