# How to make objects draw transparent/wireframe in the viewport?

I have several objects in my scene. I want all the objects to be visible so that I can see how they relate to one another, but I want to focus on just one. To do this, I'd like to make the other objects translucent and non-selectable. I know I can disable selection from the Blender outliner, but there doesn't seem to be an easy way to make just that object transparent. The reason I am trying to do this is simply so that I can see objects in my scene but focus on just the object I am editing.

I'm using glsl with mapcap for rendering and am mainly working in sculpt mode at the moment, and would like to stick with glsl if possible.

You can make an object be displayed as a wireframe by setting the Maximum draw type to wire in Properties editor > Object > Display:

You make an object display as transparent by adjusting the alpha of it's material, and enabling Transparent in the display settings:

• @MrFlamey, "That will do for now" implies the answer isn't complete, please expand on that. – ideasman42 Sep 16 '14 at 4:50
• @ideasman42, Yes, it's not the most ideal solution, but I wanted to avoid saying "how do I replicate this feature from another package". Basically I would prefer to have a very simple way to focus on the selected object - make everything else in the scene transparent grey or wireframe (combo would be excellent) and non selectable, so that it is easy to see the relation of the selected object to the other objects in the scene, without the other objects obscuring my view of the active object too much. – MrFlamey Sep 18 '14 at 4:55
• @MrFlamey - if you wanted it would be trivial to make an addon to do this (and assign it a key binding). For the situation you describe I normally use local-view. though I realize they're different. One liner in the Python console for ob in C.visible_objects: ob.draw_type = 'TEXTURED' if ob.select else 'WIRE' – ideasman42 Sep 18 '14 at 5:08
• Thanks! I'll check out that local view thing. I'm fairly inexperienced with Blender, so there's a lot I don't know. I'll give the script a whirl. – MrFlamey Sep 18 '14 at 5:14
• @MrFlamey, np, in future try be a bit more clear - if the answer is bad, say so - if the solution proposed seems clumsy - explain why. Just because a tool doesn't work how you want doesn't mean the answer is bad. – ideasman42 Sep 18 '14 at 5:32

This was the first Google result, and I came here looking for a Cycles answer but gandalf3's reply helped me realize.

First, on Material > Settings, change the alpha value (below Viewport Color) Then, on Object > Display, make sure to check Transparency

For wireframe display it is the same method as gandalf3's answer.

• Note that under the hood, the alpha value in cycles material settings and the Z transparency value in BI material settings are actually the same setting. I used the BI setting in my answer since the OP mentioned that they are using GLSL shading (and therefor BI). Still, useful in case you are using cycles :) – gandalf3 Sep 17 '14 at 1:16
• Thanks, but I was kind of looking for a solution that doesn't rely on changing material properties. – MrFlamey Sep 18 '14 at 4:51
• Oh, I see, I just added that in case someone comes here through google, like I did. Also just reminding that the alpha will change just on the viewport, not the material itself. – Gus Sep 18 '14 at 19:20
• Gus, is there a way to make same thing, but in "Material" view mode? Because object loses its transparency in Material mode. – Ivan Kartofanov Apr 10 '15 at 11:49
• @IvanKartofanov If you want to just make the object transparent, I found a way to do that. Follow the same instructions on my post but on Maximum Draw Type, select Solid. See image. This will treat the object as solid on Material and Textured viewports. Hope it helps. – Gus Apr 11 '15 at 4:26

To manage many object you can use the layer manager addon. You can lock selection and show in wire mode.