Material Channel Viewer

by Eugene Trunin in Addons

Material Channel viewer for Blender: User Guide


Switch between different material channels (such as Base Color, Normal, Metallic, etc.) in Blender using the Material Channel Viewer addon. Improve your workflow, exercise control over materials and textures, and more. The plugin includes features such as Material, Base Color, Wireframe, Roughness, Metallic, Specular, Normal, Emission, Opacity, Vertex Color and UV Checker display modes, providing a wide range of editing options.


  1. Download the Display Mode Switcher addon file.
  2. Open Blender and navigate to Edit > Preferences.
  3. In the Preferences window, click on "Add-ons" and then click the "Install" button.
  4. Locate the downloaded addon file and click "Install Add-on" to add it to Blender.
  5. Once installed, enable the addon by checking the box next to its name.


Once the Material Channel viewer addon is enabled, you'll see a new dropdown menu in the 3D Viewport header.

Switching display modes

To switch between display modes, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Material Channel viewer dropdown menu in the 3D Viewport header.
  2. Select the desired display mode from the list of available options:

    • Material: Shows the fully shaded material
    • Base Color: Displays only the base color (albedo) of the material
    • Wireframe: Shows the wireframe overlay
    • Roughness: Visualizes the roughness values of the material
    • Metallic: Displays the metallic properties of the material
    • Specular: Highlights the specular reflections
    • Normal: Visualizes the normal map
    • Emission: Shows the emissive parts of the material
    • Opacity: Displays the transparency of the material
    • Vertex Color: display Vertex Color
    • UVChecker: Switches to a UV Checker mode for analyzing UV layouts
  3. The selected display mode will be immediately applied to the 3D Viewport.

Tips and tricks

  • To return to the default Material mode, select "Material" from the Display Mode Switcher dropdown menu.
  • If you have multiple materials applied to your object, Display Mode Switcher will affect all of them.
  • If you want objects to be displayed with transparency based on the alpha map in a specific layer display mode, you can enable this option in the bottom-left pop-up menu


  • The pop-up menu for various modes can differ. For instance, in the normal display mode, you can not only choose to display transparency but also select either OpenGL or DirectX normal display mode.


  • Now, within the addon settings, a feature for selecting the background color for single-layer material viewing mode has been added.


Material Channel viewer: Material Setup Guide

This short guide will provide a quick overview of how to set up materials properly for use with the Display Mode Switcher addon in Blender.

Correct Material Setup

For the best experience with Material Channel viewer, it is recommended to use the Principled BSDF shader for your materials. This shader supports all the display modes provided by the addon and ensures accurate visualization.

  1. Create a new material or select an existing one.

  2. In the Shader Editor, ensure that the Principled BSDF shader is used as the main shader.

  3. Connect your textures and maps to the appropriate inputs of the Principled BSDF shader:

    • Base Color: Connect your albedo/diffuse texture to the "Base Color" input.
    • Metallic: Plug your metallic map into the "Metallic" input.
    • Roughness: Connect your roughness map to the "Roughness" input.
    • Normal: Add a "Normal Map" node and connect your normal map to the "Color" input, then connect the "Normal" output to the Principled BSDF shader's "Normal" input.
    • Emission: Connect your emission texture to the "Emission" input.
    • Opacity: Connect your opacity map to the "Alpha" input (make sure to set the "Blend Mode" to "Alpha Blend" in the Material Properties panel).

With this setup, the Display Mode Switcher addon will work correctly with your material, allowing you to switch between display modes seamlessly.

Unsupported Material Configurations

Material Channel viewer is currently optimized for use with the Principled BSDF shader. While the addon might work with other shaders, such as Diffuse BSDF or Glossy BSDF, the display modes may not visualize accurately, and some features may be unavailable.

To ensure the best experience with Material Channel viewer, it is recommended to stick to the Principled BSDF shader for your materials.

In the future, we plan to add support for a wider range of shaders and material configurations. Stay tuned for updates!

Upcoming features

We are continuously working to improve Display Mode Switcher and plan to add new features, such as:

  • Support for shaders other than Principled BSDF

Feedback and support

We value your feedback and are always open to suggestions and improvements. If you encounter any issues or have ideas for new features, please don't hesitate to contact us. Your input helps us make Display Mode Switcher even better.

Happy texturing!

Sales 10+
Dev Fund Contributor
Published about 1 year ago
Blender Version 3.6, 3.5, 3.4, 3.3, 3.2, 3.1, 3.0, 2.93, 2.92, 2.91, 2.9
License GPL
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