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When you press F12 and you're asking Blender to make a render of your CG scene, a couple of major computing elements come into play as it looks at each object and each surface to be rendered, and each of those computing elements are controlled over here in the Render Pipeline panel under your Links and Pipeline inside the Material Shading for that particular object. Now instead of a flat surface, you can have the object rendered as halos. Halos are basically blobs of light and we've a whole another tutorial on that.
ZTransparent enables the renderer to see through this object into other objects that are behind it. And that's used in conjunction with this Alpha slider here. Alpha controls the transparency or opaqueness of an object and how much it occludes other objects that are behind it. So if we crank this down and press F12, we can see Suzanne is hiding up behind the block and now this block is essentially a very simple cube of glass.
Full OSA enables full over sampling and anti-aliasing which is used for making sure that this object really blends into the other objects around it. That you don't get any sharp jaggies if there is a lot of sharp right angles. Wire instead of rendering the surface as a smooth, solid, shaded surface, now the faces aren't rendered but only the edges are rendered as almost as if it was made out of wire. Radiosity tells Blender to let this object radiate light back out into the environment, if you're doing radiosity calculations and using the whole radiosity engine that's built into Blender.
OnlyCast says that this object shouldn't be rendered but that its shadow should. So now you can see Suzanne with her shadow as well as the shadow of the box, but not the box itself. This is one of those tricky little things that you use a lot of times when you are compositing let's say somebody's different shadow or different colored shadow or a different shape of a shadow. I'm often reminded of that great Star Wars poster where Anakin's shadow is actually that of Darth Vader and that was done by only casting the shadow of Darth Vader and substituting that in for his regular shadow.
Traceable makes this object traceable by ray tracing, which if you are using ray traced objects in your scene is pretty essential. And Shadow Buffer enables the material to be lit and have shadows cast from it by using Shadow Buffer lamps and we've talked about ray traced shadows and shadow buffer lamps under the lighting chapter. So that's a quick rundown of the major components in which an object can appear and be rendered within Blender.
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