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Post  john13 Tue 28 Jul 2020, 7:33 pm

So, I've been poking and prodding at a couple of my older 3DC creations. One of them I've now updated as the 'real' beast has been modified somewhat since I first started ( all those years ago ) It'll be 'St Cadvan'- one of Talyllyn's Baguley diesels, and I've rescaled it to 2X as the TR route or MSTS was a 2Xversion. One that's done a change of textures should make the other loco -'Trecwn' available.

I'm now at a stage where I want to make the windows for the cab. I'd managed this in the past using a free version of 'PaintshopPro' which no longer runs on my PC. I've started building the relevant texture file using Paint.Net, but don't seem to be getting the manipulation right to get a working TGA image - the rest of the temporary textures are OK (as TGA ) but the 'window' doesn't appear translucent. I can get it working in GIMP but I'm finding that rather clumsy/challenging to be honest. Id really appreciate either a quick run down or a pointer to a reasonable tutorial. I've tried some of the Paint.Net tutorials but I must be mis-understanding the critical bits of 'how to'
Thanks in anticipation!

John

PS Paint.Net 4.2.1.2, with 'boltbait's addons to include transparency amongst other things

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Post  slipperman12 Tue 28 Jul 2020, 9:35 pm

Hi John,
I'm sorry, but I can't answer your question, but I have Paint Shop Pro v7.04 running under Win 10. The trick is, in the Compatibility tab, to set it to run in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2) AND to set it to "Run this program as an administrator'. Well, it works for me!! Paint Shop Pro X v10.10 also works without any Compatibility settings.

Cheers,
Ged
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Post  john13 Wed 29 Jul 2020, 10:04 am

Hi Ged,

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll hunt out the relevant disc and give it another try, though I think the issue was that on trying to re-install it was demanding a license code. It was a 'magazine cover' freebie from longer ago than I care to remember these days, so I suppose I can't be too surprised. I had a quick look for an inexpensive purchase but there wasn't much to tempt me down that route.

Cheers
John

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Post  j3801 Wed 29 Jul 2020, 10:56 am

Hi John,

This sounds like it could be either a program problem or a material problem with the model:

If it's a program problem:
For TGA file creations I use TGATool2 from MW Graphics (http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/).
I use this in conjunction with an older version of MSPaint (wow so hi-tec! lol! ) that dates back to Windows Vista days.
I have this version because of its layout and it doesn't have some of the newer weirder functions of the Windows 10 version.

I do have a version of paint.net and some of the Adobe suite that I have a special unlock for from my time when I did my Diploma of Graphics Design.
It works on older versions of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, so I just use the ones from around 2015 for that.

Recently I have taught myself a new way of doing the basic textures, I use Adobe Illustrator to create the bulk of the texture, which I then export as a high quality bmp file and then I refine it in MSPaint.
Once I am happy with how everything fits and the colours are correct, I will either use paint.net or Adobe Photoshop to ad weathering to the bmp file.

Once everything is all done, I will then use TGATool2 to convert the bmp file to a tga file.
I then use AceIt to convert the tga file to an ace file, mainly due to the fact that some of my textures are 1024x1024 or 2048x2048 and for some reason TGATool 2 doesn't like them.

If its a material problem in the shape file:
To make an item see through MSTS uses 2 different material types: Trans and Alpha.
Trans being transparent - meaning no matter what shade of grey use use in the tga/ace file alpha channel, it will be completely transparent.
Alpha being graded transparency - meaning that how see through something is depends on how dark the alpha channel is set at: white being solid, mid grey - glass has a tint to it, black being transparent.
The you have the different types of ratings:
Transnorm = being for like a logo that you want on the side of a coach but still need to see the bodywork underneath.
Transnorm+ = Coach side exterior where you want to see the interior through glass and not have it cause some of the scenery to disappear.
Transnorm- =  Coach side interior where you want to see the exterior through glass and not have it cause some of the scenery to disappear.

One day I may eventually get around to doing modelling and texture tutorials....

I apologise if this is unhelpful or things that you already know.

Regards,
Justin


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Post  john13 Wed 29 Jul 2020, 3:05 pm

Hi Justin,
Thanks for your input - much appreciated.  I have to confess that texturing isn't my strongest characteristic and re-learning the ins and outs after quite  bit of time off makes it a bit of a challenge.  Much prefer the modelling part - which is probably why I haven't finished much.......yet.

I've got TGATool2  installed and I'm pretty  sure Aceit is there as well ( though I've not checked that) My current texture file is 2048x2048 so good to know which route to go forward with. I don't immediately recognise  the 'Transnorm' ratings as something I'd used previously - are these in your graphics program?  I think I recall ( with PSP)  having the alpha channel bluish but mostly translucent. Using 3DC, there's also a way of setting which way you can see through the 'glass'  which relates to eg a cab panel where you would perhaps have two material sides each with their own texture. This seems to be needed so that for a cab with windows on four side you can see through front to back or  sides etc. I'd got this OK on the SMR diesel model I have - though again that was using PSP.

The short term issue I'm left with is how to get the alpha channel/transparency manipulation just right with Paint.Net - I can see from examples that it's possible - just not grasping the technique!

Cheers

John
Edit - I do recall the Trans + Alpha settings - pretty sure I only ever used the Alpha setting though

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Post  john13 Wed 29 Jul 2020, 6:10 pm

Crying or Very sad I thought briefly I'd found a contributor to the difficulty, but as I started to type a comment about it, I rationalised that it couldn't really be so.
Would have abandoned this entry but can't seem to having started Embarassed
J

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Post  john13 Wed 29 Jul 2020, 7:32 pm

Some time later.......

I think I've now found the cause for my confusion ( other than age and lock-down-itis of course).
The steps I was taking to create a translucent section for an element of a texture file were, I think, OK. What seems too have tripped me up was the 'Save' options in Paint.Net. OK - I select save as TGA, and away it goes. However it defaults to saving 24bit RGB rather than 32bit RGBA.
So I was making the alpha channel but not actually saving it. Very Happy
Onward ... well, perhaps tomorrow, after a small celebratory beer.......
J

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Post  mrmosky Thu 30 Jul 2020, 7:01 pm

Hi John,
I use Paint.net for all my textures, including transparent ones. The method I use for a window is this. Create the window shape in paint.net, with frame details, etc. then use the select tool to select the area that you want to be transparent. Then edit-cut or cntrl x, which reveals the checkerboard pattern to show that this is transparent. Then I add a new layer, and add a colour panel to that layer of the tint that I want the glass to have, let's say green. Each layer has a tool setting where the transparency of that layer can be set. I use the slider to make the colour panel as translucent as I want it to be. Maybe a bit of trial and error here.  Then the image is saved. I save it as a .png, which is a paint.net format which preserves the layers. Then I save as a .tga, which causes the layers to be merged into one. I leave the tga setting on automatic, but if 32 bit works for you then OK.

Next I use Aceit to convert to .ace. You have to remember to set the format option in aceit to RGB +alpha (8-bit alpha), otherwise it comes out opaque. This setting is not persistent and so you need to select it for every different image you convert.

The only other thing, as has been mentioned, is to make sure your material in the model is set to be a transparent type (alpha). I've attached one I made earlier, if it works.

Geoff
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Post  john13 Fri 31 Jul 2020, 8:57 am

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the detailed response - having found found what was tripping me up, I'd spent a bit of time working out a 'workflow' which I'm pleased to say is pretty close (*) to your advice. The '32bit' vs 'automatic' saving was something I hadn't considered at the outset. 'Auto' would, of course, preserve the alpha channel.

The 'save as png' advice is extremely useful - thanks again. (*) I'd only been saving as TGA and of course, this flattens all the layers so making further tweaks impossible.

Are you using the 'base level' Paint, or do you have any of the 'translucency' extras added? I got the impression ( from trawling through Paint forum entries) that the basic level didn't handle alpha channels. The add-on I got does this but also adds myriad other bells and whistles that I can't imagine ever using.

Cheers
John

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Post  mrmosky Fri 31 Jul 2020, 10:02 am

Hi John,
I'm glad you have found a workflow that works for you.

I use the basic paint.net, with no addons, and as you see, it handles alpha channels fine. I find that paint.net has pretty much all the features I use for image creation. The only thing I found lacking was a tool to correct perspective. I use Gimp for that.

Effects I really like in paint.net are the dents and emboss. The latter is very good for simulating rivets. Just draw a small circle on a plain background, then select it using the circle select tool, and then emboss.

Geoff

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Post  john13 Fri 31 Jul 2020, 10:41 am

Hi Geoff,

Thanks again - I did think when I was first trying to make a glass effect that I'd got part of it ( ie basic transparency) right but of course, not saving the alpha channel didn't help. Trawling the Paint forums didn't really help as much as I'd hoped as much of the entries were for earlier release versions.  I'll leave the add-on for now I think - it might be useful.

Very handy tip about the 'dent'/'emboss' - must try that out. On one model attempt I'd made many tens of 3D rivet heads and lined them on a curved surface - took ages and quite a lot of polys too. I've still got a lot to learn about texturing........

John

Edit: Oooh, just tried the emboss effect - I do like that!

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Post  john13 Fri 31 Jul 2020, 3:34 pm

Thanks again to Ged, Justin and Geoff, I've finally moved a small step forward with glass manufacture - as per attached snipped image.
Still rather a long way to go though.
Cheers

John
Edit:
PS - In case you're wondering, the other cab sides were made with deliberate cutouts where the windows will finally be - I find this helps in getting proportions right when working from a range of pictures rather than proper dimensions.
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