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Transparency in PI 3

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Renton Maclachlan
Transparency in PI 3
on May 23, 2013 at 9:42:50 am

I want to make a new project which has a transparent layer on which I can place emitters and manipulate them...in front of a background image and behind a cartoon character. I can't for the life of me see how I can create a transparent layer to work on. I have read threads related to this and experimented somewhat but find that I can only get transparency immediately before rendering which is not what I want. I want to be able to form a transparent layer which I work on until I am satisfied with what I have created...seeing the effects over the background and behind the foreground images...and then render it out.

So...how do I set the parameters for a project so that I can have a transparent layer to work on?

I am an owner of PI SE and am evaluating PI 3, but if I can't do this simple thing, then I may flag away the thought of upgrading...


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Alan Lorence
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 23, 2013 at 1:42:52 pm

SE is limited to a single layer, so you can't do it there. Download the pI3 trial, then:

1) load your background image/clip, place particles on it.
2) create a new layer on top of this, load your cartoon character (with existing alpha channel) on it.

Alan.

....................
Alan Lorence
Product Manager
GenArts, Inc.
http://www.genarts.com
http://www.wondertouch.com


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 23, 2013 at 7:39:26 pm

Thanks Alan. I'll try that tonight.

Is there anyway to have the particles on a separate transparent layer...which can be inserted at any layer level you want?


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Alan Lorence
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 23, 2013 at 7:41:16 pm

Sure, just create a layer and put emitters into it.

Alan.

....................
Alan Lorence
Product Manager
GenArts, Inc.
http://www.genarts.com
http://www.wondertouch.com


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 23, 2013 at 7:48:23 pm

Hmmm...Ok...now I see...duh...Thanks so much.


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 24, 2013 at 10:51:06 am

OK...I got all that to work, thanks so much.

Now. Is there anyway to turn off particular layers when I want to 'Save Output'? I put some images on layers so that I could see where I needed to place the paths for the smoke emitter I was using, but now I only want to render out the smoke. I guess I could remove the layers I don't want...but can I just turn them off?


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Alan Lorence
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 24, 2013 at 1:07:02 pm

Yep. Use the little icons in the layer window. BG to turn off image.

Alan.

....................
Alan Lorence
Product Manager
GenArts, Inc.
http://www.genarts.com
http://www.wondertouch.com


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 24, 2013 at 8:53:02 pm

Thanks so much. As you can guess I'm new to this. :-) Appreciated.


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 24, 2013 at 9:34:12 pm

Hi again Alan...another question...sorry to bother you...I'm getting there!!

So...I come to Save Output. My production is going to be used as a layer in a video. So when I output it, I'm faced with the transparency question again.

In Tutorial 5>Output Options I'm told I can output in avi and then am given a list of codecs which support alpha channel. No where that I can see do the codecs listed appear and when I select avi, transparency is greyed out. I'm aware that I could output as png then import images as a sequence into my video (using Sony Vegas Pro) but I wonder if I can output as a video and thus import into Vegas as a video.


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 24, 2013 at 9:48:48 pm

One other question. I have my smoke looking quite good - coming out from behind a car. The car stops and the cloud ceases moving because the car has stopped.

But then the engine stops so I want the emitter to stop but the cloud of smoke to carry on. I can't see how to stop the emitter with its emission of new smoke.

Sorry if I'm being a pain...


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 25, 2013 at 2:31:54 am

Have found that by exporting as a png with transparency and then importing into Vegas as a sequence is simple...I'm just about there...


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Alan Lorence
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 25, 2013 at 12:19:18 pm

So glad you posted that. I was going to say that image sequences are as easy to use as movie files. :)

To stop particles from emitting when the car engine shuts off, add some points to the "number" graph so the value goes down to 0. If you're not sure what I mean by this, add any "explosion" emitter to your project and look at its "number" graph.

Alan.

....................
Alan Lorence
Product Manager
GenArts, Inc.
http://www.genarts.com
http://www.wondertouch.com


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 25, 2013 at 10:16:51 pm

Thanks so much Allan. That did it...a lot better.

One other question. The cartoon of the car is output from the animation program 'Animate 2' as a 350 frame png sequence. When I try to put this sequence on a layer in PI, a box comes up saying that the first image of the sequence which I had selected, appeared to be in a sequence of 9. Well clearly it was the first of sequence though not of 9 but of 350. Thus I wasn't able to place this sequence on the layer so as to place my exhaust smoke accurately. What I did to get my smoke location correct was place two single images on PI layers with the car at defining locations and place my smoke on a path between them. It worked, but it would have been better if I could have placed the whole sequence. How do I do that?

Additionally (but not related to PI), when I had brought the smoke into Vegas, I pan/cropped it to make it bigger than it was output from PI.


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Alan Lorence
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 28, 2013 at 3:20:36 pm

Make sure the sequence numbers in the filenames contain leading zeros. I'm guessing the numbering was "file1.png, file2.png... file9.png, file10.png, etc."

It needs to be "file001.png, file002.png, etc."

Alan.

....................
Alan Lorence
Product Manager
GenArts, Inc.
http://www.genarts.com
http://www.wondertouch.com


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 28, 2013 at 7:33:03 pm

Thanks so much. I'll try that tonight. Appreciated.


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Philip Knight
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 29, 2013 at 6:24:08 am

Renton,

First, welcome :)

Second, you're not the only one using PI and Vegas Pro. So do I (been using Vegas since v.6 and have v.10 for I don't need v.12); there are a few of the veterans over at the Sony Vegas Pro forum at Sony that do too.

So feel free to ask stuff about using PI in Vegas over there if necessary. Due to other life priorities, I haven't been around here or even there that much or if so, very sporadically. But others can help you.

I always imported my PI effects sequences into Vegas as .PNG sequences and usually on their own tracks. It's IMO the cleanest way to go even though there is technically not much difference between an uncompressed .avi file and a .png or any other format -- they are all simply containers for frames.

The advantage of .PNG sequences is that you can see each frame in its folder. Sometimes I'll steal a frame of a sequence to use in some still artwork I do :)

Oh, and don't forget that using an NLE like Vegas gives a second layer of emitter tweaking through event effects chains to even further enhance or polish the particles appearance (gain, color, gamma, color balance, whatever).

I use a lot of sparkles and glows and I can really make stuff pop out even more with Vegas.


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Renton Maclachlan
Re: Transparency in PI 3
on May 29, 2013 at 10:46:28 am

Thanks for the welcome Philip...and the suggestions. I've already used pan/crop in vegas to alter the PI image I made so I realise things can be added to it. Appreciate the ideas.


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