I've been thinking about the materials palette for a while as I always seem to be in there cleaning up and rationalizing materials after importing numerous models into a new project. The main problem lies with duplication of virtually identical materials. Sometimes I end up with six or seven glossy blacks and the only way to clean up the extras is to select and delete them one at a time.
Perhaps if FormZ analyzed materials in imported shapes and noted not only duplicate names, but also verified a number of factors such as color, transparency, and specularity and offered to substitute a near match from the existing model when a close match is identified... That would give us the option of deciding upfront if a particular material is a close enough match.
Also, the texture groups are difficult to work with, the closed folders mean more clicks to access existing materials. Perhaps if the materials palette allowed grouping of textures with a simple shift-select and a pull-down separator similar to how guides work in Photoshop (click on the window edge and drag down a divider where you can add a group name if needed). This would allow dividing up materials by category or by object.
FromZ often requires multiple clicks for some processes when one or two should be sufficient if processes were streamlined. For instance, when loading an image map, why all the different dialogs? Provide a dialog that incorporates the file browser and provides the various controls the import requires.
Regarding managing materials, it would be nice to be able to strip out multiple textures at once instead of needing to do it one at a time. A dialog featuring the multiple deletions could be provided to allow replacement of the deleted materials with other existing ones using the same icons as in the materials palette.
Lastly, why not provide a range of materials as the base default state? Right now FormZ offer a number of flat colors, but 90% of the time my models only contain 3 or 4 flat colors, the rest are glossy, transparent, metallic, or emitters. Why not offer a starting state that provides a few of each so that models can start with a variety of basic starting points. These could also be customizable to feature textures that repeat across many projects right from the launch. A really nice touch would be to allow the user to specify the rendering engine of choice in the preferences so that the material palettes and options reflect first the material options suitable for Maxwell, VRay or RenderZone while hiding the unneeded options. This could also be leveraged to preset the lighting palette to feature the correct light source type for the rendering engine selected.
Edited by David Lemelin, 16 February 2018 - 12:12 PM.