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How can I assign the material of the first sphere to the second and third sphere, and then change their properties (for example, the color) independently?

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To give the material of sphere 1 to sphere 2 and 3, a quick way is to select 2 and 3, shift select 1 at last, then CtrlL > Link Materials. Now they all have the same material.

If you want to change a parameter for one sphere, like a different color, you have no other choice than to create a brand new material:

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If you still want some parameters of the materials to be linked you can try it through node groups. Node groups can be shared between several materials. For example if you want to keep the same Principled BSDF between several materials, and only change the color, plug a Color > Gamma node into the Base Color of the Principled BSDF, select the Principled BSDF, press CtrlG, then Tab to access or exit from the group. AltCtrlG to ungroup. To bring an existing node group in another material, press ShiftA > Group > NodeGroup:

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot, it works! $\endgroup$
    – jimsmit
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ Stupid question: if you would just want to change the color, why not use an Input > RGB node instead of a Gamma node? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that there's any difference $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ For the result it doesn't make a difference, but of course the Gamma node serves a very different purpose beyond just choosing a color, so I thought you picked that node intentional. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ So what would be the main purpose of each of these nodes? $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 13:54

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