Animating alpha controlled by blend texture

Ok, I have an object whose alpha is controlled by a blend texture. For that to work, I had to lower the material’s base alpha to 0.

The problem is that now, I want to animate the material to make the entire object more transparent… but, I can’t do that by creating an IPO curve for the material’s alpha, because it’s already at 0.

Anyone know how I can do this?

If the alpha is controlled by a blend texture, one solution is to animate the Brightness and Contrast of the blend texture, in the Texture Panel (F6). In the IPO window, show the Texture Type (by default it’s on Object Mode). Create a curve for Brightness or Contrast. For instance, a higher value for Brightness (>1) will make your object more transparent.

Another solution perhaps, would be to control your blend texture with an empty. In the Map Input panel (Material buttons, Texture), select Object, and type the name of your Empty. Then animate your empty to change the value of alpha. You can achieve a more subtle effect with this method.

Thanks for the input. I just experimented with the brightness and contrast settings. The brightness value seems to only slide the blend colors left and right (is it supposed to do that?). I have 3 color markers on my blend: two on the outside which are completely transparent, and one on the inside which is completely opaque… so I don’t think that will work.

The contrast value kind of works, but it really just makes the opaque part of the material smaller instead of more transparent.

As for the empty, I’ve never used an empty to animate something like this before so I’m not sure how to set it up. After you assign the Empty under the Map Input panel, how do get it to affect the alpha?

Under the mapto panel, you choose ‘object’ and then type in the name of the empty. Your blend texture already controls where your material is transparent, so setting key frames for the empty in the 3d view for location /rotation/ scale will affect the blend texture’s effect when you translate the empty. To test the effect, without keying the empty yet open a preview pane in object mode over your mesh and the translate the empty to see what effect you get, or better yet, just f12 a 50% render to see it there.

Animate the texture’s “Var” parameter. At Var = 0, the texture has no effect, ie you render only the underlying material. In your case it has Alpha = 0 so your object will vanish.

Awesome, that’s exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot, CD38.

Thanks also to bupla and craigomatic. Interesting techniques, but I don’t think it was quite what I needed.