ORMMaterial3D in Godot – Complete Guide

Navigating the waves of game development introduces us to a sea of captivating jargon and concepts. Today, we will dive into the exhilarating world of Godot 4 and its ORMMaterial3D class. Imagine the surfaces of objects in your favorite games, whether it’s the reflective sheen of a knight’s armor or the subdued matte of an ancient wall—such visual delights are thanks to materials in 3D rendering. For those pursuing mastery in creating immersive 3D environments, understanding and utilizing this cornerstone of 3D graphics is both vital and enthralling.

What is ORMMaterial3D?

ORMMaterial3D is a material in Godot 4, specifically designed to give game developers the advantage of using physically based rendering (PBR) for 3D objects through an ORM texture. But what exactly does that entail? An ORM texture is a composite image combining ambient occlusion, roughness, and metallic properties—each playing a critical role in simulating realistic interactions with light.

What is it for?

Put simply, ORMMaterial3D allows for more efficient and fine-tuned control over how 3D objects look in game environments. Instead of managing separate textures for ambient occlusion, roughness, and metallic properties, this class empowers creators to fuse these visual elements into a singular texture map. This paves the way for not only optimized performance but also a cohesive aesthetic that can elevate the realism and feel of a game world.

Why Should I Learn It?

Embracing the art of ORMMaterial3D leads to numerous benefits in game development. Here’s why you should consider integrating it into your skill set:
– Create more realistic and visually compelling 3D models.
– Achieve greater control over the visual attributes of game assets.
– Optimize performance by using a singular texture for multiple effects.
Learning how to utilize ORMMaterial3D offers a pathway to producing high-quality materials that truly stand out, enriching the gaming experience for players and providing a deeper understanding of the PBR workflow for developers.

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Creating a Basic ORMMaterial3D in Godot 4

To start working with ORMMaterial3D, you’ll need to create a new material resource in your project. We’ll initialize a basic ORMMaterial3D and apply it to a 3D mesh:

var material = ORMMaterial3D.new()

# Assuming 'mesh_instance' is a reference to your MeshInstance node
mesh_instance.material_override = material

In the snippet above, an ORMMaterial3D instance is created, and then it’s assigned as a material override to a MeshInstance node. This is the most direct way to get your ORMMaterial3D up on a 3D object.

Configuring ORM Texture

The real power of ORMMaterial3D comes from its ORM texture, where you specify the ambient occlusion, roughness, and metallic textures. Let’s configure the ORM texture:

var orm_texture = preload("res://path_to_your_orm_texture.png")
material.orm_texture = orm_texture

With the code above, the material will render the 3D object using the data from your ORM texture. This texture should contain the occlusion, roughness, and metallic information in respective RGB channels.

Setting Ambient Occlusion, Roughness, and Metallic Values

While the ORM texture drives most of the visual quality, you often need to adjust the ambient occlusion, roughness, and metallic values for finer control:

# Set ambient occlusion to fully on
material.ao = 1.0

# Set the roughness, 0.0 is completely smooth, 1.0 is fully rough
material.roughness = 0.5

# Set the metallic property, 0.0 is non-metallic, 1.0 is fully metallic
material.metallic = 0.3

These values typically range from 0 to 1, where 0 represents the absence of the effect and 1 represents the effect at full strength.

Adjusting the ORM Texture Channels

Sometimes, you might have to adjust the individual channels of your ORM texture for better control over the final look. For example, if your texture’s occlusion data is too strong or too subtle, you can modify the channel’s impact on the material.

# Adjust the strength of the ambient occlusion channel
material.ao_strength = 0.8

# Adjust how much the roughness channel affects the material
material.roughness_influence = 0.7

# Adjust the influence of the metallic channel
material.metallic_influence = 0.6

Doing this effectively allows you to keep your original texturing work intact while still being able to tweak the material’s appearance in your Godot 4 project.

Remember, these are the basics to get you started with ORMMaterial3D. As you grow more comfortable with these materials, you can explore advanced techniques like emission for creating glowing effects, using normal maps for additional texture detail, and much more. Stay tuned as we continue to delve into advanced features in the following sections of our tutorial!

Now that we are familiar with setting up a basic ORMMaterial3D and adjusting the ORM texture channels, let’s delve into more advanced material properties and see how we can enhance the realism of our materials further. We’ll look at adding normal maps, emission properties, and utilizing subsurface scattering to add depth and life to our 3D objects in Godot 4.

Implementing Normal Maps with ORMMaterial3D

Normal maps are essential for adding detail to your materials without the need for high-polygon meshes. They create the illusion of depth and texture on your model’s surface. Here’s how you can apply a normal map to your ORMMaterial3D:

var normal_map = preload("res://path_to_your_normal_map.png")
material.normal_texture = normal_map

# Adjust the normal map's strength
material.normal_scale = 0.5

The normal_texture property carries the normal map, and normal_scale determines the intensity of that map. A lower value creates a subtler effect, while a higher value creates a more pronounced texture depth.

Adding Emission to ORMMaterial3D

Emission simulates the effect of objects emitting light. This can be useful for elements like screens, magical effects, or any source of light that is part of your object’s texture. To add emission to your ORMMaterial3D:

var emission_texture = preload("res://path_to_your_emission_texture.png")
material.emission_texture = emission_texture
material.emission = Color(1.0, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0)  # Pure white emission

# Emission strength
material.emission_energy = 2.0

Here, emission_texture sets the texture for the emission effect, emission sets the emission color, and emission_energy controls the intensity of the emission.

Leveraging Subsurface Scattering

Subsurface Scattering (SSS) is a mechanism that simulates light penetration into translucent or semi-transparent materials, such as skin or wax. To apply SSS to your ORMMaterial3D:

# Enable subsurface scattering
material.subsurface_scattering_strength = 0.8

# Set the subsurface color, which affects the color seen in thinner parts of the model
material.subsurface_color = Color(1.0, 0.76, 0.69, 1.0)  # Skin-like color

# The scale at which light scatters inside the material
material.subsurface_scale = 0.1

These properties must be balanced to achieve a realistic look, as SSS can greatly affect the perception of a material’s depth and complexity.

Adjusting Shadow and Specular Properties

Lastly, no material is complete without proper interaction with lights and shadows. With ORMMaterial3D, you can adjust how your material responds to shadow and specular light:

# Specular mode can be changed to alter the way light reflects off the surface
material.specular_mode = ORMMaterial3D.SPECULAR_SCHLICK_GGX

# Shadow to opacity makes the object cast more opaque shadows when set higher
material.shadow_to_opacity = 0.5

Each specular_mode option represents a different mathematical model for rendering specular highlights, changing the visual character of reflective surfaces. The shadow_to_opacity property affects the opacity of the shadows cast by the material, which can be used to simulate the translucency of a material.

Armed with these techniques, you can create dynamic, vibrant materials that can dramatically improve the visual fidelity of your game. Keep experimenting with the various properties of ORMMaterial3D to understand their impact better – your artistry is the limit!

As you dive deeper into the realm of advanced material creation in Godot 4, you’ll discover even more ways to tweak ORMMaterial3D to suit a wide array of visual styles and objectives. Let’s explore some additional properties and how they can be manipulated through code snippets. Remember, experimentation is key in leveraging these tools to their fullest potential.

Adjusting the Clearcoat Layer

The clearcoat layer can give your material an additional glossy layer on top, resembling materials like car paint or varnished wood. You can finetune this by setting the clearcoat properties:

material.clearcoat = 0.5  # Adjust the strength of the clearcoat layer
material.clearcoat_gloss = 0.8  # Control the sharpness of the clearcoat's glossiness

Implementing Detail Maps

Detail maps allow you to add micro-details to your materials that can be noticed upon closer inspection. These can be particularly efficient when using tiling:

var detail_albedo = preload("res://path_to_your_detail_albedo.png")
material.detail_albedo = detail_albedo

# Optionally, you can adjust the blend mode for the detail map
material.detail_blend_mode = ORMMaterial3D.DETAIL_BLEND_MODE_MIX

Refraction for Realistic Transparency

Materials like glass or water require refraction to simulate the bending of light. Here’s how you can set this up:

material.refraction = 0.05
material.refraction_texture_channel = ORMMaterial3D.TEXTURE_CHANNEL_BLUE
material.depth_scale = 0.1  # Controls the refractive effect's depth

Anisotropy for Directional Highlights

Materials with a clear direction of reflection, such as brushed metal, can benefit from anisotropy adjustments:

material.anisotropy = 0.5
material.anisotropy_flowmap = preload("res://path_to_your_anisotropy_flowmap.png")

Utilizing Transmission for Thin Materials

Thin materials like leaves or cloth usually have light passing through them. Transmission allows for this effect:

material.transmission = 0.8
material.transmission_texture_channel = ORMMaterial3D.TEXTURE_CHANNEL_ALPHA

Rim Effect for Backlighting

The rim effect enhances the edges of the material when backlit by a light source, which can add a dramatic touch:

material.rim = 0.3
material.rim_tint = 0.7  # Tint the rim effect to match the material's color

When working with these advanced features of ORMMaterial3D, consider the visual style you’re aiming for and the performance implications of each additional property. Fine-tuning materials in Godot 4 requires patience and creativity, but the payoff is a gorgeous, immersive game world that players can lose themselves in. Take the time to understand each property’s effect, test them in your scene under various lighting conditions, and watch as your virtual world comes to life!

Continuing Your Godot Journey

Mastering Godot 4 and the ORMMaterial3D class opens up a vast playground for creativity and innovation in game development. If you’ve found your passion ignited by the possibilities that materials provide in crafting compelling game worlds, then taking the next step in your learning journey is essential. We at Zenva are excited to help you continue on this path.

For a structured, in-depth approach, our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree is the perfect next destination. This comprehensive suite of courses will guide you through the creation of cross-platform games using the latest Godot 4 engine. From the foundational concepts to advanced game mechanics, our mini-degree is tailored to escalate your skills from beginner to pro. You’ll get hands-on experience by building a range of projects that cover key topics such as 2D and 3D game development, player mechanics, enemy AI, and much more.

And for those who want to explore more broadly, our selection of Godot courses offers a wealth of knowledge catering to various interests within game development. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to polish specific aspects of your game design expertise, Zenva has a course for you. Join us, and let’s bring your game development dreams to life.


Embarking on the Godot 4 learning curve with Zenva means more than just picking up new technical skills—it’s about becoming a part of a community that nurtures creativity and innovation. The understanding of materials through ORMMaterial3D is just the tip of the iceberg. With our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, you’ll gain the tools, the confidence, and the support to transform your imaginative game ideas into reality. Our courses are designed to be engaging, comprehensive, and above all, incredibly rewarding.

As you master ORMMaterial3D and venture further into the rich features of Godot 4 with us, you’ll not only enhance your game’s visual flair but also join the ranks of skilled developers who push the boundaries of indie game creation. Your journey into game development is bound to be filled with breakthroughs and achievements—and we can’t wait to be a part of it. Elevate your game, level up your skills, and make your mark on the gaming world with Zenva.

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