I'm trying to make a semi-opaque lamp for a designer. He wants the light sources inside the lamp and wants to be able to adjust how transparent the mesh is. When I place a lamp inside the object it casts light around the object but there isn't really any "proper" illumination.

As an example, say you had a cylinder with 50% opacity and you put a lamp inside, you should be able to see that light source - as you would if you put a bulb inside a paper lantern. How can I achieve this effect? I've tried Eevee and Cycles but I get awful renders with Cycles and in Eevee I have to fake the effect entirely and it just doesn't look convincing... any tips would be very welcome!

  • $\begingroup$ Add any object, like a sphere and add Emission material to it and place it inside your transparent mesh! $\endgroup$ – Yash Nov 21 '19 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply. This does work in Cycles but I need to get a solution in Eevee because Cycles is just awful. Possibly the worst render solution I've ever used. But many thanks anyway. I'll keep fiddling! $\endgroup$ – Chamferbox Nov 21 '19 at 16:37
  1. Add the lamp shader object. (I used the default cube.)
  2. Add a solidify modifier to give the wall some thickness.
  3. Add a shader: Translucent BSDF.

  4. Add a lighting object and place it inside the cube. (I used a Sphere.)

  5. Add a shader: Emission BSDF. Increase the strength.
  6. Use a realistic color management like the filmic lookup.



First screenshot is pbr cycles, second is EEVEE.

For realism, mix the Translucent Shader with Diffuse, Glossy and Refraction and implement the fresnel effect to allow less light through when viewed at an angle.

  • $\begingroup$ Hey, I was playing around with your last idea, rookie question: where do you add the fresnel node? Behind diffuse or translucent? $\endgroup$ – Luciano Nov 21 '19 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest you watch this video. The node setup with a fresnel group is at 9:37. $\endgroup$ – Leander Nov 21 '19 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much, it's a very informative video! You should include it in the answer as a reference. $\endgroup$ – Luciano Nov 21 '19 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for this. Unfortunately I need a solution in Eevee, mostly because Cycles renders always look terrible. The designer I'm working for refuses to use it and I can't say I particularly blame him. Many thanks for your time. $\endgroup$ – Chamferbox Nov 21 '19 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ "Cycles renders always look terrible" - Citation Needed. It's the same setup for EEVEE, I added another screenshot. $\endgroup$ – Leander Nov 21 '19 at 17:12

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