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Alpha layers and insignia.


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Goat had a question about alpha layers:
hey Vonrd
just had a quick question for you? well I hope it'll be a quick one. I painted my p47, flattened it, and them masked it with the alpha channel and it came out beautiful and shiny... but so did all my painted markings. was wondering if there's a way to erase portions of the alpha mask so my markings and everything looks like it's over the shiny bare metal instead of a part of it? thanks for showing me the right directions for everything else I've worked on. I just figured the jg1 paint God might know of a way

First off, I'm certainly not a god... perhaps a demigod? "a being with partial or lesser divine status"    :huh: 


​Here's what I do though there may certainly be easier ways to do so:


  • Select only those layers that you want to modify in the alpha... insignias, numbers, stencils, personal graphics... anything that is painted on the bare aluminum. 
  • Go to the "layer" tab and select "flatten image".
  • Use the "magic wand" tool to select the area outside of the graphics then use the "select" tab and select "inverse". This selects the graphics regardless of color variations.
  • Go to the "Channels" tab on the "layers / channels / paths" window. Select the Alpha channel and de-select the RGB, Red, Green and Blue channels. Adjust the gray scale of those areas by selecting the "image" tab, "adjustments" and "brightness / contrast". Adjust the brightness (remember, darker is flatter and lighter is shinier).
  • Save this as a .bmp with a particular name... i.e.       Bf109G2_insignia alpha.
  • I use DXTbmp to open the regular skin file (.dds) or (.bmp) and use the "import alpha channel" tab in the upper right then save it as a .dds skin.
  • You could also just import the modified alpha .bmp into your master .psd but be sure to back-up your original file.
  • It will be trial and error and the skinviewer is a good first check but be sure to actually check it in-game.
  • Once you get it to your liking, save the alpha layer in your main .psd file. (be aware that changes in the graphics... different balkenkruz or personal graphics or numbers will need a different alpha though).

It sounds more complex than it actually is.


Happy skinning!

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