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First successful alpha in Blender!

July 27, 2008

Yahoo!  Praise God!  I have made my first successful alpha texture in Blender!

What is alpha?  It is the “invisible”, the transparency per se.  Whatever is set as alpha, you can’t see.  Whatever is a normal color, like red, green, or blue (RGB) displays in it’s normal color.  With alpha you can have a complicated image (say, of a leaf,) applied to a plane.  The area around the leaf will be turned to alpha.  Loading the image (PNG or TGA) into Blender, you then apply it to a plane, and go through a series of steps.  Finally, rendering it, you get a wonderful result:

First successful alpha leaf in Blender

First successful alpha leaf in Blender

Well, maybe not all that wonderful, but the possibilities sure are astounding!

Imagine a cutout animation, set in a 3D world!  Or a tree with twenty thousand leaves – imagine it, you don’t have to model a complicated leaf, duplicate it twenty thousand times, and make your polygon count 4,000,000,000, causing your render time to go bonkers!  Instead, just apply the alpha image to all your leaves (a simple plane,) and kapow!  Your render time is lightning fast compared to what it could have been!

Go ahead and find out how to do alpha texturing in Blender. Carefully follow the steps.  One important step that I didn’t get right is this: for any objects that you want to recieve the shadow of your alpha image, make sure you turn on TraShadow in the Shaders Panel (for the objects that are recieving the shadow.)

Here’s an image of the GIMP and Blender, and what some of it looks like.

Making the leaf transparent with alpha - using GIMP and Blender

Making the leaf transparent with alpha - using GIMP and Blender

God bless,

Thanks for listening!

-b

P.S. I have run into a problem editing the interview of Dr. Narendra Singh.  When I get to a certain place in the video, the video gets stuck and he is frozen saying part of the same word.  This is an error, and some fault with the program or video file.  The video file plays fine, so my guess is it is Premiere.  Now is the question of “Now what?!”

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