Changing the Transparency of a Material

Reference Number: KB-00097
Last Modified: July 31, 2023

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, then choose the Copy to User Catalog option.

    Right-click on the desired material and choose Copy to User Catalog

    Note: On a Mac, hold down the Control key while clicking to initiate a right-click command. More information about right-click commands on Apple input devices can be found in the following Apple resource: Right-click on Mac.

    In X13 and newer versions, you can add the material to your User Catalog directly from the Define Material dialog. While in a camera view, navigate to 3D> Adjust Materials> 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 to the User Catalog, then select Open Object .

  3. On the Properties panel of the Define Material dialog that displays:

    • In X15 and newer versions, change the Material Class to Transparent, then adjust the Transparency and/or Index of Refraction.

      Transparent materials are not diffusive, specular, rough, or emissive, but do allow you to specify how light bends when passing through the material.

      Properties panel of the Define Material dialog

      In X14 and prior versions, change the Material Class to General Material instead, then adjust the Transparency percentage.

      Note: The Transparency setting 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. Only available for Transparent and General materials, this option is not available when Metallic is checked and does not affect the appearance of Transparent materials in ray traced views.

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