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One of the basic properties of a Material is Opacity. Basically, is the object Transparent or Opaque? You will see that by default the Opacity is 100, which means that the object that has this material is 100% Opaque. If I set the Opacity to 50%, then we can see through the object. It's semitransparent. And I can do a rendering of that by clicking on the Quick Render button here, so we can see through it.
There's two things. Number one is, by default, Materials are not two-sided, so they are only one-sided, so we can't see the back faces of this object. So any of the polygons that are facing away from our current view are called out in the renderer. If I wanted to see those back faces, I need to enable the 2-sided option in the Material. So I will click 2-sided and Render that again, and now you can see the object is Transparent, and we are seeing the backside as well.
Now, this doesn't have any refraction to it, so it doesn't look like glass. So refraction is the bending of light through a transparent medium. And when light moves from air to glass, it actually bends, and when it moves back out from glass to air again, it bends again, and we get some visual distortion from that. This is not happening here, and it doesn't happen by default when we play with the Opacity. So if wanted refractions, we would have to do more than that.
We would have to actually put something into the Refraction Channel. I can do that now by scrolling down into the Maps rollout. I can open that up, and you will see Refraction, and I can drop a Map into that slot. So where it says None, I can click the button, and I get my Material Map browser up again. And what I want here is something called Raytrace. So I will double-click on that, and now you will see that my sample sphere is showing Refraction, or bending light.
And if I Render here again, it will take longer, but you are seeing a basic effect of Refraction. Now, it would take me a while to get this, so that it would look like something good. For example, ironically, I could increase the Opacity and maybe reduce the Refraction Amount. And that's looking better.
So I am actually getting a sort of tinted glass look to this. There's more to it than that and if you are really interested in doing photoreal rendering, you should probably take a look at Mental Ray, and we do have a course in Mental Ray Lighting and Rendering. This is just a basic intro course, so I am just showing you the essentials. That's how you work with Opacity and Refraction with the Standard Material.
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