Transparency Effect

Ok, I’m making a globe where wherever there is ocean, a transparency effect occurs so the end result shows a globe with only landmasses cut out of it, hence you can see through to the land masses at the other end of the globe.

I made a JPEG with the land in black and the sea in white. What I’m wondering is how do I get the white to either:

A: Deform the mesh so that the actual geometry is effected and I can actually extrude the land masses to give it some depth (to look like metal sculpture)

or B: Just cause the with to go transparent so that you can see the effect stated above.

Any help on this would be wonderfull.

Correction on the above: Cause the “white” to go transparent

To use the Texture to deform the mesh, load it into blender and choose disp (displacement) in the Map to window. Put the Nor slider to zero and use the disp slider to control the amount of deformation.
A dicplacement map moves the vertices on the mesh along its Normal according to the value on the Texture. Thats why you should have a lot of vertices in order to get a decent result, so use a lot of Subdivision for the rendering.
To use it to make the oceans go transparent, choose Alpha additionally, enable No RGB, enable ZTransp in Links and Pipeline and control the trasparency with the DVar slider in the Map To window. The smaller the value, the more transperent the oceans.

Say, you don’t happen to be from Germany do you? Because what you’re trying to do kinda reminds me of the ZDF Heute Newscast as that’s their logo. ^^

Do just as Masume said, he covered the topic very well.

Just a few additions:

  1. Displacement is probably not what you’re really looking for. You can’t extrude the vertices manually and the displacement calculation only takes place during the render process so you can’t see it while you’re modelling. But other than that, there’s nothing that could do this easily.
    It was already mentioned that you need quite heavy amounts of verts for this to work, especially with a moderately detailed world map…

  2. Yep, transparency works like that, that thing is called alphamapping. I’m not sure if you need it but you can invert the alphamapping by clicking it twice so that the button is yellow (so, if white was opaque before, after clicking it again white will be transparent).

Thanks guys.

I’m not from Germany. I think the ocean-less globe is one of those icons that find its way everywhere, hence the coincidence.