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I am having difficulty transferring any materials that I add onto a structure within blender. After I'm done adding the different materials, when I export the blend file to either a .obj or .3ds the structure carries over, but the materials do not.

When going into composite mode, and rendering the scene all I get is a blank scene with boxes, it seems to render rather quickly with no result.

My question is therefore, if you take the basic cube model, add a material to it, save it and export it to an object(.obj) file, is there a way to carry over the material change you made to it? I tried this on the basic cube and it didn't work.

I'm a self admitted novice at using blender, so any insight or help is appreciated.

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Material definitions can become very complex. Simple things like the Color, Specularity, Transparency can be exported to .obj (wavefront format). More complex material definitions which involve the texture stack can not be exported as .obj afaik. However, if you ask if exporting materials is possible "in principle", then the answer is "yes":

You can transport more complex materials by using FBX or Collada as transfer format. But beware, not even with these formats you can transfer the complete material definition. This is partially because the material properties are blender specific, and partially because the exporters have not (yet) implemented the full capabilities.

I know that the Collada exporter allows to export materials with image textures in the texture stack. I guess the FBX exporter can do that as well (but this needs an approval)

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Unfortunately, as far as I know, the answer is no.

The reason for this is that materials are specific to the render engine. Geometry is basically a bunch of points in space and fairly easy to standardize, and thus easy to export and toss between different pieces of software. But a material tells the render engine how to bounce light off the geometry. And because there are so many fundamentally different rendering algorithms there is simply no way to standardize the materials.

Cycles works very differently from Mental Ray for instance, so the instructions to tell cycles how to bounce light off surface are very different from the instructions to tell Mental Ray (or any other render engine) how to do so.

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