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Material Utils: (Update: Addons Release)
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This update introduces some new features and solves some bugs and limitations.

Bugs solved:

Error when attempting to Clean material slots on Mesh objects without materials
Error when applying Material to Texface to selected objects without materials
Error when applying Texface to Material to selected objects that can't have materials

Limitations solved:

Applying material in edit mode would do nothing if there is no selection in object mode. Now it works
If the object is in edit mode the remove material options will be disabled by a poll function because they don't work on edit mode. Previously the tool wouldn't give any feedback about it

New Features:

Preview Active Material Menu (Enabled by default)

Basically this is an implementation of the blender's own menu for assigning materials for the preview.
Depending on the choices the preview sphere can be disabled completely (Classic)
Additional functions are displayed bellow the preview and are context aware depending on the shading mode, renderer, and Use nodes state
Use Nodes, Viewport Color, Viewport Specular, Transparency options
In Blender internal the Color and Specular work on the material itself if Use nodes is not active

Remove Materials now has 3 options:

Remove Active Slot (Active object)
Remove all slots (Active Object)
Remove all materials (All selected objects) - (Disabled by default)

Copy materials to selected

Implementation of the blender's same named option from the drop down menu
in Proprieties. Needs multiple selected objects to work. Also materials to link data is preferable

Warning Messages

Info and warning messages about taken actions. Not all cases are covered (because that would complicate the script further) but there is enough to give feedback especially to the user that haven't tried
the addon before. Advisable to turn it on until get used to how the tool works (Disabled by default)

Changed behavior:

Material to Texface and Texface to Material options are now moved to Blender Internal renderer context

Tools that need selection (if the warning messages are enabled) will give a warning about it

Remove Materials now requires the object to be selected - it's a deliberate choice to remove ambivalency on whichobject will have materials removed and diminish mistakes at the price of one more click if there is
only one object in the scene.

User Preferences options:

Enable Warning messages (Disabled by default)
Enable Remove all Materials (Disabled by default)
Enable Auto Clean (Enabled by default)
Enable Material Preview (Enabled by default)

Material Preview menu customizations:

The drop down menu on the left:

Preview display (enabled by default)
Classic (choice)

The drop down on the right:

Works only if the Preview display is active
Choices of different menu size of preview thumnails for material assignment (when clicking on the preview sphere)
2x2, 2x3, 3x3, 3x4, 4x4, 5x5, 6x6 and list (3x3 default)

Some explanations on the customization options:

General idea is to make most of the newly added features optional

Enable Auto Clean - will remove unused material slots be run if Assign material is used.
There is two reason for making it optional - on dense meshes it comes with a performance penalty and in some cases can remove the newly added material to the object.
Also gives choice to the user in cases when they use the proprieties panel to have the materials listed and not removed on reopening blender if there is no user for the material

Some overview of the general look and features in the image bellow.

Thanks to michaelw as the author of the original script, CoDEmanX for some code and meta-androcto for testing and support :)

The script:

Event Timeline

Brendon Murphy (meta-androcto) renamed this task from Material Utils update to version 2.0 to Material Utils: (Update: Addons Release).Jun 13 2016, 4:49 PM
Brendon Murphy (meta-androcto) lowered the priority of this task from 90 to 50.

this addon update has been developed by @Vuk Gardašević (lijenstina) in his github account:
it's a very useful & somewhat advanced addon covering materials utils & materials conversion, many functions checks have been added to make workflow eased for users.
key features:
bi to cycles basic convert, bi texture bake to image, import files with images & convert to cycles, bi/cycles materials utils, materials special menu, move slot top/bottom & utils.
addons preferences is used to turn off or on debugging & warnings (used to let the user know workflow errors) & materials convertors.
thanks to lijenstina for the intensive updating.

Brendon Murphy (meta-androcto) changed the task status from Unknown Status to Resolved.Aug 5 2016, 1:42 AM

committed, closing as resolved,
we expect some feedback on this great time saving addon during test builds
intensive wiki doc will follow next week.