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3D and Self-Illumination

When you are creating materials that represent an object that is illuminated from within, you can use the Self-Illumination option.
It is a fact that a self-illuminated object does not actually cast light-it just appears to be lit.
A point about Self-Illumination is that it essentially removes the Ambient color component of a material while making the Diffuse component disregard light sources.
Basically light does not affect the intensity of the Diffuse color and there is no Ambient component.
The effect can be convincing for many uses, such as neon tubing.
If you are trying to simulate the effect of a light source illuminated from within, however, you might consider using the new Ray trace material instead.
See the section "The Ray trace Material" for more information on its features.
Opacity in Basic Parameters gives you global control over the opacity of a material.
Lower values make an object more transparent and higher values make it more opaque.
It does not, however, attempt to simulate refractive effects when looking through many transparent surfaces.
For those effects, you will need to use a Refraction map or, better yet, use the Raytrace material instead.
If you have a flat plane of glass, there is no real perceived refraction, so using the Opacity value would be prudent here.
If you are using a Refraction map to simulate refraction, you should not drop the Opacity below 100 percent because it ruins the Refraction effect.
Refraction mapping is an illusion and not an actual refraction of a scene through a transparent object.
The Extended Parameters roll out gives you more precise control over many of the settings contained within both Basic Parameters and Maps.
For instance, using the Out setting for Opacity Falloff produces a great looking light bulb or any self-illuminated source where the light emanates from the center out.
Using the various Transparency methods-Filter, Subtractive, or Additive-can help the realism of a Transparent material.
For instance, light bulbs and light beams that are geometrical are great candidates for Additive transparency.
Subtractive transparency can work well for neon tubing against lighter backgrounds.
Filter transparency, by the way, is the default.
Rather than adding or subtracting pixel whiteness values behind the transparent object, it simply tints them the Filter color.

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