Creating a New Material

Reference Number: KB-00767
Last Modified: January 7, 2020

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?

House with driveway made from custom paver material


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 special image files such as .jpg's that are designed tile seamlessly across large surfaces. A new material with both a custom pattern and texture can easily be created in the User Catalog in the Library Browser.

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

To add a custom material to the User Catalog

  1. From the menu, select View> Library Browser  to display the Library Browser window if it is not already open.  

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

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

    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 at: How to right-click on Mac.

    Library Browser with User Catalog > New > Material selected

  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. 

    Define Material Dialog - Pattern panel with Octagon set as Pattern Type

    • Specify a Material Name.

    • Select the Pattern Type that you would like to use from the drop-down list.

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

    Define Material Dialog - Texture panel with Arrow on Browse button

    • Click the Browse button next to Texture Source File.

    • In the Select Texture File dialog, browse your computer for the image file that you would like to use as a custom material.

  5. Make any other desired changes, then click OK to close the dialog.

Your new material is now saved in your User Catalog and is available for use in any plan.