How to create masked textures (with Bright)

The Basics

You might need to create textures where some of the texture is transparent.  Those are called "masked textures".  They can be used on brush surfaces that are set up as masked, on model surfaces where polygons have been marked as masked, or for certain HUD elements like belt icons.  Creating Deus Ex compatible masked textures using the "Bright" utility is pretty easy.

SIDE NOTE: Bright is a really excellent free utility for converting 24-bit images to 8-bit color.  It's worth using, even for regular non-masked textures.

Bright (186 K), this includes the command-line version of Bright and the Photoshop filter


1. Create the texture with transparent areas

You'll need to use a unique color to fill in the pixels that you want to be transparent.  This part works just like setting up transparent areas of a GIF file, if you've ever done that.

For this example, you'll use purple.  That is, the RGB value Red=255, Green=0, Blue=255.  The exact procedure for selecting that exact color varies depending on what image editor you use, but there should be an option for entering those values manually.

Save your texture as a 24-bit BMP or TGA file.


2. Convert with Bright

Bright has an option for putting your special color in the right place in the color palette.  You don't really need to know what that means. :)  All you do is use the -pinkmask option with the command line version, like this:

> bright -pinkmask MedKit.tga MedKit.pcx

Now I'm not going to give you a lesson in the DOS-like command prompt in Windows, so you're on your own there. :)  There are a ton of other options with Bright, so be sure to check out the Readme file.

If you need to know how to import the texture, see How to add custom textures.

NOTE: If you use method #1 described in the above link, you can check "Masked" when importing the texture or if you use method #2, you can add "FLAGS=2" to the end of the import line.  Either of those will default any brush surfaces to "Masked" when the texture is applied.  It's not necessary, but it saves a step.

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