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Guest oldraisin

Gauge shadow and highlight construction - detailed desc...

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The OldRaisinI noted that others besides me were struggling with this, so when I solved it I thought I would pass it along:You need a main graphics program such as Photopaint, Paint Shop Pro, or Photoshop to make the targa (.tga) file and the alpha bmp file.You need Image Tool from Microsoft to make the 8 bit paletted file with alpha. Get the 160K version dated 11-17-2003.You need Dxtbmp from MW graphics, freeware, to make the targa file with alpha by importing a bmp file as the alpha. (go to http://fly.to/mwgfx/ and then open the link Graphics Tools. you will find DXTBmp under "CSF/FS graphics programs", and mwgfx.dll under "Newest mwgfx.dll package version". The downloads are at the bottom of those pages, you are looking for mwgfxdll.exe and dxtbmpx.exe self installing files). This program is great for making any files needing alpha channels and reading all the FS graphics formats.If you can import a bmp as an alpha channel in your main graphics program, and export it as a targa with alpha, then you might not need DXTBmp. But the program is so useful otherwise, that if you are doing much FS developing, you should have it anyway. Martin Wright has done an excellent job, and has maintained the program for years. The help file gives a complete rundown on all graphics formats used in FS. TO MAKE HIGHLIGHTSMake a 24bit color image, completely black, 0,0,0. TheN paint on the reflection with shades of gray. Save as a targa, enhanced.Also make an inverted image of this file (it will be white with some gray. To do this in Photopaint, clck on Image-Transform-Invert image and save as a bmp.) This will be imported as your alpha channel.Then bring the targa into Dxtbmp, and import the alpha bmp. Then save it back as a targa with alpha.Now bring that targa with alpha into Image Tool and format it as a 8 bit, and save it as a bmp.That all avoids resizing of the image in Dxtbmp, that assumes it is a scenery object bmp and wants to make it a multiple of 2 in both dimensions.And since you can't easily import an alpha in ImageTool, you use Dxtbmp for that. Then you use ImageTool to make an 8bit alpha bmp, which Dxtbmp won't do.TO MAKE SHADOWSMake a completely black, 0,0,0 image the size of the bitmap, and save as a targa.Then make a completely white image, 255,255,255, and then color in the parts that you want as shadows, with black being a completely black and opaque shadow. The shades of gray are more or less transparent with white completely transparent. Save this for the alpha as a bmp.Then bring the targa into Dxtbmp, and import the alpha. Then save it back as a targa with alpha.Now bring that into Image Tool and format it as a 8 bit, and save it as a bmp.I am sure there are other ways to do this, but this is reliable and works consistently. I use Corel Photopaint, and have little knowledge of Photoshop or PaintShop Pro.Also note, that examining the file produced in other than Image Tool may not reveal the alpha, since aN 8 bit image with alpha is not a common format, I guess.

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Just in case someone wonders what this is all about, I am talking about the highlights and shadows that appear in front of gauges that have moving textures. Not usually necessary for a small pointer, you can place the highlights/shadows directly on the gauge background in that case. However, if you have a moving bitmap, such as with the DC-3 ADF, or a whiskey compass, then this is the way to make the glass have a highlight or to generate a shadow. Incidentally, you can also place these semitransparent bitmaps in front of text fields on a gauge, and make it look less digital.Best regards,Jim

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I know this topic is very, very old but I've tried for months and months and for the life of I can not make any sense on now to make a highlight image that preserves transparency in the sim! :( smashingcomputer.gifI am very frustrated with this bit of black magic wizardry photo-creating! :( If someone could direct me to a place where I could learn this black magic I would be eternally grateful! :( Engjell BerishaGood Day!

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I know this topic is very, very old but I've tried for months and months and for the life of I can not make any sense on now to make a highlight image that preserves transparency in the sim! :( smashingcomputer.gifI am very frustrated with this bit of black magic wizardry photo-creating! :( If someone could direct me to a place where I could learn this black magic I would be eternally grateful! :( Engjell BerishaGood Day!
There's a step-by-step section with illustrations in sd2gau28(?? I lose track of my own releases and I'm too lazy to look it up).-Dai

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