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Understanding alpha channels


From:

SOLIDWORKS Rendering with PhotoView 360

with Gabriel Corbett

Video: Understanding alpha channels

An alpha channel holds transparency information about an image. If we choose one of those support file types like a TIF or a PNG, we can automatically remove the background of an image without the need to mask it at all. This is much easier and quicker. Let's take a look at a few examples. I've got the TI-WD1-31 solid part open, I'm just going to place a decal on the the back surface here. I'm going to come up to PhotoView 360>Edit Decal, and I'm going to go ahead and choose a few options. Now I've been using these logos that are in the Exercise Files>Chapter 5>Logos, and I'm going to continue to do so.
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Watch the Online Video Course SOLIDWORKS Rendering with PhotoView 360
1h 50m Intermediate Oct 29, 2013

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How do you present a technical design in a way that everyone can understand? Try PhotoView 360, which makes it possible to create photorealistic renderings and animations with SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium editions. In this course, Gabriel Corbett shows you how to transform a SOLIDWORKS model into a fully rendered animation. Learn how to apply materials and textures (including transparency and reflectivity) to parts and assemblies, set up the environment with cameras and lights, and render a final realistic image. The last chapter shows how to animate your scene and output the final video to share with your coworkers or clients.

Topics include:
  • Prepping the model
  • Applying materials and textures
  • Working with glass
  • Positioning the camera
  • Adding lighting
  • Rendering from multiple angles
  • Outputting an image
  • Animating your scene
Subjects:
3D + Animation CAD
Software:
SOLIDWORKS
Author:
Gabriel Corbett

Understanding alpha channels

An alpha channel holds transparency information about an image. If we choose one of those support file types like a TIF or a PNG, we can automatically remove the background of an image without the need to mask it at all. This is much easier and quicker. Let's take a look at a few examples. I've got the TI-WD1-31 solid part open, I'm just going to place a decal on the the back surface here. I'm going to come up to PhotoView 360>Edit Decal, and I'm going to go ahead and choose a few options. Now I've been using these logos that are in the Exercise Files>Chapter 5>Logos, and I'm going to continue to do so.

In this case here we have been using this JPEG image or any of these other JPEG's but if I choose the PNG option that actually has an alpha channel built into it. Go ahead and choose Open, place the image and once you've placed the image, notice that it shows up black. So if I come down here to Use Decal Image Alpha Channel. So I'm going to choose that. It actually hides that background and shows us purely the image. It's exactly what we want. We can scale it, place it wherever we want on the surface and it makes it really easy.

I don't have to worry about any of those other masking options or other things like that. The other cool thing you can do here is you can invert the mask. Right so if you want the opposite of that to show through. You can use that, and you can scale it out to the size of the image, so you might use a portion of it as kind of a decorative image or something like that. You might place, somewhere on your design, to show something that might be kind of a cool look similar to that or. And you can make it obviously smaller if you wanted to and move things around. We also have the option to go back to mapping and adjust the location of that.

So I could put that dead center, just using these two icons here. And, I could adjust the size, I can adjust the angle, all from back in there. So alpha channel images are really the way to go because they allow us to quickly remove the background, without having to add in multiple layers. It keeps us from having to go to Photoshop, and remove backgrounds, things like that. So, definitely recommend choosing alpha type images like PNGs or Photoshop files or TIF files that have it built in. And especially if you are working with a graphic designer. Make sure you tell 'em ahead of time.

Hey, I'm looking for .PNG files. So they can easily those in your SolidWork designs.

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