Jump to content
KpgQuop

HS129 4k Plea for help re Alpha Channels

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

O.K. So much for the WIP pictures. Apologies for that.😟 What's with this -200 error when I try to post images?

 

Any road, I've attempted to create a 4K template  for the HS129. Though this is the first time I've attempted this sort of work, I wouldn't be troubling you if I thought it had no merit at all. However, I've arrived at a point where I need to think about Alpha Channels in Photoshop CS3 and I have no clue whatsoever about these things - Ive got nothing.

 

If a knowledgable skinning artist could help by describing the process so that a simpleton could understand, or showing the way to a tutorial on the matter, I'm getting to the point where I'd weep with gratitude.

 

Here are some possibly relevant considerations...

 

  • My image is RGB colour 8 bits /channel
  • The template contains no masks. I have no idea what these things are supposed to do.
  • https://imgur.com/pjUZ1Ap

 

The link above takes you to Imgur and a WIP shot. Things have progressed since this shot was taken. I've refined the spinners and blades for various units and completed the shadow layers. Wear and tear still to be added. I'll release a factory fresh version for criticism and suggestions before this is complete. Later versions will incorporate feedback. The pannel lines and rivets look a little agricultural, especially under a 4k normal map. I'd prefer to edit these under  an Alpha layer. It may be my imagination - like I say, this is my first go at skinning etc - but I suspect an alpha channel may influence editing decisions in this area. 

 

Thank you for reading and I look forward to presenting this work for your consideration.

Edited by KpgQuop
I am not a clever man. Edit 2 includes imgur link to WIP screenshot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Il-2, the alpha channel controls certain properties of the material (e.g. how shiny it is). The final appearance of your skin heavily depends on this fourth value (in addition to RGB). This is entirely distinct from masks in Photoshop. 

 

I’ve never made skins, so I don’t know the details. However, the topic has been discussed in earlier threads.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly Kudos to you for doing this. cant help with PS3 as im stuck in a gimp groove but I can describe the process. 

 

Think of the alpha channel as a Greyscale version of the finished skin. The gods of graphics within the game (read I don't know how) see greyscale as matte sheen, reactiveness and bloom..   LIke the skin its made up of all (or many) of the layers that are then flattened to produce a single image which sits in the channels and is then called upon to be added to the RGB merged image just before exporting. 

 

Perhaps the easiest way FOR ME (every one has their way this is mine) of doing this is to produce a second template from the main one (a copy). Then turn each of the layers to greyscale. This helps to keeps things manageable and also keeps your layers in the correct order (dirt over paint etc) so you can better adjust and control them. It also reduces the risk of me loosing RGB work if I accidentally save in gimp whilst the image is merged. 

 

Dependent on the skin there are layers that you may not need to bother with. Stencils and insignia for instance may be just as matte as the over all paint so may not need to be included (especially since you may want to do several versions with different markings down the line) - same goes for painted camo - keep it all the same. Over the course of producing this you'll be able to identify layers that you don't really need and discard them to make the template more streamlined. Later  nose art or markings for a particular skin can be added in to the basic adjusted template later treated to make them look fresher or more glossy if needed.

 

In gimp at least,  ive also found that reducing the contrast to zero on a greyscale gives the layer a neutral (50) V Value. this can be a decent starting point. 

 

This is a good guide to the basics- although its for gimp the principles remain the same

 

There are of course some very rough cheats too but these are never satisfactory so don't tread the path - the most common is taking a finished skin image, greyscaling it and lowering the V value to make it more matte - the big problem here is that its likely to be unbalanced but bigger still is that many of the dark tones will be even darker and become transparent in the game leading to ugly holes all over the place. 

 

When is comes to rivets and screw heads and other such details, have a look around the other templates and approach the creators to see if they are happy for you to copy something you see and like for yours. Most will only too happy to help and give tips. Being public templates I guess you could just rip em but manners is manners. If you are really wanting it all to be you own work - take an ICDP, Zargos, BHH and RafiGER template and study how they have produced them.

 

The only other advice I can give you is not to trust the viewer to judge the alpha!!  You need to see the skin in game otherwise you may end up making the whole ting too matte which can take away from some of the subtle stressed metal effects you can add in the normal map (which will be your next source of angst!!)

 

 

Good Luck!!

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@KpgQuop

 

It is not too difficult as it seems in the beginning :) Like BOO already pointed it out you need to transfer your template into a grey scale image, sorting out all stencils or marks that are not use to prepare an Alpha Layer.

 

This is my base Alpha Layer of my Bf-109 G14 Template:

RaFiGer-Bf-109-G14-4k-Alpha-V001a.thumb.jpg.bbd9cbd8b8483ba8c8baa5a1a56eb8da.jpg

 

As you see I darken all part of the fuselage and wing areas to have the skin not shinning anymore. The values of the greyscale define the "shinning" or matte effect of the skin in Game.

Some area I would like to be shining, so they are made in a light (white) colour). If you want to have a detail blackend out (transparent, not visible) you have to do it complete black, as you see the area around the wheels.

 

Try it in that way and experiment until you get a decent result which satisfied you :)

 

One think is important:

If you have "holes" that are black, they will show up as transparent real holes in Game, so you have to blend them with a darker gry tone, so that they are show as black in Game :)

 

Edited by RaFiGer
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Mitthrawnuruodo, Boo, Rafiger and Raptorattacker (via pm)

 

Thank you all for responding with insights into what is proving to be something of an issue for me.

 

From what I can tell, getting an alpha channel onto a template isn't rocket science; yet there's something screamingly obvious that I'm neglecting. Sometimes the alpha channel looks red, sometimes white, sometimes black and it never would have crossed my mind to convert anything to greyscale, were it not for your  - Oh Lord - more than valuable recommendations. I'll flail around a bit more until I get it right, but give me strength sweet powers, I don't want to test anybody's patience with this.

 

@RaFiGer, When this template does see the light of day, it'll be yours, not mine. Well, I'll take credit for the mistakes I've introduced. However, the whole process has been one of reverse engineering your indispensible 2k template, from the bottom layer up, in 4k res. I'll get your permission before I release anything.

 

Thanks again for your help everybody and have a smashing weekend.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@KpgQuop

 

Thank you very much, but if you do this Template don't thank me, it is your work and I'm always glad to help like that's what this community shows again & again!

 

Have a nice weekend too :)

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so grateful for all your replies. Thank you.

 

I'm pleased to report that I've stumbled, chortling and scratching myself, into the brave new world of alpha channels.

 

Oh happy day!!!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I give blows to the alpha issue, but when you do, that you stay well.:soldier:

Edited by E69_julian57
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

    Hi !

While working with the new skin i spoiled the alpha channel without making a copy of this channel (my error) and i can not unscrew what i've done.

Itried to copy this channel from the original template but it does not work,  if anyone knows thr recipe for this problem, please help.

 

 

  Regards !

 

 

 

Edited by 8ELT_Grzesiek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Grzesiek

 

What have you named the alpha channel you copied from the original template? It should be Alpha 1.

 

If this doesn't fix the issue, get back to us with a few details and I'm sure between us we can find a solution.

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello

This is about Alpha 1.

I just started experimenting with this channel and it worked out poorly, I tried to "transplant" Alpha 1 from the original template in place of this broken but it does not go well. If you can not do anything about it, then I'm throwing my layers into the original template.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, 8ELT_Grzesiek said:

Hello

 

This is about Alpha 1.

 

I just started experimenting with this channel and it worked out poorly, I tried to "transplant" Alpha 1 from the original template in place of this broken but it does not go well. If you can not do anything about it, then I'm throwing my layers into the original template.

 

 

 

I use Gimp - not sure if PS works the same way but id imagine its similar

 

first make sure all the corrupted alphas are disabled of deleted from both the channel dialog AND your layers list. These are the ones that appear BELOW the primary channels - do not touch the primary ones.

 

Next take the alpha 1 from the original template and drag it into the main view area of your template (clicking the top layer in your template first should put this dragged layer at the top of your "Layers" list"  If it doesn't automatically go to the top, move it there).

 

If its enabled (in gimp the eye will show next to the layer) then disable it. You'll know its enabled f everything is grayscale (provided its the top layer)

 

Now drag the Alpha 1 from the layers list to the channel dialog making sure is remains disabled once moved.

 

That should be it. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Thanks to BOO for help, I use the PS I looked a little on the net and it turned out that copying the layer is very simple. In fact, I am a total amateur and a lot of learning in front of me.

 

Edited by 8ELT_Grzesiek
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rough guide

 

225 - matt spec and reflections
200 - matter spec glossy reflec
186 - matt spec glossy reflec
175 - satin spec glossy reflec
155 - 100 glossy spec and reflec
85 - gloss weak reflec
75 - glossier weak reflec
50 - satin weak/no reflec
25  - matt weak/no reflec
10 - very matt weak/no reflec
5 - extreme matt no reflec

 

Unfortunately the strength of the specular, ie how "tight" or spread out the specular is seems to be determined by some shader values that are in the .mgm file.

1157274348_wewlads.png.e204bc409d3b6a712401276db76d693e.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×