Understanding Alpha Modes
Skin Layers & Alpha Mode: None
The reason for this is fairly simple…in SL 24bit TGAs default to Alpha Mode: None.
This is very important because skin layers should ALWAYS be set to Alpha Mode: None. Any other setting will create an array of frustrating glitches,
If you’re using an Omega Skin Applier you should almost never run into this glitch. All Omega Plug-ins and Listeners force the skin layers to Alpha Mode: None and we make sure the Mesh Makers we have Relays for, understand how to fix this glitch. However, if you see any of the following, you may still have an issue:
- Disappearing Skin layer
- Disappearing Clothing Layers
- Glitched skin layer that you can see halos of itself through (see image to the left)
How to Fix:
This depends heavily on what body you’re using, and with no-mod bodies, you may be out of luck.
Tactic A: Convert the Skin appliers you have into Omega appliers and use them again. Omega Skin appliers always force the Alpha Mode to None, fixing your issue. This, however, does not work with any mesh that uses a Relay. (Currently Sking, Maitreya, Jiggle Booty, ect)
- Rez the body on the ground.
- Rightclick –>
- Go to the texture tab.
- Use Select face to select the skin layer.
- Change the Alpha Mode to None as shown here.
- Repeat for every link and face of the skin. (There may be alot of these thanks to alpha-cut huds being so popular)
‘borrowed’ with permission from Galathir Darkstone ^.^
If you make a rigged or fitted mesh product that supports skin appliers and clothing layers over the skin, it is likely that at least one of you customers has run into a problem with the ‘skin’ seeming to vanish under the clothing. This is caused by a conflict between the overlapping 32bit textures. This is likely related to the long time alpha sorting issues we’ve seen on prims and un-rigged items for years now. I’ve been trying to get the word out to skin makers that they should use 24bit textures for their appliers… but as you can imagine, getting everyone notified… and then convinced it’s worth the time to redo the appliers is a challenge.
Well there’s good news. Thanks to Server Side Rendering and Materials, you have an option to make sure that 32bit textures are not an issue: Alpha Blending Mode. Now this is something you could set by hand in the Edit window, but testing seems to indicated that applying a 32bit texture -can- change it from your manual setting. So… the best solution is to make sure you set this in your scripting right after you apply the incoming texture. Now that the Parameters are live across the grid, this is simple enough.
This line of code, supplied with your link number and face number, will take care of it:
PRIM_ALPHA_MODE_NONE basically turns off the alpha channel, even if the texture is 32bit. Boom. No more vanishing skin.
Hope this helps.
The Architect of Sin
Owner/Creator, Sinful Needs
Want more information about this problem?
does this. Every point on the texture is either “on” or “off”
eliminating all soft transitions from transparent to opaque.
So why use alpha mode masking if it looks this terrible?
a)It doesn’t always look this terrible. Alpha Mode Maskings main issue is with sheer, lacy items. Solid items look much better, like the bottom of the same dress…the image on the left is alpha masking, the image on the right is alpha blending. Unlike the lace, there is only small decrease in appearance, especially when viewed at normal distances. (Ie.. your face not up in someone’s crotch! xD)
b)You can’t have more than one layer set to Alpha Blending without having mesh glitches.
Sadly, all graphic cards/viewers/meshs/clothing/textures/ect have this issue. It’s not something anyone can work around. It’s a fundamental flaw in how graphic cards (all graphics cards) handle semi-transparent textures. This is why in video games you rarely see alpha blending. (Go ahead, peek around your favorite video games, you will find they just bake all the textures into one layer 99% of the time, and that when you look closely, those trees and shrubs that look so lush, have the telltale hard edges of Alpha Mode Masking.)
Symptoms of multiple Alpha Blending Layers:
- Layers flickering
- Layers disappearing or not showing up
- Layers appearing, but in the wrong stack order. (ie, bras on top of tops!)
Basically, you need to plan your outfits so only one layer requires alpha blending. This can involve some tough choices… do you want the outermost (and most visible layer) to have it, or the underlying lacy layer?
So how do you Change your Clothing Layer Alpha Modes?
So you know now you need to change the Alpha Modes on your clothing layers. How?
Tactic A: Check the hud that comes with your mesh. Most recent mesh makers are building the options right in the hud. Look for options such as “Blending”, “Masking”, “Alpha Mode”, “Masking Mode” etc. Ussually, they are found right next to any buttons that let you turn your layers on and off.
- Rez the body on the ground.
- Rightclick –> Edit
- Go to the texture tab.
- Use Select face to select the clothing layer you want to change.
- Change the Alpha Mode to Blending or Masking as needed.
- If you’re changing the mode to alpha masking, remember to also set the “Mask cutoff” or “threshold” field. A recommended starting point is 150, but you should play with it to see what looks good to you.
- Repeat for every link and face of the layer. (There may be alot of these thanks to alpha-cut huds being so popular)
As head creators, it’s a bit trickier to handle the Alpha Glitch. Makeup and Tattoos rarely look good in Masking mode, so adding a “Mask” button isn’t very helpful.
There are two basic tactics that I am aware of:
- Don’t overlap layers. Simply make a full head layer and cut it into zones.
- Easy to do. Great for Beginners
- Zero Glitches.
- Some items NEED to overlap. Beards and Hairbases, for example, should overlap at the temple.
- Eyebrows and eyeshadow tend to overlap slightly as well.
- Lashes cannot be blending.
- Do multiple layers, but make them all part of the same prim. Somehow, this cuts down on glitching dramatically. (I think it’s voodoo). But by making your skin face 0 and adding layers as new faces on top of that, our graphics cards have a much easier time figuring out whats going on.
- Almost no Glitches.
- Have up to 7 overlapping full head layers.
- Lashes can be blending Mode! (You just treat them like the rest of the layers)
- A bit of a bitch to do in Blender if you’re not experienced.
- If you want more then 7 makeup layers, you’ll need to cut the head into pieces and do some blender jigsaw, ensuring nowhere on the head do alpha textures overlap.
As for the skin. See “Fixing the Skin Glitch (For Mesh Makers)” above.