We've created a few pieces of shrubbery in PD Particles. Here are a few
samples, they're all linked a zip file containing the original 800x600
pixels images in 32-bit Targa format with the alpha channel holding the
transparency mask. If you'd like to use some of these, just click or
right-click and save the target zip file to your desktop.
If you'd like to see how to create some of these in just a few seconds,
check the other tutorials.
We're also going to need a background image. PErhaps you've already
painted the perfect sunset, or you'll run out to snap a picture of
today's cloudy skies. If you live in Southern California, you might
have to wait for the next rainy season to come around if clouds
are needed. Perhaps you might want to use a 3D program like Bryce or Carrara to generate a fancy sky.
Here's one image we'll use. It was snapped with a cheap digital camera,
at 2 megapixel resolution. Nothing to it, really, heck, any new cell
phone can match this nowadays :-)
but, we've saved it as a 1024x768 pixel image, so one of the first
things we'll do is resize it down to 800x600 to match that of the
shrubbery images above.
Start by loading the image which will be the background sky. Simply use
File > Load from File
Twistedbrush supports a great number of popular image formats. In the
rare event that you have your image in a format that's not supported,
try converting that image to something more standard, using a freeware
image converter and viewer such as Irfanview.
||Here we're loading a BMP
version of our background sky. (the sample shown above is a Jpeg
version, to make it faster to download).
||The image gets loaded into
the next available layer, above the 'background' layer. We could
merge this new layer down, or flatten the whole set, to force the image
into the background layer. Or we could just live with it as it is.
(Resizing) the Image
The foliage images we'll be working with are at a different size than
this sky photo. Let's resize the image. Go to the menu:
Image > Resize Image...
and select the Lanzcos or other sampling algorithms for mest results.
||Lanzcos works great with
photographic material where there is a lot of variety in colors, i.e.
many neighboring pixels are of slightly different colors.
Set the new width and height to the desired dimensions to match
the size of the next images we'll composite together.
Images, more Layers
Now it's time to select one of the images which we created in PD
For example, select the one named 'grass1.tga'.
Note that it is in Targa format, and normally, Windows Explorer isn't
able to view the thumbnails of .tga files. However, we're using a free
extension called Thumb Plug TGA, which allows you to view the thumbs of
Targa files, in addition to Jpeg, Bmp, Gif, Tiff, Png, Avi and similar
ones already supported by Windows. If you're interested in this free
plug, look for it at
||Voila! The new image
of grass is now showing in front of the sky, as it was loaded into the
next layer. The alpha channel found in the Targa image file is used as
a transparency mas, it's as simple as that.
||Add another image, such as
this one named tree1. It looks a little like an old, try and dieing
tree with dry, thin twiggs, ready to go 'swoosh', the kinds we used to
look for when the scout master instructed us to light a campfire on a
rainy day, with just one match left and no paper!
This one will of course come in 'above' the prior layers, so it looks
like it's in front of the grass.
We may want to change that.
||Simply select the layer
and click 'Move Down' to move it down the hierarchy.
The trees are now appearing behind the grass.
||You can of course also
hide the grass layer temporarily, or fiddle with the Opacity slider to
blend it away.
Here's the old tree by itself against the Sky:
|Twistedbrush comes with a
number of filters to take this even further.
<< After flattening the image, we applied radial blur to create
||That's it for the basics.
Twistedbrush pretty much does the right thing with the alpha channel as
it comes from Project Dogwaffle's PD Particles
Time to explore some of the many fun filters for creating new
Here's one named 'fibers, but with a large Step value, making the
individual dots show.
|One of my
favorites in Twistedbrush is the collection of backgrounds, from the
Effects menu's bottom.
This one (fiery storm) sure looks like it's about to tell our old tree
what hot graphics can do to it!
want to grab the resulting image to use it as a desktop wallpaper?
click here: onfire.jpg
You may not have seen this part of Pixarra yet: there is a set of
brushes which also are based on particles.
For example, find the collection of brush presets called Particle
The first sample in that preset collection is called Bare Tree, and
will come very handy right now in this example. It's a black dry tree
||Here's an example, with
dark tree branches added in the lower left foreground.
||Another collection of
brushes which is very cool in the context of this image is that called
Space Scape, which offers numerous Flares and exploding starsand
other lighting effects in
addition to galaxies and planets.
||Using one of the 'Comet'
presets, you can 'draw around' the bright spot where the Sun is hiding
behind the trees and clouds, and generate an effect like a bright bloom
The more time you spend drawing in one particular angle region, the
brighter or longer the rays appear there.
||Here's another result,
using the 'Flare' brush from
the same collection.
||And here's another, called
Yello Ray, from a
||It can be a great way to
make it look like foggy volumetric rays cast between the branches on a
misty day's morning.
You might find the need
for more special fx filters, perhaps coming from other tools, such as a
lensflare creation tool (e.g. from PD Pro, or ArtWeaver).
Or, you might want to turn it into an animation.
||or how about turning it
a black&white to make it a new wallpaper.