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payaso

decal creation fundamentals

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I have been working on a big headache called skin customization. Here's a little background-

 

I wanted to create a skin that would represent the plastic model I have been building (F-8E with the colorful VF-194 CAG markings) so I scanned the decal sheet, saved it as a JPEG, and then started the editing process of cutting out each individual marking and converting it to tga format. I couldn't get them to display correctly, and in some cases not at all, so I sought advice. I was told to add an alpha channel so that they would display correctly, but once I did that, I saw NOTHING. So here's my question- can the markings be created from an existing JPEG, or do they have to be created from scratch in a graphics design editor program such as Photoshop, GIMP or paint.net?

 

and if I can, in fact, create markings from the original JPEG, can someone tell me how?

 

Thanks.

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Not sure what you are using for a graphics program, but I would say the pros are using any version of Adobe Photoshop. (I still use the old version 4.0 - it still works fine for my flight sim art needs). I take any photo scan or created piece of art, and save it as a 32-bit TGA format. In Photoshop I open up the Channels window, and when I click on the last (Alpha) channel, the color palette for foreground/background is black and white. Go to the normal image, select the actual art part of the decal to appear, go to the Alpha channel and knock out that area in white on the black background. The knocked out area will be your decal, the black background area will not appear. Make sure that the art canvas area is square and leaves an un-used border of at least 4 pixels or so or you can get goofy results. Oh, I have also found that some of you knocked-out art area seems to bleed into your decal area, so it works best for me if my background area matches your aircraft texture.

 

From descriptions in this forum, not so easy in Paintshop Pro or Corel. Not possible in real basic programs like Paint...

 

Mike D.

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Guest Saganuay82

This is the way I do it.

 

1. What ever you are going to make a tga of has to be square. Open your jpg in Photoshop and use Image - Canvas Size. Ensure you have over 10 pixels all around to prevent decal bleeding. You would want to add layers of dirt or chips or fade now before you proceed.

1-1.jpg

 

2. Then I use the Magic wand tool to select the jpg. Your goal is to have marhing ants all around your jpeg. That will show that your area is selected. Then in your layers tool bar select Channel - New Channel

2-1.jpg

 

3. You will see the box show up. The box as displayed will pop up. Use the defaults there. one thing you can do is you see the background color. Grey in the example. You can change that to the color of the background you are placing the decal on. This will get rid of the ugly white outlines that you see on some decals.

3.jpg

 

4. Once you hit OK, everything should go black.

4.jpg

 

5. Then you turn the RGB back on, your image will change color to whatever you have selected in the background in Step 4. Selecting the Alpha Channel you have just added, hit Delete. What should happen is that you see the decal appear as in the pic. You will also note in the Apha Channel that there is a white shape in the black. The black is the transparency.

5-1.jpg

 

6. Select Save As and save it into your decal folder.

6.jpg

 

 

Sounds complicated when reading it. Takes less that 2 mins to do it once you are onto a technique. It took me 6 mins I think to make the decal with screenshots according to the clock in the desktop in the shots and longer to make the post.

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thanks- that sounds really workable. I will be working in Photoshop 9 and will re-do the decals- I already saved the original JPEG sheet to TGA format so the rest should be academic. I appreciate your advice, both of you! :grin:

Edited by payaso

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Is there one of these for Paint Shop Pro?

 

I do not have Adobe Photoshop. I am having fits doing the decals.

 

Does your version of PSP support 32 bit TGA format? This is a MUST for decals... ( 24 bit for color and 8 bit for transparency...)

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I use Paint Shop Pro 5 and have had no problems at all creating decals.

 

Create the image

 

Image1.gif

 

Select it. (Or select the background and then go to SELECTIONS and choose INVERT) Make sure you have selected the portion that you want to show in the game.

 

Image2.gif

 

Go to SELECTIONS - Choose SAVE TO ALPHA CHANNEL

 

Image3.gif

 

It will give you a NEW CHANNEL. You can just click OK twice.

 

Image4.gif

 

If you are making numbers and writing over the top of old numbers and re-saving the alpha channel you will have to delete the old alpha channel first.

 

Image5.gif

 

Save as TrueVisionTarga (*.tga) I clicked on the options tab and set it up as 24 channel uncompressed.

 

Image6.gif

 

It works fine.

 

PRCfancy.jpg

 

EDIT: Changed "NEW SELECTION" to "NEW CHANNEL" to reflect what the program actually says... drrr.

Edited by Timmy

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Well, that is interesting, 8bit for Alpha and 16 bit for color...

 

It took me forever to figure out that it would work. I don't know why because all the documentation says it doesn't but I'm living proof that it will - at least in PSP5.

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Following your steps I get inverted Alhpa Channels. The selections are white and background is black.

 

I have tried everything under the sun with my Alpha Channels and nothing works. Black background/white selection ; white background/black selections. I either get yellow sections on teh plane with jacked decals, no decals , sublimated decals, white sections with improper colored decals, or wrong color decals.

Edited by {FL}Hausser

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If you want to send me what you have I'll be happy to look at it. I honestly don't know what to tell you otherwise. In looking at the pic's with the yellow tails it seems that on the bottom one the alpha channel isn't selected on the insides of the numbers. Honestly, I'd have to see the files to figure it out I think. What version of PSP are you using?

 

salukiavaition at charter.net

 

TD

Edited by Timmy

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SELECTIONS > INVERT ??? (I do this with PS5.5 also...)

 

I use SELECTIONS > INVERT so often I'm surprised my Shift+Cntrl+I keys aren't broken...:wink:

 

Maj Lee - Do you see any omissions in my directions?

 

The instructions that I posted are exactly how I make my decals. Like I said, it's not supposed to work but on my machine it does. I'd nickname it "Neo" but I don't want it to become a bad actor...

Edited by Timmy

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I am working with PSP 8.10.

 

Here is my lastest aquisition!

 

Image8.jpg

 

At this point I am willing to do whatever to get the damn things done. I have been fighting this for about 3 hours now.

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I use SELECTIONS > INVERT so often I'm surprised my Shift+Cntrl+I keys aren't broken...:wink:

 

Maj Lee - Do you see any omissions in my directions?

 

The instructions that I posted are exactly how I make my decals. Like I said, it's not supposed to work but on my machine it does. I'd nickname it "Neo" but I don't want it to become a bad actor...

 

I don't... Your instructions look right... The only thing that raises my eyebrows is that 24bit TGA... Wasn't there an issue with a late model PS that needed a patch for 32bit TGAs to work correctly? If you have PS, check the Adobe website for updates...

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Guest Sony Tuckson

Mind this, PSP announces 24 bits, because it just don't count the alpha channel 8 bits

 

but no problem there, it's equivalent to the 32 bits reported with photoshop

 

What I concluded years ago, is that apparently, no version higher than 7 from Paint shop pro is able to produce decals (TGA) as we require them for the game.

 

I tried with 8, 9 and 10 to no avail....

 

With version 7, my method is quite more complicated but ends up with usable decals, I will try Timmy's method, it's way easier .

 

edit,

 

Tested Timmy's method, it works perfectly with PSP 7

 

in the options, be sure to save as uncompressed, as per default, it's the compressed format which isn't good for us.

Edited by Sony Tuckson

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I use Paint Shop Pro 5 and have had no problems at all creating decals.

 

Create the image

 

Image1.gif

 

Select it. (Or select the background and then go to SELECTIONS and choose INVERT) Make sure you have selected the portion that you want to show in the game.

 

Image2.gif

 

Go to SELECTIONS - Choose SAVE TO ALPHA CHANNEL

 

Image3.gif

 

It will give you a NEW CHANNEL. You can just click OK twice.

 

Image4.gif

 

If you are making numbers and writing over the top of old numbers and re-saving the alpha channel you will have to delete the old alpha channel first.

 

Image5.gif

 

Save as TrueVisionTarga (*.tga) I clicked on the options tab and set it up as 24 channel uncompressed.

 

Image6.gif

 

It works fine.

 

PRCfancy.jpg

 

EDIT: Changed "NEW SELECTION" to "NEW CHANNEL" to reflect what the program actually says... drrr.

 

I just reloaded PSP 7 and I'm stumbling around the step(s) how the nose number changed from 2130 to 2136. Little help please.

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