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I have the impression that materials are defined per object. Probably the reason why Blender keeps adding ".001" ".002" etc. to the material names. can anyone explain this automated nomenclature?

How can I set materials for a whole scene (in my case, a whole Blender file), so I can have a consistent list of material names (only set by me, not Blender) from which to choose for materializing objects?

Put differently: Is there a way of moving the material (creating) tab from the object-specific section (physics, constraints, particle etc.) to the scene-specific section (world, output, render, scene etc.)?

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    $\begingroup$ The materials can be re-used as often as you'd like. If the material isn't assigned to any object, then you probably want to add a fake user though, since otherwise it will be removed once you close Blender. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Dec 27 '19 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ More succinctly, instead of creating a material each time, use the drop down to select one already in your blender project. $\endgroup$ – Moog Dec 27 '19 at 19:20
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Materials are conceptually associated with users. In order for a material to be persistently stored it either needs to be assigned to an object (a real user) or the Fake User option needs to be enabled for it. If neither is the case, then the unused material won't be saved. That is the reason why you're always creating materials linked to an object when using the user interface.

However this doesn't mean that a material can only be used for one object. You can assign a material to as many objects as you like, across different view layers and scenes.


Creating a material

A material can be created in the Material Properties. You will need to select or create a new material slot, then you can create a new material using the New button.

Creating a material

A material

Alternatively you can create a new material based on another material by clicking on the New Material icon shown below:

New Material


Reusing existing materials

Once you've created a material, it can be assigned to other objects. Select the object in the 3D view and choose a material from the dropdown list.

enter image description here


Users and fake users

Materials that are currently without any user will be marked with a zero in front of its name in the dropdown list. If you don't assign this material to an object or activate the fake user option (the shield icon marked in yellow), it won't be saved in your project.

Dropdown

If a material has multiple users, then a button with a number will appear. You can create a separate copy of the material for the currently active object by clicking on the button (marked in red).

Fake user and number of users

More information can be found in the manual.

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The shield looking icon when clicked creates a "fake user" which makes that material available in the file/scene even if it's not assigned to an object. The icon to the right of the shield will create a copy of the current material and automatically increment the name as it seems you're seeing with ".001".

enter image description here

Check out more on that here: https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/render/materials/assignment.html

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