From Valve Developer Community
Revision as of 21:18, 18 January 2017 by Rozzy85 (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

The $translucent VMT command specifies that the material should be partially see-through. The alpha channel of $basetexture is used to decide translucency per-pixel.

Any object that has a $translucent material does not affect VIS, and can be seen through by NPCs from any angle.

VMT syntax example

$translucent <bool>
	$basetexture glass\window001a
	$translucent 1

Additional parameters

$additive <bool>
Add the material's colour values to the existing image, instead of performing a multiplication. This means, among other things, that the material will always brighten the world. This is useful for effects like volumetric dust, light sprites, etc...


Flickering and reversed depth

Translucency can sometimes cause a material to flicker, or cause sorting issues with nearby surfaces. In both cases consider using $alphatest instead of $translucent when this happens. It drastically lowers quality, but will usually resolve the issue and is much faster to draw. It will also cast flashlight shadows, unlike translucents.


Unlike $translucent which allows for varying degrees of opacity, alpha testing does not - portions of your texture are either 'on' or 'off'. $alphatestreference, a normal parameter, controls the filtering of the transparency masking (Using lower values like .01 will result in a more blurred edge while a value of .99 will be extremely sharp.) Since alpha-testing is cheaper than $translucent, this can be used to achieve a similar effect to materials using the $translucent parameter at reduced cost. Using $allowAlphaToCoverage will enable antialiasing of alpha-tested textures, giving them much softer edges. Reference values won't affect the normal appearance of a texture with this enabled, however it will have an effect if the flashlight is shone on the surface.

Note.png Note: The effect of $allowAlphaToCoverage will only be visible if the user has MSAA enabled.

Compatibility with other effects

Certain shader parameters (such as $envmap) can disable translucency. If you are having trouble getting it to work, try commenting out other parts of the material.

Filtering borders

Texture filtering will blend nearby pixels together even if some of of them are entirely transparent. This can create unwanted outlining effects if sudden drop-offs in alpha coincide with drop-offs in colour, which may well happen when the alpha channel reaches zero and you stop being able to see the pixels.

An unwanted filtering border.

To resolve this issue, simply blend the colours of your image slightly beyond where the alpha channel drops off. This can be easily achieved by duplicating the translucent layer and smudging it into the relevant areas.

Fixing filtering borders.

(For users of older versions of The GIMP, the program will automatically remove colour information for pixels with an alpha of zero whenever layers are combined. As a work-around for this, you could give those pixels an alpha value of one instead.

As of GIMP 2.8.14, pixels with an alpha value of 0 retain their color information when saved as a tga.

See also