Is it possible animating the wire frame material Changes to surface material?

I want to make a material that's first Wire & it fades to solid surface material & Vice versa. Blender Internal Engineenter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Usually these types of animations are done by rendering 2 entirely separate animantions and crossfading them in video editor so that it can be adjusted and previewed more swiftly. But you could do it with materials that have something like X-position determining the material transparency. $\endgroup$
    – kheetor
    Mar 6, 2018 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ @kheetor Can you add brief answer? $\endgroup$ Mar 6, 2018 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ @kheetor don't put answers as comments $\endgroup$ Mar 6, 2018 at 16:29

2 Answers 2


I don't know if there is a better way (I don't usually use Blender Internal) but this can be done with material nodes to generate the wireframe using the UV coordinates.

To generate the wireframe we can use the default unwrap (or use UV Unwrap->Reset to reset back to default) and have the material solid if U or V is less than 0.1 or greater than 0.9 (use values closer to 0.0/1.0 for thinner lines).

To get the wireframe to slide across the mesh we can split the coordinates into the respective components and use Math nodes to generate a cutoff, keyframing the value to animate the transition. Note that I've used the X coordinate (split from the vector using the Separate RGB node (RGB translates to XYZ), combined with a fraction of Z so as to make the transition plane not coincide with the sides of the cube (or you get an ugly transition as the whole face jumps between being transparent and not transparent).

Material nodes

Ensure to enable Transparency in the Render Pipeline Options of the material to allow transparent materials.

This produces the following result :

animated result

  • $\begingroup$ Would it work on complex materials? $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2018 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yes - it should be fine with more complicated materials since it’s only controlling the alpha - the material itself should be independent - just replace the Material node with your own. The only real requirement is the UV used to produce the wireframe - if you have a more complicated unwrap or non-quad faces then you’ll need another way to identify the edges (Cycles has a Wireframe node but I don’t think BI has an equivalent). $\endgroup$ Mar 8, 2018 at 11:24

Here's for the crazy ones:

enter image description here

From Haunt's trick bag:

I have two pencils and a huge cube. I animate the cube so one side of it serves as the transition border.

Both pencils have a Boolean Modifier using the Cube. It's just that one pencil keeps what sticks out and the other keeps what's inside the cube.

The boolean modifier has the cool feature that it will use the first material slot for the new faces. Which means for the pencil sticking out, you need to create a transparent material for the first slot and assign the other three slots to the faces.

For the pencil sticking inside the cube, it's irrelevant since it's a wire material. If you need the transition plane completely wire free, you'll probably need two cubes with both booleans set to difference.

enter image description here

Did I mentione that there's yet another way? No?

Well, there's yet another way!


The trick is kind of the same. You have one pencil with the wire material and one with all the rest.

All materials share the same blend texture with cranked up contrast to narrow the transition zone a bit. This texture controls the alpha channel. -1 for the wire, 1 for all the ordinary materials.

The materials need Z-Transparency enabled and alpha at 0.0

And the trick is that the blend texture gets object coordinates. That way, you can animate an empty and decide where the border should be.

On rare occasions, divorces are pretty

texture settings

  • $\begingroup$ That pencil again? I'm getting tired of it. </s> $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2018 at 1:47
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    $\begingroup$ @ScottMilner I can do pencils all day. Embrace your inner pencil. The more you complain and nag, the more my pencil powers activate. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2018 at 1:52

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