Monday, November 03, 2003

The moose is pretty much animated. I'm spending a lot of time tweaking the f-curves and I suspect I need to go and do something else because I am too close to him (and am too critical!). I tied to do exactly that last Thursday, thinking that I would try to use an animated texture to create the smoke from the Moose's cigarette.

Creating an animated texture is quite easy, although at first I used an animated gif painted in Painter only to discover the alpha channel wasn't coming into XSI... so I tried instead with a tif and used Fireworks to animate it so I would have control over the spline ... it was great, until I tried to get XSI to use the alpha channel. It just wouldn't work! I checked the docs, the tutorials both on the CD and from the web and tried and tried and tried ... (sigh).

However my good friend Pierre Tousignant came over this evening to take a look at it with me and he asked if I was using compression on the tif file .. of course Fireworks compresses Tif with LZW compression on. Bringing the file into photoshop and resaving it with LZW turned off, makes XSI happy to give me the alpha channel ... This is kind of annoying, because the file size without compression is much bigger and Photoshop is not easy to animate in ...

Here is what you need to do if you want to use an animated texture with alpha channel in XSI:

1. Animate your image in Fireworks and export to tif 32 format
2. Bring your images into Photoshop and resave, toggling off the LZW compression
3. In XSI, apply a phong material to your object
4. Choose your Texture support for the object
5. Apply the sequence of images as a texture
6. In the phong property page on the transparency/reflection tab click on Connection Icon to the right of the RGBA sliders for the mix color and choose image, reselect the image sequence
7. In the phong property page go to the transparency/reflection tab, toggle on "use alpha" (*you may need to toggle on "invert" depending on your alpha)

I wasn't able to get the alpha channel on the animated gif files to work ... but I didn't spend a lot of time trying to troubleshoot (I tried lossless, alpha transparency).

I can't thank Pierre Tousignant enough for helping me out!

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