Material Preview feedback wanted

One of the projects I have worked on for Blender 2.8, is updating the material preview.

This will become especially important with the forthcoming Asset Manager, because these previews will be used here to judste materials.

Here is the list of changes:

  • Added full support for Eevee (with an Irradiance Volume and Light Probe)
  • Added Shader Ball , Cloth & Fluid preview shapes
  • Removed the Monkey object. I think that the new shader ball is a better material preview object
  • Replaced mesh lights with light objects, which work in both Eevee & Cycles.
  • Added slight bevel to the cube
  • Objects have more subdivisions for previewing displacement
  • Fixed & improved UV mapping for all shapes
  • Added the new icons for the new preview types
  • Small changes to the Blender source code to support this new material preview

The developer task is here:

I would like to invite for general feedback and testing of the material preview file included there.

It would be useful to see some testing with different types of materials, both in Eevee & Cycles, to make sure the preview shapes work well as general-purpose material previews.

I would also like some special feedback on the fluid preview shape. So far, the two main contenders for fluids are these two:


Special thanks to Robin Marin for help with this task.


I’ve had a play, and they all look very good to me. I prefer the first fluid shape.

For reference, the original one actually included embedded objects and air bubbles for liquid previews:

Original author website:


The license for that Maxwell shaderball scene has been updated and is now “Creative Commons licence: Attribution + ShareAlike”. So we could use that exact thing, or a variation, if we wanted


Not much feedback to your inquiry here so far. Perhaps people like both, or are too polite to give criticism.

I personally don’t like either. I want those previews to have a scale that is in a useful range, the scale to be evident (or labeled!), and I want it to show off a variation of shapes and angles. Actually I’d prefer the scale of all (or at least most) of the previews to have identical scales, probably the size of things that fit in your hands well, so things that fit in a breadbox. LOL

Judging by the sizes of the features, that first one appears to be no more than a couple centimeters across or less - or maybe a bit more if the liquid is particularly viscous. That size is just too small to be that useful for previewing of liquid materials.

For the second the shape isn’t visually plausible and the scale is not self-evident. It looks liquidy but I can’t really tell what it is supposed to be or how big it is.

But neither shows off the kinds of variation of shape and angles that I’d like for fluid feedback. I’d rather see something that is primarily flat, with some depth, but has some waves and be partially perturbed to make a splash or larger wave.

Insert random pic from google images here. LOL

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