Materials can bring your model to life. Materials can be as simple as paint—matte or glossy or anywhere between. They can be opaque, transparent, reflective, or nonreflective. You can apply representations of realistic, real-world materials like stone, marble, glass, polished metal, fabric … the list is almost endless. AutoCAD 2012 comes with a material library of literally thousands of different material types, and assigning them to objects can be as simple as dragging from a palette and dropping on an object. Or it can be as complex as you care to make it.
Prior to AutoCAD 2011, you created and stored materials in individual drawings, which made them difficult to manage. AutoCAD 2011 introduced the Materials Browser, which makes managing materials much easier. Partnered with the Materials Browser is the new Materials Editor, accessible from a tool button in the Materials Browser.
The new materials libraries introduced in AutoCAD 2011 took up vast amounts of hard disk space. That was seen as wasteful for people who never did renderings, so in AutoCAD 2012, most of the material libraries are online. The first time you click the Render button in AutoCAD 2012, AutoCAD asks whether you want to go online to install the Medium Material Library. If rendering looks interesting to you, go ahead and install the library.
Use the MATBROWSER command to display ...