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Problems creating the Alpha Channel for Plugins

Posted: Mon, 17th May 2004, 8:18pm

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HandGrenades

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Hello, I'm trying to make plugins for the first time and I have a doubt about making Alpha channels. I think I do exactly the same as it's shown in the tutorial, but something is wrong. This is what I do:

I draw a muzzleflash in Photoshop with a white background (no layers, just the white background and the muzzleflash drawn over it). Now I select the muzzleflash with the colour range, but when I try to hit the little button to add a new alpha channel I can't hit it, because it's not aviable. What am I doing wrong? I use Photshop 6.


Tanks for your help!
Posted: Mon, 17th May 2004, 8:24pm

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Brettsta

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draw muzzle flashes on black backgrounds. Also, make sure when you save, you save transparency and layers for alphas
Posted: Tue, 18th May 2004, 8:55pm

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HandGrenades

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Thanks for the help! I found one thing I was doing wrong. Instead of using the new alpha channel buttom, I was using the quick mask one. But I still have the same problem. Once more, this is what i do:

1. In a black background I draw my muzzleflash.
2. With the color range y select the blac, then I inverse the selection and now the muzzleflash is selected.
3.I create a new alpha channel and all my "picture" goes black.
4.As the muzzleflash is already selected, I paint the selection with a white brush.
5.I save the picture as a TiFF file. I do not know how to save transparency and alphas crazy

What i'm doing wrong? I'm mad with this thing! tard I hope some day i could make a plugin!

Thanks once more for you help!
Posted: Tue, 18th May 2004, 9:09pm

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Brettsta

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if you draw a muzzle on black, there is no need for an alpha channel. Just use add composite when u make the plugin
Posted: Tue, 18th May 2004, 9:53pm

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HandGrenades

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Thanks a lot for your help Brettsta, I'm sure you must be thinking i'm 9 years old or less, but I swear I'll make a plugin. So, this is what I have:

-JPEG Image with black background and the muzzleflash
-Tiff Image with black background and the muzzleflash (no alpha channels or layers...)

I tried using just the JPEG. Now I open plugger, but I don't know what do you mean by "Just use add composite". Where's that?
Posted: Wed, 19th May 2004, 1:13am

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Axeman

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Even with a black background, it is still important to have a proper alpha channel.

The five steps you listed look right to me. Are you sure you don't have an alpha channel in your image? When you create a new channel, and the image goes black, that is your alpha channel. Then when you paint the selection white, you are creating the transparency information. To make sure that you have an alpha channel after having gone through the steps you listed, go into your channels palette in Photoshop, and you ca check. There should be four channels for the RGB info; any other channels are alpha channels. If you select the alpha channel, then you should get a black and white image.

You should use the Add mode (which removes the black) when building the plug-in, but this doesn't eliminates the need for an alpha channel. When you open the plugger, it is a few screens in before you get to the menu where you choose the composite mode. It will say "overlay" by default, but you can open the drop-down menu and select "Add Pin" to get a more realistic look for your plug-in.

I'm sure you can get your plug-in built, just let us know if you have any more difficulties or questions. smile
Posted: Wed, 19th May 2004, 12:14pm

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HandGrenades

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Thanks a lot Axeman, but I still have a problem redface . I don't know what's exactly the "add mode". I supose I have to use it in Photoshop, but mine is in Spanish and I don't know where the add mode is. Where is it?


Thanks!
Posted: Wed, 19th May 2004, 3:10pm

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Axeman

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The menu where you set the add mode thing is in Plugger, not in Photoshop. There is a section in Plugger called "Layer Ink", this is where you set the mode for each layer. As your plug-in will only be one layer, you just set it to Add Pin.

This link will take you to a basic plugger tutorial. Section 2 deals with actually building your plug-in in Plugger. If you follow those steps, yo should be good to go. The only exception is on step 8, you should select Add Pin where it tells you to select Overlay Ink.
Posted: Tue, 1st Jun 2004, 9:46pm

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HandGrenades

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Axeman, my computer crashed tard , so don't think I just gave up! I hope when I have everything installed again I could complete the plugin.


Thanks for your help! biggrin
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jun 2004, 5:31am

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Axeman

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No problem. If you have any other questions, just drop me a line.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jun 2004, 4:52pm

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HandGrenades

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Whoa man, you're not going to belive it, but I did it!! Thank's for everything Axeman and Brettsta. smilesmilesmilesmile


Now I have a little question for you redface : as you now I draw a muzzleflash but I don't know how to let some "glow" and transparency, because I don't want it to be a solid muzzle flash. I want it something like the breath vapour plug in, where the smoke it is not 100% opaque. I used the color range command, but it also selects some black of the background where the colour it's not solid/opaque enough.


Well, once again I hope you understand what I'm trying to say wink


PS: can you read what I say easily? I mean if you don't have to spend about 3 or 4 hours to understand what I'm saying. Thanks!
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jun 2004, 5:46pm

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Axeman

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I think I understand what you are saying. You want the finished muzzle flash to be semi-transparent, right?

The trick there is to adjust the transparency ONLY in the alpha channel. Make sure that in your actual image (RGB channel) there is no black showing through the colored part of your effect. The tricky parts are if there are multiple colors in your image, and if the edges feather out.

Here is one way to do it:

1. Look at each of your color channels (R, G, and B) to find the one with the most color info in it. Look for the one with the brightest whites.

2. Once you find it, select all and copy.

3. Now go to your alpha channel, and paste. this will transfer the transparency info you want directly into your alpha channel. If it is still not quite bright enough, use the Levels to adjust it a bit more.

4. Now go back to your RGB image and color in the edges if hey are feathered. Just color them in solid to beyond the edges of the alpha channel you just made. That should do it.


If your entire color image is transparent, it would probably be easier and quicker to just start over rather than trying to fix it.

If you get lost or confused trying to follow that, just let me know. I wrote it real quick from memory, so I might have screwed something up. I can help you work it out, though.