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Alpha on materials?

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I found on some crappy googled webpage (and tried to test it afterward myself, seem true) that only the Diffuse part of the material color take alpha into account for blending. Setting the alpha on another material channel just do nothing. Thing is I used glColorMaterial to map vertex color on the Ambient material part, and take diffuse color from another setting global to the object I render. What I should do is to set the vertex color on the ambient, but the alpha part on the diffuse? The only way I can manage to do that is the use glColorMaterial with GL_AMBIENT_AND_DIFFUSE, but then I loose possibility to set a global diffuse color different than the vertex color one. Something I miss?

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