i'm trying to do something that should be relatively simple, but i'm not experienced enough in blender to know how to do it.

I have a few dozen individual items (spheres). I want to assign 3 or 4 materials to them, each ball one material. I want to take this method: Random Select -> Assign Material to randomly selected objects, deselect, repeat.

First issue im running into is when I import this obj, I cant enter edit mode (I assume you can only apply materials in edit mode?).

The second issue, when I somehow figure out how to get into edit mode, I can sometimes add a material to one sphere, but linking it (ctrl+l) doesnt link the materials to the other selected objects. I managed to do it once, but then it never happened again.

Somtimes I cant even assign my newly-created material to one object at all. No idea why. Very frustrating.

Can someone walk me through how to do this please? Thanks in advance! Im really lost on how the material system works. Sometimes it seems like it works, other times it seems like it doesnt. enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ This is good info, but it doesnt really help me with my problem, as it's not working from step one. I have imported my meshes. I have appplied a random select. I assign a new material slot with the random selection active. I enter edit mode and apply this material, it affects only one of the balls. I press ctrl+l to link materials to the other selected objects, and nothing happens. $\endgroup$
    – h_sharp327
    Jun 24, 2019 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ Materials can be assigned from Object Mode directly, no need to enter Edit Mode. You may have unmatching objects with mixed materials assigned to object or object data. You may also have no active object $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2019 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, when I try assigning in Object mode,the "assign" button vanishes. And how to I make sure I have an active object? (I assume the active object is the yellow-hilighted one, and thats the one the "linked" command takes the material from to apply it to others?) $\endgroup$
    – h_sharp327
    Jun 24, 2019 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ If the object has only one slot it is already applied to all faces, no need to press the assign button. Active object is the yellow one $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2019 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


I'm about three years too late, but in case anybody else needs this answered (like I did), this worked for me (Blender 2.93):

  1. change one of the objects to the new material you want (then still keep it selected).

  2. go to the top menu and hit select (next to add) then select random (you can choose the frequency and stuff).

  3. do Ctrl+L and hit link materials, so then all the randomly selected objects inherit the material of the one you initially selected.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .