Mesh Colour

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With newer versions of Blender the default Viewport Shading mode, Solid, meshes are displayed a neutral white – to preview what is now a materials Base Color (formally a materials Diffuse colour) the view has to be switched to Material Preview or Rendered display. Despite this it is possible to view custom mesh colours by changing a materials Viewport Display settings.

Design note: for more on the basics of node-based materials see here.

Material 'diffuse' color settings are not displayed in Solid mode
In Solid mode [1] meshes appear in the 3D View white as the Base Color [3] of an assigned Material [2] is not shown unless in Material Preview or Rendered modes.

Viewport Display

To change the colour of a mesh without affecting a materials primary properties, select a mesh to highlight assigned materials then in Material Properties [4] scroll down the panel to Viewport Display. Click to expand/access the options (collapsed by default) and then click the Color sample field [5], white by default to select/set a colour from the colour-wheel that appears [6] – as the colour is changed the mesh will update in the scene.

Design note: using standard materials, i.e. Use Nodes is disabled, the materials Base Color will override (duplicates to) the colour set in Viewport Display emulating Blenders legacy material system (only in this respect).

Use Nodes disabled
With Use Nodes disabled a materials Base Color [a] overrides the Color assigned in Viewport Display [b].

Changing the colour of a mesh in Viewport Display settings

In Material Properties [4] change the colour of a mesh by setting a Color [5 & 6] in Viewport Display – if a node-based material is assigned this functions independently of the Base Color setting [6].

Colour Matching

When using node-based materials if the mesh colour and material colour need to match, click the Base Color sample and note the R, G, B (or HST etc.) values associated with the property. Once done, in Viewport Display, click the colour sample and type the same values as the R, G, B inputs for Color, duplicating Base Color.

Design note: unless Use Nodes is disabled per Material, Base Color and Color are not mirrored, i.e. not duplicates of one another, updating Base Color will not auto-update Color.

Mesh colour in Solid display mode
Mesh colour in LookDev display mode
Mesh colour in Rendered display mode
The same meshes/objects displayed using different colours in Solid (top), Material Preview (middle) and Rendered (bottom) display modes.

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