Prepar3D PBR Materials

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This document describes the Prepar3DŽ PBR material in detail including samples showing how different PBR Material parameters affect the appearance of objects in the application. Changes to material parameters can be adjusted and previewed in real time using 3ds Max, disable gamma correction inside 3ds Max for best results.

PBR Material Editor

PBR materials can be created in 3ds Max using the Prepar3D PBR Material. Many of the parameters from legacy materials have been removed to accommodate PBR and streamline the material creation process. Additionally, material changes can be previewed live within 3ds Max. The 3ds Max PBR Material Editor is shown below.


Basic Properties

Property Title Description
Albedo Base color of the material. Can be used in combination with albedo maps.
Metallic This value ranges from 0.0 - 1.0 and determines the metallic attribute of the material.
Smoothness This value ranges from 0.0 - 1.0 and determines the smoothness of the material. A smoother surface will have stronger more defined highlights while a rougher surface will be more dispersed.


Property Title Description
Albedo Map Contains the base color texture for the material.
Metallic Map Map that determines the metallic nature of the material. The metallic map must also contain a smoothness map and potentially an ambient occlusion map. These need to be packed in the following channels: R = Metallic, G = Occlusion, B = Empty, A = Smoothness.
Normal Map Map that defines the specific surface normals of the material.
Emissive Map Map that defines areas of the textured material that will illuminate. Intensity of the illumination can be adjusted through scripting.
Detail Map Map for close up high-frequency details.


Blend Properties - Render Mode

Property Title Description
Opaque Used for Opaque surfaces.
Masked Used when there are masked out regions based on the albedo alpha. Typically used for fences or vegetation.
Translucent Used for Translucent surfaces. Translucency is based on final albedo alpha.

Masked Properties

Property Title Description
MaskedThreshold The threshold at which the albedo alpha will be rejected from rendering.
Use AlphaToCoverage Uses the alpha channel to determine if the masked section should be visible or not, allows for anti-aliasing support on masked materials. You will still want to set a masked threshold to use for shadow support.

Metallic Properties

Property Title Description
Metallic Map Has Occlusion Check this box if the metallic map being used has ambient occlusion in it's green channel.

Smoothness Properties - Smoothness Source

Property Title Description
MetallicAlpha The smoothness map is located in the alpha channel of the metallic map.
AlbedoAlpha The smoothness map is located in the alpha channel of the albedo map.

Emissive Properties - Emissive Mode

Property Title Description
Additive The emissive map will be applied to the material regardless of time in Prepar3D.
AdditiveNightOnly The emissive map will only be applied during night time in Prepar3D.

Script Properties - Script

Property Title Description
Script This section allows you to set a lua script to control and set properties on the material at runtime.

Enhanced Properties

Property Title Description
Assume Vertical Normal This assumes the object has a vertical normal, which basically means that it is flat shaded. This is used for objects like cross trees or objects that are flat on the ground.
Prelit Assumes the material has been lit and will not have lighting calculated at runtime.
Double Sided This will cause the material to be visible from both sides regardless of the normal. This is useful for flat transparent objects like railings and wires. Be careful of using this on objects that already have two-sided geometry.
Decal Order Using values between 1 and 50, you can set and order the layering of ground polygon textures above the default airport aprons, taxiways and runways.

Aircraft Properties

Property Title Description
Is virtual cockpit panel texture This value needs to be flagged on aircraft panel textures.

Bitmap Properties

When you select a bitmap to apply as a map on your material, the editor will change and show you the following settings. The settings highlighted in red are supported by PBR Materials.


Property Title Description
UP Map Channel PBR Materials support 2 UV Channels. Set this value to 1 or 2 to distinguish which UV Channel you would like to use.
Tiling Normal, Detail or Albedo textures can be tiled by changing the tiling value here.

PBR Samples

The following are examples showing how different attributes affect the appearance of PBR Materials.