Translucent materials

As explained here the key option of a translucent material is the proper medium. In most cases it will be the manual medium type with optional absorption. Here we’ll practice in making transparent materials to better understand how they work.

Let’s start with our default settings of an empty scene with just one sphere with default material assigned:

Default Owlet scene with a sphere and default material assigned to it

Let’s switch the layer from the “diffuse” mode to “specular” and make sure that the index of refraction (the N parameter) is 1.5 which is the standard value for water:

Making sphere reflective by changing its IOR

We’ve got reflections but the ball looks unnatural as it doesn’t refract light. Let’s fix that by changing the medium type to manual and adjusting the index of refraction there:

Adjusting the index of refraction of the medium

So that’s it - we’ve just created a translucent material - water - from scratch.

Medium color

Let’s color our water material. To do that open its Main parameters panel and modify Absorption and Attenuation fields:

Making water green

It’s not that visible on the sphere, but if we load a different model it will be more obvious:

The same green material on a different model

The bottom part of the owlet is thicker, so it looks darker.

Subsurface scattering

Described here in more details, you can turn it on by checking Subsurface Scattering box:

Enabling subsurface scattering

You may need to modify Scale parameter in order to make the effect more visible.

There is another way to achieve a similar look. Let’s turn subsurface scattering off and disable the medium color by settings Absorption to white and Attenuation to zero:

Removing medium color and SSS in Owlet

Now open the layer properties and change the layer type to diffuse. Then change Opacity to 10 and set Transmission to the same green color, as you did for medium:

Doing SSS material a different way in Owlet

It is not the same subsurface scattering effect as before, but the result is pretty similar. You may use both depending on the look you need to achieve.