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Thread: Layering PNG images on a BSDF texture

  1. #1

    Layering PNG images on a BSDF texture

    I feel like a moron for asking what I have to assume is a very basic question
    But I'm still new to the 2019 materials/texturing. With the old "Standard" texturing you had the texture editor option (the 'T' next to the envelope 'E'), and it was effortless to layer as many png images on top of each other as you wanted. Basically I just want to have a base texture (an image node plugged into the 'color' input), then layer png logos and text on top of it.

    I know the Standard material is still available, but when using BSDF (or any of the other materials) how can I easily do this same 'stacked image' process? I know it's within the node editor, but the 1 way I got it to work was so unnecessarily complicated that it can't possibly be the 'correct' way. I'm expecting a really simple, obvious answer that will make me smack myself, but since I can't seem to find that answer... well, here I am.

    And just to sate my curiosity, what is the logic for removing the T button at all? At the very least, why isn't it still available in the 'image' node?

  2. #2
    Use the color layer node instead of image.
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  3. #3
    That's the one. Thank you kindly

  4. #4
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    I was having issues with pngs for some reason (no actual Photoshop on this system) so just broke things out to jpgs for image & alphas. These was a bit of "pat the head & rub the tummy" as some alphas wanted to be inverted & others didn't need to be where you'd think they would. Anyway, got a fairly clean structure for decal sort of surfacing now.

    One big reason for a nodal approach though is I could easily add an UV offset to fine tune placement. You don't have that option with the Layers node that I could find

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma3rk View Post
    I was having issues with pngs for some reason (no actual Photoshop on this system) so just broke things out to jpgs for image & alphas. These was a bit of "pat the head & rub the tummy" as some alphas wanted to be inverted & others didn't need to be where you'd think they would. Anyway, got a fairly clean structure for decal sort of surfacing now.

    One big reason for a nodal approach though is I could easily add an UV offset to fine tune placement. You don't have that option with the Layers node that I could find

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You plugged Luma to Bump.. What for?

    What for is this entire bottom "Invert All", and leftmost bottom "Alpha"?


    Try this:
    plug Red Color output to both Bg Color in Image (1) and Image (2),
    remove Image (3) together with connections to Image (2).. You plugged it to Opacity but your Bg Color is black, so it's pretty useless, I think..

    Image (2) must have alpha set to this yellow sign, so it'll mix with Bg Color properly.


    Is it not simpler this way?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    ..or how about this?
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    (and I could get rid of this Color node, and hardcode it in leftmost Image (1).
    Last edited by Sensei; 02-19-2020 at 02:19 PM.

  6. #6
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma3rk View Post
    One big reason for a nodal approach though is I could easily add an UV offset to fine tune placement. You don't have that option with the Layers node that I could find

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That's a lot of work just to add two decals, though (even reusing the U placement logic as you did). This is a great example of why "nodal everything" actually winds up being significantly less efficient than prior LW surfacing. If you had 5-10 decals on that object at different locations (still a very common use case), just imagine how cluttered that nodal flow would appear.

    The entire genre of "Decal"-like use cases on top of procedural and/or image textures is currently an inefficient mess in Lightwave compared to how LW2015 and prior worked. It's a prime candidate for a complete UI/UX rework. The current approach (each individual decal requires multiple nodes and connections, per node flow where used) is horribly non-scalable, and as-is, compounds can't significantly improve the situation.

    Meanwhile, "Decal"-type uses occur EVERYWHERE, with realistic surfacing commonly using significant numbers per object per nodal silo* (surface, displacement, etc.). It's much too common a use case for such a poorly-scaling solution. Fingers crossed LW2020 addresses this and related nodal surfacing issues, I guess.



    *: Third-party commercial plugins like DB&W Node Meister or TrueArt's Global Materials can help avoid replication across nodal silos. Unfortunately, they don't really reduce the number of nodes and connections required to manifest a decal within a single node flow.
    Last edited by jwiede; 02-19-2020 at 02:23 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwiede View Post
    That's a lot of work just to add two decals, though (even reusing the U placement logic as you did). This is a great example of why "nodal everything" actually winds up being significantly less efficient than prior LW surfacing. If you had 5-10 decals on that object at different locations (still a very common use case), just imagine how cluttered that nodal flow would appear.
    Hmm.. not really.. you just have to know what you are doing..
    It is just two Image nodes:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    Hmm.. not really.. you just have to know what you are doing..
    It is just two Image nodes:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Your node flow doesn't replicate the same requirements, flexibilities, and behaviors as Ma3rk's presented node flow -- for example, by typing the U/V offsets into the image nodes manually, they're no longer accessible (limiting ability to reuse / flexibility for relative decal placement present in Ma3rk's). Ma3rk's node flow clearly has a few errors, but the shared positioning, occlusion behaviors, etc. he intended are quite clear.

    After modifying your flow to providing the same parameterized relative positioning capability, separate handling for occlusion vs transparency, etc. as what Ma3rk's provides, your flow would be around the same overall nodal complexity (and exhibiting the same scalability problems).
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  9. #9
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    You plugged Luma to Bump.. What for?

    What for is this entire bottom "Invert All", and leftmost bottom "Alpha"?


    Try this:
    plug Red Color output to both Bg Color in Image (1) and Image (2),
    remove Image (3) together with connections to Image (2).. You plugged it to Opacity but your Bg Color is black, so it's pretty useless, I think..

    Image (2) must have alpha set to this yellow sign, so it'll mix with Bg Color properly.


    Is it not simpler this way?
    Looks like it might be. I'll give that a look certainly. I mostly fumble around with Nodes until something seems to work.

    I think on the Luma to Bump, I wasn't actually getting Bump. The bottom "Invert All" is just a left over name; think there's only one inverted layer now. Remember what I was saying about the Rub 'n Tap? Factor that in with mild dyslexia and well ...

    Oh, what format are your images? Pngs?

    Need to review RH's series again when I get back home.

    Thanks Sensei.
    Last edited by Ma3rk; 02-19-2020 at 11:12 PM.
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    Founding member raymondtrace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma3rk View Post
    I was having issues with pngs for some reason (no actual Photoshop on this system) so just broke things out to jpgs for image & alphas. ...
    There are plenty of other free options to generate transparent PNG files. That can cut down half the node work. https://krita.org/ is a good option for those familiar with Photoshop.
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  11. #11
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymondtrace View Post
    There are plenty of other free options to generate transparent PNG files. That can cut down half the node work. https://krita.org/ is a good option for those familiar with Photoshop.
    I'll be back home next week but will take a look none the less. The Channels panel in Affinity Photo was closed & should have been open, so will need to see if png's are showing correctly.
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  12. #12
    Founding member raymondtrace's Avatar
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    I missed that you had Affinity Photo. There's no need for Krita then.

    Beware that different image editors may manipulate transparent PNG files in different ways. There may not be any alpha representation in a channels panel. Ideally, the transparency may only be reflected in the layers panel.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwiede View Post
    That's a lot of work just to add two decals, though (even reusing the U placement logic as you did). This is a great example of why "nodal everything" actually winds up being significantly less efficient than prior LW surfacing. If you had 5-10 decals on that object at different locations (still a very common use case), just imagine how cluttered that nodal flow would appear.

    A lot of nodes ≠ a lot of work.

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