you can fly!? Painting with PD Particles...
Working with Poser6
part 1

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Project Dogwaffle

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In this 2-part tutorial we'll use Poser 6 to add some backdrop rectangle in the back of a Poser figure, and another in the front. Both polygons will carry pictures (textures) of foliage created in PD Particles.

The background polygon will simply carry an opaque image. The rectangle in the front will need to have some transparency mask to keep the foliage opaque while the rest around it remains transparent.

Some 3D programs are able to use the alpha channel from an image where the alpha channel contains the transparency mask. Poser 6 uses a separate transparency channel, so we'll need to create two separate files - one with the color and one with the opacity ask.

Let's start by creating a new image, perhaps a square shape of 800x800 pixels.
Note that some parts of the image may not be visible if it is too large to fit in the window. For example, a screen set at 1024x768 pixel resolution will not show all 800 vertical pixels.

To see it all, zoom out or fit the image into the window with the tool in the Zoom tools group, or function key F4.
We'll want to clear to black. Right-click the erase icon (X) to clear to black. Or, drag-and-drop the primary color into the secondary color in rder to swap the two.

Note that if you did earlier select the black color from the color well, that it in fact is not totally black. Red, Green and Blue are

If you want that color to be totally black (RGB=0,0,0) , enter the value 0 (zero) in the numeric fields or slide the sliders to the left.
That totally black color is now in the primary color.

Drag-and-drop the primary color into the color well, such as over the first 'black' cell, to replace it with the new black.
Same thing with 'white', the second cell. It is not plain white, RGB values are at 240, not 255. If you want it totally white, set the sliders to 255 and drag-and-drop the new white into the desired well's cell.

Now let's start drawing. Pick up the Particle brush 'SeriousGrass2'.

However, let's change a few parameters.
Here is the list of parameters.

Paint a few strokes to make a piece of shrubbery that stands on the bottom and stays safely away from the other image borders.

Note that we could have used one of the styles with Alpha (such as Shrinking line+), if we were going to use the resulting image directly, with the opacity mask in the alpha channel from the same single image file. In this example though we'll try to save the image's colors separately from the opacity mask, so we can do without alpha.

< click to view the full image.
Save the image with the Default Targa format, making sure that the file name will allow you to recognize it as the color image and distinguish it from the opacity mask (which will be an 8-bt greyscale image, or perhaps 24-bit but still a greyscale image).

Select 24-bit depth.
Now that the color part is saved, we'll use the image to generate an opacity mask for it. Typically, this is where your other imaging tool might come in, as you'll be working with filters to enhance contrast, set thresholds or increase value or gamma. You might even want to paint on the image to turn some areas 'opaque' or transparent.(white or black, for instance).

PD Particles has however a few basic color filters and tools that may be just what you need to do the work right in here.

Let's start by turning the image to a greyscale. Use the color gradient (keyboard shortcut 'p' or menu: Window->Gradient...) and click the 'Gradients' button to select the Default gradients (Def_gradients). The first one in that set is a greyscale gradient going from black to white.

Another technique would be to save the color image to .Default Targa' format  as an 8-bit greyscale, and then re-load it back in.
With the greyscale gradient loaded, select the menu:

Filter -> Color -> Map to current gradient.

This will turn the color image to a greyscale.
Next, we'll use some filters to adjust contrast and brightness to try and make it a more opaque mask inside the foliage.

Select the menu:

Filter -> Adjust -> Value...
(Note: the "Hue / Sat / Value..." filter in the same group could also be used to make a greyscale, by reducing the saturation to zero.)

Here's the 'Adjust value' filter. Four values to play with:

and Gamma

Adjusting Gamma...

If we move the Gamma slider to the left, it may saturate the 'inside ' of the foliage to full white, but may grow to the extremeties of the tips of the foliage a bit too much. This may end up showing as colored, white or black borders around the edges of the particle traces. (depending on the background color at the time of painting the particles).

... or Contrast...

Adjusting the Contrast is recommended. The greyish tones inside the foliage should all turn white to indicate full opacity.

In the end, you'll want to experiment with several of these parameters: Value, Contrast and Gamma.

In some cases it may not be possible to simply use filters to create the right mask of opacity. You may need to paint on nthe greyish areas to fill them to white if it is to be opaque. (Greyish would indicate semi-transparent.)

You could run the filter again and further increase the 'Value' to make pixels turn white or stay black for either fully opaque or fully transparent (if that's in fact desired!).

This will create a greyscale image suitable as opacity mask for the foliage.

Save the image to 'Default Targa' and save it as 24-bit, or 8-bit greyscale.

Either should work with Poser 6 or other popular 3D programs.

  part 1  -  part 2