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Translucency depth issues (sorting) with instanced static meshes

Good morning. I’m hoping someone might have a solution to a translucency depth issue I’m having with respect to instanced static meshes.

I’m creating a ~1,000 seat stadium and am populating the crowd with 10 distinct billboards. To create the billboards, I basically took green-screen renders of models in 3ds Max, used that for the diffuse and to build the alpha in Photoshop, then imported the plane into UE4 where I apply a translucent material using the previously built textures.

As I randomize the crowd, everything goes fine, as long as the billboards in front of the row behind it have a higher translucency sort priority. However, once I use Rama’s plugin to turn all the same mesh/material billboards into one instance it throws the sort priority off, effectively setting all of them to the same priority.

Can anyone think of a solution to this issue? I don’t think it’s really possible for me to go without the instancing, as it would give me 990 more draw calls per frame than necessary.

P.S. I might just remodel the planes to be cutouts where the actual geometry follows the silhouette of the model (thereby not needing a translucent material at all), but it seems to me that would introduce significantly more verts to my scene than necessary.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Why not use a masked material?

Wow, I feel stupid for not even trying that. I’d imagine sort priority is irrelevant with the masked blending mode. Thanks for the suggestion!