Creating a New Material

Reference Number: KB-00767
Last Modified: October 9, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I have an image on my computer that I would like to use in my plan as a material that can be applied to 3D objects. How do I do this?

Living room with a custom material applied ot the walls


Materials in Chief Architect have two primary attributes that determine what they look like in 3D views: patterns composed of CAD lines, and textures which are created using image files such as .jpg's or .png's. A new material with both a custom pattern and texture can easily be created in the User Catalog, which is located in the Library Browser.

If you want to import a new material that will be tiled seamlessly across a surface, make sure that the image that will be used will line up accurately to look realistic for 3D camera views.

Additional information on materials can be found in the Materials: Patterns & Textures Video Playlist, as well as the Materials Knowledge Base category.

To create a new material

  1. If the Library Browser is not already open, navigate to View> Library Browser .

  2. Right-click once on the User Catalog folder and select New> Material from the contextual menu that displays. 

    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.

    Library Browser with User Catalog > New > Material selected

    If you would like to add a new material to a folder or subfolder in your User Catalog, right click on the desired folder and select New> Material.

  3. The Define Material dialog will open.

    The settings on the Pattern panel control how the material will appear in the Vector View, Technical Illustration, and Line Drawing Rendering Techniques.

    Pattern panel of the Define Material dialog
    Pattern panel of the Define Material dialog

    • Specify a Material Name.

    • If desired, select a Pattern Type using the drop-down menu or by clicking the Library button.

      Note: A custom pattern can also be generated based upon a texture image by clicking the Pattern From Texture button. However, this option can only be selected after a texture image is specified for the material, which is discussed in the next step. 

  4. The settings on the Texture panel control the appearance of the material in the Standard, Physically Based, Watercolor, and Duotone Rendering Techniques, as well as CPU Ray Trace views.

    Texture panel of the Define Material dialog

    • Click the Browse button next to Texture Source File and browse your computer for the image that you would like to use as a custom material.

    • Once it's specified, adjust the Scale and Offset and Angle to your liking.

      For more information on each of the options listed here, click on the Help button at the bottom of the dialog box to open your software's documentation. 

  5. The settings on the Properties panel control how materials appear in most rendered 3D views as well as CPU Ray Trace views.

    Properties panel of the Define Material dialog

    Note: To learn more about material properties, please view Video 83: Advanced Materials.

  6. The settings on the Materials List panel control how the material is counted in the Materials List.

  7. Once all desired changes have been made, click OK to add the material to the User Catalog.

    Starting in X13, you can also click the Add to Library button to add the material to the User Catalog without closing the dialog box. This allows you to add several material variations to the library without the need to create copies beforehand.

Your new material is now available for use in any plan.