you can fly!? Painting with PD Particles...
Working with Poser6
part 2

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PD Particles
Project Dogwaffle

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In this tutorial we'll use some images whcih were painted in PD Particles for use in the popular 3D program Poser by Curiouslabs/e-Frontier. You can also find the eralier version Poser 5 here at a discount for those artists who are interested in getting into 3D with Poser.

Poser is a human figure 3D posing and animation tool. One thing you often want to do is create custom painted patterns for fabrics on clothes. Or to paint some scars on skins. Or change the color of a hat etc...

Another common task is to add things to the 3D scene, such as a background image, or some pieces of imagery throughout the 3D scene which are mounted on billboard polygons, usually rectangles or squares. Such billboards can show a texture image all over, fully opaque. Or, you might have some areas which are transparent and where you can see through, such as when  you have a window in a wall, or a bullet hole in a soda can.

And of course when dealing with foliage, trees, shrubbery, bushes and grass etc... And that's what we'll do here with PD Particles.

After starting Poser 6, click the Props menu and select the Primitves section.

The Primitives collection includes basic shapes like spheres, cubes, square rectangles and more.

Double-click the 'Square' object to add it to the scene.

Now that the prop has been inserted into the scene, click to select the square we just inserted, to make sure it's the 'current' object. Then  switch to the Materials room. 

Select the 'Simple' tab.

Look for the Diffuse Color area, click on the empty grey box below the white color bar. That's where you will eventually see a texture after we load an image through that.

Poser pops up the Texture Manager dialog to let you select the image.

Click the Browse... button.

Select the image of some foliage which we painted earlier. This one does not need to have a mask in the alpha channel, as we'll use a sepaate mask file for Transparency. It could be a Targa image format, Jpeg or other formats.

If you don't have an image of your own to try, get this one: Targa file (zipped)

The Texture manager now shows the selected image. Click 'OK' to continue.
The color is now affected by the image texture loaded in the diffuse channel.

There are other channels to look at.
Repeat the procedure for the Transparency channel.

Click the empty grey box.

Select the image file which contains a greyscale transparency or opacity mask for the prior shrubbery.

If you don't have an image of your own to try, get this one: Targa file (zipped)

And here's the image, going soon into the transparency channel. Black is transparent. White is opaque. Grey values are somewhere in-between.

 The interactive view now shows the effect of the transparency ask.

Back in the main Pose room, you can now see the foliage with transparency around it.

Be sure to set the interactive viewer to textured mode.

We've also put a human figure behind it. Some of it will show through the transparent parts of the front polygon.

When you render it however, there may be a few imperfections.
In this case, there is a slight darkening in the transparent area, which ends up making it possible to see the border of the square polygon. Not good enough, even if you may not notice it against a noisy background unlike this plain grey colored background.

One reason for this may be that it is not fully transparent, i.e. that it was not totally black in the greyscale image used for the transparency channel. We didn't check for this, and we may want to load the image back into an image editor which can spread the dynamic range from min to max values: fully transparent black (0,0,0 for red, green blue) and and fully opaque white (255,255,255). PD Pro can do that, your image editor probably too. Another approach is to use flood fill tools (fill can) and force the color to black.

Other imperfections might be caused for other reasons. For example, bright highlights might cause unexpected bright spots, which might appear over the opaque or even some transparent parts depending on how the lightsources hit it.

If your 3D software has an option like 'No Interaction with light if fully transarent' then you may want to use it.

Also, if the lights cast shadows, try raytraced shadows instead of Zbuffer based shadow maps. Shadow maps might not 'see' or use the transparency mask on the polygons. Objects behind the billboard polygons could be dark or show the outline of the rectangle as a cast shadow.

To avoid reflection, highlights etc... be sure to select black colors for the unused channels.

Here's a different view, with another figure in another pose. We've also added another square prop and mapped another image on it. This one only has diffuse color, no transparency channel used.

If you don't have an image of your own to try, get this one: Jpeg file -  image1.jpg

And voila, the rendering is done, with the camera poised in such a way that the back polygon fills the view with the background image, and the foreground has some additional foliage showing in front of the 3D figure.

    part 1  -  part 2