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In the render result, I'd like to be able to see the DNA inside the football.

enter image description here

How can I make the football transparent so that the DNA is clearly visible inside?

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If you must use Blender Render, you can set up a glass like material by enabling transparency and than play with the settings.

I would suggest

  • Raytrace options to get reflection from the background
  • IOR about 1.450 (it depends on what kind of glass you are looking for)
  • High value of specular hardness (for a clean look, use a map if you want it dirty-looking)
  • High value of "depth" (nummber of light bounces) to get more reflections

enter image description here

It is absolutely vital to have something to reflect, so you must set up a scene, or at least an non uniform background &/or lightening, or your object won't look like if they were made of glass. Don't focus only on the single material but to the whole scene.

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To do this in Cycles, choose cycles render and open node editor.

Create your base material for the football (this should be what it should look like if there wasn't any transparency on it.

enter image description here

Then mix this with a transparent shader, and make any necessary shader tweaks to give it the appearance you're looking for.

enter image description here

The cylinder is positioned inside the sphere, the cube behind it

Please keep in mind that if you prefer to use the Blender Internal Engine, that's perfectly fine, this is just a way to do it using Cycles.

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