Arctic Mode Block Transparency

Hi guys,

Is there a way to reduce the opacity of objects in Arctic Mode? The trees are linked blocks and I would like to reduce the opacity of them.



The trees are bitmup texure or actual (speedtree) model3d?

  • If is a model , in the custom material there is an option to turn it semi “transparent”(slider). Do not use glass.
  • If is a texture, then consider add transparency via photoshop. Try a PNG by using the alpha channel or similar option.
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Hi Alan,

Thanks for your reply. I’m still not getting the desired results so I’m maybe doing something wrong?

The trees are linked blocks of 3d models. I’ve isolated one to illustrate. See image below:

I’ve applied a default material to the tree and increased the transparency slider. Is that what you were suggesting? See image below:

Nothing changed. See image below:

Any suggestions?


Select the 3d object and apply a custom material?


Then move the transparency slider


Thanks again Alan for coming back so quickly. I think that’s what I did. See below:

And the image below shows the result (no change).


Can be your tree mesh?

To debug the problem you can open a second Rhino.

  • In it, make a cube and apply custom material with transparency in that layer.
  • You should notice that transparency is working (PC and GPU configuration are working).

If that work well then test the tree:

  • Copy the tree (Ctrl + C) and part it into the new second Rhino.
  • Make the tree transparent by using a custom material or moving the tree to the same layer of the cube.

If is not working and the tree is still rendering bad, then probably is the tree.
Double check if there are flipped normals. Open the UVEditor and inspect the tree UV mapping. Try to export it small and re import it.

If is working well in the new Rhino, then is your Publicness file.
It can be an occlusion plane or similar.

How about setting a custom display mode for the trees other than Arctic? You can do that with SetObjectDisplayMode and then for example assign them Rendered mode and give them a white and transparent material.

Hi guys,

Thanks again for your replies! really appreciate it!

@AlanMattano - The meshes are clean. See report below:
RF_Check Report.txt (7.7 KB)

@polforeman - Thanks for the suggestion but Rhinora doesn’t allow me to change the display mode of the blocks either. See video below:

Any other ideas?


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Ah, I see! Thanks for the video. It seems it isn’t possible to easily change the display mode for blocks, didn’t know that!
Changing the display mode within the block, before using it in another file, also doesn’t seem to work.

However, if you were to Attach the trees through Worksession rather than inserting them as blocks, you would then be able to change the display modes (just tried on my own file, it seems to work). Maybe that could be a solution?


I am able to set the block to be transparent if I change the original file, e.g. by double-clicking the linked block, editing the transparency in the new Rhino window, saving and exiting. This will update the transparency.

If this doesn’t work for you it would be great if I could try to see what’s going on in your file.


Hi guys,

@polforeman - Thanks for introducing me to worksessions! Looks very useful and will explore more as I’ve never used it before now. You are right, I was able to change the display mode if I attach the tree through worksession but I’m still not able to change the transparency - similar to the linked blocks issue.

@DavidEranen - Your suggestion gives me the outcome I’m after. Unfortunately, it would mean changing the source trees. There are about 60 of them, each with 2 to 8 meshes with individual materials (that’s a lot of clicking and sliding :anguished:). Even if I bite the bullet and do them all, that would be secondary to the mess made with other files with the trees linked to them :pleading_face:.

Thanks again guys for your suggestions. I’ve learnt a few things trying to resolve this.


Loos like artic does not handle transparency or as a missing feature or bug.

As a workaround
what you can try, since there are a lot of trees with complex foliage and alpha blending problems, you can make imposters. In-game dev, imposters are just multiple planes containing the the image of the tree. You can make 360 screenshots of the tree and place some planes. So that fps will increase and that also let you apply transparency.


@AlanMattano - Sounds complicated but I’m intrigued. I’m delving into uncharted territory with your workaround.

Do you mind explaining a bit more how to do this?

@DavidEranen - Is Rhinora programmed to SetObjectDisplayMode to blocks or do you think this is a bug on my end? I see you work for McNeel, hence me asking you directly. I created a ‘transparent arctic’ display mode and using @polforeman’s idea, tested it with a tree attached through worksession. I got the desired outcome but I’m not able to move the tree to the place I want (:disappointed:). If it is possible to SetObjectDisplayMode to blocks that could be the solution - I can apply the ‘transparent arctic’ display mode to the block trees in my model! :relieved:



Yeah, the problem with worksessions is that you can’t really move them around. So you would have to create all the trees you need in an extra file which you would then attach to your main file. Maybe you could try copying all your tree-blocks in their current positions to a new file and attach that one to your drawing, I can’t try it right now but I imagine that it might work?

And as you asked, from what I read here on the forum it seems it is not possible to apply custom display modes to blocks, so it’s not a bug on your side.

Hi Pol,

If I attach the trees as blocks through worksessions, the setobjectdisplaymode would not work.

Never mind guys. I’ve made copies and exploded the blocks. It only took Rhinora 12 minutes to do this (:roll_eyes:) and increased my file size to 4.2GB (I anticipate problems from now on :worried:). Shame, as it defeats my reason for using blocks in the first place.

Hopefully the next Rhino update will allow display modes with blocks.

Thanks so much for all the replies/suggestions and taking your time to look into this.


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Hello, I created the following YouTrack item: Display: Can’t change material of linked block



Thanks @DavidEranen .

Cloud be alpha inverted problem.
Here there is a plane with a custom material. Custom material has png color texture and transparency texture

Make a plane

And apply a photoshop semi transparent tree texture.
But also looks like not working

Hello again,

It seems that in order to assign materials to linked blocks, the block-file needs to have the objects’ materials be set to “Use Object Parent”. This way, when imported as linked blocks, the material can be changed and things work as expected.

However! This doesn’t seem to work in Arctic mode. It’s a bug, and I have created a new YouTrack item: “Display: Linked block cannot be made transparent in Arctic mode”