Jan here with another Blender Secret like the ones you can find in my 1188 page e-Book.
Drag and Drop materials with the Blender 3.0 Asset Browser 🤩
Dragging and dropping materials with visual previews is something that I've always wanted in Blender. And now, the wait is over! We finally get a real Asset Browser in Blender that allows you to do just that. For now, this means downloading the alpha version of Blender 3.0 from this page on blender.org.
Don’t worry about this version of Blender replacing your current installation - after unpacking the ZIP file, you can place the unpacked folder anywhere on your computer and run the Blender.exe file from there by double-clicking on it.
Then after opening it, you can find the Asset Browser by dragging up the Timeline to make it a bit bigger, and then switching it to Asset Browser.
Then choose “Shading”. First you’ll need to add some materials to the Asset Browser. In case your blend file has no materials in it, you can append some (either materials from projects you’ve created previously, or some of the many free materials you can find on websites like Blendswap).
Select any object in the scene and in the Material tab choose one of the appended materials. To get it into the Asset Browser it needs to be marked as an asset. This is done by right-clicking on it in the Material tab and choosing Mark Asset.
Repeat this for all the materials you’ve appended and want to keep in your Asset Browser. In the Shading tab it will now have some automatically generated thumbnails of materials.
This is a bit of work of course, but you’ll only have to do it once for each material you want to have in the Asset Browser. Before this, you always had to append materials for each project, and you didn’t really have a visual preview of the material.
To make sure we really don’t have to do it again, set a file path in Preferences and save the blend file with the materials in there. Make sure you check Automatically Pack Resources as well so the textures are packed into the blend file.
Now that you’ve saved the file with all your materials in the folder specified in Preferences for the Asset Library, start a new file in Blender 3.0 and open the Asset Browser again.
At first glance, it looks like there’s nothing there. But once you switch from “Current file” to “Default”, Blender will load the assets it finds in the file in your asset folder.
To add more materials (or geometry, animations and more) to the Default collection of the Asset Browser, you need to open the asset file again and add the new materials to it.
Did you know the Asset Browser can also be used for many other things besides materials? The new Cubic Worlds course by Zach looks at taking even more advantage of the Asset Browser, to make beautiful 3D Animations. And did you know you can still get a 20% Early Bird Discount? To get the discount, use the coupon code "EARLYCUBE" at the checkout page.
Did you like these tips? For hundreds of other Blender tips like these, check out the 1000+ page Blender Secrets e-book.
See you for the next Blender Secret!
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