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Create a Transparent image using Alpha Channels – Bird Decal Textures


Creating alpha channels is dead easy but is one of the most important things to know if you create in Second Life and not just for clothes designers.  Alphas can be used for displaying your logo, creating semi-transparent fabric for drapes, shadows prims, windows, fret work, the list is endless.

I’m totally loving all the wall decals out and about at the moment so if you want to  have a go at creating  the birdy alpha texture in the above picture to put on your wall, grab one or both of the images at the bottom of the post.  You’ll also need  the Solidify filter, which can be found over at Flaming Pear (scroll down to the Free Plug ins and install the one called Solidify – I use Solidify B.  There is also a great help section at the top of the page!)

Now we are all set, as you can see from the image below I created the bird image in illustrator and pasted it into Photoshop so it comes without a background,

if you are using a different image or have downloaded the bird images to use they have a white background and we need to extract it first…..

1.  Not necessary but a good habit to get into is to copy the original layer (so you have a back up if anything goes wrong).  Make sure the top image is highlighted.

2.  Using the Magic Wand Tool click on the white background.

3. Press ctrl + x to delete the background.  (You might need to repeat the process to make sure all the white bits have disappeared)

Next hold ctrl and click on the thumbnail image of the birds in the layer tab (this will select the image)

Now with the image selected go to the channels tab and create a new channel by pressing the icon at the bottom (circled in red) – Everything should go black!

Still working in your new alpha channel, take a large brush and make sure the colour is set to white, brush over the entire image.

Go back to your layers tab and click on the bird layer so it returns to normal and deselect (ctrl + d) and there is your alpha channel!…but what about that white/grey halo around the edges when you upload in Second Life.  No problem, with the bird layer selected go to filter – Flaming Pear – Solidify……


The image should look something like this…….


If you are using the coloured bird image, repeat the process to create an alpha channel, only this time when you apply the filter the image should look like ……

The colours appear to blur out!  Robin Wood gives an excellent explanation of  how alpha channels and the filter work.  Most definitely worth a visit for lots of helpful hints and tips!


Now all that is left is to save your image as a tga file(Important, click the 32 bits/pixel option when the box appears) – press okay.

Log into Second Life and upload the image(s).  Build a box and make the whole thing transparent (type in ALPHA into the search box in your inventory), now place the bird alpha texture onto just the front of the prim, adjust the size as necessary.


Below I have duplicated and  flipped the silhouette bird texture….

Any questions just leave a comment and you can of course pick up the ready made alpha textures over at Insight Designs or have a go at making your own using the images below :)

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