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I want to blur only certain borders of an fluid-object, so that its borders have a smooth transition to the white background.

enter image description here

I'm using a fresnel material, so naturally the edges will be highlighted a little stronger. I want to have this effect for the drops, but not for the "ocean".

This is going to be an animation, so I'll need a solution for any angle of my camera.

My first attempt to solve this problem, was to create a ring around the edges with the same material to hide the borders of the fluid, but I realized, that this plane casts a shadow, even if I uncheck the shadow-box in the object-menu and I also realized, that I just moved my border problem further out.

enter image description here

So maybe a transparent material for the plane, that blurs everything behind it?

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In Cycles, you can create a transparent material that blurs anything behind it like this :

Blur

The Light Path 'Is Camera Ray' is used to mix between a Transparent and a Refraction shader - this ensures that the material does not cast a shadow.

The Refraction shader has its Normal linked to the Incoming Geometry socket and this ensures that no actual refraction will take place due to incident rays always striking the surface along the Normal. This result in the Refraction shader behaving as a 'Transparent' shader when Roughness is zero but by increasing the Roughness (with IOR set to a suitable value) you can vary the amount of blurring that occurs.

You'll need to ensure the Render Samples is set sufficiently high for the blurring to be smooth.

With creative use of Generated coordinates to vary the Roughness you can even create a material with variable blurriness over its surface. In this example the blurring plane is placed over the edge of the checkered floor with variable blurring from left to right :

Variable blur

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  • $\begingroup$ Really like this answer, I was just making fake lens blurs with refraction node and wondered how to get the transparent values. $\endgroup$ – 3pointedit Nov 23 '16 at 22:15

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