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Dotbond 02-23-2007 02:39 AM

Want to Add Text...
I have an opening sequence where the camera zooms in on the Astronauts face
and the visor flips up. I want text (the title) to appear on the face of the helmet that the visor exposed. Can it be done?

DrJim 02-23-2007 11:52 AM

Two approaches - there are probably more.
1 Attachment(s)
Two ways to do this (at least - probably there are others, anyone else have a favorite?). :confused:

The most straightforward is just to make an image with the text you want and a transparent background (.png format with alpha level transparency works for sure). Then import that image as a billboard and move, size, rotate it as needed to put the text over the helmet where you want it. Finally, set the billboard’s vehicle to the helmet so the two will move together.

You can sometimes get funny angle effects with the billboard approach. A way to avoid that - although it's more work - is to actually create an alternate texture for the helmet. To do this, make a copy of the .a2c file for the astronaut (don't work with the original - it is very easy to make a mistake :o ) and decompress it using 7-Zip.

(I think Winrar also works. WinZip usually doesn't get everything but if that's all you have, give it a try first. You‘ll have to change the file type to .zip - another reason to make a copy first. See Wiki for the download sites for 7-Zip and Winrar.)

Now find the texture file you want and edit it to add the text on the helmet. Save the edited image and import it back into Alice as an alternate texture for the astronaut - then just change textures whenever you want the text to appear.

Haven't worked much with the astronaut specifically, but usually you can do the last step either for the whole object or just for parts of the object - in this case the helmet or visor. The advantage of just doing it for a part is that you don't have to worry about messing up other parts of the texture map while you're making the changes you need.

I did take a quick look at the texture file (attached) and it may take a couple of tries to get the text looking right if you go this route. The UV (texture to object surface) mapping looks a bit complex, which can cause image distortion. (I guess more accurately, the UV mapping process [B]is[/B] image distortion. :rolleyes: )

One trick if you are thinking of modifying a texture map is to take a quick look at the texture by making a scene with the object and a billboard (any texture will do for the billboard). Then change the texture on the billboard to that of the object and take a look. Don’t do this to get a texture to edit, though - there will be enough scaling errors that the texture won’t map well to the objects surface.

Hope this helps. :)

Dotbond 02-23-2007 11:01 PM

Hi DrJim

I've done some research and downloaded TweakPNg to open the Astronaut file after i unzipped it. And i managed to get to view the "objects" -for want of a better term - with the Show Image Viewer. I can see the Visor. Now i am stuck again. How/what do i edit the visor or helmet?

DrJim 02-24-2007 01:09 AM

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You don't need to work with the .png file at the level TweakPNg allows - that's somewhat risky anyway :eek: unless you really are familiar with the details of the format [B]and[/B] it's implementation in an application, which I haven't seen documented for Alice.

Just open the texture file in a graphics progran - I just used MS Paint for the attached figure - and add the text over the portion of the text for the visor. You do need to work with and save the entire texture image (I just attached the visor portion of the image to keep the file size small enough to upload) but, since you don't need transparency, you don't even have to stay in the .png format.

(If you want to put the text elsewhere, you'll have to figure out which image to edit. Just put some sort of marker on the obvious choices, load and display the texture in Alice and see which marker is at the location you want to add text.)

Dotbond 02-25-2007 12:40 AM

OK. I have edited the file with MS Paint and imported it into Alice. Thanks for that.
Now i put my dumb hat on again. How do i get the texture file to display when the visor is seen? Sorry, i need step by step instructions just about.


DrJim 02-25-2007 11:36 AM

It's not real straightforward.
[QUOTE=Dotbond;2296] Sorry, i need step by step instructions just about.

Nothing to be sorry about - the steps for what you are trying to do are far from obvious. (Have you tried the alternate way with a billboard? It doesn't give as good a results, but it is easier if you are in a hurry. :) )

This answer may also be a bit confusing, so stick with it and ask me more questions if necessary. This is a nice thing to learn, since it is the best way to personalize your Alice objects.

First of all, you have no control how the texture map fits to the object - any point in the texture map will always map to one unique point on the surface of the object. (This is called UV mapping.) This mapping was set up when the object was created and the only way to change it is by editing the object itself, which you can't do in Alice.

What you can do is make a second texture with your changes, and then selectively assign this texture to the object or one of it's sub-objects, instead of the original.

Try just makeing an alternate texture for the full object first. However, if this doesn't look good or you want to make several changes, you can do the following:

Make your changes to a copy of the [B]full [/B]texture map, even though you are only changing a very small part of it. Then import it back into Alice as a second texture (say Astro2) for the object (the entire astronaut, in this case). Now assign the original texture to the full astronaut - then assign Astro2 to the helmet or visor - and you should get what you want.

Warning: Note that since the full astronaut is the parent of the helmet, if you later change the parent texture, the helmet's texture will change accordingly.

Dotbond 02-26-2007 03:09 AM

OK. i'll have a go with that tomorrow hopefully. Probably be back in touch as well.:confused: :)
Thank you very much Dr Jim.


ottosparks 03-13-2007 03:40 PM

Another Way Is To Down Load Panda 3D ([SIZE="6"]Pan[/SIZE][SIZE="4"]3[/SIZE][SIZE="6"]Da[/SIZE]) And Edit It... But That Would Be Weird When You Import It Bc Of The Size. [URL=""][/URL]

Dotbond 03-28-2007 11:11 PM

Hi Dr Jim, finally got the writing on the helmet and visor. All working well.

Thank you for your help.


DrJim 03-28-2007 11:37 PM

Glad I could be of a little help - next time through the process should be easier. Also, do you have any suggestions to make it easier for others who may try similar things?

If you have a short sample of a world with the result, would you post it in the forum so we can see what it looks like. :)

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