Materials and Textures


This section describes materials you drop on 3D surfaces. For example, drop fabric on furniture, brick on walls, carpet on floors, and so on.


What is a Material?

Applying Materials
Apply To Multiple Surfaces

Copy and Paste Materials

Cover Part of a Surface

Editing Surface Materials

     Move Material

     Scale Material

     Rotate Material

     Hide Material

     Hide Color


Use Your Own Images

Adjusting Your Images

Optimize Image Quality

What is a Material?

Materials are digital images you apply to furniture, wall, floor and other surfaces. For example, fabrics on furniture and wood finishes on cabinets. Materials are also referred to as textures.


Plan3D accepts materials in a variety of popular formats:



A compressed bitmap image file


A bitmap file limited to 256 colors


An uncompressed standard bitmap file


A compressed bitmap file that is becoming popular


See Import Your Own Images for more information.

Putting Material on Surfaces

To apply materials to objects, drag them from the Directory and drop them on a wall, furniture or other surface.


You are not limited to materials in the Directory. See Import Your Own Images.

Apply To Multiple Surfaces

Apply a material to multiple surfaces of walls, floors, countertops, roofs and stairs by holding in certain keys during the drag-and-drop process. This also works with Edit> Copy Color and Material .


Apply to all sides: Hold down Alt key when dragging materials to walls, floors, countertops, roofs or stairs to apply to all sides.

Apply to All Sides of All Type: Hold down Ctrl and Alt keys when dragging materials to a walls, floors, roofs or countertops to apply it to all sides of the same object type. For example, hold in Ctrl and Alt keys and drag a material to a wall to apply the material to all sides of all walls.

Copy and Paste Materials

See Edit> Copy Color and Material for ways to copy materials on one surface so you can paste it on other surfaces. See Apply to Multiple Surfaces above for ways to apply to multiple surfaces.

Cover Part of a Surface

Apply material to part of a wall, floor, countertop or roof with Build> Draw Materials. For example, apply wallpaper to the top half of a wall, tile part of a bathroom floor, etc.



Exception: This doesn't work with furniture and other objects you drag in from the Directory. It only works with floors, walls, countertops and roofs.

Editing Surface Materials

You can edit images on surfaces in several ways. To edit a surface material, right-click it to get the menu of options below, and choose one.


See descriptions to all of these below


In the example below a painting is dropped into a picture frame and resized using "Scale Material." Descriptions for menu items are below this image.


Move Material

Slide surface materials to position them:


  1. Right-click surface and choose Move Material - cursor will change.

  2. Click-and-drag surface material to move it.

  3. Double-click or press Esc to exit Move mode.


Limitations: Depending on how surfaces were applied or tiled to furniture and other free-standing 3D models, the material's range of movement may be limited. This will usually work with walls, floors, countertops and roof. We've found that images which are not power of two cause the most problems.

Scale Material

Change the size of materials on objects several ways:


Scale Visually:


  1. Right-click surface and choose Scale Material - cursor will change.

  2. Click-and-drag on the surface to scale its material. Drag up to enlarge and down decreases.

  3. Double-click or press Esc to exit scale mode.


Scale by Percent: Wall, floor, countertop and roof textures may be scaled by right-clicking the surface and entering the percent value to scale. For example, 200% will double the size and 50% will halve it.

Set Material Dimensions:
Use the Tape Measure or Dimension tools to see the size, and the methods above to adjust it to match.

Rotate Material

Right-click surface and choose Rotate Material> and a 45, 90 or 180 degree option.

Hide Material

To hide a material right-click surface and choose Hide Material. Only the object's color will be shown if available. Choose again to un-hide the material.

Hide Color

If color has been applied to a material using "Tint Surfaces", you may use this option to hide it and see how the material looks without the color. Choose it again to un-hide. See Paint and Color for more information.


Right-click materials you've applied to objects with Build> Draw Material, as well as walls, floors, countertops and roofs - and choose Properties.


Note: You may only change reflectivity on walls, floors, countertops and roofs.


Reflectivity: This controls how much reflection a surface has. A mirror is 100%.  A setting of 0% will yield no reflection.


Scale Percent: Scale surface materials by percent. A setting of 50% will reduce the material size by half. A setting of 200% will double its size.


Image URL: Location of image online or path to a file on your computer.


The window above is the property window for partial materials applied to walls, countertops, floors and roofs. Property windows for whole sides of a wall, roof, countertop or floor have additional information besides that shown above.

Use Your Own Images

You are free to use your own images as surface materials.



Drag-and-drop JPG, GIF, BMP and PNG file icons from your desktop or folders directly onto surfaces in plan3D.


To do this, shrink the plan3D window so you can see the file icon on your desktop, then drag it onto the surface in your plan3D project.


If the image file will not drag in, you may need to remove illegal characters like &, * or %  from the file name:


  1. Click the file name under the file icon

  2. When the letter is selected, remove any lllegal characters or rename it completely.

  3. Drag file icon into plan3D



Web Page Images

Drag images from web pages directly onto surfaces in plan3D. You may need to resize the plan3D and web page windows to do this.


If the web image will not drag in because it is linked or has illegal characters like &, * or %  in the URL, do this:


  1. Right-click image and choose "Save Picture As..."

  2. Save image to your desktop

  3. Drag file icon from the desktop onto surfaces after removing any illegal characters.



Also see Optimizing Image Quality below.


A Note About Plan3D's Directory Materials are handled differently then what you are doing above. They are thumbnails with an embedded link pointing to a .p3d file which contains the information about the material - such as how to scale it, who the manufacturer is, pricing, size and other information.

Adjusting Your Images

It is almost guaranteed your images will not be the right size or in the right position when you drag them in. Fortunately,  Scale, Move and Rotate allow you to adjust them. See Editing Surface Materials for an example.

Optimizing Image Quality

Here are some notes about improving the quality of images you use in plan3D:


Materials are repeated like floor tiles when applied to a surface. Seamless images look best if your surface is tiled. If an image only repeats once, a painting in a picture frame for example, then tiling isn't important.


Seamless images repeat without seeing the seam between them. Square images with power of two pixel dimensions work best.



*Powers of two are 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512... Most plan3D materials are 256 x 256 or 512 x 512 pixels. However, images can be any power of two up to 1024 x 1024. Avoid large materials as they take up excessive amounts of memory. Plan3D uses openGL to render 3D images which works best with power of two.


Power of two images, like the 64 x 64 pixel image on the right, will tile correctly when dropped onto surfaces in plan3D.


Example of a power of two image dropped into plan3D:





Non-power of two images, like the 72 x 72 image on the right, will be converted to power of two - 128 x 128 in this case. (Images are not scaled.) The extra space between 72 and 128 is filled with partial repeats of the image so you don't get white banding - however, this only works well with some images.


To make the image above tile correctly when dragged into plan3D, open it in a paint program and scale it to be a 64 x 64 pixel image or a 128 x 128 pixel image. Both of which are powers of two.


Example of a non-power of two image dropped into plan3D: