Feedback on handling materials in Asset Browser

Hello, I imagine in the future there will be a proper thread for Asset Manager, but I prefer to give my feedback right now first to see if there are others who agree with me and also, if potentially something is considered by the developers, to not make changes too late in the development.

After trying a little bit the Asset Browser and specifically how it handles materials, here’s are my two cents: for me the material browser should become not only the space for storing materials, but to actually create them and assign them to objects, substituting completely the material slots and material list. You would have an option in the materials browser to create a new material, which you can then assign to any objects you want, instead of creating a material inside an object, make it an asset and then having the possibility to assign it to others, which to me looks like a very convoluted process: In the exact moment I create a material, I’d expect that material to already be part of the material browser.

For me, the option of making the material an “asset” should just give you the possibility to store the material in the asset library and have it across multiple files: this is already in the scope of Asset browser, I think it just needs some polishing and a different behaviour for the “current blend file”. I understand that creating a material in the asset browser, for how it has been thought so far, is a different kind of feature, but I really think it could improve and reduce the steps for creating materials and have them as assets. Possibly, if not part of the material browser, it could be a separate editor just for materials!

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I think that everybody expects that.
A button into asset browser should not be necessary to obtain that result.

You are just experimenting a lack of refreshment that is already listed as an issue to solve.
https://developer.blender.org/T82665

The goal of material slots list is not to show a preview of materials used by object.
It is to allow to put multiple materials on an object.
To each material slot corresponds a material ID used by faces to know what material to show on what face.
So, you can’t get rid of material slots. That would simply break ability to have a mesh using multiple materials.
As a consequence, your mock-up is neglected highlighting of active slot. But an highlight on preview or material name would be needed. That would be less beautiful.
So current +/- buttons and materials special dropdown menu will also continue to be needed.
Unless you change them all into items of right click menu.

So, your little window would only have space for only 3 materials.
If you expand it to display a dozen of materials, you are masking material shader settings.
If instead, you zoom out, you will be unable to read their name.
So, I think that should not be a replacement for material slots list.
IMO, display as a list of names is the best way to keep an efficient reading in properties editor or outliner.
I know that many people are disagreeing, don’t name their materials and expect that bigger previews will make drag and drop from properties editor instantaneously meaningful.

But for me that would be solved by presence of an asset browser.
I just need one asset browser filtered, to show only materials of active object in a shading workspace or a more specific material assignment workspace.
I don’t need to see smaller useless previews that would slow down UI, everywhere.
Simply, because I give meaningful names to my materials.

I would not be against a push on outliner abilities to transfer to it all functions of current material slots list.
I think that if something should replace list in Material tab : that should be Outliner’s list, not asset browser.

2 Likes

I agree that part of the inneficacy of my proposal is due to some missing functionality displayed in the mock-up, therefore I’ll add some more images and modify what I’ve done soon.

I absolutely never wanted to get rid of having multiple materials assigned to different parts of the mesh, in fact the buttons assign, select and deselect that appear in edit mode would still be there, as well as the material ID data-block; regarding the right bar, at first I thought it could be erased and completely substituted with shortcuts and right-click menu entries as you said, but it could possibly hidden the functionalities too much. Still, they could still be implemented to have a quicker way of working: move materials would be done with dragging; copy and paste with ctrl+c ctrl+v and/or right-click menu; remove material with X and/or right-click menu; add material with shift+a. Regarding the highligth on selected material, it was my bad to not include it in the mock-up.

Also this, I ddn’t have a specific display size in mind, it was more a way to show the change in the view. it could either be just smaller, or maybe adapt the size to the number of materials added.
huhuh

Actually I think the asset browser should be the place to show all the materials present in the files, and leave the material object tab to show the ones only assigned to the object.

I agree a lot with you on this, but we’d need also more ways of customizing the placing of the icons in the outliner, like how it is in C4D: currently to see the object’s material list in the outliner you have to open its contents that along with object data icon, modifiers icon, materials and vertex groups take a lot of space for one object, having contents of multiple objects open would take too much space in the outliner. We should have the possibility to see the material icons next to the object’s name, to reorder modifier, vertex, mesh and material icons to our preference, to choose which one of these contents to show and which not in the Filters menu (and not just all of them).