Flamingo Render Problems with transparency texture

I recently purchased some 3d models (.obj format) of plants which import well into Rhino 5 and display properly (see below).

There are two textures. One of the materials and one of the transparency which filters what the area that displays the texture that which is transparent (see below).

In the model view the model looks fine and when I render the model with Rhino Render it is perfect also (see below).

The problem arises when I render the model in Flamingo. The transparency filter does not appear to load (see below).

I have a feeling that it is something simple but I can’t for the life of me figure out what. If anyone has any idea where I am going wrong, please advise.

Thanks :smile:

Because this is a Rhino 5 material, Flamingo is only picking up on part of the material definition. So the transparency map is not showing up.

To do this, create a Flamingo NXT material, using both bitmaps. I set the black and white texture To Color off and Transparency On in the advanced properties of the bitmap. Then assign this material to the leaves using the Mapping type to Surface.

Thanks for the response Scott. I will look into this and revert back.

Hey Scott,

I am still having trouble with this.

Is there any chance that you can apply the textures in the model itself and resend it to me so that I can see for myself how the materials need to be set out?

This is a link to 2 of the plant files I have been working with.


I really think you should remove the bundles of V5 and Flamingo until it supports V5 fully. I can not imagine that it would take more than a day to rewrite Flamingo to do that.

I have precisely the same problem. And I do not understand how to make a Nxt Flamingo material. Please explain step by step how to do this.

Thank you1

I think I can help with this a bit.

There are many types of materials in Rhino.

  1. There is a traditional Rhino Material. This a simple material that you see by default in Rhino. THis is the type of material that is being imported into Rhino from the OBJ object importer from the original files you have. This is a limited material, but will work in this case.
  2. There are also basic Flamingo nXt materials that contain more properties then the standard Rhino materials. To create these materials see this tutorial: http://help.mcneel.com/en/flamingo/5/guides/getting-started-tutorial.html

These material are imported through the OBJ importer. Therefore they create basic Rhino materials. Flamingo can use these materials, but there are few problems with this imported material.

  1. The imported material uses TIFF files. These TIFF files are not supported in Flamingo or in Rhino. So you need to replace the TIFF files with PNGs. I see you allready have the converted PNG files.
  2. The plants use a two textures to define a leaf. The first is the color map png. This is fine and works with Flamingo. The second bitmap is a black and white transparency channel bitmap. This uses white and black to define opaque and transparent. Rhino can use this channel, but seems to use black and white in the opposite way the Rhino display uses the transparency channel. So, the texture needs to be “Inverted” under the Texture > Output Adjustment control. This will make it look odd in the rendered preview display, but i twill render correctly in Flamingo. I am not exactly sure which is right here, I will look into closer.

I hope this helps.

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Actually, I am doing some simple tests on this. There is some confusion with multiple bitmaps and how they interact with transparency. I will look at this closer. There is something odd I need to figure out.

Thank you Scott for your fast reply. Yes, I agree, there is something quite odd. I think I should be able to see the same image in both the Rhino renderer and the nXT Flamingo renderer without doing complicated stuff. Downloading 3D obj. files and use them should not be a complicated thing. The way the Rhino and the Flamingo renderer handle transparency filters should be the same, it seems to me. Thanks.

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I posted the OP and never managed to solve this issue. Using materials with rhino has always been problematic for me. So much so that it has resulted in me using the software much less than I used to do. Probably the biggest pain for me is setting up complex texture and mapping settings only to lose all the links when i move the file on the network or send it to someone else to view. I just wish that Rhino was able to save all the textures and mapping in one contained file without the complication of having the images separately linked.

Yes, using materials in Rhino can easily become an ordeal. There must only be very few people around that can deal properly with this bizarre abundance of options. I think users of Rhino simply want to be able to use 3D models bought on the web. Well, ALL these models have three texture files: a colour file, a bump file and a transparency file. The Rhino renderer can deal with these files (although often not ‘automatically’), but Flamingo nxt cannot. The texture adjustment option in the menu even does NOT function with Flamingo not. These are all serious flaws of the software in my mind. The suggestion of Scott of reversing the transparency file (in the Rhino renderer) does NOT work.

It is not quite that simple. The core issue is that Flamingo has always supported Transparency Maps, while Rhino uses Opacity maps in the Texture Transparency Channel.

We are looking into the various ways we can support Rhino’s Opacity maps, while not messing with Flamingo’s existing materials that use Transparency maps. This has always been an issue, but with Flamingo’s integration with the Rhino tools this issue comes to a head.

We will do some experiments to see what we can do here.

I teach a Rhino class and we use V-Ray for rendering. The ‘lost maps’ is always an issue with any renderer, so we developed a simple rule: I require all material maps to be kept in the same folder as the Rhino file. When you move to another computer, you simply take the entire folder with you. Its a little extra ‘housekeeping,’ but its pretty much foolproof.

If you use V-Ray, there’s a really cool feature called ‘Pack Scene.’ It will collect EVERY texture map and save it with the Rhino file into a single zip file. This works even when the maps are in multiple folders, computers, networks, etc. Something to think about.

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Flamingo stores the maps in the file. It will check outside first for them, then update from the external file if they are found. Otherwise it will use the internal definition.

Ahhh, nice! That solves that problem.

It’s also a good idea to keep the ‘master maps,’ typically Photoshop, in a nearby folder as well. I find that I need to go back a few times to adjust the graphics on just about every project.