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I have a model that is made of a flat plane that has been sculpted in the middle. I need to fade the edges of the plane gradually into transparency. How do I accomplish this? I am totally new to this! Thank you for help!

Edit:

Response to Cegaton:

Thank you, this works just as described on a new plane. It is really just what i need, but it does not work on my model, which was modeled in Blender 2.7, if that makes any difference. On my model, the adjustment only affects the top half of the mesh, and the bottom part is either translucent or opaque, with sharp edges. I am baffled. I will add that the model was made from a plane but many nips and tucks and extra rows of vertices have been added since the beginning. I wonder if there is something about an older model that does not work with the new compositing options ('separate xyz' was not available in 2.7).

PROBLEM SOLVED: The transparency begins at model's origin. I moved the origin point from the center to the bottom of the model and now the transparency adjustment is operating exactly as demonstrated in Cegaton's answer.

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Suppose you sculpted this beauty out of a plane:

enter image description here

To make the flat area transparent you can create a node setup like this, where the transparency is controlled by the height (Z axis) of the model.

enter image description here

EDIT:

If you are working on an older version of blender that doesn't have the separate XYZ you can use a separate RGB node:

enter image description here

For finer control on the transparency use a Vector->Mapping node. By moving the Location values on the Z axis you can determine the height where the transition starts, and by moving the sliders on the color ramp you can determine how smooth the transition will be.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, and I have a question. I posted it as an edit to the original question because it was too long to be a comment. $\endgroup$ – WishyQ Sep 7 '15 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ @WishyQ see edited answer $\endgroup$ – cegaton Sep 7 '15 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ This might need to be posted as separate question, but I am wondering this: there is such a large difference between the preview render of my faded-edge object, and the final render. With some work I can get the result I want in the final render, but it makes me wonder why the preview render is not accurate. Do you know why this is? $\endgroup$ – WishyQ Sep 18 '15 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ @WishyQ yes, that should be a different question. Take a look at this one blender.stackexchange.com/questions/2728/… if that is not what you want to know feel please ask in a new post. $\endgroup$ – cegaton Sep 18 '15 at 13:36
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A cycles material where the Diffuse node could be replaced with your own shader tree. This method uses the distance x,y from 0,0,0 (ignores the z component) - but does need the Separate XYZ node.

enter image description here

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