The first part of our approach to that is the PBR material, which we’ve spent a good deal of time designing for the simplest operation possible with the hundreds of third-party PBR materials you can get from places like cc0textures.com, or build with tools like Substance Designer.
That brings a lot of power, but since we cannot generally redistribute such materials, I agree with you about making a nice material browser with easy types and thumbnails, it just takes some time and thought to do it properly.
I can say that many of the PBR are pure junk. at least for me in arch-viz. I’m sure that many in game dev use it but no client of mine ever wants to have “old cracked purple paint” in his render. I, at least, use a minimal library that has simple glass materials, water, some kinds of plastics, car paints, wall paints/concrete, metals, fabrics, stone\tiles and some emitters, that’s about it. usually use the same 20 presets and alter them as I need (the client wants his sofa black and not white, etc.). I have to say that about once in 2-3 weeks I get back to testing Bella and every time it ends the same not getting a render done as I can’t find how to create a simple fabric or play with parquets floor bumps etc. Got how to set up lights (gave some feedback about this and I know you make it even better soon…), got the camera setup (easy I know not much to learn…) and other settings. materials – half impossible for me at this stage 🙁
Okay, well we’ll keep working on it. Just still finishing final touches on these new materials to make them as good as we can, and then I will tackle using them, along with a few other simplifications I have in mind, to come up with something you find better to use, in terms of a library of presets, and so forth.