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This tutorial is designed for plug-ins with only the following specifications:
Objects (ships, planes, swords, cars, tanks, whatever)
As many variations as you would like (up to 16)
Still frames or animations, but each variation must have the same number of frames.
It is in two sections, the first section is for creating the images in Photoshop and preparing them for building the plug-in. I use Photoshop 7.0 because that is what I have, although other image editors should be capable of the same results. The second section for creating the actual plug-in in Plugger. Section 2 can actually be used to build any single layer, alpha channel based plug-in, even if it is not an object-based effect.
SECTION 1: Creating the images for your plug-in
1) If you have created the image(s) for your plug-in in a 3D application, you should be able to render them as a TIFF with an alpha channel, and skip to SECTION 2. If you are using photos of your object, or 3D renders without alpha channels, continue to step 2.
2) Open your image in Photoshop. Select your object, using whichever selection tool you prefer.
3) Once you have it selected, open the Channels palette. This is where you will create a new alpha channel. At the bottom of the palette, there is a toolbar with a trash can and several buttons. Click on the Save Selection as Channel button. It looks like a shaded rectangle with a white circle in it.
4) Choose File > Save As... and save your image as a tiff if it isn’t already. Give it whatever name you like. (If you have several variations, numbering them is a good idea. If your plug-in will be animated, number them 01, 02, 03,... 10,11,12, etc. If there are more than 100 frames, number them 001, 002...021,022...100, 101,etc.)
5) Repeat steps 2 through 4 for each other image of each variation.
After you have created Alpha channels for each image, you must organize them in preparation for creating the plug-in.
6) Create a New Folder on your desktop, and name it New Plug-ins. (you can actually name it whatever you like, and put it wherever you like on your computer, but if you use these settings it will be easier to follow along with the tutorial.)
7) Inside the New Plug-ins folder, create a folder for each variation of your plug-in, and number them (variation 01, variation 02, etc.). Place the image(s) for each variation into their corresponding folder.
Choose one image to be the Background Title Image of you plug-in. This will become the picture behind the name of your plug-in when it is completed. Remember or write down the location of this image.
If the plug-in is animated, select one image from each variation to be the Preview Icon for its respective variation.
If the plug-in is all still images, each image will become its own Preview Icon.
You are now ready to move on to SECTION 2 and create your plug-in.
SECTION 2: Building the Plug-in
1) Open Plugger, and click the New button. You will see the Effect Information... screen with several blank fields.
2)Fill in the fields appropriately.
Number of Layers: 1
Number of Variations: However many you have
Effect Name: Select a name for your plug-in. It must be alphanumeric (only letters or numbers, no symbols and no spaces. If you need a space, use _). It must be at least 3 letters long.
Effect Maker: Your name goes here. (again, alphanumeric)
Web Site: If you have one, type the address here.
There are also two check boxes below the fields.
The effect animation a loop?
If your plug-in is still frames, you will want to loop it. Click in the box. If your plug-in is animated, only click the box if the animation is loopable.
Change start resolution?
Don’t click the box
3) Click on the Define Layers button.
4) If you clicked the Loop check box in the Effects Information... screen you will now see the Loop Length pop-up window. Type 30. Click OK.
5) You will now get another pop-up window. Read it and click OK. In the next window, Select the Background Title Image you chose in SECTION 1, Step 8. Click Open.
6) You will now see the Attribute Names pop-up window. Leave both fields blank and click OK.
7) You will now see the Effect Script pop-up window. Leave all 5 fields blank and click OK.
Now you get the Layer Ink pop-up window. From the menu, select Overlay Ink, and click OK.
9) At the next pop-up window, read it and click OK.
10) The next window is where you select the image for your Variation 1 Preview Icon. It should be here: Desktop > New Plug-ins > Variation 01 > image 01. Click Open.
11) Read the pop-up and click OK.
12)Select the folder containing the image(s) for variation 1. Desktop > New Plug-ins > Variation 1. Click Choose.
Repeat steps 9 through 12 for each variation of your plug-in.
13) When you have completed all variations, you will see the Help Text pop-up window. Click OK. You will return to the main Plugger Window.
14) Click the Assemble button. Read the pop-up and click OK.
15) Select the folder where you would like Plugger to place your completed plug-in. Click Choose. Now plugger kicks in and builds the plug-in out of all your pieces. When it is finished, you will see the New button in the lower left corner of the Plugger window. Your plug-in is now complete. Quit Plugger, load your plug-in in AlamDV2, and try it out.
Let me know if this helps you guys who want to start creating your own plug-ins. Do I need to simplify it more? Explain what you are actually doin a little better? Or is it good? Should I do similar tutorials for different types of effects?