Glowing Electric Material Without Compositing

Yesterday I shared a tutorial on making some glowing, animated cylinders. I composited some ghost blur on them, and it looks great, but it really bothered me that the cylinders were so ‘solid’ as emitters and I had to composite the glow on afterward.

So I made a new material.
First I made an emitter out of this sphere: (generic settings)


Then I mixed it with transparency:


But that did nothing that I wanted, it just dimmed the emission (and kinda made it see through) So I added the ‘Layer Weight input and stuck that in the factor for the mix:


and now, we are talking. Notice that slight blur on the edges, that’s what I’m looking for. So I cranked up the Blend setting on the ‘Layer Weight’ input and came up with this:


but now the sphere was really dim, so apparently the more transparent the less light it gives off, fair enough, just crank up the emission:


and viola, glowy sphere of light without hitting the compositor.

Try it out on some other shapes and get some interesting results:

CylinderWisp CubeWisp SuzanneWisp

All of those were with untweaked settings as follows:


Happy blending.


EDIT: forgot to add the inverted effect. If you flip the Emission shader and the Transparent shader and then crank the Layer Weight ‘Blend’ down to 0.1 you get this neat glowing bubble:



2 thoughts on “Glowing Electric Material Without Compositing

  1. Rômulo Costa

    Nice. One could further define the way the glow “fades” by using a RGBCurves node between the LayerWeight and the Mix nodes.
    Here’s what I’ve come up with:


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