Changing the Transparency of a Material

Reference Number: KB-00097
Last Modified: July 19, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


My plan includes a feature that I would like to be able to see through. How can I edit a library material so that it can be partially transparent?

Living room with a fireplace, piano, and TV


Many of the materials in the library are set up to be opaque, so that they appear totally solid. In some situations, though, transparency can be a helpful attribute.

To change the transparency of a material

  1. If the material is in a Core, Bonus, or Manufacturer catalog, you will need to copy the material and paste it in to your User Catalog. To do this, right-click on the material located in the Library Browser that you would like to modify, choose the Copy option from the menu, then right-click on the User Catalog folder to choose Paste.

    right-click and choose Paste to copy the material to the User Catalog

    Note: On a Mac, a right-click action can be performed by utilizing the secondary click option. This may involve either tapping in the bottom right corner of the touchpad, tapping/clicking the right half of the touchpad or mouse, or holding down the control key while clicking. 

    In X13, you can add the material to your User Catalog directly from the Define Material dialog. While in a camera view, go to the 3D menu, go to Adjust Materials, and click on Adjust Material Definition. Then, click on where the material appears in your view. In the lower right corner of the Define Material dialog, click on the Add to Library button.

  2. Once the material is in the User Catalog, right-click or perform a secondary click on the material that was pasted or added into the User Catalog, then select Open Object .

  3. In the Define Material dialog that displays:

    • On the Properties panel, change the Material Class from its default of "Transparent" to "General Material".

    • Use the Transparency slide bar, or type a value in the edit box, to adjust the material's level of transparency. 

      Adjust the Transparency on the Properties panel of the Define Material dialog

      Note: Transparency controls how opaque or transparent a material is. Most materials are opaque while some materials, such as glass, are partially transparent. In some situations, materials with transparency can slow down rendering speed. A transparency of 0%, with the slider all of the way to the left, is completely opaque.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes to this new material.