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Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#1 Old 16th Aug 2006 at 2:39 AM Last edited by Saraswati5 : 24th Mar 2008 at 7:46 AM.
Default GIMP Clothing Tutorial #3: Changing the Alpha
Using Gimp to Play with the Alpha by Saraswati

These tutes normally live on http://www.sublimesims.net/ and are being posted here at the request of the lovely and kind Tiggerypum.

1. Today we are going to learn some basics of playing with the Alpha, which is another part of a skin that allows you to control the shape of an outfit with some limitations.

Because meshes have bumps to them, there are times when you canít make an outfit any smaller than it is, because it would look weird. A good example of this is boots; the boot meshes of Sims are thicker across the top to make the boot look more realistic. This means you canít change the alpha around that are because it wouldnít look natural. What we can do is change how much of an outfit shows in areas where it would look natural to do so, such as giving the outfit sleeves or a feature point or changing the shape of a neckline.

This tutorial continues using the project we altered in my Clothing Texture Tutorial and as such, please attempt that tutorial before you try this one. This tutorial will make a lot more sense if you do so.

2. Open up our texture_tute project in Bodyshop and your texture_tute folder in The Gimp.

For anyone whoís forgotten how to find it in your Gimp files, the path is

My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Projects/texture_tute

Below we can see the texture_tute project folder. It has three files. Today we need to open up

body-stdMatBaseTextureName_alpha.bmp

This is the Alpha file. It will look black and white and will look exactly the same shape as the dress youíve been working on in the last project. Open that image



3. At this point Iím going to explain to you how the alpha works.

Basically, any area on that Alpha that is in white is an area that will show up on the sim. Any area in black will block any of the coloured file (stdMatBasetexturename.bmp) from showing on the Sim. So all we need to do to make more of the coloured file show up is to make more white areas and make sure they are the right shape.

Ok, at this point Iím just going to step you through what weíre going to do with this project. Weíre going to give the dress a more modest neckline and we are going to give the dress sleeves.



4. Add a new layer on top of the image. We do this by selecting the Layer menu and the New Layer choice on that menu.



5. This brings up the New Layer box. Ensure Layer Fill Type Transparency is checked then click OK.



6. On the floating toolbar select the dotted box, Select Rectangular Regions.



7. Select the top third or so of the picture, approximately from about the outfitís waistline upwards.



8. Select the Edit menu, then select Fill with BG Colour. the default background colour in the Gimp is white, so unless you have changed your BG colour, you should end up with the area you have just selected coloured in white.



9. Like so! Ok, next we are going to begin to refine how much of our area is white by using the rectangular selection tools to cut some of the area away. To do that without going bonkers in the process, we are going to open up our layers dialog box.



10. Go to the Dialogs menu and select Layers.



11. In the Layers Dialog box, leave the mode as Normal but use the Opacity slider to change the Opacity to 80 percent.



12. As you can see below, changing the Opacity on the top layer to 80 percent allows you to see the original picture beneath your new white box. This is going to make editing much, much easier. Chose the Select menu and select the menu choice None



13. Use the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select the area of the front part of the neckline and part of the shoulders. Cut that area out.



14. To make life easier for yourself, Zoom in on the area around the rear of the neckline and then use the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select the area of the neckline and part of the shoulders, as shown. Cut that area out also. Note: Be careful to not go below the white part of the picture below, or you will have a repair job to do on your Alpha in order for your outfit to look ok. Once you are finished cutting that area out Zoom out so you can see all of your picture again.



15. Use your Layers Dialog box to change Opacity back to 100 percent. Save your project. At this point weíre going to take a look at how the alpha alterations weíve made have changed the outfit itself. Open up your project in Bodyshop and take a look at how the shape of the outfit has changed. Keep your project open in the Gimp, we are going to be doing more work with this image and we want it to retain itís layers.



16. Our outfit now has a longish sleeve. I donít actually want the sleeve to be quite that long, so Iím going to go back to the Alpha and cut some more of the white box away.



17. Use the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select from the bottom of your white box to roughly parallel with the bottom of your current neckline at the front. Cut that area away. Save your Alpha file. Ok, letís go take a look at how the dress looks in Bodyshop now.



18. Ok, that looks a little better. I will come back later and take some more off the length of the sleeves but for now, letís play with how the neckline looks.



19. Go back to your Alpha. To make things easier on yourself, Zoom in on the front of the neckline on your BMP. Use the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select a square area from the point at the bottom of your neckline, selecting around a third of your neckline at the front. Go to the Edit menu and select Fill with BG colour. This will fill the area you selected in white.



20. This squares off your neckline. Ok, letís take another look at how our neckline looks in Bodyshop.



21. Ok, this is getting much, much closer to the shape I want to achieve. Finally Iím going to go back in and take a little more off the sleeves and then our project will be finished. In order to play with your sleeves without in any way interfering with the neckline, add another transparent layer to your Alpha.



22. Use the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select an area between the bottom of the neckline and reaching to the bottom of the sleeve.



23. Click on the Edit menu and Select Fill with FG Colour. The default FG colour for the Gimp is black, so unless youíve changed it, this should fill your selected area in black. Once you have done so, click the menu choice Select and click None.



24. Use the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select the area of the black rectangle where the torso of the outfit is, both on the front and the back and then cut the selected areas out. Once youíre finished, save your project and go take yet another look at it in Bodyshop.




25. Ok, the dress now looks pretty much as it needs to. Finally we need to go in and take a look at our outfit in Create-A-Sim. Sometimes Alpha flaws donít always show up in Bodyshop, so itís good to go in and make sure your creation doesnít have any issues that will mar your experience when you use it in game. Quit Bodyshop and look at the dress in your game.



26. And this is why. This flaw at the rear of the dress didnít really show up in Bodyshop. Now need to go back to my game and go through a process of elimination to figure out exactly what I need to do to correct the issue.

The moral is, itís always fixableÖ What I will usually do is go through and experiment until I find the point in the project where the problem is.

In this case I discovered that my Alpha was fine but I had not flood-filled my coloured layer (std-matBaseTextureName.bmp) to the very edge with the lavender fabric, but it had only shown up now because previously the project didnít have sleeves.

I flood-fill the coloured layer, and import another version of my dress from BodyShop, quit bodyshop, and go take a look at my project in Create A Sim again.



27. And here we have a finished, perfect project with a more demure neckline and sleeves. I hope this tutorial encourages you to experiment with the Alpha yourself and not be afraid to make mistakes. If itís a disaster, you just delete it and if it works out well, you might end up with something beautiful and useable. I also hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial as much as I enjoyed writing it. Kind wishes Saraswati.

The next tutorial in this series (Creating Shadows and Highlights) is now available here.

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Test Subject
#2 Old 17th Aug 2006 at 11:08 AM
Thank you for the great tutes!!! Although I am using Photoshop but I still find them very useful, especially on the alpha part. But I got a quick question though. What do we use the layer for? Why is it necessary to create layers on eding clothes?

~~WhiteSwan~~
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#3 Old 17th Aug 2006 at 11:20 AM
Hi Whiteswan

Yep it is necessary sometimes to create layers when you're editing clothes. It makes the process easier by seperating out bits, so you can use different effects on each layer and do different things to each layer. Take for example the bit where we change the rear neckline. By creating a different layer it allowed us to drop back the opacity on that top layer. That then allowed us to partially use the back neckline as a guide to make it easier for ourselves so we didn't have a messy repair job.

:-) and thank you so much for the compliment.

Kind wishes

Vashti
Test Subject
#4 Old 17th Aug 2006 at 3:47 PM
also i am glad that you created the tute on the alpha file because i was having problems with it before.... there are tons of tutes out there but none of them actually teach you how to edit the alpha. since i am new to sim editing, i really need a tute which explains all the details to me and i just wanna say thank you to you again for the great job done!!

btw it's about time for someone to come up with tutes other than photoshop...

cheers,

whiteswan

Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#5 Old 17th Aug 2006 at 10:33 PM
Hey Whiteswan if you get stuck at any stage, come find me on my forum and I'll see what I can do to help. Tig and I will be doing two more tutes though, on creating shadows and highlights and creating details..

And thank you for telling me that because you're one of the people I write tutes for hun, my thing is to write something that helps people take their first steps doing something :-) So it means a world of difference to me when you tell me that stuff.

Cheers

Kath
Test Subject
#6 Old 19th Aug 2006 at 3:42 PM
cool i can't wait for the new tutes to come out! by the way, do you happen to know where i can find the hard light command in photoshop? i know you guys use gimp but just thought maybe you might know...
Admin of Randomness
staff: retired moderator
#7 Old 19th Aug 2006 at 9:49 PM
WhiteSwan, it's a filter. To apply filters in photoshop (I have 7), click on that layer in the layer window, and on the top of the window is a menu that you can use to apply filters to any layer EXCEPT for the background layer.

Photoshop also has additional fun effects called 'layer styles' that let you do even more things to your layer graphic w/o actually changing the original.

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ronald E. Osborn

Please do NOT PM me with requests, creation questions, or game help questions. Click for help:
Game Help | Create | Content List | Where Can I Find?
Lab Assistant
#8 Old 21st Aug 2006 at 12:57 AM
hey vashti71 your tutorials using Gimp have helped me a great deal 5*'s for you by the way can you do 1 for doing skintones with GIMP it would help me if you wouldn't mind thanks

"The only thing too fear is fear it's self."- FDR
"As you slide down the bannister of life,consider me a splinter."~Jason Crawford
Test Subject
#9 Old 21st Aug 2006 at 7:49 AM
hey
how do you cut out areas of the clothing ? (step 13) .. sorry i've never made any clothing before.. i'm new to it [=
Admin of Randomness
staff: retired moderator
#10 Old 21st Aug 2006 at 5:30 PM
Chinkigirl, you need to start with the first tutorial in this series (and use the editor GIMP, if you want to easily follow step by step)

http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=182614

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ronald E. Osborn

Please do NOT PM me with requests, creation questions, or game help questions. Click for help:
Game Help | Create | Content List | Where Can I Find?
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#11 Old 22nd Aug 2006 at 3:36 AM
Hi Jason

I am so glad to hear that hun. Ok, the only difference with skintones is that they have multiple files and you need to recolour all of them the same way so you get a consistent skintone no matter what. The principles are identical other than that..

Cheers

Kath
Test Subject
#12 Old 23rd Aug 2006 at 4:03 PM
tiggerypum,

tks again for the great help! btw, i am still waiting for the new tutes to come out... you guys taught me how to do recoloring, texturing and playing around with the alpha and now i am ready for shading and highlighting...

^ _ ^

whiteswan
Banned
#13 Old 25th Aug 2006 at 4:26 PM
Thank you Very much For making this tutorial!! it was great
Lab Assistant
#14 Old 26th Aug 2006 at 4:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteswan1688
tiggerypum,

tks again for the great help! btw, i am still waiting for the new tutes to come out... you guys taught me how to do recoloring, texturing and playing around with the alpha and now i am ready for shading and highlighting...

^ _ ^

whiteswan


I really learnt alot from Vasthi tutes too, without em i would still be really lost with GIMP.

Im sure there are several tuts on highlights and shading on the net, actually ive noticed that several of the photoshop tuts sometimes work for the GIMP, not always but anyway Only difference for shading and highlighting with Gimp is probably that the dodge and burn tool are joined in one, so you wont find a "Dodge" and a "burn" tool separated, they are the same tool but you can change the options to set it to highlight or shadow. I played with them some days ago, and its not really hard to turn a single colored thing into a nice texture with great shadows and such

Gimp might not be as great as Photoshop, but its quiet good to start to recolor with
Lab Assistant
#15 Old 22nd Sep 2006 at 12:19 AM
Wow i just learned how to recolor, retexture, and and change the alpha all in 3 hours! Thanks a bunch Vashti71 for all the help and i really really appreciate it! I can't wait till i can actually use gimp without looking back at your tutorials lol.
Test Subject
#16 Old 13th Nov 2006 at 11:46 PM
I have heard that you can use gray to make something
transparent with the alpha channel. I tried it on a formal
gown hoping to have transparent sleeves but all I got
was gray sleeves.I used rgb of 128,128,128.
Did I miss something?
Thanks,
Bill
Lab Assistant
#17 Old 14th Nov 2006 at 2:56 AM
Gray color makes clothing basically see-through. Neutral gray (the one you used) basically creates semi transparent clothing, the darker the gray tone is the more "see through" it is (once it reaches black the texture cant be seen), the lighter the gray the more you can see the texture.

This trick mainly works on skintight clothing as other kind of meshes (like pants, skirts, etc which are not alpha-editable) wont have a nice result with these changes as the alpha just decides wether the texture shows or not. So if you make the alpha of a long skirt dark gray the only thing you will get is the texture being semi transparent once applied on the mesh, and the skintone seen below it adjusted to the skirt.
Admin of Randomness
staff: retired moderator
#18 Old 15th Nov 2006 at 12:59 AM
Also, just to be clear - seeing the phrase 'alpha channel'.... for sims clothing, the alpha is stored in a separate bitmap file (which I believe should be clear from this tutorial).

And as simguy stated, you can only change the alpha on skintight areas of a mesh as a rule - because there is no 'body' beneath the clothing on a mesh - there is only the one shape that includes the clothing shape and then whatever part of the hands/legs that show beyond the clothing.

It is different if you are working with what is called an 'alpha mesh' where part of the mesh (like an extension of the skirt) is in a separate group and has its own graphics (much like hair has multiple graphics for the different layers of hair). Anyway, those meshes would be designed to have legs under the skirt (or a second underskirt).

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ronald E. Osborn

Please do NOT PM me with requests, creation questions, or game help questions. Click for help:
Game Help | Create | Content List | Where Can I Find?
Test Subject
#19 Old 2nd Dec 2006 at 8:17 PM
Another great tutorial....Thank you, Thank you and Thank you again...Very nice, clear instructions...Wonderful!!!
Test Subject
#20 Old 3rd Dec 2006 at 5:24 AM
Thank you very much i just started making clothes and this helped me a great deal i ahve read others but they were all for photoshop and i dont have photo shop and it was hard for me to understand. You ewent through every step and it helped me a lot i cant wait to see your next tutes but i have a question. How can i get like Logos such as reall companies on my clothing? thanks, Trevor
Lab Assistant
#21 Old 4th Dec 2006 at 1:25 AM
Getting a logo to show up requires you to use the texture image file, not the alpha file which is the focus point of this tutorial/thread

You will only need to play with the logo (in a new layer preferably) in the texture image, placing it on the right place you want, etc. Not that hard to do.
Test Subject
#22 Old 5th Dec 2006 at 12:21 AM
I have made it ok, and it makes me soooo happy cause I did think it was as hard to make that I was never able to do it!!
Well, but when I make the neck of my dress as a square, it looks as u can see its old form on the body program and on game....
Like I had put the color, but I still can see the old form of the dress, anyone understands me?
How can I fix this??
Thanks a lot again!!!
Im going for more!!!
Admin of Randomness
staff: retired moderator
#23 Old 5th Dec 2006 at 2:27 AM
bebealles, there are two possiblities which vashti didn't cover here.

1) if your outfit has a bumpmap file - usually named:
body~stdMatNormalMapTextureName.bmp
then you might want to take it, pick a medium shade of gray, and cover the whole thing with all solid gray.

2) your mesh might have the collar area as part of the _shape of the mesh_ (that should not be the case if you're doing this particular tutorial). If it is part of the shape of the mesh, then you cannot move the neckline/sleeves/etc

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ronald E. Osborn

Please do NOT PM me with requests, creation questions, or game help questions. Click for help:
Game Help | Create | Content List | Where Can I Find?
Test Subject
#24 Old 17th Jan 2007 at 8:19 PM
I follow your tutorials, yet i still end up with blurry edges on my projects, i followed your first gimp tutorial on the dress and it went fine except for the blur!! Do you now how i can solve this???
Admin of Randomness
staff: retired moderator
#25 Old 17th Jan 2007 at 11:48 PM
HP already told you where to find your answer, in the FAQ (stickied at the top of this forum)

The faq (frequently asked questions) is here:
http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=147479

and it contains:
My custom clothes are blurry / pixelated!
For some people, the resolution on their projects divides in half when they upgrade. Your image size for your clothing projects should be 1024 x 1024 pixels. Callum91 has also explained how to do a fix here.
http://www.modthesims2.com/showthre...9603#post799603

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ronald E. Osborn

Please do NOT PM me with requests, creation questions, or game help questions. Click for help:
Game Help | Create | Content List | Where Can I Find?
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