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Guest Milton

Got model in gmax, now how do I do reflections?

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This one has me stumped. I have a model created in GMax but I can't figure out how to make reflective aluminum skin like many of the MS models. I've heard lots of "you need gmax" but never what to do once you have it in gmax.Help is greatly appreciated!~Pilotwings~

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What you need to do is create your livery, and then use a tool like PSP or Photoshop and create an alpha channel. The alpha channel is what FS interprets as a "reflection". I have photoshop, so bare with me if this is a little biased. Basically, I took the livery I made for a POSKY model, and once satisfied, I flattened all the layers, selected everything (ctrl-a), and then switched to the alpha channel and pasted it. Then what you can do is either edit the lightness or the contrast to determine how "shiny" your craft is. Darker=shinier (black is full aluminum effect), lighter=not so shinier. It is true that you need gmax for reflections, that's just because gmax models -support- reflections (if you were to create an alpha channel on an fsds model, it would just make it see-through...which is kind of cool). Hope this helps...

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Ahh ok. I think what confused me is that originally I was working in FSDS and when I created an alpha channel, it simply made the visual model partially invisible. Now I'm working in GMax. I also work in Photoshop :-) So after I make an alpha channel in Photoshop, what format do i export the complete image in? Do I save the actual texture as a 24 bit BMP, then hide that layer, and save only the alpha channel as a 24 bit BMP? How are they combined after that and ultimately associated into a GMax model? Will Gmax automatically know to make that alpha channel a reflection or is there a flag I need to set in Gmax to make that happen?Many thanksEnrique

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Heh whoops I forgot about that part. What you do is you save your files as a Targa (*.tga), then open up IMAGETOOL. It's located somewhere in your fs2002 gmax folder, just search for it. From ImageTool you can convert that to a bmp. Make sure you don't lose the alpha channel! I believe that 32 bit bmp retains the alpha channel, as well as DXT3. You may have to do a bit of trial and error to find out. Edit:And to answer your question, the alpha channel is packaged in with the actual texture, not as a seperate file, etc.

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One amendment to this...imagetool can actually read .psd files, so I find it easier to just leave them in that format and import directly into imagetool that way. Saves a few mouse clicks Matt

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Dang, I didn't know you could do that with imagetool. Thanks!

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Has anyone had any experiance doing this with Paint Shop Pro? I guess you could save as a tga, then go thru imagetool, eh?

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I had no luck with PSP so I got a copy of DXTbmp to do the work instead.The reflections worked well but I had to drop the idea in the end. The underlying bitmaps are quite detailed (lots of color banding) and adding reflections messed these up too much. I guess it's a good technique on an aluminium tube but one to use with care on anything more detailed..

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