Material Alpha and complications

I need a bunch of models to fade in and out. To do this, I’ve simply animated their ‘Alpha’ values.

At Alpha=0, the objects haven’t faded out completely - I still see their speculars. They’re also casting shadows in the AAO.

Also, I only have six of these objects, yet render times have slowed down massively.

For all objects, I’ve set on ZTransp and TraShadow.

Can anyone help?

For raytraced lamps you can set the ‘darkness’ of shadows. I haven’t actually tried this but I would think that setting a ‘material’ key for the lamp with shadows set to ‘dark’ and then keying the lamp again at a later frame with the shadow ‘darkness’ set to light would give you a fading shadow. There are probably other ways to do this but I can’t think what they are.

Specularity is also animatable using a ‘material’ key. just turn it down or off and key it.

bobg: cheers for the reply.
How do I animate Spec? It’s not an option when pressing I in the materials panel. I can see ‘Spec’ in the IPO window but can’t create a curve to edit.

As for shadows, it’s not the object itself casting a shadow - it’s the effect the object has on AAO. I don’t suppose there’s any way to set or animate the degree to which an object is taken into account by AAO?

You will probably have to turn off AO.

The other way to do this would be to create the animation in layers and run them through a composite filter setup. That should allow you to keep AO but I couldn’t explain how to do it in a post.