Rhino 7 Feature: Transparency

I’m pretty excited to show off this new feature as it is something I’ve been wanting to add to Rhino for quite a while.

The Feb 25, 2020 Rhino 7 WIP now includes support for color transparency. So far only layer color can be adjusted (and only on Windows at the moment, sorry Mac people we’re working on it). All objects (surfaces, meshes, SubD, curves, text, points, hatches and text dots) pay attention to this transparency setting attempt to draw with blending.

If you select the layer color in Rhino, you should be presented with a slider on the side that allows you to adjust alpha (I know the slider values are backward… this is very early stuff…). We will be adding support for alpha to individual object properties as well soon.

Vector output for printing, PDF, and SVG pay attention to this transparency as well.

I’m sure we’ll come up with a better sample video, but here’s a quick one I put together to show off this new feature


Hi Steve,

thanks, this is very exciting addition. Just tried it quickly and have one general comment: now that it is possible to make the color more fine-tuned with transparency, it would be even more handy to see the updates “live” in the viewport as they are being changed in the color picker. Same way materials do now.
This wish has been on the pile for a while, but with this addition I think it makes it even more relevant:

I’ll test more and report back if anything comes up. Thanks again!



well done :star_struck:

Thanks, a very welcome addition!
Does this work well also in Layout space? Whole Details become transparent, too, from their layer color transparency? That would open up more possibilities regarding graphic design in layouts. Pictures that were placed there, too.
Best regards

Super cool this feature. Thank MCNeel Team :star_struck:

I have an impression that slider should be inverted.
Full checkerboard visible yet no objects transparency.

Checkerboard is almost gone while objects are barely visible.

… and please, make than tiny arrow larger!

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I hear ya and agree it would be more handy. At this point in time we are just trying to get the basic transparency support working in V7. Live color updating will have to wait.

No, that type of transparency will have to wait until the future. I agree it would be a nice feature, but for now we are focusing on getting color transparency on geometry.

I’ve been using setobjectdisplaymode to do this in a hacky way… I.e. you can set up a series of duplicated shaded display modes with the custom material transparency at 20%, 50% etc.

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Hopefully you won’t need a hack like this going forward :slight_smile: Also remember this works for “non-surface” objects line annotation, hatches, curves, text dots



What if instead of just a transparency slider it had like an advanced button that gives you all the custom material options that are in the display mode settings. So you could set the gloss and maps and stuff. Maybe introduce some broader functionality. Almost like a display mode per-layer if that makes sense. To me the main use for transparency is making glass look sortof glassy in the viewport… But I could also imagine wanting to maybe, have a layer that renders metallic and shiny with a specific environment map or like make car tires appear dull or paint shiny etc. I mean… This stuff is all possible now with custom display modes and setobjectdisplaymode… It’s just a question of how you make it more user friendly?

And a tangent since you mentioned text dots:

Can we have a display mode option to occlude text dots behind geometry?

I really like the text dots for labeling things like frame numbers that you want legible at any distance and angle, especially for quick screenshots to paste into emails where annotations are often awkwardly huge or invisibly small. Very handy… but they clutter up the viewport too much during normal use and its annoying toggling them on and off constantly.

If the occlusion thing is complicated for whatever reason, at minimum a display mode option to just not render the text dots at all… So you could for example set the shaded mode in perspective to not show them but still refer to them in a typically wireframe profile view or whatever.

Or… Maybe if there was at least an insider knowledge workaround like make them follow the draw behind rules for locked objects. So at least you could lock them and then they’d be occluded.

Let’s just say we’re trying to get the basic plumbing in for paying attention to alpha on our display colors. We realize there are a ton of other effects that users want to achieve on a per-layer / per-object basis and these would require additions that we aren’t quite ready to add just yet. I’m trying to bite off what I can chew at the moment :slight_smile:

Occluding dots is a request on my feature list at

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Thanks Steve!

Thanks Rhino Team! I’ve been waiting for this feature for a few years. I believe it will be very helpful to us all.

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Been waiting for this feature for a long time Great job! :smiley:

Does this mean this feature will be available on a “per object”-basis in the forseeable future?
Great work btw.
Will be very helpfull.
Cheers, Norbert

Hi Norbert -

I don’t know anymore…
Reading RH-56918 and RH-57144 you’d think that it was working already. And it does on the Mac.
I’ve no clue if this worked at some point on Windows or not but I’ve put it on the list of things to check… RH-57277

EDIT: This seems to have worked at some point - I’ll pinpoint where it got broken…

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I have not tried this, so I just judged from the opening post. Will try in a couple of hours, when I have access to my work station…

I can confirm that it doesn’t work “per object”, but just on a layer level.
As mentioned the slider is inversed.

Another thing I noticed is that if “color backfaces” is activated, the transparency of objects is somewhat disturbed by showing the inner backfaces without transparency.
Cheers, Norbert