Tutorial - Using an image mask

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Tutorial - Using an image mask // Using an image mask

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Post by kena // Feb 17, 2007, 3:15pm

Total Posts: 2321
Most tutorials mention the use of Photoshop, but many casual users cannot afford it. Also, MY Photoshop is on a different pc and I cannot find the disk, so This tutorial is all about using Gimp to create a mask for a flat image. You can use Photoshop if you have it, but the processes may be slightly different.

You can go two ways with creating a leaf. You can model the shape and try to texture it and use the paint tool to put in the veins. That is just too hard and leve you with lots of vertices and faces.

You can get GIMP at http://www.gimp.org/

I got my leaf picture from a nature web site and it is free for use, so here we go.

Start Gimp and load the picture.


Right-click the picture and zoom in.


Right-click and select by color


Left-click in the white area to select the white pixels.

Right-click and fill with the foreground color (black)


Continue selecting the colors you don’t want to have and filling them with the foreground color


Post by kena // Feb 17, 2007, 3:17pm

Total Posts: 2321
At this point, it will look a bit ragged. No problems



Select the pencil tool


You may need to select a smaller pencil tip.


And clean up the edges.


Don’t worry about making it perfect – this IS zoomed 800%

Now we work on the leaf.

Right-click and select by color again.

Select the leaf colors.

This time fill with the background color and repeat until you have all white where the leaf was.

Be careful not to pick any colors too close to black.

If you accidentally remove your black , just do a <ctrl><z> on your keyboard to get it back and move on.

You can either select the erase tool, or the pencil tool again.

I select the pencil tool and switch the foreground and background colors.


Post by kena // Feb 17, 2007, 3:18pm

Total Posts: 2321
Clean up the inside of your leaf mask.


Save that file as a .bmp file.

Your mask is complete.

You can now make a plane in Truespace and map it in.

Post by kena // Feb 17, 2007, 3:21pm

Total Posts: 2321
First, Lets set up our texture

Click on the Material Editor Icon to bring up the Material Editor



A) Expand the Material Editor by clicking on the expander on the side

B) right-click on the color window

C) Choose The texture Map

D) Click on the Transparency Icon at the top of the box and choose Transparency Map

Now you can click in the window for the Texture Map and choose your leaf

Then click on the Transparency Map window and choose your mask

I’ve removed a bit of the windows to make the next easier


A) right-click on the Bump Window

B) Select Bump Map

C) click on the Bump Map and select your leaf again

There are other ways to get a bump map including creating a grey-scale image of the leaf. But this is quicker for me.

Set the Amp to -0.5 to get the veins raised in your leaf

Now click on the Texture handle again to collapse the windows and draw a rectangle in your workspace


I did this in solid render mode to make it easier for you to see it.

Now when you render the scene, all you get is the leaf and not the rest of your rectangle.


Now leaves are not flat, so we need to deform it a bit.

Post by kena // Feb 17, 2007, 3:24pm

Total Posts: 2321
We will Quad Divide the object a couple of times. You could set your polyplane to do this before drawing it, but I find that I decide how many times to divide it by the size of the object and how much deformation I want to have.

A) Right-click on your plane to Edit it.

B) Then click the editor handle to expand it.

C) Then click the quad divide button twice.


This gives us 16 little squares to play with.


Right-click in your workspace to exit the editor

Then choose the Sculpt Surface tool to deform your object with


You click on the plane and push and pull the vertices until you come up with something that is pleasing to you.

Put a plane under it, and render your scene.

Note that while the “empty” part of your plane does not render, it still casts shadows.


To get rid of the pesky shadows, you now need to modify your lights.

Select each light that is casting a shadow.

A) right-click on the shadow type

B) change the Shadow Transparency to “Transparent Shadows”


Post by kena // Feb 17, 2007, 3:26pm

Total Posts: 2321
Do this for each light that casts shadows

Re-render, and you now have a leaf that looks like a leaf


This ends the step-by-step Tutorial on creating Transparency maps and using them in Truespace.

And here is the picture I modified in Gimp

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