Semi-Transparent Labels

Boxshot lets you create partial and semi–transparent labels, but how to do it is not that obvious. This tutorial shows how to carry out the most common label-related tasks in Boxshot.

Let’s get started

First of all, we need a label. Let’s make a transparent version of the default pharma–bottle label:

Click here to save the semi–transparent version if you want to try it yourself.

Now start a new project, drop a pharma bottle into the project, and assign the new label texture to the bottle. You may also want to add a plane with a checkerboard texture so you can see the refraction better.

Make sure the Replace glass with label box is not selected. If this option is selected, transparency will not work well.

The most obvious part is done, but if you render a bottle now, you will hardly get what you expected:

The back side of the label

The problem is that the back side of the label is still opaque. So let’s assign the same texture there:

Almost perfect, but we still need to do one thing. As you can see, the front and back sides don’t match. You need to flip the back image using the Transformation property:

Let’s now render the bottle:

Well done: it works :)

Colored Glass

But what if we need label on a colored–glass bottle? Let’s drag an olive glass material onto the bottle:

It looks good until you render it:

The label looks too dark now. Why? Because Boxshot needs some help to understand that this is just a thin label wrapped around the bottle.

Switch to the materials panel at the right, select the Label material and scroll the panel down to the Advanced section. Check the Thin object box there.

Do the same for the Label Back side, then render the bottle again:

Good for you: the bottle is perfect again.

Opaque Bottle

But what if we need, say, a plastic bottle? Let’s drag a red plastic material from the left panel onto the bottle:

So far so good. Now let’s render it:

Again, not bad. But what if we want the bottle to be less reflective? Open the materials panel at the right, click the Body material, then uncheck the Fresnel reflection box and set the Reflection slider to 0.

Now render the bottle:

As you may see, the label still reflects even at transparent areas. You can increase the effect by increasing the Reflection level slider of the Label material and setting the Blur slider to 0.

Here’s why this happens: Boxshot computes reflections first. Even transparent objects may reflect at certain angles – think of window glass or soap bubbles. At the moment, the transparent areas of the label still have the same reflection as the opaque ones.

We need a reflection mask to make the label completely invisible. The mask should be white where we want reflections and black everywhere else. Here’s the mask:

Let’s apply it and render the bottle again:

Well done! Now we see reflections only on the opaque parts of the label.

Some hints

You can use the same techniques for lathe objects, as well. Just make another lathe object, in addition to the main one, to be label. Make it double–sided, align it around the main object and then repeat the steps above.

Another way to make labels is to use an image shape. Set the Bend parameter to maximum to make a cylinder, then set minimal thickness, remove corners and finally align the label to the main shape.

For both methods it may be a good idea to make the label a child object of the bottle by dragging label onto the bottle in the scene tree.

The same transparency trick can be used to make partial labels. If you need a small label on just one side of the bottle, all you need is to add some transparent filler around it so it can wrap the bottle, then add a mask to hide reflections.

Finally, you can make pleasing effects by using the reflection mask alone. Remove the label texture, set the Opacity slider to 0 to make the label transparent, then load a pattern as a reflection mask and set the Reflection Tint color to, say, yellow.

Yep, that’s the foil effect :)

That’s all

You’ve learned to make semi–transparent labels and fix the issues that may arise. Isn’t that great?

More Tutorials