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    By Florentina Stirbu

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    All materials have appearances assigned to them. They can be overridden to change the way the parts or specific surfaces look.

    After assigning a material to a part, its appearance can be customised. When defining the appearance of a surface or part, there are a few libraries to choose from. The predefined appearances can be duplicated and edited, or a new appearance style can be created.

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    When creating a new appearance style, external images can be used as a custom texture. When searching for a texture reference, it’s good to look for a seamless one – so that when the image will be tiled, it will not be noticeable.

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    The saved image will be used for creating a custom texture. Depending on the size of the surface/part, the sample size shall be adjusted. If the aspect ratio is locked, changing the Width or Height will automatically adjust the other.

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    For a more realistic look, Bump Map can be enabled. The sample size of the bump map image shall be just about the same as the generic texture. The image used for creating a bump map can be the same as the one used for the texture, or one of the defaults located in: C:\Users\Public\Documents\Autodesk\Inventor 20xx\Textures\bumpmaps

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    Cutouts can also be defined. When using an image reference for the cutout, keep in mind that black (RGB 0,0,0) will be recognised as transparent. Like this, apppearances such as a fence can be created without having to model the cutouts. The generic colour can be changed, or an image can be added.

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    Keep in mind that the assigned material will still define part behaviour regardless of appearance.