Original Article Date: Aug 1, 2001
Here's a quick and easy way solution for MicroStation V7 that will show you how to make solid filled shapes transparent to allow the stuff underneath to show through!2004-02-17 Edited for clarity.
Let's suppose you have a raster image attached as a reference file and you'd like your vector shapes to be transparent as shown below:
The solution is really quite simply and it may even surprize you! The trick is to apply a "glass" material to the shapes and then render the view with either Constant, Smooth, or Phong. To accomplish this, just follow with these steps:Open the Rendering Tools tool box from Tools > Visualization Tools > Rendering Tools
Select the Apply Material tool and note the plethora of settings that can be made in the Tool Settings dialog:
For those of you not familiar with applying materials to elements here's a quick little overview. The Apply Material tool is used to apply "materials" to elements in a design file and the definitions for the materials are stored in "palette files".For example, take a look at the ...\Workspace\system\materials\ folder and notice the PAL files. These are the palettes that store the individual material definitions. In other words, you can expect to find different kinds of wood grains in the wood.pal file and a variety of stones in the granite.pal file.Once a palette has been loaded, you can apply it's materials to elements in the design by one of two methods: either by the element's level and colour or as an 'attribute' of the element.You can also assign different materials from several palettes in order to create the desired visual effect when rendered. Once you've completed applying materials, you will need to save the assignement information to a material table. This table is an ASCII file that stores several bits of information about the materials including the level / colour combinations as shown below.
Going back to our little display problem....You've selected the Apply Material tool and now need to adjust the settings. Set the Method to Attach Attribute, and Mode to Apply Material.Notice that MicroStation has populated the Table field with the name of the file. This is going to be the name of the material table I talked about on Page 1.To open (or rather "load") the Glass palette, poke on the Open button and navigate to the ...\Workspace\system\materials\ folder.From that folder, select the palette called "Glass". And finally select the desired material from the material pick list - which in our example is Glass - Element.By choosing this particular material, the colour of the 'glass' will pick up the element's colour. In other words, yellow element = yellow glass and so forth. Your settings should appear to be similar to the image below:
Take a look at the prompt and you'll see that it asks you to identify the element. Select and accept each shape that needs to be transparent..or..pre-select the elements with the Element Selection tool and accept the selection set.To view the effects of the glass material render the view in either constant, smooth or phong. Note that you'll have to have the Transparency option turned on in the Settings > Rendering > View Attributes dialog for your shapes to display properly.Note:This workflow will only work for images attached as raster reference files, not those that are attached via the Image Manager or Raster Manager.
AskInga Article #79