Working with Materials in Boxshot

Boxshot provides a sophisticated, yet straightforward materials system. You can make paper, glossy surfaces, plastic, metal, glass, mirrors and much more, without spending months learning how to do it. Let's get to know the materials step by step.

One Click Image Assignment

Boxshot encourages you to use drag and drop. You drop shapes into the scene, then drag them to move or rotate them to where you want them. You can do exactly the same for materials. When you drop an image onto a shape, you see a popup asking how to use the image:

dropping materials in boxshot

Boxshot provides several options for how to use the image. Pick the top one - "Texture" - to put the image onto the shape. You will use this option almost every time you assign images.

Using Pre-defined Materials

Boxshot comes with a set of pre-defined materials like glass, metal, and plastic. You can find them in the left panel:

materials panel at the left in boxshot

Click the materials' panel icon, pick a material and drag it to the shape where you want it to be applied. This time Boxshot asks you nothing, as materials provide all the necessary information to be applied.

Configuring Materials

Materials are applied to a shape's sides. Each shape has its own set of materials, so changing one shape doesn't affect others. It is a good idea to use pre-defined materials and drag-and-drop as a starting point; but when it comes to fine tuning, you will end up using the materials panel on the right. Let's have a look:

materials panel on the right in boxshot

Select a shape, then click the "Materials" icon on the right to see the list of materials of the selected shape. Below the list you see the properties of the selected material in the list. The number of properties depends on the edition of Boxshot, so your list may look different than the list in this image.

Some Controls of the Materials Panel

Let's see how a file picker works in the material property panel. Select a shape, then open the materials panel and pick a material from the list. Then let's look at the "Texture" section at the very top of the material's property panel.

materials panel on the right in boxshot, picking a texture

The file picker control shows a short file name of the loaded image. It also has a drop-down list of other loaded images, so you can easily use the same image on several sides or shapes. The picker also has "browse" and "clear" buttons to help you with loading and unloading images.

The other two important items are the cropping button and the tint color picker. You can use the tint color to paint a side a specific color in addition to the texture image. You can reduce image brightness by picking a gray color, or make the image red or green using the tint color. The crop button is explained below.

Cropping images

Boxshot lets you load an image which contains all the artwork for all the sides of an object. You can't apply such an image directly, as Boxshot doesn't know where to put each part of the image. That's why you may need the cropping button. This button shows a window that allows you to define which part of the image to show on that particular side.

If you pick a "CD Front" material, as in the image, and click the "Crop" button, you will see something like this:

cropping images in boxshot

You may need to click the zoom buttons at the top right corner of the popup window to see the whole image. Drag the cropping frame to select the part of the image you want to see on the shape. In the following example we've selected just the boxshot logo on a disc. To apply your selection, click "Commit":

cropping images in boxshot, results

As you can see, the disc now shows just the logo, not the whole image as before. You can crop large images or bleeds, or pick pages from spreads.

You can read more about materials in the user manual.

Conclusion

You have learned how to drag and drop images and materials directly onto a shape, how to see the material's properties and how to crop images. You are almost ready to make amazing scenes in Boxshot. You just need to review a few more topics: