Inventor 2013 is using the Autodesk Material Library to provide a smooth appearance experience across the Autodesk Products.
However, you may see differences when migrating your files from older Inventor Release to the latest one. Bob wrote this Blog article about the color topic in Inventor 2013.
In fact, the Autodesk Material Library was already available in Inventor 2012. You could access it in the Styles and Standard Editor, Field Realistic Appearance.
In most of the standard colors, the Realistic Appearance option was checked, but you had to enable the Realistic Appearance Mode to see it in the Graphic window.
Realistic apperance option and realistic visual style in Inventor 2012
When migrating to Inventor 2013, you will see the realistic appearance. It might be looking differently than what you were seeing in 2012 classic shaded mode.
If you have standard colors in your 2012 document, they will get converted to our new 2013 standard colors (find the conversion table in Bob’s Article). So it will get another name and might look differently.
For example standard “Glass (Limo Tint)” becomes “Light Gray Reflective” in 2013.
The 2012 Colors style settings are no longer valid and we will use the realistic settings. You will see a much darker color shade, which matches what you would have seen in realistic mode in 2012.
Plus “Light Gray Reflective” will belong to the appearance category Glass/Glazing which has specific controls as you can see in the screenshot. Other categories will have other type of controls.
Glass Limo Tint in 2012 becoming Light Gray reflective in 2013
A new environment variable was provided in 2013 SP1.1 "InvCM_ForceConvertToGeneric" (value set to 1) that will maintain appearance names, ignore any realistic settings and convert all appearances to a generic type.
So if you migrate “Glass (Limo Tint)” with the variable in 2013, you will get a new appearance called “Glass (Limo Tint)” in the generic category and using the 2012 Color style settings.
Environment Variable and Migration result of Glass Limo Tint with the variable
Usually the appearances in 2013 are darker, transparency can be different with the Glazing settings.
Use this variable if you want to minimize the difference between Shaded View in 2012 and Realistic Appearance in 2013. The appearances will be converted to generic type, which exposes all controls, and gives you more possibility to fine tune your visual results.
You will have to implement this variable on all your computers. Migrate once your custom library with the variable, and let the variable in case you get documents with local styles.
This variable doesn’t affect the materials.