Alpha Channel Textures

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Alpha Channel Textures

Postby Tutorial on Fri Mar 25, 2005 11:05 am

category
Texture Creation

description
Alpha Channel is the fancy name for see through parts of a texture, like girders or a fence.

keywords
alpha, channel, textures, texture.

Ok, this tutorial is all about textures.

Alpha Channel textures is all about opacity/translucanty on Textures.
It's a great way to make grates, windows fences and other stuff thats translucent.

What you need is:
"Photoshop" (Working with PS:CS so i dont know if it works with lower)
Knowledge of compiling textures (see Tutorial)

Step one is a easy way to make a window with a rysty metalframe. I recomend doing the first step to be able to make only the Window transparent. If not use this image.

Image




1.Make a new image, Size 256x256. Choose a grayish color [#828282]. Make a new layer. Name it "Metal" and fill it.

Now click on Filter/Artistic/Film Grain, set the sliders to:

Grain: 6
Highlightarea: 0
Intensity: 1
Press Ok.

You should get a picture that looks like this.

Image

Now click on Filter/Artistic/Underpainting and use these settings:

Brush Size: 0
Texture Coverage: 40
Texture: Sandstone
Scaling: 50%
Relief: 8
Light: Top
"Uncheck Invert"
Press OK

The image should look something like this.

Image

Now for the rust.

Make a new layer and name it "Rust". Choose a brownish color [#944D00] and have black as secondary color.

Now click on Filter/Render/Clouds.

Highlight the "Rust" layer and click Image/Adjustments/""Brightness/Contrst""

Now set the contrast to "+40" and press OK

Click the Blending roledown and chose overlay.

Image

Highlight the "Rust" layer. That merges the rustlayer with the layer under it, in ouer case it should be the "Metal" layer.

The result should be something like this.
Image

Now for the window. Turn on grid for some help. (Fastes way is Ctrl + ' or go to View/Show/Grid)
Now go to Edit/Preferences/Guides, Grid & Slices.

Set "Gridline every:" to 16 "Pixels"

Now select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), Set the feather to "1 Px".
Make a select box with a border of 1 gridbox.

Now chose Select/Modify/Contract and contract by 2 pixels. Delete the selection (Delete)

Highlight the "Background" layer and make a new layer, Name it "Window".
Fill it with a darkbluish color [#19191F].
Make another layer and Render it with clouds (Use primary color white secondary black "Filter/Render/Clouds" )

Change the Blending to overlay and merge the clouds layer with "Window" layer.


Voila the window is done. Should look something like this.

Image



2. Alpha channel uses grayscale colors to controll transparency, the darker an area is on the textures alpha chanell the more transparensy it has. And the otherway around with white.

In the layers window switch to channels.

We need to duplicate one channels, Red, Green, Blue.
It's always good to use the whitet one. If can't find the whitest one try duplicating one at a time to check them. But for now we will go with "Red".

Drag the Red chanell on the New layer button.

Image


That should create a whole new channel named "Red Copy".

Make sure that there's no selected areas and that "Red copy" (Alpha channel) is selected
Click on Image/Adjustments/""Brightness/Contrst"" and set the Brightness to about -45 and Contrast to about -70. Press OK.


Now go back to layers and CTRT + Click the "Metal" layer. (The Rusty metal border)
Go back to channels and click "Red Copy" Channel.
Press "Shift + Backspace". A Fill window should pop up, Use white as fill color. Press OK.

The selected area around the border should be white. The Red Channel should look like this

Image

The white color makes the Metal a solid part of the texture.

Now save the image as a .TGA image (Targa), name it "window_test"

3. Compile the image. ( Tutorial


4. Now comes the fun part. Lets script the texture. First of find the compiled image. When you've found the map look for a file named window_test.VMT

Open the .VMT file as a txt document.

Now there should be a piece of script already, that looks like this.

"LightmappedGeneric"
{
"$baseTexture" "texturedir/window_test"
}


Now we need to add 1 row of script


"LightmappedGeneric"
{
"$Translucent" 1
"$baseTexture" "texturedir/window_test"
"$nocull" 1
}


Notice that i Put 2 rows insted of 1.

("$translucent" 1) This command gives hammer/game the command to use the Alpha channel we added in photoshop as a transparency layer.

("$nocull" 1) This command gives hammer/game the command to use the face on both sides of the face. NOTICE !!! To show a face both ways the brush has to use a func_
Best thing to use is a func_wall. But to show on the other side it allso has to be a few units thick or have a similar texture on the other side.

Examples.

Red is the texture with $nocull command

Black is nodraw texture

Working:

||

||

|_|



Not working:

|_|



Check hammer and test the texture out.

Should be transparent in hammer to.


Well that was all I had to write about Alpha channels


EDIT:

Heres an example of a fire escape.

Image



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Postby Rick_D on Wed Aug 03, 2005 1:29 pm

this is impossible to follow properly - how about a tutorial on how to make anything a transparent texture - not just your one.
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Postby zombie@computer on Wed Aug 03, 2005 1:59 pm

please dont promote the use of func_walls. these entities are totally obsolete and redundant in hl2. They are just there for portability with hl1 made maps. Instead, use a func_brush or func_detail (but i dont know which one of these works with nocull)
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Re: Alpha Channel Textures

Postby YokaI on Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:52 pm

Tutorial wrote:"Photoshop" (Working with PS:CS so i dont know if it works with lower)


There is a mod out there for PS7 alpha layer creation:
The TARGA Plugin which allows you to create transparent alpha layers such as custom sprays. how do i know this works? i use it :P and it seems to work just fine.

Though it doesnt work the same way as this does, there is a bit more steps and hotkeys you need to memorize but it only takes a while.
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Postby Rick_D on Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:41 am

Ok, here's how I fxed my problem:

Using any method to make a transarent texture, I opened it in Photoshop 7, and went through the steps.

Changing to Channel mode and adding a new channel (simply clicking the new channel button). I then switched back to Layer mode and Ctrl + Right Click-ed the name of the Layer.

This highlighted the image, I then hit Shift + Backspace to bring up the fill menu. Chose White as the fill colour.

Clicked anywhere with the Marquee tool to deselect the image highlight.

Then I saved it as a .tga in my:

cstrike/materialsrc/my map name folder.


I opened the VMT Create program and went through the motions to create my texture.

I had to rotate and flip it in Photoshop to get it to align correctly on certain walls in the editor but that's not a lot of hassle.

Far simpler than the method above. In fact this is quite a bad tutorial imho.

If I wanted to know how to make a transparent texture I would go to a Photoshop tutorial site, kthnxbye
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Postby YokaI on Thu Aug 04, 2005 1:17 pm

Gabriel Logan wrote:Ok, here's how I fxed my problem:

Using any method to make a transarent texture, I opened it in Photoshop 7, and went through the steps.

Changing to Channel mode and adding a new channel (simply clicking the new channel button). I then switched back to Layer mode and Ctrl + Right Click-ed the name of the Layer.

This highlighted the image, I then hit Shift + Backspace to bring up the fill menu. Chose White as the fill colour.

Clicked anywhere with the Marquee tool to deselect the image highlight.

Then I saved it as a .tga in my:

cstrike/materialsrc/my map name folder.


I opened the VMT Create program and went through the motions to create my texture.

I had to rotate and flip it in Photoshop to get it to align correctly on certain walls in the editor but that's not a lot of hassle.

Far simpler than the method above. In fact this is quite a bad tutorial imho.

If I wanted to know how to make a transparent texture I would go to a Photoshop tutorial site, kthnxbye


Yes yes, but for photoshot 7 you need the Targa plugin (posted on screen before)

But you got it all right :D
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Postby Rick_D on Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:05 am

I didn't use the targa plug-in and I could save to .tga
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Postby Sfisher7 on Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:32 am

Is there anyway to do this with PSP 8?
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Postby Shr3d on Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:54 am

i skim read it, seems like you can do it with ps 7+
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Postby Rick_D on Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:27 pm

Yeah - it's all the same shit in the end. If you can do this in a lower version you can guarantee you can do it with a higer.


Also, I'm not sure about following his method.
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Postby somerandomnerd on Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:29 pm

I think 7.0 changed the way alpha channels are saved. 7.1 changed it back, because although the new way was technically better, it was inconvenient for existing workflows (such as this one.)
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Postby Rick_D on Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:47 am

Well like I said - I had absolutely no problems doing this with 7.0

It's just this tutorial I have a problem with.
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Re: Alpha Channel Textures

Postby warlord on Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:13 am

("$nocull" 1) This command gives hammer/game the command to use the face on both sides of the face. NOTICE !!! To show a face both ways the brush has to use a func_
Best thing to use is a func_wall. But to show on the other side it allso has to be a few units thick or have a similar texture on the other side.


this is a redundant wording

nocull makes the texture show on both sides of a FACE so youd want the other side of the brush to have the nodraw texture
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Re: Alpha Channel Textures

Postby Captain Terror on Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:56 am

I've tried to make go through this tutorial 3 times and i have to be honest it's a little infuriating that i can't really follow it, sorry. Author seems to know what he is doing but doesn't convey it very well. =(
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Re: Alpha Channel Textures

Postby Saxon on Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:31 am

It's not a very good tutorial to be honest. If you want to make a transparent texture, the simplest point to note:

Transparency setting for a layer will determinte how transparent it appears in game. So just play around with the opacity settings for your layers in Photoshop, then save the VTF with Alpha Channel support. Bam! Done.
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