Material/Texture data-structure confusion

Being new to blender and involved in a sort of advanced model (that will be exported to unity, not that it matters), I simply can’t find the right tutorial to explain the basics for me. I hope you can direct me to one.

My issue:
I want 1 Object, 1 Mesh, and 4 Materials (so I can have different reflective properties, and edit player color on parts of the mesh from the game, etc). For added pretty-pretty, I want the entire thing bump mapped and textured as well. I find droves of tutorials on all of these subjects but they all assume I understand the underlaying data-structure perfectly - and I REALLY DON’T. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the heck everything is connected.

I need a tutorial on these things, that does it from scratch, not assuming that I understand the data-structures. I need a tutorial that will explain the vital must-know information: is a texture a property of a mesh, an object or a material? Can a mesh have several materials for different subsets of faces? Can the mesh have several textures? Several bump maps? Can I have separate materials, and still use 1 common bump map? How is it all connected? What data is associated with which data? And of course: how do I actually go about doing these these things -exactly-, step by step?

Desperately hoping there’s a tutorial out there that can explain these things.


try these two;

doc tutorials


manual materials

You are correct, this area is sorely lacking in the documentation. I only learned it by trial and error.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
Let’s start with what you probably know: Each file has a list of materials. You can see or add new ones only when you have a mesh object selected. You edit them in the “shading” panel group.

Once you have your list of four materials, you need to assign more than one at the same time to a single object, right?

Well. Each mesh has a material index - a list of possible materials that you can apply to this object. This index starts at 1 and you can add to it, up to some number, like 255 or something (I assume). each face in a mesh is then assigned such an index number. Then there is sort of table where these index numbers are each assigned to a scene material. Each object has its own index. This index is handled automatically by Blender - if you join two objects with different indexes Blender will combine the list.

Let’s assume you have these materials in your scene:
blue, green, yellow, red

start with assigning a single material to your object - let’s say you assign “blue”.

select your object. in the panels window press the “editing” button, and then find the “link and materials” panel. the panel has vertex groups on the left, materials on the right. you will see “1 mat 1” written there - it means it has one of one materials. Below it there are some buttons and above it is the name of the first material (blue in this case).
Now switch to editing (tab). you will see a spinner button (two arrows) added to the left of the name of the first material. You now have two ways of adding indexes to the list:

  1. press the “new” button - this will add a new copy of the previous material. Not what you want.
  2. press the spinner button and select an existing material from the pop-up list - it will be added to the list. Thi9s is what you want to do.

so, assuming you already have four scene materials, press the spinner, select another material - say “green”. It will be added to the list and the material index will grow by one to “2 mat 2”. Repeat it twice more for the other two materials, so all in all you should have 4 materials now in the index for this object.

you can now click the right and left arrow on the sides of the “4 mat 4” to switch between materials.
now select some faces and by clicking “assign” you will be able to assign the current material index to the selected faces.

for some reason you can’t add existing materials to the index list when NOT in edit mode, and you can’t delete material indexes when you ARE in edit mode.

I hope I’m not giving useless info but I think I understand better what the OP is looking for now,