The Materials Bar is where you create a material asset that can be applied to different parts of the tree. You can set textures, colors/values, and other settings pertaining to the rendering.
Adding, removing, changing the name, reordering, and applying material assets to the tree is done the same way for all of the assets. This process is described in Common Asset Settings.
This section contains general settings for the material.
This option allows this material to be seen from both the front and back.
When working with Seasons, the season curve controls the weight of this material depending on the season slider.
This option can override the app-wide setting for the maximum resolution of textures uploaded to the graphics card. The “default” setting uses the app-wide setting from the preferences.
This scale is applied to the size of this material when exporting an unwrapped mesh, exporting an atlassed tree for real-time rendering, and creating lightmapping UVs for game engines.
This string is available through the SpeedTree SDK for specialized material data SpeedTree doesn't otherwise provide.
Variations allow you to randomly vary the color of a material slightly on different parts of a tree. For example, you create one leaf material, but you use variations to alter the color slightly, making it look like there are multiple kinds of leaves on the tree. Variations are very helpful when making cluster models intended for export material and used on another tree.
You can change your color palette by clicking on one of the three color tabs, which will open the Color Editor. You get one variation per color, plus the original texture, which makes 4 variations in total. The slider controls the intensity of the color applied per variation.
On export, a new texture is created with your variation color/amount baked in, so nothing additional needs to be done in an external app to support it.
Note: Be wary of using variations in trees intended for real-time rendering. Each variation results in an additional texture, or more space used in the texture atlas. Often using two wildly different textures has a better effect than two variations with slight color shifts.
This section allows you to set or create a mesh cutout that will be used with this material wherever it is used on the tree. You can choose a previously created/imported mesh asset. Clicking the Edit button is a shortcut to the Mesh Cutout Editor for either the currently selected mesh or, if no mesh is currently selected, a new cutout mesh.
The maps of a material are the data used during rendering. This can be a color/value, a texture, or both. See the explanation of PBR Materials for what each map controls in the SpeedTree standard render mode.
For each map, you may set a color or value, depending on the map type. If you wish to use a texture, click the texture button below the map's color/value and you will be presented with the Map Editor dialog. Ticking the checkbox in the top left corner of the texture button allows you to disable the texture quickly without losing any edits you have made on the texture itself.
Note: The final map value used on the tree is the color/value multiplied by the texture. The texture button illustrates this combination, while the Map Editor only shows the texture itself.
You can view each map type on the tree itself by selecting the appropriate render mode in the Material submenu of the Render Mode menu in the Tree Window. Doing this is often very helpful to see, at a glance, if there are any problems when you have many materials in one tree.