(*chanimations tutorial: “Render Invisible” and “Hide Selected”

This time, I am focusing on alpha-glitches in avatar bodies and surroundings.

In most cases we realize their existance only then when out of all things, our favorite prim-avatar, demon-leg, pair of boots/shoes,  or whatever else it may be is the cause for them. They occur, when alpha meets another alpha (or semi-transparent texture), for example with the water we’re standing in, “reflective” floors or floor shadows, tree leaves, groundcovers, or any other sort of semi-transparent texture use.  Sure the list goes on, and some of it has most likely run across your ‘camera’ already.

We’ve grown pretty much accustomed to invisible prims ever since we realized that nobody wants to walk around in noob-feet. And the higher, more extreme, more sexy, the better (hey I might speak for myself here, I realize this! *laughs*). What matters more though: you don’t ever need to take these shoes off if they react in some manner with the respective surrounding. – And I’d rather taken no picture than take them off!

There are some things that you can pre-fix already when taking the picture simply by knowing how…

I’ll show you some of these tricks here that I used for a quick-fix in a picture shooting the other day!

This is what we started out with, I picked my personal weak spot, high-heels (and super-gorgeous ones at that :-D) and combined it with an interesting angle that made sure I have what I’d like to show you clearly visible to demonstrate how to prepare the fix:Tutuorial_ShoeFetish_800x_1(I watermarked the images this time, and since it was just taken on plain gray added a bit of a vignette to it – it looked all soooooooo boring uni-color without! As with the last online tutorial, click on the image to open it in a separate window; it will also allow you to navigate forward and back when clicking the arrow that appears in both upper left and right corners.)

In the future of SL the famous ‘transparency blanks’ that occur when alpha-prims meet other alpha-textures on the ground, trees  or avatars will hopefully be solved by the new alpha layers that were introduced this week with the viewer 2.0 beta. As I don’t run this viewer on my computer and since likely not all old shoes will be ‘out of style’ instantly or updated right away with the viewer changes, here’s a little tutorial on how you can prepare your pictures already during the shooting inside SL (without the new alpha-layers) to make the fix in a graphic program afterwards as simple as 4 minutes work – and with hardly any risk to mess it up at that! :-D

As usually, there are many ‘right’ ways to get to the goal, so the technique I’ll describe in the following doesn’t apply to all problems. But it is a great help when you’re in a studio surrounding, or if you have to use a model as the camera rotation point to get the right angle you want, and with that having one of the models ‘get out of the picture’ physically is a no-go to maintain the camera perspective (as it was the case for me here.)

So next thing we need is ‘Advanced’ menu

– if it doesn’t show yet in your top browser bar, toggle it on/off with [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[ALT]+D. Then Go to Rendering, and mouse over to select “Hide Selected”. It shows a little x when it is activated.Tutuorial_ShoeFetish_800x_2What we will do is simply ‘hide’ everything that appears in front of the kneeling girl so we have a second picture to lie under our first one without any holes. When editing the shoe now (applies if you are the owner of the attachment) it turns invisible, only the highlighting lines show still, and edit window opens. This works slightly different when you are the person not wearing the item, then you need to do right-click > more > more > inspect to select the item.

Tutuorial_ShoeFetish_800x_3We still have the foot shape of the SL avatar now – if you are not owner of the shoe attachments, you can just go on and ‘select’ the avatar too so it goes invisible. Since this was not an option for me in this case though, and I am using a trick in Emerald Viewer, “Render Avatar Invisible” which can be found in Preferences > Emerald > Avatar. (Actually I am sure this option exists in the regular SL viewer too somewhere cause I think I used it in the past, but I don’t know where it is hidden so you’d need to confront the wiki on that question!)

Tutuorial_ShoeFetish_800x_4Anyhow, my avatar is gone now too, and while I took the snapshots here specifically WITH the UI and stuff to show you what I did, the second picture I saved to hard drive (the first was the image we started with)  looked like this – little bit creepy, but efficient:

In my graphic program,  I moved both images into separate layers of the same file – ‘Background’ is my second inworld shot with the partially hidden avatar, and I just pulled the other one with holes in the avatar on top into a separate layer (see layerorder screenshot below).  It is important that the two pictures align with one another, and to have the exact same angle and no moved camera in both pictures! (also in case you never needed to use it, most graphic programs have an alignment tool that can be applied to multiple layers to make sure borders cover one another exactly)

And the final magic is as simple as that: use your magic wand tool, select the grey area around the shoe on the top layers, and delete them out of the layer.  Tutuorial_ShoeFetish_800x_6
You have created a hole now, that allows to see the layer underneath :-) Tutuorial_ShoeFetish_800x_7

No need to know how to draw, and with a little bit of preparation inworld already all is fixed in a few minor post-processing steps. And from here on, you can go on with your actual image treatment to make it sparkle! …which I did, as you saw!!!

Image Credits:

Chair with poses for both models:

“ShoeFetish” (FetishCabaret SET 23) by (*chanimations

Outfit top:

“BloodRayne Costume” by *Deviance*,
BARE Robin Ankle Boots by Stiletto Moody

Outfit bottom:

Latex-Lingerie by *HD* Hugo Design,
Ballet Boots by *Dilly Dolls*

3 Responses to “(*chanimations tutorial: “Render Invisible” and “Hide Selected””

  • Ayami Imako says:

    I’ve always done this similar, but instead I just take the picture, then remove the invisiprim thats causing the problem and take another picture and then go in post and basically do the layer tricks as you describe here rather then hide a bunch of stuff.

  • Very informative post! If you use the Emerald viewer, there is an even easier method. The “pie menu” has an option “derender”, that will remove every object o attachment where you apply it to. It’s a real lifesaver in photography, and much less cumbersome to use than “hide selected”.

  • Chandra says:

    Ayami, it works sometimes when doing it that way – but it completely depends on how thin and intricate the heels are. It usually works great with boots for example, cause usually not THAT much avatar shines through. With the slim heels I used here though, it left quite a bit of ugly foot – also, not all shoes come with separate invisiprims, some are ‘build in’ :-D So need to find work-arounds :-D One of the reasons for the ‘complicated way around’ for me is, that I like to have the full image that’s underneath – I didn’t do it in this picture due to the planned high-key style of it, but if I hadn’t gone for the extreme contrast I would do things like added shadows falling from the shoe for example, so the clearer I have a ‘free cut’ of the part, the better!

    Peter, thanks a lot for bringing it up! It’s a great option as well to do derender, but I believe the prim stays derendered after that for a very long time – at least I haven’t figured out yet how to make the prim appear instantly again! If you know a trick, please share! I’d be dying for that one too :-D

February 2010
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