Translucent Material in Enscape

A Guide to Creating Translucent Materials in Enscape

Architect and CGI artist Vlad Moldovan is back to provide more great tips to help you improve your Enscape renders.

This time, Vlad takes you through his process for creating a translucent polycarbonate façade (full video tutorial below). Be sure to also check out Vlad's previous post on creating realistic lighting in SketchUp for more rendering tips.

Take it away Vlad!

Translucent materials in Enscape

In this article, I want to break down the different levels of detail you can go into to get a great-looking translucent material. Let’s start with level 1.

LEVEL 1: Preparing your model and material

This is the first step that includes a realistic 3D model and the translucent material:

Translucency Image 1In this case, I made 3 chambers for the polycarbonate sheet façade.

The material settings in the following images explain the polycarbonate:

  1. Set the type to FOLIAGE

  2. Give it a bit of color (not completely white)

  3. 15-20% roughness depending on your environment.

  4. A white .jpg for transparency set to 45% brightness (you can play around with this value)

Material Settings Attached-1LEVEL 2: The lighting aspect of the material

To showcase a translucent material (frosted glass, plastic, wax, etc.) the lighting becomes very important because only with the right lighting can you perceive the material qualities.

Lighting and interior exterior lights

No lighting vs interior and exterior lights

As you can see in the images above, the lighting has a great effect on the material. I used rectangle lights on the exterior and a lot of sphere lights in the interior.

Interior Lights Attached

Exterior lights (left), interior lights (right)

LEVEL 3: Detail lighting for that extra something

This is the final level for this material. I wanted more detail in the translucency effect so I placed what I call detail lights inside the building. These detail lights are made out of multiple rectangle lights slightly moved and rotated so they create various overlapping shadows.

Detail lightsDetail lights

As you can see below, the detail lights make the structure come through the material more and the polycarbonate effect is more visible.

Basic lighting vs direct lightingBasic lighting vs detail lighting

Take a look at how the rendered image changes throughout this process and the final results. 

LEVEL 1: Model and Material:

Model and Material Level 1

LEVEL 2: Exterior and Interior Lighting:

exterior and lighting image

LEVEL 3: Exterior, Interior, and Detail Lighting:

Level 3 Exterior, lighting and detail lightingThe final result:
Final result translucent material lightingTranslucency Result 2Interior lighting in EnscapeTranslucency Image Final Result in Enscape

Watch the full tutorial on creating a translucent material:


Thank you Vlad for sharing your translucent material workflow tips with us! For more Enscape tutorials, visit Vlad's YouTube channel 
Modulus render.

Building rendered with Enscape

Visualize as you design with Enscape

Enscape 3.2 600x600

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