One layer's objects always render on top, even when they should be under

Ok, so I have a space ship on one layer and asteroids on another layer. I’m doing this so I can separate my lighting/compositing. The problem is that one layer always renders over top of the other layer, so it’s not exactly 3D. In the compositor, I use “alpha over” nodes for mixing my layers together. I can’t find any other setting to make it to where it actually appears 3D as it does in the unrendered 3D view. Thanks for any tips.

If you want the asteroid in front have you tried switching the alpha over node inputs. The bottom input is overlayed on top of the top input

You need to show us more so we can understand exactly what you have. The screenshots tell us nothing about your render layers or compositor setup.

Well, yeah, I can get it to go over, but then when the camera moves to where it should be behind, it’s still over, which is the whole problem. I’m doing a 360 camera rotation around the ship, so I need actual 3D.

I’ve added a sample project file showing what’s going on. I replaced the ship and asteroid with a sphere and cube, respectively. All of the nodes are there, so you can see how the render layers are plugged in.


Ship layer problem.blend (2.06 MB)

I had the same problem once and I found a good tutorial in a forum about how to use z combine. It could be good solution to fit your spaceship between an array of asteroids, in a more tricky way.

I dig this screenshot from my archive, sorry but I can’t locate now the forum URL where it might be. :slight_smile: I guess that is pretty self explanatory, but if your require more details you can ask.

Thanks, but that isn’t working. I’m not sure why. I have it all set up the same, except for the Map node, which doesn’t seem necessary for what I’m doing. It’s still always on top or always on bottom

Here’s the problem. The ship goes over the combination of asteroid + starfield in the nodes. You can’t swap the last alpha over node inputs either because you’ve already combined asteroids + starfield and it has no alpha.

The node organization is bad and you can easily get confused because of that.

The simplest way to get the ship in the asteroid field is to set up the render layers so that the ship masks the asteroids. Whether or not you can use it depends on what you do with them in the compositing.
akr44_mask_example.blend (529 KB)

JA12, that’s exactly what I needed! Thanks!

Thanks, everyone, for problem solving.

Argh, that didn’t quite work. At certain angles, when the lights from the ship are supposed to be glaring over top of the asteroids, the asteroid is in front of them.

I think you will want to do the light glaring effects as the last step. So once you’ve combined all the render layers, then add the glare. This will make the glare show up over the asteroid, but it will also not show any glare that would be behind the asteroid. If the ship’s light is behind it, you wouldn’t see the glare either.

I’m not sure how to accomplish that. I tried putting all of my compositing for the ship after everything else with an alpha over node, and all it shows is the lights. Everything else is gone.

Edit: I just needed to change the factor on the alpha over node, but it’s still putting the glare effects over top of the asteroids when they’re not supposed to be.

You do need to be using Z-combine here, because that is what ought to be determining what shows-up (literally) front-to-back from the camera point-of-view. ZC nodes take a pair of “image + Z” inputs (also implicitly alpha), and produces a single “image + Z” output, but unfortunately with no alpha, so that you can “chain” them fairly arbitrarily.

Alpha-over isn’t the right way to approach this problem and it shouldn’t be the basis for how the two images are combined. “Distance from the camera” is what should be used.

I messed around with Z-combine a bit and couldn’t get it to look right. I looked at some tutorials, but they weren’t helpful. None of them covered the involvement of filters like glare/blur. I don’t understand why this has to be such a complicated process. :frowning:

Dead in the water. I don’t know what to do to fix this problem. :frowning:

Here’s an image of what’s wrong.

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