Transparent static meshes without changing static mesh materials (a lot of static meshes)

In my game there are a lot of different building blocks that player can place. During placement I would like have them 50% transparent (or anything else that looks similar). I know how to make it in general, but I have a lot of such blocks and changing material in each of them is huge pain. Moreover sometimes they are updated, so I will have to repeat process.

Is there any way to make static transparent without changing material? Like material that accepts another material as parameter? I know there are material functions but it still requires changing original material.

For example, let say I have SM_Chair, SM_Couch, SM_TableRound, SM_Shelf from Starter Content. Is it possible to make them transparent without changing their original material?
If it is not possible what is easiest way to do it with minimal changes?

I did spend two days on this but unfortunately words “transparency”, “material” and “static meshes” are too general and I couldn’t find anything.

I will appreciate any help!

Well probably I can partially answer my own question. Looks like materials are expensive and number of materials used should be minimized. It reduced area of change as anyway I had to merge many materials in one.

Wrong. Draw calls are expensive. Not materials. Use forward rendered translucency for convincing half transparency. Also its impossible as it requires changing the shading model AND blend mode.

You could build the master material as a masked material and then use this here:

cost will still depend on number of draw-calls.which is linked to # of items.
No getting around that particular part… other then Actor Merging.

Could you please provide details about forward rendered translucency? I tried to find something, but most of the time it is something about VR or some really old article.

Simply put, its rendered like a forward rendering material (and comes with the restrictions of one), but works as translucency. Highest quality, poor performance. That or dither TAA while hacking out the dither pattern (Whoever put that there has no idea what they are doing) and cranking up the taa filter size via console command.