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Major Xref materials issue


DanW

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I have created a C4D file that contains many materials that I am trying to share across multiple models files for a client. Then models are large, agricultural equipment visualizations.

 

I have modelled and created each product, placing the xRef file of the materials only, into each model scene and applying them. Each of these models also have a number of materials that are unique to that model and saved only with that model file. 

 

I have now created a new scene, into which I am placing two of the new models to render them together. 

 

Here's were my life and week fall apart: When I bring the models into the new scene, multiple copies of the xref materials appear in the Material Manager. Then, in the new scene file, the materials seem to get confused and fight each other for dominance. In the XRef Manager, there are two instances (of course) of the imported xref files (one set from each of the xref models), but not all of the materials from both instances are 'checked" and it appears that some of the materials shown in the Material manager, are from one xref model, some from another. So...I try to consolidate them, and I remove the materials from within the XRef Manager, and of course this immediately results in default materials showing up in the models. 

 

Now, after messing things Royally, I am back in the file for the model itself, only to find that it refuses to now even recognize the xref materials at all. The entire model is default material, with a whole Material Manager filled with all the xRef materials ready to go, but the model won't pick them up. As far as I can tell, I have turned off all "renaming" etc and I have read everything I can get my hands on to try to understand what this Xref module is thinking. 


The only thing I can think of left to do, is to painstaking re-apply all of the xRef materials to my models again to relink my textures. This seems to be an almost impossible task however because the missing "?" materials don't seem to say anywhere materials they are looking for. So I have warning decal materials applied all over these models and would need to literally go back to printed user manuals to try to relink them to the proper materials....

 

My questions are: 

What am I possibly doing wrong here in trying to work with xRef materials? Is there something obvious I'm missing? Why are my models suddenly ignoring all the xref materials assigned to them?

 

2: Is there anyway to see what "Material" (not talking about missing textures here, just broken material assignments) a "?" texture tag is hoping to see show up in the Material Manager, so I can relink them manually if no other simple solution is suggested. I have done search after search to try to find a place where texture tags will show what the name of the missing material is...to no avail. I could relink missing textures blindfolded now, but nothing on this in particular. What a mess...any help or insight would be a not so minor miracle for me right now.

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You don't mention trying to open previous versions of any of the files, so I am going to assume you don't save incrementally or use auto-save. If you did, you could simply open the previous version of the file and all your XRef materials should be there. Then you're only reconciling the work you did since the last save. 

 

Here is my one glimmer of hope: if your XRef objects are using relative file paths, and you recently moved the project with your base materials, you could conceivably move the file back to where it thinks it should be, then when you open the file of the model, it will discover all the materials and load them properly. (This assumes that you didn't save over the file after the materials dropped, such that the saved version still retains the material references and is simply dropping them upon load because the reference isn't resolving.)

 

Otherwise, you're probably SOL. I would have recommended against using an XRef to import and assign materials to an object. It is so easy to copy & paste a material to another project that you'd have to be making frequent updates to a complex material for it to seem worth it to me. Also, XRefs seem to drop often enough that incremental or auto-saving is absolutely necessary. I XRef characters, so when one drops, I lose all the animation I've done.

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