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I made this carbon atom with orbitals but I'm struggling with the look of the orbitals.

enter image description here

First, I want the orbitals to be transparent, so that also the nucleus is visible. But, I want clear orbitals with no overlaying colors. I tried this with the transparent BSDF (see picture below) and tried diverse blend modes but with no succes. The colors of the overlaying orbitals are, as expected, blending. Is there a way to prevent this?

enter image description here

Second, in the first picture, some inside shadows are visible, which I think are created by the four lights inside the scene. I want to get rid of them. In the viewport they aren't vissible (see below picture), only through the camera, so maybe something with the render settings but can't figure it out.

enter image description here

Last question: how can I make a more 3D-looking effect of the orbitals? Normally this effect is off course created by the shadows.

Please drop your ideas on this.

Update:

The shadows were due to a specific camera setting. No idea which setting. After replacing the camera by a new one, the shadows were gone. Other questions remains:

  • Is there a way to prevent the overlapping colors to blend with each other?
  • How to give it a more 3D-look?

Here you can download the blend file to see my idea and settings:

Carbon with orbitals

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you add a sketch? How should this look like? "I want the orbitals to be transparent, so that also the nucleus is visible. But, I want clear orbitals with no overlaying colors." - Is this rendered in Eevee or Cycles? $\endgroup$
    – Blunder
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks voor your reply. I've added the blend file for downloading (see original post at the bottom). Thanks in advance for your effort! $\endgroup$
    – EwSa
    Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ One quick thought is that in your Mix shader, you can use a Fresnel node as the input to Fac. That would let you have color around the edges, and a transparent center. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 22, 2021 at 20:59

2 Answers 2

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I don't know if this is exactly what you are looking for, but I hope it can steer you towards your goal.

The orbitals still appear "transparent" but the colors aren't blending together - you can still see red, yellow, green, and blue clearly:

enter image description here

Basically I added a Layer Weight->Facing connection to each of your shaders, like this:

enter image description here

You can tweak the "Blend" value to get more or less of the colored edges for each orbital.

I also cranked up the "Alpha" to 1.0 so the colors aren't transparent at all around the edges; you might want to play with that if this isn't quite the look you wanted.

I changed the lighting a bit to give a little more "3d" look by reducing the emission of the one side and raising the other:

enter image description here

Hope this is closer to what you are looking for?

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  • $\begingroup$ Tnx, a lot for your help! Appreciate it! Together with the comment of Blunder I worked it out :) $\endgroup$
    – EwSa
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 19:07
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Additionally to Dale Cieslak's answer, you can turn off the Shadow cast for the sphere objects in Cycles.

The objects inside cast a shadow on the insides of the outer objects. And because they are transparent you see these shadows in the image as shown in screenshot 1 of the question and screenshot 1 of Dale's answer (red sphere).

For Cycles, the shadow can be turned off in the Object Properties tab, in Visibility > Ray Visibility > [_] Shadows.

Here's an example with shadow ray turned on:

shadows on

... and Shadow ray turned off:

shadows off

If you turn the shadow rays off for all objects this results in a cleaner image. The shader here is slightly different but it will also remove the artefacts as seen in Dale's answer.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Tnx, a lot for your help! Appreciate it! I used your texture nodes and worked it out :) $\endgroup$
    – EwSa
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 19:07

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