Transparency / 3ds Max

Here we show how to enable transparency for Standard, Physical and glTF-compliant PBR materials in 3ds Max.

For usage example, check out the Transparency demo (also available in the Asset Store).

Blended vs Masked

Being a real-time 3D engine, Verge3D offers two main methods to handle transparent objects: alpha blending and alpha clipping (usually with an image mask). Blending enables combining a translucent foreground color with a background color, using the foreground color's alpha as blending factor. Clipping, on the other hand, simply discards all pixels with alpha less than some predefined threshold (always equal to 0.5 in Verge3D for 3ds Max).

Alpha Blend vs Alpha Clip comparison

Blending enables for smooth transitions, generally looks nicer but computationally more expensive than clipping. It may also produce z-sorting artifacts when polygons appear to be rendered in wrong order. Clipping works best for visualizing numerous small objects (such as grass or tree leaves). It also produces hard edges without any transitions which may be aliased.

Use Alpha Mode dropdown in material settings to choose between blending and masking.

Choosing transparency mode in 3ds Max

There is also variation of the Mask mode called Coverage. It uses MSAA rendering to improve the quality of alpha clipping.

Additive Compositing (aka Additive Blending)

Verge3D also offers a special method for rendering transparent surfaces called additive compositing. By blending in additive manner and excluding polygons from pixel depth comparison you can get rid of transparency artifacts.

Alpha blend vs additive compositing

To enable this mode select Add in the Alpha Mode dropdown and uncheck the Depth Write option in material settings to enable this mode. In addition, you'll need to increase the Rendering Order value in object settings to make your transparent object rendered above all.

Order-Independent Transparency (OIT)

Verge3D allows the use of an approximate order-independent transparency technique, which do not require rendering geometry in sorted order, so it solves most transparency issues without any of the above considerations.

Order-Independent Transparency example

OIT can be enabled though the Verge3D Settings panel.

Order-Independent Transparency setting in 3ds Max

Known limitations:

Transparency for Physical Materials

Transparency of physical materials can be tweaked using the material setting of the same name.

Transparency settings of Physical materials


By default in 3ds Max, the Thin-walled parameter is unchecked, which disables the most typical transparency rendering you expected to see in your interactive app. Always keep an eye on this setting when you're dealing with the transparent physical materials.

Any combination of maps and images can be used to influence the transparency via the Transparency Map input.

Transparent physical material with maps

Transparency for Standard Materials

Transparency in standard materials can be tweaked using Opacity in material settings.

Tweaking transparency of Standard materials in 3ds Max

The Opacity input of standard materials can be used to create interesting dependencies for better realism.

Using falloff map to tweak transparency in 3ds Max

An image with transparency information in its alpha channel can be used as input. A separate alpha image can also be used instead.

3ds Max standard material with transparency

Use the Alpha Mode dropdown to choose between transparency modes.

Transparency for glTF-compliant PBR Materials

In order to enable transparency for such materials, one should use a separate alpha map connected with the Transparency Map input of the physical material.

glTF 2.0-compliant material setup in 3ds Max

Use the Alpha Mode dropdown to choose between the supported transparency modes: Auto, Opaque, Blend, or Mask.

Got Questions?

Feel free to ask on the forums!