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i found a program with alpha transparency, grayscale, and png(3 main things you need to make a texture)- try www.gimp.org, its free and it works great for Windows, Mac, and even Linux.
Yea, i just played around with GIMP, its excellent
to make a texture with it:
(1)to make your own image a texture:
1. select an image(from my pictures...etc.)-->right-click-->"Edit with GIMP"(cannot be bmp, anything else like jpg will be fine)
3.right-click(on image)-->Layer-->transparency-->"Add Alpha Channel"
4.right-click(||)-->file-->save as-->(type filename)-->choose save folder-->click "select file type(extention)", and scroll down to PNG.
the image is now available as a texture.
Note: you dont always have to right click on the image, its in the menu toolbar at the top.
(2)to draw your own texture:
2.File-->New-->choose pixel dimensions-512x512p or 256x256
3.click Advanced Options-->Color Space-->Grayscale
5.(optional)put in a comment
6.click the GIMP main window(not the drawing window, the actual program)-->select a tool-->(preferably brush or airbrush for drawing)
7.in bottom half of window, next to "Brush:" click the mini-image and choose a brush stroke
8.open your Canvas window
9.click the main GIMP window(one with all the tools on it) and below the tools there are two colored squares. click one and change to the color you like, you will paint that color(this only works on RGB mode, for general drawing, but to create a texure, i generally suggest you dont use this step)
then save it, following step 4 (top)
you have created a drawn texture
Tip: when drawing a texture, be sure not to draw close to the edges or else your texture will look like a bunch of squares, so keep it far from the edges
Note: on step 9, you only need to color it to see the path of your brush stroke. because when you import the texture into Effects/VisionLab, it will be gray, the color of the texture will change only if you change it in the particle color picker.
also, I have never actually taken a REAL pic with a camera and done the same thing, i just use some images off of google, but im sure the same steps apply to actual images YOU take
I hope you like the program and the little mini-tutorial i just typed