Create an image or drawing brush to apply as a material

This page applies to WPF projects only

To apply an image or a drawing as a material to the face of a 3D object, you must create a brush resource. Any brush resource can be used as a material, even a simple color resource.

To create a brush resource

  1. Create the image, drawing, or object from which you want to create a brush. For example, you could do one of the following:

    • Add an image file to your project (click Add Existing Item on the File menu), and then in the Projects panel, double-click the image file to add it to the artboard. The image file is added as an Image object that you can resize and modify on the artboard.

    • From the Tools panel, select Pen Cc295133.894f8612-e0ed-4e00-84cf-a9bc8f38fc54(en-us,Expression.40).png or Pencil Cc295133.509dc167-734f-46c9-b012-987ee63450cd(en-us,Expression.40).png to draw on the artboard. If you draw multiple items, you can select them all (by holding the CTRL key when you select), right-click your selection, point to Group Into, and then click one of the panel elements in which to group your objects.

    • From the Tools panel, add a Grid Cc295133.a87ee957-7fbf-4135-a6ab-6de7e63160aa(en-us,Expression.40).png or other panel control to the artboard, double-click the new panel object in the Objects and Timeline panel so that you can add other controls to it, and then add the items that will make up the image of your brush.

  2. In the Objects and Timeline panel, select the Image or panel object that you created in the previous step.

  3. On the Tools menu, point to Make Brush Resource, and then click one of the brush options. For example:

    • An image brush paints an area with an image. It is a type of tile brush that defines its content as an image. If you created an Image object, you can click Make Image Brush Resource.

    • A visual brush paints an area with a visual that can be updated during runtime if the brush is created from a panel that contains animations or interactive controls. To create a visual brush, click Make Visual Brush Resource.

    • A drawing brush paints an area with a drawing, which can include shapes, text, video, images, or other drawings. You can click Make Drawing Brush Resource regardless of what kind of object you created.

    The Create Brush Resource dialog box appears.

  4. Click OK to accept the defaults and create the brush resource in the current document. For more information about the options in the Create Brush Resource dialog box, see Create a resource. For information about how to manage resources, see Creating reusable resources.

To apply the brush resource as a material

  1. In the Objects and Timeline panel, expand the Viewport3D object for the object that you want to modify. In the Viewport3D object are containers for the cameras, materials, and lights.


    The materials and lights might be contained in an object that represents the world geometry. If so, expand the world geometry container object.

  2. Expand the materials container object, and then select one of the material objects. The face that corresponds to the material is identified on the artboard by a blue bounding box.

  3. Expand the material object until you reach the last node, as in the following image:

  4. In the Materials category of the Properties panel, click the color swatch next to the BackMaterial or the Material property, depending on which side of the face you want to apply the material to. The materials subproperty editor appears.

  5. In the materials editor, click Add Material Cc295133.3e596ab4-56b6-472e-83ff-5c23f7b3c108(en-us,Expression.40).png, and then select from the following types of materials:

    • Diffuse Material Cc295133.f4276d84-0e9b-439e-a6f1-dc2db7128d0f(en-us,Expression.40).png determines the color of the 3D object with direct light (white light) applied to it, much like the paint on a wall.

    • Emissive Material Cc295133.edb5d581-218f-4bd4-ad88-8f07b9e87140(en-us,Expression.40).png causes the object to appear that it is giving off light. The color of the light is determined by the color of the material.

    • Specular Material Cc295133.de37968c-c6c7-43b8-9ada-8ca0c9998b5c(en-us,Expression.40).png controls the color of the specular highlight on a 3D object. Specular highlights are the bright spots that you see on a glossy surface such as chrome.

  6. Click Brush resources Cc295133.415db740-5a54-48d2-8678-245ccfa7ee8b(en-us,Expression.40).png in the materials editor, and then select your brush resource from the list that appears.

    tip noteTip

    You might have to scroll through the list of resources to locate your brush resource.

    tip noteTip

    If you cannot see your material modifications, you might be editing a face that you cannot see with the current orientation of the object. For instructions about how to move the object, see Move a 3D object. Alternatively, you might have to clear the ClipToBounds property in the Appearance category of the Properties panel for the Viewport3D object that represents your 3D object.

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