Creating and Applying Materials to Static Meshes
From RoboBlitz Editor Wiki
If you haven't done so already, make sure you have completed the Importing a Static Mesh tutorial. Once you have a mesh imported into the editor you can continue here.
The Unreal Engine supports a few different types of texture files but we will be working Targa files (.tga) for this tutorial. In the previous section we imported a basic cardboard box mesh. We are now going to import a diffuse, specular and normal map for it, create a material, and then apply the material to our static mesh.
With the RoboBlitz editor open, goto 'View > Browser Windows > Generic' to view our resource browser. Choose 'File > Import'. Select a texture file. At the bare minimum we need a texture - a specular map and normal are not required. You can select more than one file at a time by 'CTRL Left-Click' on files. If you chose more than, press 'OK to all', else just press 'OK'.
Ensure that there is a check next to 'Texture' on the left side resource panel. If not, you will not see the maps you have imported. You should now have some textures imported:
Now that we have imported our textures we need to create a new material. A material is what ties all of these files together. In the resource preview area where are texture thumnails are, 'right-click' on any blank space (the dark gray area) to bring up a menu. From this menu we want to click 'New Material'. A new window will appear asking us to name our new material. Simple enough. In the example below I have named it cardboardBox_m. The 'm' lets me know later its a material and not just a texture. When done, press 'OK'.
The new material editor for UnrealEd has changed quite a bit. Its a node based material system much like Maya's. It's much more visual.
We start by creating a new node, or 'holder' for one of our texture files. We then connect this texture to our material which will then be applied to our static mesh. We can add a new node by 'right-clicking' anywhere on the background, or by 'left-click' and 'dragging' from the menu on the far right to the stage. Lets add a 'Texture Sample' to the stage.
You can 'Left-click' to select a node, 'CTRL Left-Click' to move a node. 'Left-click' to move around the window. At the bottom of our material editor window are our properties for the currently selected object. Select our texture sample node to bring up its properties. We need to fill in the texture field. In the property window select the 'magnifying glass icon' after clicking on the 'texture field'. This will bring up the resource window. Select the texture you imported and close the window. Back in the properties pane, click the 'green arrow' to set the currently selected texture to our texture sample node. Repeat this process for all of the maps you have imported by creating a new texture sample node and setting its texture file.
Next we need to link our texture samples to our material. 'Left-click' and drag from the black output box of the texture sample to the associated black input on the material. Use figure 6 for reference. When done, close the material editor. It will ask you if you'd like to save your material, choose 'Yes'.
Back in the resource window we now need to link up our new material with our static mesh. If you cannot see the new material we have created, ensure that the resource type 'Material' is checked in the list on the left.
'Right-click' on our static mesh and choose 'Static Mesh Editor' from the menu. On the right side our property window shows all of thee attributes of our static mesh. Click and open up the 'LODInfo' tree to get to the 'Material' field. Like before, use the magnifying glass to select the material we created and then apply it. Thats it! Our static mesh now has a complete material applied.
TIP: When in the static mesh viewer you can save a custom thumbnail of the mesh so that later you can recognize it much easier. Simply move around the model until like the angle then select 'Tool > Save Thumbnail Angle'.