Color Controls
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Material Editor Standard material Anisotropic, Blinn, Metal, Multi-Layer, Oren-Nayar-Blinn, or Phong Basic Parameters rollout First group in the rollout (unlabeled)

Color controls set the colors for different color components. You can set the color by clicking the color swatch to display the Color Selector.

NoteThe Metal shader does not have a Specular component, because it generates the specular color automatically. The Multi-Layer shader can have two different Specular color components, so for this material the Specular color swatches are found in the Specular Highlights group. The Strauss shader has only a single color component, which corresponds to Diffuse.

1. Specular color

2. Diffuse color

3. Ambient color

Copying and Locking Color Components

For convenience in changing color components, the Material Editor lets you copy one color component to another by dragging, and to lock two color components together with the lock buttons to the left of the Ambient and Diffuse, and Diffuse and Specular color swatches.

When you drag and drop a color swatch, the Copy or Swap Colors dialog asks if you want to copy the color or swap the two colors.

In general, materials with two identical color components do not look realistic, and except for materials that are close to solid black, you should avoid using copied or locked color components in materials you use in a scene. Color copying and locking are best used as conveniences when you design a new basic material.

Shortcut Map Buttons

The small buttons to the right of the color swatches access the Material/Map Browser, where you select a map for that component. These buttons are shortcuts: you can also use the corresponding buttons in the Maps rollout If you have assigned a map to one of these color components, the button displays the letter M. An uppercase M means that the corresponding map is assigned and active. A lowercase m means that the map is assigned and inactive (turned off).

The lock button to the right of the Diffuse map button locks Ambient mapping to Diffuse mapping. It is on by default. Usually it makes sense to use the same map for the ambient and diffuse components. To use different maps for ambient and diffuse, turn off the lock button. A map shortcut button for Ambient appears.


To change a color component:

  1. Click the color swatch next to the color component you want to change.

    The Material Editor displays a Color Selector.

  2. Use the Color Selector to change the values of the color component.

    As you change color values, the color component also changes in the sample slot.

To copy one color component to another:

  1. Drag the color swatch of the color you want to copy to the color swatch of the other color component.

    A Copy or Swap Colors dialog is displayed.

  2. Click Copy to replace the second color swatch with the color you dragged. Click Swap to swap the two color components.

To lock two color components:

  1. Click the lock button between Ambient and Diffuse or between Diffuse and Specular.

    The Material Editor displays an alert that asks whether you want to lock the two color components.

  2. Click Yes.

    The color above replaces the color below. In other words, Ambient replaces Diffuse and Diffuse replaces Specular.

    If two colors are locked, and you lock the other two, all three component colors are replaced by the active color.

    While two colors are locked, adjustments to one color component affect the other as well.

To unlock two color components:



Controls the ambient color. The ambient color is the color in shadow (indirect light).


Controls the diffuse color. The diffuse color is the color in direct light.


Controls the specular color. The specular color is the color of the highlight on a shiny object. You can control the size and shape of highlights in the Specular Highlights group, described below.