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Creating Trees with gMax

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Part 1 - Preparing the Images

Your first requirement is a good picture of the tree you want to model. If you are an artist you can draw your own - I'm not an artist so I scanned my pictures from a book. You also need an image to make the transparency. I did this using PaintShop Pro (but you should be able to do it in any decent graphics program):

  1. Make a duplicate copy of your picture.

  2. Select the "Magic Wand" tool. On the Control Palette set the Tolerance to 50, the Match Mode to RGB Value, and the Feather value to 0.

  3. Using the "Magic Wand"  tool, click on the white area surrounding the picture.

  4. From the menu select Selections / Modify / Select Similar. This should select all the white, or nearly white, areas in the picture.

  5. Select Black as the drawing color and "Flood Fill" as the tool.

  6. In the Control Palette set Fill Style to Solid Color, Match Mode to None, and Tolerance and Opacity both to 100%.

  7. Click the "Fill Tool" on a selected part of the picture.

  8. From the menu select Selections / Invert.

  9. Select White as the drawing color and click the Fill Tool tool on a part of the selected area.

  10. Select Colors / Grey Scale from the menu.

  11. Using the "Paint Brush" tool, and with White as the drawing color, fill in any black parts of the main trunk of the tree. If you don't do this then parts of the trunk will be transparent!

    You should now have one image which is purely black and white and another in full color:

    Trainz requires the textures to be particular sizes (each side must be 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 or 1024 pixels, although you should beware of making the image too large) so we must now convert both pictures to a usable size. Before doing this, however, make a note of the existing size as this will help when it comes to getting the tree the correct height and width. In the case of the pictures shown above the size is 456 x 748 pixels.

  12. Select one of the pictures and then choose Image / Resize from the menu. In the Resize dialog make sure that Maintain aspect ratio is not selected, and then in the Pixel Size section of the dialog type the width and height you have chosen for your texture (I used 256 x 256 - 128 x 128 might be acceptable, however). Click OK. Note that in Trainz the texture sizes must be powers of 2, e.g. 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc. If your texture size is 127 x 128 your textures will not show in Trainz!

  13. Repeat for the second picture.

  14. Save the colored image (in the folder you will be using for your model) as a .tga file, and the gray scale picture as a .bmp file.

We are now ready to start work in gMax.

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Last major revision: 8 February 2005 at 00:40
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