Alpha Chanel Transparency

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  • The new alpha channel export and direct alpha channel PNG support are fantastic…

    One observation… many years ago I used to use Art-Lantis, it had an alpha channel export which I believe was more sophisticated… instead of rendering as black/white it also rendered shades of grey depending on how many layers of “transparent” object were in front of the background.

    So, for example, if you were rendering a view looking out of a building the walls would be white (solid opaque), window glass would appear say 50% grey (partially transparent), and an open window would be black (fully transparent to the background). Likewise a view of a building from outside might have shades of grey where the background is visible through two or more panes of glass…

    The advantage, in a programme like photoshop, is the alpha channel can be used to select with levels of transparency, hence a background can be inserted in a way that retains some appearance of reflections etc… on transparent and glass surfaces.

    Something similar could probably be achieved combining the current alpha channel and materials export. For it to work perfectly the alpha channel would need to be calculating transparency levels for materials in front of the background - maybe more processing?

    Is this something which could easily be incorporated?

  • You're referring to a depth channel. It's one of the export options but it renders glass transparent. If you rendered your glass as opaque it will give you the alpha channel export you're looking for to be able to select the glass.

  • Thanks for the input Phil but I’m not sure you’ve understood.

    I know what a depth channel does. What I’m interested in is the transparency of the objects, I think this would be a true alpha channel.

    Unless I’m mistaken the current Enscape alpha channel is only black/white - opaque or 100% transparent. Currently if you render an alpha channel of fully glass building it appears to be 100% transparent.

    What would be helpful is if it could read the transparency setting from the Revit material, so a material with 25% transparency rendered light grey and two layers overlapping rendered darker grey

  • Yes - there's no way to do this OOTB. The work around would be to temporarily change the glass material to solid and render with the alpha channel. Then rendering again with the glass transparent. Use the first alpha channel export to select the glass regions in the second rendering and then adjust the transparency in post.