Create transparent material that casts shadows

Hi everyone.

I want to create a wire mesh security glass for an architectural interior


I am guessing that i need a 6 sided ‘solid’ (pane of glass) object from 3ds to enable some refraction.

My problem is how to get the wire inside the glass so it can be both visible and to cast shadows.

I have achieved this before by creating a model of wire mesh in 3ds max and placing it just behind
a transparent object (my glass)…


…but this means creating 200 objects for each piece of glass which i am guessing is too heavy.

Is there a simpler way to do this with a material instead of modelling the wire?

Im new to unreal so please forgive any lack of knowledge or ignorance.

Thanks in advance

Personally i wouldn’t create this with a complex mesh, i would realize this look by a material. I think Substnace Designer is the right tool for something like that.
I’m not sure but i think someone on polycount posted a material like this, glass with wire… I will try to find the thread…

Otherwise download the demo of Subsnace Designer and simply ask in ther forums “” i’m for 100% sure, they can and will help you.

Thanks man, thats great. I downloaded SD. Im going to try to use it now.
I checked polycount for glass with wire but cant find anything. if you remember, let me know…
I will be very happy! Thanks again

You can always use your model as instanced static meshes so that it’s not 200 or whatever the amount, its only 1 and every other one is just a instance.

You could just have a masked material of the wire that casts shadows but is set to hidden so it does not render, and then put the same wire texture into your translucent material so you are only rendering 1 glass material in the scene.

If you need dynamic shadows you could use the ‘cast hidden shadow’ option, otherwise it will be picked up by lightmass without that.

Hi Saxon.

That is good that you pointed this out to me thanks.

Would that mean that i just import 2 wires (one horizontal, one vertical) create instances and build a wire mesh from them in Unreal instead of doing this in 3ds?

So for e.g. i could have 2000 instanced static meshes and Unreal will be treating them as just 2?

Is this kind of editing in Unreal as easy as in say 3ds?

Thank you

Ryan, Thanks for this information.

Im going to try the masked material. What would I use for that? SD?

Also… putting a wire texture into my translucent material… Would that mean only being able to use a single surface?

I was thinking that i will need to use a ‘solid’ object as glass to get some refraction… and if i used a texture it would create two sets of squares… one
on each side?

Could you advise me a little on that?

Thank you

It doesn’t really matter whether your glass is 2 sided geometry or a single 2 sided material. The only real difference is that with 2 separate sides you will get a unique lightmap for each side whereas with a single 2-sided material you can check the “use 2-sided lighting” option and then lightmass will average the lighting from the 2 sides which may make more sense for glass.

With the bars being a separate layer, it may be more beneficial to have the glass as 1-sided material using 2 sides so that the wire mesh can placed in between to avoid casting shadows on either side. There is no right answer though, try one of the options and see how it works out.

thanks ryan i will try it

Yeah, try both, in fact it might be a neat idea to try and make the 3d model for this like a sandwich, like Ryan said by having two separate 1 sided glass materials with the mesh in-between.

In fact, if you made the 3d model like a sandwich
-> way normal is facing
| air gap

<- one sided plane | <-3d or flat wire mesh-> | one sided plane ->

one could make use of instance static meshes in addition.

Yes Saxon, I like it. Thanks

Hi there.

Can somebody please advise me…

I am trying to create the safety glass as in the first image in the post.

I have tried three different ways of creating the wire mesh -


1st -200 3d cylinders
2nd - 1 surface with the transparent squares cut out of it
3rd - material made with alpha in photoshop/unreal material editor

all three look ok close up but when moving around and from any kind of distance the lines sparkle and bounce around.

My project is an architectural visualisation and the wire glass is essential in the design. I need to get it as realistic as possible.

The wire mesh is around 0.5mm

I would really appreciate any ideas for a solution.

Thanks in advance

When you say that the wire mesh is 0.5 mm. - are you speaking of the opening in the wire mesh? The wire diameter? In terms of measuring the wire mesh, I looked up how this should be done ( ) and it appears that you need to specify a mesh size. In other words a 2 x 2 wire mesh, has 2 wires and 2 openings per inch.

Size of the mesh will play a vital role in any model that you create.

I believe going complex is not the way to go - of the 3 techniques used (excellent job of exploring all avenues) I would go with option 1 using the cylinders. Appears to be the most successful and was the first method that came to mind for me as well.

I took a look at this ruby. It uses the opacity setting on a material (0.20 means 80% transparent) and set the “cast shadows” setting on the surface containing the material based on the opacity of a material. This would let you mark items containing material more than 70% opaque (less than 30% transparent as “non shadow casting”, but would not do the opposite ( - make materials less than 70% opaque (more than 30% transparent) cast shadows.