Photoshit Question

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Applewood, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I know Photoshop isn't meant for use in games, but I'm still trying to use it for such.

    I have an image with an alpha channel (its a GUI button) and I want to shorten it a bit by selecting some of the righthand side of it and simply moving it to the left a bit.

    Apparently photoshop thinks it would be best if it leaves the alpha channel alone. I mean, why would I want that to move as well ?!?? If I select only the alpha channel in the layer I then get that bollocks message about the target channels being hidden.

    God, I really do hate this program with a passion. It's utter shite - nothing works the way you'd expect. So I have two questions:

    1) Does anyone know how to pull off the miraculous feat of getting a thousand quid bit of art sofrtware to know what a fucking alpha channel is and let me move it about ?

    2) I'm looking for recommendations for an art program suitable for use in game development. ProMotion can't deal with true colour and gimp is trying its best to be yet another photoshop. I want something that just bloody works - meaning RGBA naturally has some A.

    Thanks. Sorry for the rant but since trying to use this program in earnest instead of ProMo I spend more time trying to move an icon about than I do to code a whole game.
     
  2. Bentleyhg

    Bentleyhg New Member

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    It sounds like you're attempting to perform a transformation on both the content and the alpha channel at once. AFAIK you can't transform the content and the Mask all at once.

    If it's just for a fairly simple button, it shouldn't be too hard to scale the button graphic down a bit, and then apply the same transform to the Layer Mask or Alpha Channel.

    I know Photoshop can be frustrating, but in most cases it's really helpful to be able to manipulate the graphic and the alpha as separate entities, IMHO, of course.
     
  3. Applewood

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    Total agreement. The problem is that photoshop doesn't allow this. It's not optional and oftentimes isn't possible. At best they're always totally separate and for that they should be ashamed.

    Of all the things I hate about it, I'm still left slackjawed that *any* art tool authors don't integrate alpha as part of an image.
     
  4. Bentleyhg

    Bentleyhg New Member

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    I'm confused, I use Layer Masks all the time and am able to manipulate them completely separate from the graphics they share layers with.

    How are you creating your alpha channels?
     
  5. Applewood

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    They come in from an RGBA tga file. Which of course means they're not even editable until I do some jiggery pokery to copy the alpha from the alpha into the (new) alpha then save as a PSD and reload it.

    The really annoying part of that is when you can see alpha at work but can't even edit it without first dicking about.

    When I make a mask using the wand I get slightly better results, but it still feels a bit random. When I just drop a rectangle around something, that alpha channel is staying put. It's not even consistent.

    I wish someone had written an art package for games and stuff. We shouldn't be making do with something that was invented to touch up photographs at this stage, especially when it's so damned expensive to buy in the first place.
     
  6. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    By default, PS only shows the RGB channels. Alpha doesn't come into play. It also doesn't let you do much with it.

    Try this instead:

    Use the marquee tool(the dashed line box) and select the righthand side of your button.

    Switch to the move tool(right next door, looks like an arrow next to a smaller four way arrow thing).

    Tap the left key a few times. This will move the selected chunk of your button over.
     
  7. Reactor

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    I'm not a fan of Photoshop either, but TGAs and alphas are always annoying.
     
  8. Jonas

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    Hrmm, well you can get the image to be RGBA by turning your alpha into a selection, and then deleting transparent layers.

    I'm probably confused, but It it sounds like your alpha is in a totally different channel.

    So to turn your alpha into a selection, select all, on your alpha layer, and hit copy.

    then click on the rectangle with the circle in it, just below the color selector. That puts you into mask mode, where you can paint your alpha.

    Now, paste your alpha in, and then press that button again. Now your selection in your mask, so you can go to your rgb layer, and apply your transparency.

    Now you'll be editing that layer as RGBA. So selecting a chunk to scoot over will do it to that RGBA layer. (it won't do anything to that special alpha layer though, and you should be able to just delete it else it will probably keep that old one when you save as TIFF.

    Working with PNGS, it seems to be all automatic, and the above isn't needed unless I break apart my rgb and alphas into separate images.
     
  9. Mtg_kirin

    Mtg_kirin New Member

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    Im not sure where ur getting the idea photoshop isnt used in games.... cause its the leading 2d program for game development.

    and i dont think your problem here is with the program, but the lack of knowing how to use it. I use alpha channels all the time and havent had problems. Im a bit confused on what your having trouble with.
     
  10. oNyx

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    Convert it to PNG with ImageMagick, edit it in Photoshop, and convert it back again.
     
  11. Sol_HSA

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    There's several issues with alpha and photoshop, mainly because there's several "alpha" concepts in there =)

    The "real" alpha channel is hidden - I mean the pixel transparency. You can get rid of this by duplicating the layer 256 times or so (or duplicate-flatten 8 times). This can be handy to record as an action.

    Then there's the additional 'alpha' channel you can create. This isn't visualized by photoshop in any way. It's just an additional layer you can draw in.

    Then there's layer masks. These are rather useful, as you can move them separately or linked with the color pixels, and you can draw separately to the mask to hide or unhide color pixels.

    It should be possible to automate conversion from "normal" transparency to a layer mask (as you can select the layer transparency) but I'm not sure how easy it is - it's been a while =)

    Now, to add to the confusion, TGA file format handles alpha channel as the extra channel that isn't all that useful in photoshop, while PNG handles alpha as the "normal" transparency.

    I hope that clarifies some bits. Feel free to comment if I'm wrong with some of these =)
     
  12. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    Create a layer just before you inage+alpha chanel layer. Then merge visible... Then you should have uniformed all your different alphas and when you move a portion your alpha should move with it.

    JC
     
  13. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Not for me it doesn't - that's exactly what I'm trying to do. I've also done the thing mentioned above about how to actually get the proper alpha channel into the layers view.

    I think this might be a bug (fancy that) so I'll convert to a png and start again.

    In the meantime, any other suggestions for art packages ? Even if I get my current problem sorted I think I'm done with this bloody thing.

    Thanks
     
  14. hippocoder

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    You're simply using photoshop badly I'm sorry to say. All AAA games have photoshop work in them. Its the only 2D art package most companies use.

    For dealing with alpha channels, just have a transparent layer under your graphics. Then your graphics ARE your alpha channel. What you see, is what you get.

    How much simpler can you get than that?

    Then use Export to Web and select PNG 24 or PNG 8 and tick Transparency. Done.

    Please dont call it photoshit. Its one of the best apps I've ever had the pleasure of using as an artist. Just learn what you're supposed to be doing instead of slagging it off :D

    If you want some one to one help on photoshop, just poke me in the eye on msn: hippocoder@hotmail.com and if I'm in the room I'll help you out.
     
  15. hippocoder

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    You mention you want a mask that will be moved around seperately? I think this only works with non rasterised graphics, I'd have to check though.
     
  16. Applewood

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    No I'm not, it's just a bad app. The fact that artists learn how to work around all this crap is not the same thing as the app working nicely to begin with.

    I'm no artist and won't want 99% of the features available which I'm sure are just great, but just cut and pasting and dragging images around should not require a post on a bulletin board.

    I don't want a mask to move around separately btw. I don't really want a "mask" at all. I want to move the whole job lot of pixels in one go by 10 pixels to the left, including their alpha values.

    Um, I thought I mentioned in my opening statement that it is indeed used in games. It just shouldn't be - it's for images that don't use alpha which was obviously tacked on as an afterthought. Which is fine - the clue is in the title, it's not *meant* for games but for editing/retouching photographs and such.

    Nope, sounds simple enough. That's exactly what I want. Only it's not actually what I'm getting.
     
  17. Applewood

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    Done that. The alpha still won't move if I select all the channels and if I select only alpha then I get that "target is hidden" rubbish.

    Is there some default setting I need to tweak to make this work ? I've only just installed on my home machine and the artist at work must be doing this all the time.
     
  18. chanon

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    Maybe you could post your image file so others can see what the problem is?
     
  19. Maupin

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    I second that because reading through this thread I have no idea what the problem is.

    It sounds like (a) you need to merge specific layers until the data you want to move is together because you've got your alphaed image in some weird combination of masks/channels - so create a new empty layer above the one you're fiddling with then select Layer > Merge Down (or CTRL E), and you'll be able to drag everything around like you want or (b) you're using a really old version of Photoshop without layers.

    I'm not an artist but I've used Photoshop for years and in my opinion it is one of the very few expensive utility programs that is actually worth the price. (At least up to version 6, haven't seen a need to upgrade any higher.)
     
  20. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    AppleWood, can you post the file you want to work on please. So we can have a look and see what you are talking about. It is hard to help just with written explainations...

    JC
     

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