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Transparent image mask stopped working


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I have created many, many image props from jpg and psd files in the past but something just came up that I don't seem to be able to figure out.

I have a folder of photos that I have been using to create image props of "rock musicians" for a set. I created three already - importing the image into photoshop, erasing what I don't want and then creating a background layer in a vibrant color that vector works can use as the keyed out color.

Then "Create Image Prop" in vectorworks, "Use This Props color" for the mask etc. All works fine. Until suddenly, it's not. The last image I've been working with, when I look at it in the "Create Mask" dialogue - the tolerance and color matching sliders do nothing. Changing the transparent color does nothing. The transparent color mask continues to be an unusable mess. I've tried changing the mode, background color, bits/channel etc in photoshop. Nothing changes.

Restarted all programs and computer, same thing.

All photos were form the same photographer and in the same format.

What happened? What can I do to fix this?


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Sounds like something is messed up with your system or maybe the file is corrupt. As an alternative, did you try using the source image with a transparent background or an Alpha Channel instead of a vibrant color? That's usually how I create image props. Just use the "Alpha Mask" option when you're creating the Image Prop. This avoids the whole color problem. WARNING: If you use a Transparent Background and select "This Props Color" and select "Transparent Color" it will turn the transparent background to white, which in your image doesn't work so well as she has highlights that are also white and therefore become transparent, unless you push the color matching sliders full to the end.

PNG only supports Transparent Backgrounds

TIFF supports both Transparent Background and Alpha Channel

Here are some test files to play around with in VW 2011 format:


Edited by Monadnoc
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By the way, looking at your two example images, I notice your sliders are not optimum. In the first one, the Color Matching Tolerance slider should be full left and the Mask Contrast should be full right to get the cleanest separation/transparency. On the second image, you have a lime green background but the Transparent Color is showing as black, so the preview on the right is behaving as I would expect. The blacker areas of the image are transparent (it's ignoring the lime green background). The sliders should also be set as above for maximum differentiation of colors.

Although the fact the two preview images display the same does suggest something wonky is going on, and you're probably just fiddling with the sliders/BG color to get some sort of reaction, any reaction. In which case, ignore this post.


Edited by Monadnoc
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Thanks, I did actually try the transparent background option, same problem. Did not try alpha channel yet. As for the sliders, yeah, I just posted the pictures to show that nothing changed at all when changing settings.

Thanks for the advice and files, I'll check them out. Much appreciated!

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When you tried the transparent background, did you choose Alpha Mask for the mask? That keeps the transparency intact. If you use Transparent Color it actualy takes away the transparency and makes the background color solid white. That can be a tad confusing.

Whatever the case, it certainly sounds like something very weird is up with your install. Did you try trashing the VW preferences?

Edited by Monadnoc
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