Prop Transparency

Looking into the invisible regions.
jbGreen Pictures are moved back and forth between your paint program and the Palace Prop Editor by using the clipboard. If you can open both applications at the same time, great it's a lot more convenient. If not, you'll need to use the Scrapbook as a go-between.
The transparency mask is not preserved when pasting pictures back and forth between programs. My method to deal with this is to place the picture on a flat background color that I'm sure I won't be using in the av picture itself. Usually an extreme green or blue ("bluescreen," heh). The color I usually use is
[R51 G255 B0]
also known (in HTML hexcode style) as
This is a "web-safe" color that's already in the Palace CLUT, so Photoshop will never dither it when converting color spaces (Remember, Photoshop can also read a clut file directly as a group of swatches -- so you can easily get a palace-safe color from the swatch screen palette).
If you edit props in Photoshop a lot, you might want to make yourself a smaller Photoshop swatch file (viewable in the "Swatches" palette) composed exclusively of colors that you use regularly as backgrounds, rather than the entire 200+. In PS 3 and 4, I put this flat color in a background layer, and leave the av in a transparent foreground layer with a layer mask, "flattening" only when converting to indexed color. When using older versions of Photoshop (like PS2.5 on my ancient, memory-challenged Mac SE/30), I save the flat region as an extra selection channel, too.
The transparency channel for the Palace is one bit. That means it's or of it's off. That's not the same as Photoshop, which allows 256 levels for soft edges (feathering) and other effects. So you'll have to stomp on that transparency mask use the PS "Levels" command to force it. Select only the transparency channel (usually #4) (or the layer mask), select
and try typing in the values 127 <tab> 1 <tab> 129 in the "Levels" Dialog Box. The grayscales should pin to black and white (or the layer-mask edges will be come jaggy).
Once the picture is actually in the Palace Prop Editor, you can easily delete the odd-colored areas with the eraser. Holding down the Control key while erasing will quickly fill-erase large areas of contiguous color.
Copying from the Palace prop editor, the transparent areas will go black. If your prop had black edges, you won't know where they are any more! There are two good solutions for this problem:
on bg
  1. Since you've been saving a copy of the original prop in Photoshop, you may have also saved the mask. You did save the original pic, didn't you? Didn't you?
  2. Position the prop on some flat-colored background other than black, and do a screen grab. This illustration here was made in the "Onyx Room" I painted a blue blob behind the av, then to a screen "snapshot." The resulting (RGB) picture is then cropped-down to just the region I need, and I can select the blue with the magic wand (magic wand antialiasing turned off), invert the selection, and voila I get just the avatar.

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Last Update: 30 Dec 1998
Of course, you might just want to do it the sleazy way.

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