The ShapeDiver plugin was initially created as a material kit for facilitating and improving online rendering. It's not strictly necessary to use the plugin for uploading models on ShapeDiver and render them in the online viewer, but it is strongly recommended because it allows more advanced control over the rendering parameters and supports textures.
Without the plugin
In order to play with materials, one can use the standard preview components included in Grasshopper. Define a material with the Create Material component and preview how it looks directly in Grasshopper with the Custom Preview component.
This model will display the materials as expected after it is uploaded on ShapeDiver. We do our best to render the outputs of those components in a satisfying way. However, they will not make use of the advanced shaders of the online viewer using PBR (physically based rendering), and textures cannot be applied to them. This is the reason why we developed alternative components, both simpler to control and with more advanced possibilities. We recommend using them for all applications: