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starbase1
08-31-2005, 09:42 AM
This sounds seriously dumb, but I just realised I have never done it before...
:bangwall:

I have a nice spaceship, all panelled up with nice procedural textures, coming along very nicely. :rock:

Now I want to overlay an image map - so I can do things like put the ship name down the side, and add some fine detail, seuch as small labels and stuff.

It's roughly cylindrical, so making UV's should not be a problem, (or just applying as a cylindrical map I guess...).

But I just realised I have no idea of the best way to make a partly transparent image map layer that LW will accept! :screwy:

Can anyone point me the right way?
:question:

Dodgy
08-31-2005, 10:36 AM
If you add an alpha channel to the image and paint black in the areas you want to be transparent, when you apply that image as a layer, the ablack areas will be transparent and you'll be able to see your procedural textures beneath.

starbase1
08-31-2005, 10:48 AM
Thanks Dodgy - are you aware of any tutorials on the net covering this sort of alpha channel info?

Also what is the best image format for preserving this information - I use Photoshop Elements 2 for 2d graphics stuff.

Thanks, Nick

MonroePoteet
08-31-2005, 10:26 PM
In paint programs, it's regularly called a "mask" or a "selection" rather than an alpha channel. I use Corel's PhotoPaint rather than PhotoShop, but I think the concept and operation is similar. My understanding is that "mask" is the complement of a "selection": a "selection" includes the surrounded imagery, while a "mask" excludes it.

I almost always use Targa to go between PhotoPaint and LW. It automatically includes the "selection" (i.e. alpha channel) if I've got anything selected. I use feathered masks (i.e. blurred edges) a lot. I'd recommend checking out whatever documentation PhotoShop has on "masks" and "selections", create a few test images with selections, save as Targa format, and import into LW.

I could be totally off base as to how this works in PhotoShop, but it works like a charm in PhotoPaint.

mTp

starbase1
09-02-2005, 01:18 AM
OK, I've now got it working, after a bit of mucking about I settled on .PNG, which seems to work fine, (though not in Open GL on my system for some reason.)

Anyway, on the odd off chance that someone else might find it usfeul, here's my test image, also a copy of my test image map - which I plan to use as a template to identify where I need to draw stuff on the map. I.e. apply this forst and see where the letters end up before I start drawing!

Thanks, Nick

Surrealist.
09-02-2005, 02:17 AM
EDIT: I didn't see Dodgy's post but here it is anyway. Maybe there's some stuff here for someone else. :)

I thought I'd jump in and tell you about a thing I have been messing with. I am not at all a surfacing wizard but one thing you might find uselful for applying some decals is the following basic tecnique which is useful for many types of aplications:

Less work in photoshop more work in LW but some interesting flexibility in lightwave with colors and so on.

1) In your paint program just create all of your image (lettering) with black on white. No need to worry about alpha channels or anytthing. Just make sure the images are of course of high enough resolution.

This can be anything from decal shapes letters whatever.

2) In the surface editor you now have an image that will act as a filter or mask for whatever you want to send through it.

After loading this black and white image into a layer you first position it however you want - be it UV or whatever. For a decal a goal object as a reference might be one way depending on the surface

If you use UV of course the loaction is constant to it kind of eliminates the following.

If it is any other kind of map just make sure you have it positioned where you want it first, then the fun begins.

By turning this layer into an alpha it now becomes a filter. Add a value procedural below it and you have color etc.

So if it is ther letter A for instance, now you can use lightwave color picker right in lightwave to match it with the surface color and change either right there to compensate. No going back and forth because under the lighting it's too blue, get it?

Now you can use this image above anything you want to show through be it a procedrual, gradient, another image etc. All you do is keep copying this layer and pasting it where ever you want to add an effect on the decal.

Then of course you have diffuse, bump maps, spec, reflection maps and so on.

The reason I like this idea is because there are more things in lightwave such as lighting that can effect a surface and the idea of being able to tweek the clolor and attributes right there in the scene is linda neet.

Just some ideas.

starbase1
09-02-2005, 03:24 AM
Thanks for the tip surrealist, I can see how that works. If I understand correctly though, this will effectively only give me one colour / texture per map. This seems a severe constraint?
:question:

But it's always a good idea to think of all the channels and options!
:agree:

This is for a good old fashioned spaceship. I generally apply the panels and rivets in the diffuse and bump channels ONLY - this means that the panels are also applied to the maps, without having to do anthing clever. Here's a test sample from the spaceship - for this image only. I have exgerated the variation between panels. (And the big letters are also just a test, unless I decide to model Star Fleet's USS Sesame Street in future). :D

Cheers, Nick

DavidL
09-02-2005, 07:30 AM
Nick,
I really like the blue/grey panel texture you have applied there. Did you create it yourself? If so, could you explain how? I have tried creating similar ship panels in the past and they just never look right. I don't even see the pattern repeating anywhere.

Thanks,
David

starbase1
09-02-2005, 09:02 AM
Nope, I used the highly recommended IFW2 shaders. They come with tons of options for rivets, rust and smearing, as well as the basic panels. Loads or preset surfaces also included. I've attached 4 samples of the panels:

As you observe, the 'disturb' parameter, which breaks up the regularity of them is very handy for a more beleivable look. Colours, (or intensity if you have colour turned off) also varies randomly.

http://www.shaders.org/ifw2_textures/

You get loads of others as well, but I particularly like the panels. No connection, apart from being a happy customer.

Nick

Dodgy
09-02-2005, 09:07 AM
The panels is good, but I use the special fx shader even more gives you all sorts of power to alter how your object is shaded, from just adding goraud blinn etc, to adding gradients dependent on how well the object is illuminated and all sorts of effects..

Definitely recommend this set of shaders for the price.

starbase1
09-02-2005, 10:25 AM
Ah - I don't think I have reallyplayed with that one - got any sample images of what it is good for?

Cheers,
Nick

DavidL
09-02-2005, 10:28 AM
Thanks so much for the info! I just ordered the upgrade to LW9, I wonder if the changes to the shader system will have any effect on a plugin like that.

starbase1
09-02-2005, 03:50 PM
I'd be very surprised if it didn't work straight out the box - and Richard's support has always been excellent in my experience. (Though I think he's about to go on holiday, from comments made on the IFW list...)

Nick

Dodgy
09-02-2005, 06:08 PM
There are too many effects in that shader to list them all, but here's two, a skin shader which uses diffuse to add an illustration like red tint to the skin as it gets darker, and a sketch style effect on a santa can.

There's also dozens more, including an ambient occlusion shader, gooch shader (for product visualization), wrapped diffuse for SSS STYLE shading, (not actual sss or as slow as sss), a skin shader, rim light shader and all sorts.

All the IFW SHADERS can be stacked (as well as the textures) and use one shader to affect some aspects of the shaders above them. For example with the weightmap shader, you can use weightmaps to control how big the scales on a dinosaur are.

Surrealist.
09-02-2005, 06:19 PM
Thanks for the tip surrealist, I can see how that works. If I understand correctly though, this will effectively only give me one colour / texture per map. This seems a severe constraint?

Well acrtually just the opposite. The idea is, it opens up the possibilities pretty much endlessly. It is all in how yo want to work. If you like working and creating texutres in Photoshop then of course, go that route. It does not replace photoshop by anymeans but it's just another way to look at it.

Think of this as your basic mask. Like if you were airbrushing or something. Basically everything comes through this mask. So from there you just stack any other things on top and they all come though.

Just put the image aboave anything you want to see and stack things up accordingly.

I just threw this together to illustrate. It does not have to be proecdurals it can be images or whatever. If you want a series of letters with each its own color you could do that I suppose with a simple BW mask and slide it along and keep stacking endlessly. There would be many ideas of course for that such as separate letter images and so on.

Again just some ideas to toss into the mix.

Surrealist.
09-02-2005, 06:31 PM
There are too many effects in that shader to list them all, but here's two, a skin shader which uses diffuse to add an illustration like red tint to the skin as it gets darker, and a sketch style effect on a santa can.

There's also dozens more, including an ambient occlusion shader, gooch shader (for product visualization), wrapped diffuse for SSS STYLE shading, (not actual sss or as slow as sss), a skin shader, rim light shader and all sorts.

All the IFW SHADERS can be stacked (as well as the textures) and use one shader to affect some aspects of the shaders above them. For example with the weightmap shader, you can use weightmaps to control how big the scales on a dinosaur are.


That sounds like a nice shader. It looks like something I have been looking for.

Great tip. I'm going to check it out.

EDIT: Oh, that series. OK I have been away from it for a while. Anyway I have been looking for a gouache shader or something similar. I didn't see it. Which series is that a part of and can you provide an example?

shadersrjj
09-03-2005, 04:11 AM
If you would like to see a few of the shader examples you can check out the following thread:

http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=31615&highlight=ifw2

RJJ

shadersrjj
09-03-2005, 09:43 AM
Something did occur to me if you own IFW2 Textures.

http://www.shaders.org/ifw2_textures/ifw2_decals.jpg

RJJ
IFW2 Textures - www.shaders.co.uk

starbase1
09-03-2005, 10:59 AM
Thanks for the tip - I do not appear to have that one in the shaders, I have not upgraded for some time now... Maybe time to think about it!
:thumbsup:

Meanwhile here's how the logo over the panels is coming along...

Surrealist.
09-03-2005, 05:13 PM
If you would like to see a few of the shader examples you can check out the following thread:

http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=31615&highlight=ifw2

RJJ


Thanks for that. As it turns out I was looking at the old site.

Also, Which one is this?:

Dodgy
09-03-2005, 06:00 PM
The amb occlusion in the FX shader.