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Translucent material - additive with multiple objects

I'm not much with materials, so I apologize if this is obvious, or has been asked and answered (didn't find anything relevant with copious searching).

When looking through one semi-translucent object onto another semi-translucent object, the second object appears opaque. That is to say, when looking through multiple front-facing translucent faces, their opaqueness seems to be additive. Maybe that is working as intended, I have no idea. But I'd like to find a way around it, because it does not work for my intentions.

Here is an example of what I mean alt text

And here is an example of why it's a problem for my projectalt text

Thanks so much! Zach

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asked Oct 13 '14 at 12:32 PM in Rendering

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Hey Zach -

Yes unfortunately, this is working as intended. The engine is trying to render both (many cubes) depths on top of one another and can only treat them in an additive fashion. There may be a work around for this if you can let me know what you ultimate goal is I can see if we can work through a method that will yield the results you are looking for.

Thank You

Eric Ketchum

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answered Oct 13 '14 at 02:57 PM

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Lovecraft_K ♦♦ STAFF
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avatar image Uninventive Oct 13 '14 at 03:38 PM

Thanks for the fast response Eric!

I'm building a performative art piece, in which each block responds to a different sound frequency. The amplitude of the frequency is mapped to the opacity of the block's material. I'm creating a large virtual architectural form in UE4 out of these blocks.

The additive semi-transparent faces make it difficult to see the overall structure. I imagine that the ideal outcome would be if front-faces were only rendered if they were not obscured by another semi-transparent face. That's hardly "realistic," because in this case, even if a block were entirely transparent, blocks behind it would not be rendered. But, I think for the piece I'm creating it would actually be ideal.


avatar image Lovecraft_K ♦♦ STAFF Oct 13 '14 at 08:08 PM

I think I know what you are trying to accomplish. You could take a mesh of a cube and set the front face to your amplitude material and all other faces set to completely transparent. This way you are only every rendering teh forward facing triangles. You can set up a multi material or multi-sub object material in Maya or Max.

Thank You

Eric Ketchum

avatar image Uninventive Oct 13 '14 at 08:10 PM

Phrasing it that way, it occurs to me that there's really no sense in using cubes at all if I only really care about the front face. Why not just use planes instead? I'll give it a shot. Thanks very much, Eric!

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