How to chainlink fence?

I need to model a long row of free standing chainlink fence. I know how to apply a material image to a solid to make it look like a chainlink, but it’s missing the transparency of a real chain link and it does not show in any view but rendered. Is it possible to add a texture that has transparency and shows in other display modes?

Hi Peter - you can use images that have transparency and the objects to which the material is applied can be set to always show in rendered mode (SetObjectDisplayMode) regardless of the viewport display mode. Caveats/exceptions: the object display mode is set per viewport and does not mix with Technical/Artistic/Pen or other Technical derived viewport modes.
TransparentMaterial.3dm (72.3 KB)


Thank you Pascal. How would I go about creating an image (in this case a chainlink fence) with transparency?

Hi Peter - here’s (a very simplified ) one I made in Rhino and cropped in Photoshop -

The pattern is polylines, then ApplyCurvePiping, then -ViewcaptureToFile with transparency on to png format.

ChainLink_PG.3dm (272.8 KB)
The material has the same texture applied as both color and transparency (where the alpha channel takes over) The surface has the repeat on the mapping boosted to look about right.


Mines showing all black when I apply your png and settings… I set both color and transparency to the same material, and I set the repeat to 15 on both as well. Not sure what Im doing wrong here.

Hi Peter - if you just open my file directly, does it look correct?


No, it also looks black… strange because yesterday it was working/transparent… not sure what changed?

How does it render? I use V-Ray, but I never see ANY transparency in the viewport. Always gotta render …

I need it to show un-rendered… I want to use pen mode and see the chainlink.

Does it look alright in wireframe? (fence looks rendered) If not, what is your video card?

Should look like this:


Aha! That may not be possible unless you get creative with mixed modes. As far as I know, the pen mode can outline edges, lines, silouettes … and maps get ignored.

However, you can ‘mix modes’ with the Display Toolbar → Set Object Display Mode. This allows you to have the entire viewport in ‘pen mode’ but your chain link surface (+texture map) is in ‘render mode.’

That might work.

In wireframe looks exactly the same, black… it’s strange because yesterday your model was showing correctly. I dont remember making any setting changes that should have changed this. Im going to try a reboot and see if that helps.

Please send a screenshot of the settings in Options > View > OpenGL

What Im confused about is that yesterday this file was showing correctly as I hoped it would, and today it’s not…

That’s a good card with current drivers.
I’m stumped.

Hi Peter - see if importing the material does anything good - I guess I’d delete the one in the file, then import this one (Materials panel, right click menu). Any different?


Chainlink.rmtl (103.1 KB)

It’s still not working. Maybe Im not applying it correctly? How do you apply it? To what exactly? Thanks.

Hi Peter - for now, just to test in a new Rhino, make a plane. In the Materials panel, click on the “+” and navigate to the rmtl file I posted. Once that Chainlink material is there, drag it from the materials panel onto your plane. SetObjectDisplayMode on the plane to Rendered. Anything? You should see the chain link once on the entire plane, like so


Thanks Pascal, I did exactly as you said and got this: