Last modified on 23 April 2014, at 19:51

Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Multiple Materials Per Object

The finished render.

In this module, you'll create a beach ball with two alternating colours. Along the way, you'll learn how to apply multiple materials to a single object.

Many real-life objects have parts which are different colours, or are even made of different materials. One way to model such objects is to make each part a separate Blender object. However, Blender also allows you to assign different materials to parts of a single object.

Set the SceneEdit

Begin by opening Blender and removing the default cube. Then select the lamp and change its type from 'Point' to 'Hemi' in the Light settings in the properties window (object data button), this has the advantage of it giving more light.

The options for changing lamp type in the properties window

Now create a mesh for the beach ball:

  1. With the 3D View window active, press  Shift + A ) and choose Add → Mesh → UV Sphere.
  2. Set the controls under "Add UV Sphere" at the bottom of the left panel to 8 segments and 4 rings.
    The initial result will be crude, but meshes with fewer vertices are easier to edit.

To make the mesh rounder and more organic, go to the modifiers context in the properties window (wrench icon) and add a Subdivision Surface modifier. Set the values in the 'View' and 'Render' settings to 2. And to get rid of that blocky look, go to the Tool shelf and set the shading to Smooth.

The ball is now round, but a bit prolate. To make it more spherical, scale it by about 1.1 along the X and Y axes. To select the X-Y plane, you select ′not Z′, by using the key combination  Shift + Z . The complete sequence is, then,  S ,  Shift + Z ,  1.1 .

Colorize TimeEdit

Now you're ready to begin adding colors to the object:

  1. Press  Tab  to put Blender into Edit mode.
  2. Select the "Materials" button Materials button.png and press New
    Several additional panels should appear in the Properties window.
  3. In the "Material" panel, set the Diffuse colour to one of your two chosen stripe colours, say, yellow.
    At this point, the entire ball is yellow.

Blender259BeachBall Yellow.png

In the "Materials" panel click the "+" button (indicated by the red box in the picture, below) near the top of the panel and to the right of the existing material list. This will create a new blank slot in the materials list. A "+New" button will appear (indicated by the blue box, in the picture below).


Click the +New button and a new material will appear in the materials list. Ensure it is selected in the list of materials and change the Diffuse color to the second color of your choice (the images in this tutorial use blue). Nothing will happen to the beach ball, yet.

All the vertices should still be selected from before; hit  A  to deselect them. Switch to front view with  NUM1 , and to "Face Select" mode with  Ctrl + Tab  then  F . To avoid accidents, make sure you have "Limit selection to visible" enabled. Now select a column of four faces that will make up one stripe of the beachball (using  SHIFT + RMB ):

Blender259BeachBall Selected.png

In the "Material" property window, highlight the second chosen material ("Material.002") in the materials list and click the "Assign" button.

Now rotate the view (e.g.  NUM6 ) so you can skip past a yellow stripe adjacent to the blue stripe, and select the second column that will become a blue stripe. Work your way around the ball to do this two more times. (Remember we made the sphere with 8 segments; four of these are the yellow stripes, and four are the blue). Now you see why I chose to make the sphere with only 4 rings: more rings would have meant more faces in each stripe, and more clicking to select them.