Design Engineering

Material Considerations in Inventor 2013

By Mark Flayler   

CAD/CAM/CAE Autodesk CAD Imaginit Inventor Mark Flayler

New material system simplifies applying and editing physical and visual properties in Inventor 2013.

Perhaps one of the larger counterpoints to upgrading to Inventor 2013 heard by a number of users is the complexity of the somewhat simple topic of Inventor materials and appearances.

To assuage user trepidation, Autodesk Product Manager Pete Lord and the Inventor support team have compiled a nice collection of the Wikihelp into a nice PDF. Anyone considering upgrading to Inventor 2013 should consider these steps outlined in the PDF for their implementation upgrade as well as understand that with the Inventor Update 2 release a lot of the initial hiccups around materials have been resolved.

Download Autodesk Inventor 2013 Materials and Appearances Whitepaper – PDF Link

Here is an excerpt from the paper about some of the advantages of the new material system:


There were two main objectives for the materials improvement project in Inventor 2013. The first was to simplify applying and editing both physical and visual properties in Inventor 2013. The second was to have a common material library that works across several Autodesk products that can be used without the need of translation. This is intended to improve the quality of data transfer between products in a Suite

Beyond these high level objectives, we also provide numerous workflow improvements.

1. Improved visibility of current physical and visual materials settings (always available in the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

  • As a result of QAT Access, fewer clicks to apply physical materials
  • Easier to see what physical material is being used and if there is visual override

2. Easier to apply visual overrides per part/feature/face
3. Easier to strip visual overrides – (great for imported geometry)
4. Better ability to arrange texture for more realistic image, including the ability to engage texture mapping patterns below,

  • Box
  • Planar
  • Cylindrical
  • Spherical
  • Aligned

5. Standardized visual controls and enhanced feedback

  • RGB & HSB control
  • Real time previews
  • Dynamic texture manipulation

The common material and appearance libraries enable an Inventor model to bring its physical material and appearance definitions along with the geometry into Revit, AutoCAD, or Showcase. The host application then displays the material and appearance just as you see it in Inventor.

Mark Flayler is an application engineer with IMAGINiT Technologies, specializing in manufacturing environments. Check out his Autodesk tips and trick on the IMAGINiT Manufacturing Solutions Blog.


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