Friday, March 24, 2006

Lightwave 8 and Mask

I created a green version of Lightwave 7 and 8 on my removable hard disk and it worked pretty OK so far. However last night I was working on rendering a shot in the office, I notice that the File save option only provides me 4 options like .tga and a few proprietary file format. However, when I open the same green version of Lightwave 8 from my removable hard disk at home, I saw the full list with all the .JPG and Photoshop file formats in it (several dozens of them). I remembered that I previously installed and then uninstalled Lightwave 8 from my home machine. So I think my green version is not really completed, as some of the setting and some of the files may had been installed at the system level.

However, this doesn't make my portable version of Lightwave 8 particularly not useful. In fact, I found that the Targa format (.tga) contains the masking alpha channel, while the .psd version DOES NOT. What a shock.

To create a masked image after rendered and saved as .tga from Lightwave, I did the following:

- Open the .tga file in Photoshop.
- Click on Channel's tab on layer window, you will see a "Alpha 1" channel.
- Drag and Drop the alpha channel to the "Load Channel as selection icon" (at the bottom of the layer window).
- Click layer tab to switch back to regular layer view.
- If the layer name is in italic, double click on it to turn it into a regular layer.
- Click on add layer mask button at the bottom of layer screen.
- Done. Now the objects are masked.

However, I find that somehow the masked objects has a border which doesn't look too good. So usually before the "Click add layer mask button" step (which the selection is still on), I select Photoshop manual [Select]->[Modify...]->[Contract...] I usually choose 2 pixel to shrink.

Also, you can take advantage of the "History tab" and undo your error in case you need to.

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