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Rendering transparent objects changed in M8

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  • Subject: [mg114138] Rendering transparent objects changed in M8
  • From: David Skulsky <edskulsky at>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2010 05:55:43 -0500 (EST)

On my work machine (Mac Pro with an ATI HD 4870 graphics card) I found
that transparent objects (i.e., objects with Opacity < 1) were not
rendering properly under Mathematica 8; these same objects did render
properly under Mathematica 7.

I contacted Wolfram; they investigated the issue and promptly replied
with an explanation and what I expect will solve the problem.
Apparently the default method for rendering transparent objects was
changed in M8 "from a BSP tree to a depth-peeling method," supposedly
for speed purposes.  Evidently this change can cause problems on some
systems (mine!).

Switching back to the BSP tree can be accomplished by adding a hidden
option to Style:

Style[Graphics3D[...], RenderingOptions->{"Graphics3DRenderingEngine"-

I will not be able to test this on my system until next week, but
Wolfram was able to test it on one of their machines and confirmed
that it fixed the problem.  They also advise that this workaround has
not been tested on other ATI Radeon graphics cards.

David Skulsky

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