How to render realistic transparent surfaces

Creating a transparent material such as glass seems easy – just increase the transparency slider to 100 and the job is done. So why doesn't the glass look right?

Transparent materials are actually one of the most complex items in a 3D scene to get right, as they have a wide variety of factors that impact on their look. From the thickness of the object, to the way the material bends light and even the chemical composition of the glass, diamond, oil or water amongst many other transparent materials, there is a lot to figure out.  

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Mike Griggs

Mike Griggs is a veteran digital content creator and technical writer. For nearly 30 years, Mike has been creating digital artwork, animations and VR elements for multi-national companies and world-class museums. Mike has been a writer for 3D World Magazine and Creative Bloq for over 10 years, where he has shared his passion for demystifying the process of digital content creation.