Basically, I've created an animation of an apple tree growing. During part of the animation I want to be able to see the roots growing under the 'ground' mesh in my scene. The effect should look similar to the 'in front' property in Viewport Display. Is there a simple way to achieve this? Thank you in advance.

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  • $\begingroup$ Kind of depends on the setup but you could animate the camera clipping property for a quick and dirty solution. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2020 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't necessarily help with the ground being transparent, but make sure your camera is Orthographic to get that flat head-on perspective. $\endgroup$
    – amonroejj
    Dec 2, 2020 at 21:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You could do this on the ground with a node setup in the shader editor, using coordinates, masking and alpha channels, hope that helped out. $\endgroup$
    – Toby
    Dec 3, 2020 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for all the ideas. The alpha channel tip led me in the right direction. I will study/try out all the methods mentioned so I have more tools to use in future projects. $\endgroup$
    – pseudokris
    Dec 3, 2020 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


Here is one way you can do this.

  • First, set the camera type to Orthographic and make sure the X Rotation = 90 so that it is looking straight forward. You can play with the Orthographic Scale to zoom in and out.

Camera Settings

  • Second, add a Geometry Node to your ground shader and connect that to a Separate XYZ node. Take the Y from the node and connect it to the Alpha of your shader. You can plug the output to the first input of a Math node set to add to move where the cut-off happens by changing the second value.

Shader Network

Hope that helps!

  • $\begingroup$ Awesome. I'll try this also, but for now a semitransparent ground using a simple Transparent BSDF and adjusting the fac on the Mix Shader did the trick. I'm sorry for not being clear in my question. The visibility of the roots should be present no matter the angle of the camera. $\endgroup$
    – pseudokris
    Dec 3, 2020 at 12:48

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