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Assign Materials

By default, when you initially define your model boundaries, the properties of the first material in the Material Properties dialog will automatically be assigned to all regions of the model. However, in general it will be necessary for the user to assign the desired material properties to the different material regions of your model.

There are two ways in which the assigning of material properties can be achieved:

  1. Assign Properties dialog - the Assign Properties dialog, available by selecting Assign Materials Assign Materials Icon in the toolbar or the Materials menu, can be used to assign material properties.
  2. Applied Property of the Properties Pane - with the desired geometry selected, the Properties Pane displays the current Applied Property. A new Material Property can be assigned to the selected geometry by changing the material selected from this dropdown list.

Assign Properties dialog

To assign material properties with the Assign Properties dialog:

  1. Select the Geology geology workflow tab or Excavations Excavations workflow tab workflow tab.
  2. Select Assign Materials Assign Materials Icon from the toolbar or the Materials menu.
  3. Make sure that Materials is selected in the drop-list at the top of the Assign Properties dialog.
  4. Staging - if your model is multi-stage, in most cases material properties should be assigned at the first stage, therefore make sure that the Stage 1 tab is selected. (See below for more information about staged material property assignment).
  5. In the dialog, select a material you would like to assign.
  6. In the view window, place the cursor inside a material zone in your model, click the left mouse button, and select Apply. You will see that the zone will change to the colour of the assigned material.
  7. To assign the same material to other areas of the model, repeat Step 6 as necessary. You may need to zoom or pan the view, in order to accurately select regions to assign.
  8. If your model has multiple material types, repeat steps 5 to 7 to assign the desired materials to all the zones of the model.
  9. When you are finished with the Assign Properties dialog, you can close it by selecting the X in the dialog, or by pressing Escape.
A material "zone" is any closed region defined by the intersection of any of the model boundaries (i.e. Excavation, External, Material or Stage boundaries). If a region is not "closed" you will discover this when you are assigning materials (the assignment will "leak" around the edges of any boundaries which do not intersect. If this occurs, you will have to edit the necessary boundaries so that they intersect).

Assign Materials Using Cutting Plane

This feature allows you to assign material property to the 3D model using cross section view of the model cut through the user-defined plane. It becomes useful when the geometry is complex and you want to assign different materials to various layers within the model. The material property that gets assigned at the cross-section view is applied throughout the model.

Properties Pane

To assign material properties using the Properties Pane:

  1. Select the Geology Geology workflow tab or Excavations Excavations workflow tab workflow tab.
  2. Select Entity Selection Entity Selection Icon as the Selection Mode.
  3. Select the geometry for which to assign a different the material property.
  4. TIP: you can also quickly select the geometry to edit in the Visibility Pane.

  5. In the Properties Pane, select the desired Material Property from the Applied Property dropdown list.
  6. The selected Material Property will be applied to the selected geometry.

Staged assignment of material properties

In most cases, when materials are assigned to a multi-stage model, the assignment is applied at Stage 1, and the material type (for a given region) remains the same for all stages.

However, RS3 allows material properties to be assigned at any stage. This allows you to change material properties at different stages. This can be used for various purposes, for example:

  • the assigning of a backfill material after a region has been excavated
  • to model a change of material properties with staging (e.g. to simulate changes in material stiffness or strength).

When you assign material properties to a multi-stage model, it is important to understand how the assignment is applied:

  • The material assignment is applied to the currently viewed stage and (by default) automatically propagated to all subsequent stages.
  • The material assignment does not apply to stages before the current stage (i.e. the material type will remain unchanged in earlier stages).

Some examples of staged assignment of material properties are given below.


You can backfill an excavated region by assigning another material to the region at any stage after the excavated stage – you will see that the material colour reappears in the excavated region.

In the case of backfill, the number of times that a region would typically be assigned properties is three – the initial material assignment, the excavated assignment, and a final material assignment, representing backfill.


In the most general case, you can assign a succession of different material types at different stages, to a given region. This can be used to simulate changes in material stiffness, strength or other properties, with staging.

In this case, you must remember to assign materials starting with earlier stages and progressing to later stages, since a given material assignment will propagate from the current stage to all later stages (unless you use the This Stage Only option, see below).


In some cases, you may wish to assign a material type to a given stage, without propagating the assignment to subsequent stages. For this purpose, you can select the This Stage Only checkbox in the Assign Properties dialog.

If you select This Stage Only and then assign a material type, the assignment will only apply to the currently selected stage, and will not propagate to subsequent stages.

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