Blender Materials Source

I see a new site offering inexpensive materials for use in Blender. Of course there is the question of whether those materials can be used in Second Life. It looks like they can and cannot… I’ll explain.

Cycles Material Vault

Cycles Material Vault

A Blender Material is very different than the materials we use in Second Life™. In SL we use different textures for the diffuse, specular, and normal layers along with a few settings. In Blender a material is a collection of textures and settings that work ONLY inside Blender. There are way more settings in Blender than in SL. The two material formats are incompatible. So, the material as sold is unusable in SL. 

BUT… we bake the materials in Blender into what we need for the SL material layers. The product of Blender Materials is usable in SL. We just have to know what we are doing when we bake.

The Cycles Material Vault is promoting its collection of materials ready for use in Blender. From their FAQ’s I quote:

Can I use this on my commercial projects?

Absolutely! You’re free to do this as long as you don’t sell and/or redistribute the materials in the raw format and claim exclusive ownership.

Can I use the materials in other programs/rendering engines?

Technically, no. The materials are specifically designed to work with the Cycles Render engine. But if you have the technical knowledge on translating the existing shaders into compatible materials in your software, that would be better.

What is the usage license of CMV?

CMV operates a Royalty Free License. With a one-time purchase of any or all of the CMV volumes, you—the licensee—are allowed to use the Cycles Material Vault in perpetuity without paying any additional royalty charges.

You are allowed to modify the contents of CMV and use them in your personal and commercial projects, however, you are not allowed to claim copyright to the raw files of CMV.

Additionally, you are NOT allowed to distribute and/or sell the CMV volumes in their raw format. Restrictions are as follows:

– you are NOT allowed to pack the contents of CMV into your .blend files and distributing them through downloadable content, commercial products, and the like

– you are NOT allowed to redesign the product and sell it as a rebranded package

– you are NOT allowed to sell your models that use the image textures included with CMV


If something is not clear, feel free to get in touch with us at

Their answer is not completely clear and I’m not a lawyer. But, I think I can use these textures to make models using them for SL. Technically a derivative work is what is being taken into SL. Their wording seems to indicate that is the intended use of their products. Make your own decision or ask your attorney.

Cycles Material Vault - Free Samples

Cycles Material Vault – Free Samples

The materials are delivered in a dot blend (.blend) file. Obviously that is only useful with Blender. There are free samples, so you can see how they work: Cycles Material Vault’s Fee Samples. The free samples, grass, lava, and stucco, are licensed as: Creative Commons – Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License. I take that to mean they are unusable in SL as Linden Lab requires us to grant them all rights, including commercial use, to anything we upload. As the CMV people are not granting us that right, uploading derivative works from these free samples places the liability for Linden Lab’s use on us. But, we can play with these in Blender.

Not a good picture... just a fast render of mt avatar wearing stucco skin...

Not a good picture… just a fast render of my avatar wearing stucco skin…

To use the textures I generally APPEND them to my model. Using File->APPEND I navigate to the OBJECT or objects in the source blend-file and select them. That brings in the object and everything associated with the object, meaning all its textures and settings. I can then delete the objects leaving just the materials. Appending JUST the materials is way to complicated and tedious.

The materials are on sale for US$75 for a collection of 110 materials (by my count, they say 100+ – that is about $0.68 per material) and there is only the one collection for now.

What you’ll get (quoting)

  • 110 high quality materials
  • in-depth per material guide
  • official documentation
  • exclusive tutorials, tips, and techniques
  • exclusive artist interviews
  • scene files used in the trailer
  • ready-to-use templates
  • cheat sheets
  • … and many more!

At $0.68 per material I can’t take the time to learn how to build them.

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