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Old 11-26-2016, 08:44 AM
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[Question] Working with texture alpha?

I've been using texture alpha for creating transparency a lot on my models. It's especially been useful to create transparency gradients for custom rotor blade blurs and to save polys on gauge needles.

Now my question is, as this thread states you need to separate meshes now in order to create transparency, how can we generate transparency gradients? I added a _T suffix to my model's transparent components, which renders them completely transparent now. Without the suffix, texture alpha renders plain black.

See attached pictures for reference. RF7 screenshots show the desired transparency gradients, RF-X shots show my issue.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RF7-Blur.jpg (333.3 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg RF7-Blur2.jpg (252.1 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg RFX-Blur.jpg (277.1 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg RFX-Blur2.jpg (452.2 KB, 16 views)
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Old 11-26-2016, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny31297 View Post
I've been using texture alpha for creating transparency a lot on my models. It's especially been useful to create transparency gradients for custom rotor blade blurs and to save polys on gauge needles.

Now my question is, as this thread states you need to separate meshes now in order to create transparency, how can we generate transparency gradients? I added a _T suffix to my model's transparent components, which renders them completely transparent now. Without the suffix, texture alpha renders plain black.

See attached pictures for reference. RF7 screenshots show the desired transparency gradients, RF-X shots show my issue.
Adding to his question I can't seem to add color to an object I assigned as ~CS_GLASS. I can change the TGA file color where the part is mapped and the ALPHA layer from Black To White with the Object in RF-X still showing completely clear. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 11-26-2016, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny31297 View Post
I've been using texture alpha for creating transparency a lot on my models. It's especially been useful to create transparency gradients for custom rotor blade blurs and to save polys on gauge needles.

Now my question is, as this thread states you need to separate meshes now in order to create transparency, how can we generate transparency gradients? I added a _T suffix to my model's transparent components, which renders them completely transparent now. Without the suffix, texture alpha renders plain black.

See attached pictures for reference. RF7 screenshots show the desired transparency gradients, RF-X shots show my issue.
While I haven't tried any of this myself yet I understand them to mean that transparent objects should be made into a separate object and if the whole object is meant to be transparent. You can apply a baked transparent material color and add the suffix _glass and refraction is added automatically. So as explained this would work for canopies and things of the like. Otherwise if you were making a light lens (cover) on a wing tip you will still separate it then map it and apply gradients as you always have in the alpha channel. However it needs to then be a child of an opaque parent (The wing) and that parent needs _T appended to it's name.
The last line in the 3rd paragraph makes a special note to the spinner (a blur object) -
"Note that transparency effects on ~CS_SPINNER frames/mesh objects require an opaque parent and the _T suffix to be used."
I would take this to mean that the blur objects you're creating need an opaque parent and a _T suffix. The gradient should be done in the Alpha channel.
You could make a tiny parent (opaque) object in the cent of your blur hubs to test this.
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Old 11-26-2016, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technoid View Post
Adding to his question I can't seem to add color to an object I assigned as ~CS_GLASS. I can change the TGA file color where the part is mapped and the ALPHA layer from Black To White with the Object in RF-X still showing completely clear. What am I doing wrong?
Any frame/Mesh with the _GLASS suffix will be made transparent by RF-X automatically. So as an example if you are doing a canopy that is comprised of the clear portion and a solid/opaque portion separated the clear portion and name it ?_GLASS then make it a child of the opaque portion. The clear portion will be clear and the opaque portion will be able to accept color. They will move together as normal in the sim.
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Old 11-26-2016, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boof69 View Post
Any frame/Mesh with the _GLASS suffix will be made transparent by RF-X automatically. So as an example if you are doing a canopy that is comprised of the clear portion and a solid/opaque portion separated the clear portion and name it ?_GLASS then make it a child of the opaque portion. The clear portion will be clear and the opaque portion will be able to accept color. They will move together as normal in the sim.
I probably didn't explain that correctly. This is for my Lazy Eight where the entire front of the plane is one large clear canopy. But in RF 7.5 I could use the TGA file and add a tint color in the normal layer and the opacity of the tint in the alpha layer. But I used the name...

~CS_GLASS_CANOPY

...for the part I 'separated from the fuselage' and it does make it clear but I can't add any 'tint' to it using the standard and alpha layers. And if I remember from the readme #2 I think he said 'not' to use baked on colors in RF-X.
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Old 11-26-2016, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technoid View Post
I probably didn't explain that correctly. This is for my Lazy Eight where the entire front of the plane is one large clear canopy. But in RF 7.5 I could use the TGA file and add a tint color in the normal layer and the opacity of the tint in the alpha layer. But I used the name...

~CS_GLASS_CANOPY

...for the part I 'separated from the fuselage' and it does make it clear but I can't add any 'tint' to it using the standard and alpha layers. And if I remember from the readme #2 I think he said 'not' to use baked on colors in RF-X.
They said to not set opacity in baked colors. You can add a gradient to the material and I would assume the tint would show but I can't be sure.
If you are mapping these parts and using an alpha layer for opacity do not use the _GLASS suffix. Instead make it a separate mesh and name it normally then make it a child of an opaque parent and add _T to the parents name.
Both _alpha and _CANOPY are for baked material types.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Boof69 View Post
They said to not set opacity in baked colors. You can add a gradient to the material and I would assume the tint would show but I can't be sure.
If you are mapping these parts and using an alpha layer for opacity do not use the _GLASS suffix. Instead make it a separate mesh and name it normally then make it a child of an opaque parent and add _T to the parents name.
Both _alpha and _CANOPY are for baked material types.
Okay thanks on the not using 'opacity' for baked on colors. I got it working and of course it was a dumb mistake. When I separated the canopy from the fuselage and made it a separate object it lost the ~ALPHA name so once I applied that again the tint color and opacity in the std/alpha layers is working again. So now if I walk over to the model you can see the black tint I applied so the glass looks tinted now. (not that I'll keep it that way for this plane - but testing stuff out).

So the 'canopy' object is now named ~CS_GLASS no suffix and the material applied to it is named ~ALPHA with the TGA file as the bitmap.

I forget is it normal for the camera mounted inside the canopy looking out to be completely clear still? I need to test more on this. But I started on the Homestead field and I can see the tinted glass outside walking around the plane but once I change the camera view to the pilot seat there's no tint anymore. I also tried the Ashe Peak field and could see the tint outside walking around and when I changed to the inside pilot seat camera it 'seemed' the glass was tinted, because it was a bit too dark while I was flying. Im not sure about this without testing further maybe it's darker on that field I'll put the opacity back to 0 and test it again but wanted to post what I've done so far. As always thanks for your help.

EDIT: I just went back and set the opacity for the canopy to zero and the glass is perfectly clear on both the Homestead and Ashe Peak fields walking around the plane but the Ashe Peak field still looks a bit darker when looking outside using the Pilot Seat camera so I guess it's just a bit darker on that field. So my tint and opacity is working correctly after I put the ~ALPHA back on the canopy glass.

Last edited by technoid; 11-26-2016 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:10 PM
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I have also noticed this when testing with a Russian Thunder copy. The cockpit camera does not see any tint, but the outside shows it fine. The Canopy is mapped for the Russian Thunder with an Alpha layer to control opacity. I lightened the alpha grey to 170
then I applied a red to transparent gradient in the rgb layers over the mapped canopy area. I have attached 2 screenshots 1 from inside and 1 from out.
A few more things are in control of opacity. You will get an auto-generated .MAT file with your model. There is an option for 2 sided but it is already set to "1" (on).
Also There are 4 values in the individual maps corresponding to R,G,B,and alpha. By default they are all set to 0.62 Changing these values will control the intensity of each. By playing around with all of these we might be able to get the tint to show on the inside. It will only apply to mapped meshes of course.
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File Type: jpg 11-26-2016 2-47-35 PM.jpg (498.5 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg 11-26-2016 2-48-31 PM.jpg (133.9 KB, 9 views)
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boof69 View Post
I have also noticed this when testing with a Russian Thunder copy. The cockpit camera does not see any tint, but the outside shows it fine. The Canopy is mapped for the Russian Thunder with an Alpha layer to control opacity. I lightened the alpha grey to 170
then I applied a red to transparent gradient in the rgb layers over the mapped canopy area. I have attached 2 screenshots 1 from inside and 1 from out.
A few more things are in control of opacity. You will get an auto-generated .MAT file with your model. There is an option for 2 sided but it is already set to "1" (on).
Also There are 4 values in the individual maps corresponding to R,G,B,and alpha. By default they are all set to 0.62 Changing these values will control the intensity of each. By playing around with all of these we might be able to get the tint to show on the inside. It will only apply to mapped meshes of course.
Okay thanks for the info it's not a problem for this model because the whole idea of it is the see what's in front of you the best. An explorer if you will that's why I wanted it to be my first RF-X model so I can explore everything with it.
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:21 PM
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So I can easily get this to work on the Thunderbolt Sbach. This canopy is also mapped but I think the main difference must be that they ticked the 2 sided option for the diffuse texture in 3ds Max.
I added gradient on the RGB layers and lightened the alpha layer. No difference between the Russian Thunder and the Sbach in execution so this must be the case.
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File Type: jpg 11-26-2016 4-04-21 PM.jpg (504.4 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg 11-26-2016 4-04-02 PM.jpg (92.0 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 2Sided.jpg (130.1 KB, 15 views)
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:44 PM
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So to get back to my original question, I attempted to attach blur blades with _T suffix to a dummy, a solid, opaque geometry piece and a _T suffixed geometry piece. One of these combinations keeps crashing my editor.
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Old 11-26-2016, 06:41 PM
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The _T suffix should only be added to the opaque parent object. Just name the blur disks without any suffix. So it would be something like ~CS_CENTER_T as a parent to your blur disk ~CS_MAINOUTERHUB_2BLADE
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Old 11-26-2016, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for clarifying, sadly didn't work though. Result is black mesh instead of transparency.
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File Type: jpg nonblur.jpg (288.7 KB, 13 views)
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Old 11-26-2016, 07:20 PM
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There must be a lot more going on with blurdisks. This is the line that gave me hope it would work for your problem: "Note that transparency effects on ~CS_SPINNER frames/mesh objects require an opaque parent and the _T suffix to be used."
KnifeEdge will need to chime in.
One last question. Are those blur disks mapped?
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Old 11-26-2016, 07:38 PM
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Yes, they are completely mapped (see attached screenshots). I should also note that these aren't named ~CS_MAINOUTERHUB_2BLADE, as this would inherently render them completely transparent. The displayed blade blurs are regular geometry attached to the main hub that's hidden inside the fuselage via linear actuators when the rotor rpm is below 420 and therefore the actual main blades are visible. No special naming, just ~CS_BLADEFLEX index 1-4.
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File Type: png map.png (330.4 KB, 13 views)
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