What am i missing??

Hey Guys,
Im a product designer and im new to blender. ive started a new job that uses blender as their rendering software.
i have a little experience years ago with studio max.

i make my models in solid edge and then export the assemblies to blender, where i add textures into already existing “studio” blender scenes.

the .stl file that i export from solid edge has all of the different components saved under the 1 .stl file

The guy before me had pro skills in blender. he seemed to be able to export from solidedge as a single .stl file,
import into blender and what looks like very easily separating out the different components into a multi body mesh so he can individually add materials to each different component.

i cant work out how he does this. its also such a specific task i cant seem to find a tutorial that would be beneficial.

I currently have two methods for adding materials to my new models.

my first method is to export different .stl files from solid edge. I group the components together based on material i.e all stainless fasteners, all powder coated components, all plastic components etc etc…

(when i have assemblies with over 500 components this can take 2 hours just to organize & export to blender)

or i use the brush tool to select and “paint the faces” of the mesh i need to add a material to.
again, with so many components this takes HOURS!!!

is there a way to select “bodies” of a mesh???
whats the most efficient way of adding materials to parts of a mesh?
are there ways of hiding sections of a mesh so you dont have the brush overlap when selecting parts of a mesh?

im attaching a very simple blender file to show you what i see. id be really grateful is someone can have a look and explain to me the method he used to individually add materials to different parts of the model.

thank you for your time


example2.blend (1.34 MB)

Wow! very detailed model of a cigarette lighter :slight_smile:

Essentially you should try to split your mesh into different objects (like you did with the cap). Then it is very easy to append different materials to them…

Yes, select the parts you want to hide and press “h”. ALT + H “unhides” them.

I also noticed that your materials are very complex - they will need a long, long time to render… Maybe you should try to simplify them.

Is your example.blend painfully colored by you or is this how you get the data from solid edge?

this was a very simple assembly that i found in my blender directory.
the guy before me had colored this in blender, an export from solid edge is just a mesh. usually an .STL which doesn’t store color information.
ive started to use “free cad” to translate my model into an .obj which allows me to keep the multibody objects within blender.

For some context, this is a typical example of a render of our products

This method irons out most problems, I guess…

With this import/convert method you can select the individual objects and create (or even append from other/former files) materials for each of them…

I think I also figured out how your predecessor applied materials: he went to object mode, selected a face of the part he wanted to create a material for and hit CTRL + L (select linked). Then he created a new material and applied it to the selected faces. Also this answers your question:

If you want to get more in-detail info about applying (multiple) materials to objects, feel free to reply again…