Plan Materials


Recommended Posts

Chief doesn't combine like-named materials. You could have two completely different material definitions with the same name - it's up to you to keep things organized. Personally, I prefer this behavior: I use generic terms in most of my room finish schedules, e.g. "tile", "carpet", etc. - my intent is for the owner to make the actual product selection; but in 3D I may want two rooms with "carpet" to visually appear to have different styles and colors of carpet. Maybe there's a more elegant solution, but this is my current workflow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, RobUSMC said:

This is not causing any issues but just curious. Why are there duplicates of the same materials in the plan material list. If its the same material, shouldn't it only be shown once?  See attached.  Thanks 

Plan Materials.jpg


You can hit Purge and any unused materials will be deleted, or select two or more of the same name and hit Merge and they will be merged into one. But as rlackore said it's possible to have two dissimilar materials with the same name, so be careful doing that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe that this can happen any time you place an object from the library or copy an object between plans.  The program will see if the materials that are used by the object are already in the plan.  The program will look at all of the material attributes and if the material is not in the plan, then the program will copy the material, even if there already is one with the same name.  This can give you two materials with the same name but with different attributes.  I believe that this can also happen if you import any data (like defaults) from a different plan.


One way to see what attributes are different is to select both materials and use the Edit tool.  Any attributes that are different should be set in the "No Change" state.  


The best way to get rid of the duplicates is to use the Merge tool. The merge tool will keep the first material in the list, so if you know which material you want to keep, you may want to rename it so it appears first in the list.


Keep in mind that even if you merge materials, you could get additional duplicates the next time you bring any new objects into the plan.



  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Dermot said:

The best way to see what attributes are different is to select both materials and use the Edit tool.  Any attributes that are different should be set in the "No Change" state.  


The best way to get rid of the duplicates is to use the Merge tool. The merge tool will keep the first material in the list, so if you know which material you want to keep, you may want to rename it so it appears first in the list.

Some good nuggets there Dermot, thanks.
It seems to me that the duplicate materials are not always due to differences in attributes though.  I used to frequently get copies of things that were the same.  I've found that to avoid this happening when selecting materials I should always first go to 'Plan Materials' organize to In Use on top and be sure to select the item that's already shown In Use.  
Maybe I should 'Suggest' this, but it would be nice to have a way to default that view of already used materials when selecting materials, as those few steps of organizing the list I do many dozens of times a day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you find a case where the program makes a copy of a material and the material is identical to an existing material, then please report this to our tech support team.  Please include the plan files and exact steps needed to reproduce the problem.


If you would like the program to work differently than it does currently, then please feel free to make a post on the suggestions forum.


  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

43 minutes ago, Dermot said:

If you find a case where the program makes a copy of a material and the material is identical to an existing material...


Dermot, this is very easy to do; simply open the Plan Materials dbx, select any material, clip Copy, and rename the new material to have the same name as the copied material. Presto - two materials, identical properties, same name.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also found that:

(0) Countless times material duplicated, specifically these two: "Color -White" and "Fir Stud 16 o.c"

(1) Sometimes merging materials causes X12 to crash violently. (Offender: Material OSB)

(2) Merging materials "works well" in the material dialog, but as soon as you OK's that dialog you get an error in the plan stating "Failed to merge"  [I am aware they must have been dissimilar]. But the fact is why O why material merging dialog does not report that.


Another observation was software had no issues merging "Color -White"'s and "Fir Stud 16 o.c"''s when requested. So they had to be similar.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Me too unfortunately, it seems to me it is mostly the Plan Materials that are initially in every Plan ( Chief Defaults ) but not limited too....



Color - White ( was upto 8 copies earlier today....)




insulation Air gap


Red5 Brick

Stacked Stone


From my current Project - I have given up "merging" for now , it just keeps happening over and over....






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the advice... With all the warnings and unnecessary risk of crashes, I think I will just leave it alone since it doesn't seem to be causing an issue.  I was just wondering why it was like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Figured I post to this in case someone else find this in a search wondering why they have multiple materials with the same name in the Plan Materials list.


@Dermot: It's very easy to get duplicates. Here is what's going on:


UPDATE: Oops, I noticed after posting this that materials used from the User Catalog do not behave exactly the same (or so it seems) - it appears that CA is trying to reuse materials if they already exist in the plan - but as described below, this isn't always working.  Might be a bug now that I see there is inconsistency.


When you add an object from the library to your plan, obviously, the materials for that object are now associated with your plan and show up.  This is what everyone expects.  Start a blank plan and drag a wall mirror from the library onto a wall.  Now, you'll see 1 Mirror entry in your plan materials.


If you drag more of the same (or different) mirrors to your plan, you'll still only see one entry -- they are all using the same Mirror material.  


So, how do we get duplicates?  Place some object from the library into your plan (a table, for example).  Now, open that object and change the material used for the top of the table to Mirror by selecting the Mirror material entry from the core catalog.  Note, this is the same material being used by the mirror(s) we already have on the wall -- However, you will now see TWO Mirror entries in the plan materials list.  When you select a material and apply it to an object, a copy of the material is made and associated with the plan (I believe this is documented).  Note that if you use the rainbow tool to edit the material properties for your mirror table top, you will NOT affect the mirrors on the wall.  So, applying materials to objects is probably the number one reason for duplicates in the list.  You can merge them if you know that all mirrors in your plan are they same (and, with mirror, they probably are - but be careful with other materials you may have edited on specific objects).  


I believe this is by design as, if this were not the behavior, then if you edited the material properties for an object you just applied a material to, how would CA know if you intended to affect just this object or all objects using that material?  You'd have to manually copy the material before editing if you didn't want to affect the whole plan.  I'm not saying this would be bad, but the current behavior is "safer".  You won't accidentally affect an object on another floor if you apply a material to something and then tweak the material properties.


If you place a standard mirror, and then another, and then edit the material on the 2nd mirror (say, change it to a default material, colored red), you may have already guessed that BOTH mirrors WILL be affected -- they are using the same mirror material and you just edited it.  However, drag a new mirror into the plan after that edit, and you'll have another Mirror material in the list.  Interestingly, if you change the material in use on one of your edited mirrors and re-select the original Mirror material (which is being used by the 3rd mirror), you'll still get another Mirror material in your list -- again, because you applied a material from the library to an object.  It's a bit unexpected because you're applying a material from the library to the plan and that material is already in use -- you'd probably expect both objects to use the same material reference.  At least this behavior is consistent with the above.


Note that you can avoid creating additional materials by using the Material eyedropper -- if, instead of selecting the mirror material from the library in the final step in the previous example, you, instead, use the eyedropper to pick the mirror material from the third mirror and drop it onto one of the others, then you are telling CA to use the exact same material reference and you will NOT get an additional Mirror material in your library.


Finally, if you have an object using an edited (or applied from the library) material, and then you replace that material with something else, you will have "orphaned" the previous material (unless, of course, other objects in your plan are using it).  That's how you get a material in your list that is not "in use".  It was in use, but isn't anymore.  TIP: if you're going to back up your entire plan to send to someone else, note that CA will include ALL Materials in the Plan Materials list including materials not in use!  So, Purge your plan materials list to reduce the size of your backup (unless, for some reason, you want to save those materials because you might want to switch back to them at some point).


Probably more than you wanted to know about Plan Materials but this was bugging me enough that I spent some time investigating...




Edited by tbrummel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the case you have outlined above, the "mirror" material being used by the library object is probably not exactly the same as the "mirror" material that you choose from the library.


There are a couple of things you can do to help you avoid this problem:


1. Make sure your core libraries are up to date by using the "Update Library Catalogs" tool.  If a library object is using a material that does not match a library material, please feel free to report this to us so that we can ask our content developers to update the symbol.


2. If you would like to make sure an object in the plan is using the same material used by another object in the plan, then always choose the material from the Plan Materials list instead of choosing the one from the library (which may or may not match).  See picture below.


3.  Or, if you know you want them to match, then use the material eyedropper tool instead.


Hope this helps.


Plan Materials.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, so it's a bug then. 


I updated all catalogs and started a fresh project.  Add a "Beveled Mirror (vert)" to the wall. Then add some other object (I added Ebene Vase).  Open the vase and change the material to Mirror from the Library catalog.  You will have two mirror materials in your list now.  They are exactly the same in all ways that non-programmers can discern.  In fact, if you use the "Find Original In Library" feature by right clicking the objects and then  selecting the "Mirror" material, both objects will resolve to the exact same material in the Core Catalog.



FYI, copying the beveled mirror to the user catalog and then doing this same experiment still results in 2 Mirror materials in the list. 

HOWEVER, if you copy to the user catalog and then open the mirror and replace the Mirror material with itself -- literally just click Ok when you select a "new" material -- selecting the same Mirror material from the core catalog, then repeat this experiment with your "new mirror" and, viola, you do not get a duplicate.Snag_17d6228b.thumb.png.595093e4f74dba086dcaef874dc79cb1.png


So, it appears that there are multiple material IDs mapped to the same core library material (or something along those lines) - and "Mirror" isn't always "Mirror" as far as user's can tell. I did use other mirror objects from the library (Entry Mirror, Floor Mirror 1, etc) and they all behave this way so maybe the Mirror material was upgraded and these objects are using an old material ID?


Anyway, good to know the app is trying to link to the existing material if it exists in the Plan Materials list (maybe the search could consider all IDs?) and this is just a bug. It's not usually terribly difficult to clean this up if you want to.  Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now