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Imagine two opaque plastic spheres with small light bulbs inside of each that aren't too bright. They should both emit light, but also be partially illuminated even more by the light emitted from the other one. So, hiding one of the spheres should make the other less bright and vice versa. I would prefer to use the Cycles renderer.

It seems like I can only choose between using emission or diffuse material.

P.S. I'm a newb at Blender but know the basics.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm wondering if what I am looking for is not physically possible. I'm imagining a glowing ball that seems brighter when another glowing ball is close to it. Is that natural? With Daniil's solution, by the time you make the balls bright enough to reflect off of the other, they are so bright that it doesn't matter if they are close to one another or not; they glow brightly at whatever distance. $\endgroup$ – AlJo Aug 6 '15 at 8:32
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You can plug a Texture Coordinates node from Reflection to Mapping node, mapping node to Math node set to mulptiply connected to ColorRamp and connected to another Math node set to multiply plugged in a Mix Shader node, in the Mix Shader connect Emmision Shader and another Mix Shader With Diffuse as the First Shader and With Translucent as the Second shader

enter image description here The Result

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ There is supposed to be two spheres. $\endgroup$ – AlJo Aug 6 '15 at 7:39
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Make them shading properties visible

I think that your problem doesn't rely on the shader itself, which can be simply made by a mixed Diffuse+Emitter shader, but on the ability to make their properties come out.

Two sphere in an emty space are not enough. To show how a material is emissive I would suggest to put some obect around. See how the dffusive semispheres next to the main geometry help to show that both spheres are emissive, and with different intensity.

enter image description here

Another tip is to avoid using mono-component colors. That's why you see a node to lower the saturation. If one object is fully diffusive (red rgb = 1,0,0) and is hit by a blue light (rgb = 0,0,1) it will not be visible, as none of the object points can react to that light. They share no component.

Notice in the image above how the red sphere is more bright in proximity of the blue one.

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You could mix Diffuse and Emission shaders by Mix node, using constant amount of mixing or based on surface normal, different ray factors, or even custom texture.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't work. With your setup, set one of the spheres to 100% diffuse and 0% emission and the other sphere to the opposite. Set one sphere to red for both diffuse and emission and the other sphere to green for both. The 100% diffuse sphere will go black when it should reflect some light from the other. EDIT: Ah, have to turn-up the strength of emission way over the default value of 1, to like 200! $\endgroup$ – AlJo Aug 6 '15 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, light power factor outside standard [0,1] often do miracles, HDR environments for example. $\endgroup$ – Daniil Romanov Aug 6 '15 at 9:19

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