Materials can have a wide array of properties. It is the combination of all of these things that define the way a material looks, and how objects using that material will appear when rendered. These properties are set using the various panels in the material tab.

Remember that the appearance of your materials are affected by the way that they are rendered (surface, wire, volume or halo), and by the rendering engine (Blender, Cycles, or Game) used. Most properties for images rendered using Cycles can only be controlled using the Node system.

The list below sets out the various panels available in Blender Render and Game Engine, and brief details of their scope. Details of their controls and settings are given on the relevant pages.

A preview of the current material mapped on to one of several basic objects.
Diffuse Shaders
The basic color of the material, together with different models for dispersion.
Specular Shaders
The reflected highlights: color, strength and different models for dispersion.
Color Ramps
How to vary the base color over a surface in both Diffuse ans Specular shaders.
Properties of various characteristics of the shading model for the material.
Sets options for objects in which light can pass through.
(Only Blender Render): Reflective properties of the material.
Subsurface Scattering
(Only Blender Render): Simulates semi-translucent objects in which light enters, bounces around, then exits in a different place.
(Only Blender Render): For use when surfaces are covered with hair, fur, etc.
Various options for shading and coloring the object.
Controls how objects using this material cast and receive shadows.
Game Settings
(Only Blender Render): Controls settings for real-time rendering of Game Engine objects.