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So I created a space scene and I have a glass windows on one of the shuttles.
I want this window to be extremely reflective and glossy. Kind of like it just got waxed, polished, then polished again. When using a glossy shader, I almost achieve this:

Notice how the reflection is just as bright as the image itself

The problem here is that the glass isn't transparent. This is what happens when I use the glass shader:

How do i make it more reflective but still transparent?

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    $\begingroup$ The way a glass reacts to light is that one. For a correct way to have what you want, you need to add intensity to the background (which is not HDR). As a trick (which is not a glass, but makes the thing done) add a glossy to a transparent shader, with AddShaders. $\endgroup$ – Secrop Apr 5 '17 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ Also you might check if your window glass has any thickness.. if not you can use the Solidify modifier on the glass. $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Apr 5 '17 at 17:51
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The correct way to add reflective coating is to mix in a Glossy shader through Fresnel:

enter image description here

This is what it does - it coats the surface with more reflection, becoming fully reflective at grazing angle (it is influenced by the Fresnel IOR):

enter image description here

The result is less-transparent more-reflective, denser looking glass. Which can be done with glass IOR itself as glass already has reflection:)

But we can apply this generally to any shader, to add a reflective coating (clear-coat) on top. Such coating is usually so thin it is fully transparent and only it's reflective properties matter (the reflection is of dielectric nature - so white).

This has also the benefit of ability to change the base reflectance of the coating if really needed. Here, let's have base reflectance just 20% of the normal Fresnel node (also note that base reflectance of dielectrics don't change much):

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm interested by this answer (+1). Would you accept to explain a bit more two points: what the two IOR are meaning in value relatively to each other and why glass is the first input and glossy the second one? $\endgroup$ – lemon Apr 5 '17 at 14:52
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A simple alternative incorporating Glass and Transparent shaders. The ratio of reflection and transparency can be adjusted in the Mix Shader. Cycles render. Lighting HDRi.

Background image courtesy NASA.Background Image NASA

Node Set Up

Overall

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    $\begingroup$ Doesn't this make the surface less reflective and more transparent, the opposite of the goal? $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Apr 5 '17 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Here is the question "How do i make it more reflective but still transparent?" $\endgroup$ – Dontwalk Apr 5 '17 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ Yes. Now how does mixing in transparent shader make it more reflective? $\endgroup$ – Jaroslav Jerryno Novotny Apr 5 '17 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ Again... here is the question "How do i make it more reflective BUT STILL TRANSPARENT?" $\endgroup$ – Dontwalk Apr 5 '17 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Dontwalk Your answer describes how to make the material more transparent and less reflective compared to using a single Glass shader. Not more reflective, which was the question. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Einarsson Apr 5 '17 at 19:04
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I think what you are going for is to get your mirror to look like a RL mirror & making your reflective surface on the top will not achieve that. Remember, glass is mostly transparent with very little reflection. What is reflecting in a mirror is the silver coating on the back of the glass, and its quality really establishes the quality of the reflection. Now the depth aspect of a mirror is related to its glass quality & thickness, which is maximized by a beveled edge on 1/4"+ glass. Your eye picks up the inner refraction, slightly offsetting it from the primary image, the thicker the glass the more refraction and depth of image you see. Hope this helps.

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You can toy around with the following setup to see if it works for you.

enter image description here

You'll get a very slight reflection (right window - yellow) while seeing the outside (red).

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ In your most recent edit, you left an image tag with no URL. I took the liberty of removing it. If you meant for an image to be there, you may want to edit again, to include it. $\endgroup$ – Duane Dibbley Apr 6 '17 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I can only add two images so when the third was added, the second must have been deleted. $\endgroup$ – Jamie Vetter Apr 6 '17 at 16:42

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