The material override feature in the Cycles render engine can create some interesting effects. It non-destructively applies a single material to every object in a scene. For example, in this image everything has been turned to gold.
Notice the lights are unaffected by the material override. Here’s how to use it in your own Blender scene.
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Apply Material Override in Cycles
The material override feature is only available in the Cycles render engine. While using Cycles, navigate to the View Layers tab in the Properties Editor. Way down at the bottom is a section labeled “Override.”
In the “Material Override” box, choose an existing material from your scene to use as an override. The material will already have to be inside the current .Blend file you’re using.
This will apply the selected material to all parts of all mesh objects inside your scene.
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How to Remove the Material Override
To remove the override, just press the X icon on the right of the material override box above. When the box is empty, no override will be in place and all of your materials will reappear.
Material Overrides in Eevee
To my knowledge, there is not a material override setting available in Eevee. There are add-ons available that replicate the feature in Eevee.
However, since you’re removing a complex component of your scene by only having one material visible, using Cycles for this may not be as bad as you think. You can switch from Eevee, to Cycles and apply the override. When you want to get rid of it, just go back to Eevee and the override won’t affect your materials.
Material Override Video Tutorial
In case you are a more visual learner, here’s one of my “Micro Tip” videos from my YouTube channel. It covers Material Overrides in less than a minute.
If you find short Blender tip videos like this one, consider subscribing to my channel on YouTube.