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Adding transparency and refractions

From: Blender 2.6 Essential Training

Video: Adding transparency and refractions

If you want to create materials like glass or translucent plastic, transparency becomes a very important component of those materials. So let's take a look at transparency and how we can use it in Blender. So I've got a basic scene here with a white sphere in the little and it's obscuring a couple of the objects behind it. This is a great way to show off how transparency works. So let's go ahead and do a quick render of the scene, and as you can see, there's no transparency in here as of yet.

Adding transparency and refractions

If you want to create materials like glass or translucent plastic, transparency becomes a very important component of those materials. So let's take a look at transparency and how we can use it in Blender. So I've got a basic scene here with a white sphere in the little and it's obscuring a couple of the objects behind it. This is a great way to show off how transparency works. So let's go ahead and do a quick render of the scene, and as you can see, there's no transparency in here as of yet.

So I'm going to go to my Camera Perspective window, right-click on that white sphere, which is this one here, and let's go to the Materials panel. Now I have a one material applied to the sphere and it's called Sphere. But let's go ahead and just change the name to Transparent, just so that we have a descriptive name. And let's go ahead and scroll down to our options. So if I want to make this transparent, we have an option here called Transparency. I'm going to go ahead and click this on, but so that we can see everything, I'm going to go ahead and close down some of my rollouts here.

So when I click this on, you'll notice we have three options. The important ones here are Ray Trace and Z Transparency. Now Z Transparency is really just a simple, basic, rudimentary transparency with nothing like refractions or any sort of handling of lights. But it's pretty simple. We have an Alpha which basically just turns down the visibility of the object. So if I want to set that at .5, you can see how it's now 50% transparent. And when I render, you can see how--okay, I've got some transparency, but this really doesn't look like glass or any sort of object.

Now for this we also have a Fresnel effect, which again just works like any other Fresnel effect. It tends to push the effect towards the edges. So if I type in 3 and hit F12, you can see how it kind of gives a little bit more of an effect. In other words, it tends to keep the transparency in the middle and fades it out towards the edges. And this is actually a little more realistic, because if you think about it, a transparent sphere, as you go towards the edges, you actually have more material blocking you, because it's at a different angle, so you get a little bit more of a realistic effect.

But if you want to get a really, really good realistic effect, you want to go to the Raytrace parameters here. Now this retains all of these other controls, so it retains Alpha and Fresnel. So if I do a quick render of this with nothing else added, it looks pretty much the same. But these additional controls really give us a lot more ways to affect it. The most important one is Index Of Refraction, IOR, and this tells you how much of a lens effect this is going to give.

In this case, this is a sphere, so we're going to actually have a lower index of refraction. So let's go ahead and just put this down to say .9. And as you can see what happens in the Preview is that as this goes down, you can see how it tends to refract towards the center. If I go above 1, you can see how it pushes it out. So let's go ahead and put it back to .9 and do a quick render. Hit F12 and now you can see how I've got a much more glassy effect.

This is actually refracting the checkers on the floor as well as the objects behind it. If I put it up a little bit higher, say at .95, I get a little bit less of an effect and it becomes probably a little bit more realistic. And if I want to, I can put it above one. Let's go ahead and just put it to 1.05, just a little bit over 1, and you can see how it has an immediate affect. It tends to push those out. And for this shape object that's not really a realistic effect, so again, let's just put it back to .95 and do a quick render.

Now just like with reflections, we also have a Depth control right here, and this controls how many things you can see through. So let's go ahead and take this green sphere, let's go ahead and apply the Transparent material to that. And then I'm going to go ahead and move that in front of the other sphere. Let's go ahead and go down to our Transparency panel, and I'm going to select the Depth and turn it to 0.

When I hit F12, you'll see that I have no depth to my transparency, so it's really not transparent at all. If I bring it up to 1 and do a quick render, you'll see that oh, okay, well, I get transparent stuff for what's behind it, but I can't see through two transparent surfaces at once. So this one is transparent to the floor and the objects behind it, but where we have this intersection, I can't see through the transparency of the object behind it.

So if I turn it up to 2, you'll see how--okay, I'm starting to get that, but really you need to turn it up to 3 in order to get a complete transparency there. All right, let's go ahead and turn up to 4, and again, just to get a little bit more bounce here. So as you can see, the Depth will limit how many things you can see through. So if you have multiple transparent objects in the scene, you'll want to turn that up a little bit.

Now the last one is Gloss and again that's very similar to the gloss that we used in reflections. So if I keep this to a fairly small number, say .95 or so, and do a quick render, you can see how it gives kind of a translucent frosted-glass effect. Now this can be very handy because not everything is perfectly transparent. We have smudges and oily surfaces and all that, and this can help you to simulate these within Blender.

So those are some of the basics of transparency in Blender. Now Raytrace is your best option for realistic transparencies. It will take a little bit more render time, and you will need to have Raytrace turned on in your render.

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This video is part of

Image for Blender 2.6 Essential Training
Blender 2.6 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 23095 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
    3. Downloading Blender
      34s
    4. Notes on Blender 2.7 NEW
      2m 8s
    5. Using Blender on a Mac
      42s
    6. Using Blender on a laptop
      36s
  2. 30m 32s
    1. Overview of the Blender interface
      6m 6s
    2. Understanding 3D view windows
      5m 23s
    3. Navigating in 3D space
      6m 35s
    4. Configuring user preferences
      6m 24s
    5. Creating custom layouts
      6m 4s
  3. 32m 29s
    1. Selecting objects
      6m 12s
    2. Moving objects
      4m 35s
    3. Rotating objects
      2m 48s
    4. Scaling objects
      2m 16s
    5. Understanding transform orientation
      3m 53s
    6. Changing an object's origin
      5m 27s
    7. Selecting pivot points
      3m 22s
    8. Using Snap to move objects precisely
      3m 56s
  4. 49m 18s
    1. Creating mesh primitives
      6m 36s
    2. Selecting vertices, edges, and faces
      4m 48s
    3. Editing mesh objects
      7m 39s
    4. Proportional editing
      3m 52s
    5. Sculpt mode (Updated for 2.7) NEW
      5m 3s
    6. Sculpt mode
      4m 45s
    7. Working with edges and edge loops
      3m 42s
    8. Extrusions
      5m 18s
    9. Smooth shading objects
      2m 23s
    10. Subdividing meshes
      5m 12s
  5. 50m 31s
    1. Working with modifiers
      5m 52s
    2. Working with subdivision surfaces
      3m 48s
    3. Creating a simple creature
      7m 54s
    4. Symmetrical modeling with the Mirror modifier
      8m 21s
    5. Joining mesh objects
      3m 37s
    6. Stitching vertices
      4m 52s
    7. Finalizing a simple creature
      4m 48s
    8. Creating text
      3m 29s
    9. Boolean tools
      2m 59s
    10. Vertex groups
      4m 51s
  6. 22m 36s
    1. Using the Outliner
      8m 22s
    2. Using layers
      4m 30s
    3. Creating groups
      2m 48s
    4. Working with scenes
      4m 2s
    5. Creating hierarchies
      2m 54s
  7. 54m 26s
    1. Assigning materials to objects
      8m 4s
    2. Diffuse shaders
      6m 47s
    3. Working with specularity
      5m 56s
    4. Using the Ramp Shader options
      9m 45s
    5. Additional shading options
      2m 37s
    6. Creating reflections
      8m 29s
    7. Adding transparency and refractions
      6m 49s
    8. Subsurface scattering
      5m 59s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Adding a simple texture
      6m 11s
    2. Using bitmaps
      6m 53s
    3. Mapping textures in the UV Editor (Updated for 2.7) NEW
      7m 43s
    4. Mapping textures in the UV Editor
      8m 28s
    5. Using UV projections
      5m 56s
    6. UV mapping a character (Updated for 2.7) NEW
      6m 35s
    7. UV mapping a character
      6m 11s
    8. Fine-tuning UV mapping
      6m 7s
    9. Creating Bump and Normal maps
      3m 15s
    10. Displacement mapping
      3m 48s
    11. Using the Node Editor
      4m 59s
  9. 53m 9s
    1. Adding lamps to a scene
      8m 44s
    2. Fine-tuning ray-trace shadows
      4m 32s
    3. Using spot lamps
      4m 20s
    4. Fine-tuning buffer shadows
      6m 19s
    5. Using Hemi lamps
      2m 32s
    6. Working with Area lamps
      5m 17s
    7. Creating sky and ambient light
      4m 49s
    8. Adding background images
      3m 19s
    9. Creating sunlight
      6m 6s
    10. Ambient occlusion
      7m 11s
  10. 30m 8s
    1. Working with cameras
      4m 47s
    2. Creating camera targets with constraints
      3m 43s
    3. Render properties
      5m 7s
    4. Rendering animation
      5m 13s
    5. Adding motion blur
      4m 10s
    6. Creating depth of field
      7m 8s
  11. 32m 30s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      4m 3s
    2. Animating objects
      6m 26s
    3. Animating properties
      4m 0s
    4. Editing animation in the Graph Editor
      8m 36s
    5. Using the Dope Sheet
      4m 53s
    6. Path animation
      4m 32s
  12. 39m 59s
    1. Facial animation using shape keys
      4m 40s
    2. Understanding armatures
      6m 2s
    3. Fitting an armature to a creature
      7m 23s
    4. Deforming a character with an armature
      3m 49s
    5. Setting up inverse kinematics
      3m 53s
    6. Controlling the hips and body
      2m 1s
    7. Animating in Pose mode
      2m 47s
    8. Creating a test animation
      9m 24s
  13. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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