laser beam and cycles nodes

I have a bunch of planes with a laser beam texture applied, from the CGCookie tutorial.

I want the beam to fade along the length of the beam. Unfortunately fiddling around with the color gradient node has the fading action along the wrong axis (side to side instead of end to end).

How can I fix this?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ if you have UV unwraped it just rotate the UVmap 90° , or use the mapping node to do that $\endgroup$
    – Chebhou
    Mar 28, 2015 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Use a Mapping node otherwise $\endgroup$
    – J Sargent
    Mar 28, 2015 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ Rotating the UV map causes the original laser to rotate. Take a look: imgur.com/S0kxaj7 $\endgroup$
    – meed96
    Mar 28, 2015 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


This can be done quite a number of different ways, I have listed three.

You could make a new UV map, and rotate the uvs 90° (like chebhou said). Then use that uv map just for the length fade.
cycles material nodes, multiple UV maps

You could add a Gradient Texture node (or a image of a gradient) and use a mapping node to control which way the gradient is going.
cycles material nodes, mapping node

(my favorite) You could add a Texture Coordinate node and then a Separate XYZ node. That will give you a gradient running along the axis specified. In this picture it would be black at the left edge, and running along the X axis white at the right edge.
cycles material nodes, texture coordinates

So your whole setup could look something like this. The X axis from the separate node is used for the "length fade." The Y axis is how I'm creating the beam fading out top to bottom. Then the Multiply node combines the two gradients. cycles material nodes for laser beam

  • $\begingroup$ Amazing, I had not thought of that first one, but since I've never used the Separate XYZ node I believe I shall try that one first :D $\endgroup$
    – meed96
    Mar 28, 2015 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ @meed96 glad I could help, and that you learned something new. Do note that you will have to plug the Separate node in to the UV map, not the generated coordinates. (the last image should be close to what you need.) $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 28, 2015 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ I actually don't see any difference between the two, but it has succeeded in fading off toward one end. $\endgroup$
    – meed96
    Mar 28, 2015 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ @meed96 you would only see the difference if you were using it to make the laser beam, like I did. But where you are using the UV map and image, there would be no difference. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 28, 2015 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ I'm using it for some spaceship engines, so I needed it to fade-off. Quick question, how would I control the fade of the z axis? I realized it needed a two-way fade. I plugged another color ramp with the Z axis, but I can't add it correctly to the first two. $\endgroup$
    – meed96
    Mar 28, 2015 at 20:20

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