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I need to make a frosted glass brick wall (see the example) for archvis picture. What is the best approach for it? Using just a cube with a texture of framing grout and glass shader for bricks will not make those clearly visible internal dividers on brick edges. Modelling the whole brick and making a wall from it will be time consuming and may probably lead to heavy geometry.

In both cases, a simple glass shader will absorb too much light for such a thick object, so what it is the better way for it?

frosted glass brick wall

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think you can avoid the geometry cost... $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Jun 27 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ you can create your object and link-duplicate it, and add some water droplets to bring some variations, and about the shader maybe mix a Glass (with high Roughness and low IOS) with a Transparent shader, maybe try shaders like translucent, or Volume Scatter in the Volume input of the Material Output? Maybe also give it a bit of noise bump... $\endgroup$ – moonboots Jun 27 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ It reminds me of this beautiful building in Amsterdam : dezeen.com/2016/04/20/… $\endgroup$ – Eric Duminil Jun 28 at 7:49
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Geometry should not be an issue here, glass shaders are noisy by nature and will probably have a bigger impact in your scene. If you use this technique and take advantage of instancing feature the memory consumption benefits should help mitigate the number of objects.

Make a simple box mesh with the desired dimensions of your brick, make sure you apply the scale.

Add three material slots with the following order: Clear Glass, Mortar, Frosted Glass.

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Create materials accordingly as desired and assign clear glass to both front and back faces, and mortar to the remaining four rim faces around them. Two simple glass shader with different roughness values should suffice for both glass materials.

Now add two modifiers. One Solidify with the desired thickness; adjust the material offset to $2$, so the inner layer becomes all frosted glass.

Now add a Bevel modifier, to add some roundness; adjust radius as desired.

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Now array the bricks with whichever method you like.

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  • Either use an Array modifier: Quick and simple, no optimization and higher memory use.
  • Manually duplicate the object around: Instancing gives memory benefits, but ads lots of individual objects which may slow down the viewport and pollute your scene, making it harder to manage.
  • Use a particle system/Duplifaces. Array a simple plane and use either particles or duplifaces to distribute bricks along the faces. Harder to setup, memory benefits, and less individual objects to manage in the scene, but may still slow down the viewport.

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  • $\begingroup$ Distributing the bricks using duplifaces is a very smart idea! $\endgroup$ – akashihi Jun 27 at 11:37
  • $\begingroup$ More memory for an array? I thought they were instances, just with a bit of organisation.. I'm surprised.. $\endgroup$ – Robin Betts Jun 27 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ Array has no instancing optimizations, it just generates one big mesh, since you can't guarantee all items are exactly the same. With the Merge options it can even result in a single mesh with no separate parts. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jun 27 at 14:22
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you can model a brick and then bake it to a displacement or normal map and use that on a lower poly brick and then use 2 array modifiers on different axis to create the wall

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