PDA

View Full Version : GIMP Tutorials? re: blue visors


CrudeMatter
10-06-2005, 01:01 AM
Are there any tutorials for extracting/editing textures with GIMP? I'm new to texturing and photo editing programs and to see one for the first time is kind of overwhelming. I've gotten GIMP downloaded and working... and I've extracted (perhaps improperly) a .tpc file to start from, but now I have no clue how to do what I'm trying to. I'm trying to change the red visors (verpine headband, etc) to blue.
I opened the I_VerpHBnd.tpc with KT, then saved it to my desktop. Then I opened it with GIMP. (I tried setting the path manager to GIMP, but either I pointed it at the wrong file, or it did nothing. It did not automatically open the image with GIMP. Thats why I saved the .tpc to my desktop then opened it with GIMP.)
Thats where I'm stuck. How do I change all of the appropriate sections/colors? Then how do I save it, and will not having the path manager setting correct prevent it from working?
Any help would be greatly appreciated... and thank you all for the information that got me this far. :yelhelp:

Archon II
10-06-2005, 01:32 AM
I began texture editing a while ago with the Gimp. It's a great program once you get a feel for it. Ok, first up you need to make sure that when you use Kotor Tool to extract, you extract as .tga files (usually you extract to your desktop). You should get this choice when you click extract. If not, go to your Kotor Tools tab labeled "Tools", then click options, then put a check next to the item that says convert .tpc to .tga when extracting. You can then open the texture as a .tga, wherever you extracted it to with the Gimp. Once you get that far, then you can edit the texture however you wish. Then, to get it to work in Kotor, just save it as a .tga file in your "Override" folder. :) If there's anything else, feel free to ask.

CrudeMatter
10-06-2005, 01:40 AM
I began texture editing a while ago with the Gimp. It's a great program once you get a feel for it. Ok, first up you need to make sure that when you use Kotor Tool to extract, you extract as .tga files (usually you extract to your desktop). You should get this choice when you click extract. If not, go to your Kotor Tools tab labeled "Tools", then click options, then put a check next to the item that says convert .tpc to .tga when extracting. You can then open the texture as a .tga, wherever you extracted it to with the Gimp. Once you get that far, then you can edit the texture however you wish. Then, to get it to work in Kotor, just save it as a .tga file in your "Override" folder. :) If there's anything else, feel free to ask.

Thank you very much, I did need to change the options for extracting as tga. I'm sure that would have messed with me good at some point.

Now I just need to "get a feel for" GIMP. lol How do I go about actually changing the color scheme for the red parts of the item? Do I need to do this pixel by pixel, manually?

T7nowhere
10-06-2005, 06:00 AM
If you just want to change the color of the visor part but leave the rest then all you would need to do is paint over the little pinkish red rectangle on the lower right, its pretty much just a a few pixels, Its what I call the bioware dot, they actually mapped several models like that, though in this instance it doen't make a difference.

If you want to change all the red to blue there should be some type of hue tool in gimp that will let you do that.

oldflash
10-06-2005, 06:13 AM
I can't load in gimp tga's with alpha channel. Always is loaded as 24biti. What I do wrong?

CrudeMatter
10-06-2005, 10:22 AM
I simply cannot believe how much A$$ you people kick!!! Done & done!
@T7- I couldn't figure out how to deal with the 'bioware dot' (I'd like to though), but I did finally find how to deal with the hue thingy. (lol) Blue visors anyone?
I'm headed to check out the making custom items tutorials to see how I can use the files for an item so they won't cover the other visors in the game. If you've got any advice, or I'm wasting my time... I'd appreciate the input.
.... yesterday at this time I had never touched a photo-editing program before, and now I got blue frickin visors!!!! :drop2: :explode:
I got blue visors!!!


:roll2: :blubounc: :blubounc::blubounc: :roll2:

:cheers:

Thank you all so very much, I'm just ecstatic. I'd post a screenie if I could post attachments.... btw why can't I? Is this a post-count thing?
anyway, MANY MANY MANY THANK YOU's!!!!.......

Darth InSidious
10-06-2005, 11:37 AM
@Archon -- how do you save .tga's at 32-bit in the GIMP?
I've been trying to make custom icons....
Thanks :)

Bob Lion54
10-06-2005, 06:33 PM
^^^^
Make sure you uncheck the "RLE Compression" box when you save. Don't uncheck "origin at bottom left," though. Well, you can, but the textures will not line up right in game. I accidently made some tie-dyed robes once. Funkadelic!

The same thing should apply to icons. I've never had a problem getting them to work. Getting them to look good, on the other hand.....

Darth InSidious
10-06-2005, 06:56 PM
Lol, thanks!
I might try those funkadelic robes :D

REDJOHNNYMIKE
10-07-2005, 12:49 AM
@crude matter, HOOORAY!!!:D
and go to Imageshack.com, browse to your kotor directory where your screenshots are saved, click the screenshot, the path should show up in the site's field, hit upload, wait a few minutes, when it's finished loading, there will be a screen with a lot of info, look at the bottom, there should be a field that says "direct link"
copy whatever is in the field, then just paste it in your post and it will show up as a link:D

CrudeMatter
10-08-2005, 07:40 AM
Alrighty then... here we go...

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/6916/bluvisor21fr.jpg -blue, I still want to tweak it to a deeper blue.

http://img157.imageshack.us/img157/7143/greenvisor3zk.jpg -green

http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/5605/purpvisor0fv.jpg -purple, I really like how this one turned out.

http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/5665/smokevisor9up.jpg -Smoke, for those who like shades. lol

http://img114.imageshack.us/img114/1139/blackhawk7yz.jpg - think the Ebon Hawk needs more ebony?

http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/1457/billboard3dw.jpg -a special treat billboard for you guys who have encouraged/helped me with GIMP. I will surely be buried in this program for a while.

@T7- If you're still perusing this thread, thank you so much. Also, how do I get multiple versions into the game since they all use the same tga's? Do I need to rename each versions' tga's, template resref, tag, and model variation? I was hoping I could get them into the full-item creation mod without needing to change any 2da's. If thats not possible then I have quite a bit of work ahead of me.... and they won't fit in with the rest of ORI's stuff as neatly as I would like. <thinking> unless I make an ORI bench!!! lol <ugh>

Thank you all, I've gotten a lot from your help and encouragement! I hope it shows. You are a credit to the modding community.

Bob Lion54
10-08-2005, 08:12 AM
Also, how do I get multiple versions into the game since they all use the same tga's?
I think its done the same way a new armour/robe is made. Try this tutorial.

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=143176

I haven't made any items other than robes yet, so I'm not sure.

EDIT: yea, that should be the right Tutorial. I'm not sure which .uti file is needed though.

EDIT2: found it!! a_helmet_07.uti
hehe....same as the give item cheat, I should have known that....

EDIT 3:
Ok, thats not right. I figured it would work the same as robes, but I can't get the retexture to appear.

I can't find the right tutorial......

T7nowhere
10-08-2005, 01:56 PM
To make an item retexture show as a unique item you have to either use the Renamer function on mdlops(model tool)http://home.comcast.net/~cchargin/kotor/index.html or use a hex editor to edit the texture reference in the model. The model number and texture must be renamed.

Useing mdlops is pretty simple and there are instructions on how to use it included , but I'll briefly go over it.

1.) extract the mask model in this case I_Mask_011.mdl and I_Mask_011.mdx start up mdlops and select the game and then click select file. Browse to where you saved the model and click the read button. once its done its thing, click the renamer button and a popup with a list of all the model textures will show. You need to only slightly change the texture name. ( and ofcourse what ever you rename the texture to in the model must be the same as the texture that you want the model to use.)

2) Re-numbering the model (.mdl and .mdx): first renumber the file name it can be anything from 015 to 255. next open the model in a hex editor and on the first I_Mask_011 you see, edit the number the same as the file. ( so if you name the file I_Mask_155 simply change the number to 155 and last press ctrl+s to save the file and your done that part.

3) The last step would be to make a new uti which is easy to do with KT. the most important thing here is to change the model var to the same as your model name so if you named the model I_Mask_155 put 155 in the model var field.

Bob Lion54
10-08-2005, 06:15 PM
Ah, thanks T7.

I couldn't get it to work, though. I did, however, succeed in accidentaly creating an invisible head gear.

Other than the file name, what needs to be changed in the .mdx?

When I open the .mdl in mdlops, I get 4 different choices. Which do I change, or do I change them all?

T7nowhere
10-09-2005, 01:17 AM
You don't need to touch the .mdx

When useing the renamer function change all references to the same texture that you are wanting to change. Many models consist of multiple mesh's and most often they have the same texture applied to them. in the case of lightsabers they use 2 textures one for the hilt and another for the blade, the blade however consists of 4 mesh's and so when you use renamer it will show 4 references for the blade texture.

If I continue to use the I_Mask_011 as an example you will find 4 references for the texture I_VerpHBnd now if you want the entire model to use your new texture then rename the texture on each mesh, but if you wanted to you could rename 3 of the mesh's and leave the last using the original game texture. if you did this you would not have to pack the old game texture with your mod since everyone already has the texture in the game.

So simply put, change them all. ;)

Bob Lion54
10-09-2005, 02:23 PM
Awsome! Thanks T7. I got it to work.

hehe.. I was trying to use the original file instead of the "k2-r-bin" one. hehe..

EDIT:

It seems that renaming "I_Mask_011" in the .mdl with a hex editor dosn't matter. When I was trying to make a second one and couldn't get it to work, I opened the first one I made (and got working). Apparently, I forgot to change "I_Mask_011" to "I_Mask_154."

Not sure what that means, but I though I should mention it.

Whats funny is sometimes it works, sometimes it dosn't. I tried getting the second one to work 4 or 5 times before it did. I think I did the same exact thing each time trying to spot my error. Finaly, it worked.

Thanks again!

Darkkender
10-10-2005, 12:30 PM
I can't load in gimp tga's with alpha channel. Always is loaded as 24biti. What I do wrong?

If a tga is minus a alpha channel to start with gimp won't load it however if it is saved as 32-bit it will load it as 32-bit. GIMP is very versatile when it comes to it's images. It saves out as 24bit if no alpha channel is present and as 32bit with alpha channel present.

@Crudematter -- some quick and dirty tricks with gimp. Blow up your image to about 800% and shift select by color each color you want to change. Then right click and your menu's will appear as a popup just mouseover the selections untill you get to the hue balance selection and click on that to change your colors relatively quickly. Everything will remain balanced and you won't be worrying about stray color dots. Just careful on those alpha channeled colors as they can bleed into everything giving you some very funcky results.

CrudeMatter
10-11-2005, 02:35 AM
@Darkkender- Thanks for the tips, I tried them out and they are handy. I'm all about quick and dirty. lol
.... but um.... to be perfectly honest, the term "alpha channel" is still meaningless to me. I've only been doing the GIMP thing for a few days now, and nothing (apparently) complicated enough to require considering what that means to me. I've really only done the visor hue alterations, the more-ebon-Ebon Hawk thing, the billboards, and my ORI logo(the last two really helped get a feel for the versatility of GIMP, btw)... and a little playing around. I haven't really had any bleeding problems, unless I simply didn't notice them because I don't yet know what to look for. ... nothing extreme at any rate.
Is the 800% thing because the color-select outline has a width? (something like 1 px?) Anyway that sounds like something you learned by trial-and-error. Thanks for sharing, and the trial & error work... It IS appreciated.
-btw- how goes the visor line? R U planning a release?

@T7- Thanks for all the help... I've gotten through using mdlops and GIMP to make my first unique item textures! Your assistance made the process much less painful than I would have imagined. I should be comfortable with basic usage of these tools... for a little while at least. lol You've been generous with your time and demonstrated your (I'm sure, hard-earned) skill. Maybe a simpler item like this is worth a tutorial to help lead up to the more complex ones. ...just a thought.
I'm still a little confused on the hex editor thing... to my knowledge, I didn't need one for the process. What am I missing here? Also, I still don't wholly grasp the importance of renaming all or only some of the meshes. I am presuming that layer and mesh are synonymous for this discussion. (?) Whats the point of multiple meshes with the same texture? If this is all in a sabre tutorial or something, I apologize for asking... I'm still not confident enough to try and tackle something like that. + all the great sabre works are a bit of a deterrant, the bar has really been raised in that area.
Thanks again to all of you, you've helped me take my first steps into being a modder, rather than just a KT tinkerer. ...and if any of you are interested in my blue "Shadow Hunter" visor, I will happily share it with you in thanks. (its a LS item that includes storyline from some of my not-yet-released mods, and it will be some time before an official release.)
This has been an enjoyable learning experience.

Darkkender
10-11-2005, 01:09 PM
@Darkkender- Thanks for the tips, I tried them out and they are handy. I'm all about quick and dirty. lol
.... but um.... to be perfectly honest, the term "alpha channel" is still meaningless to me. I've only been doing the GIMP thing for a few days now, and nothing (apparently) complicated enough to require considering what that means to me. I've really only done the visor hue alterations, the more-ebon-Ebon Hawk thing, the billboards, and my ORI logo(the last two really helped get a feel for the versatility of GIMP, btw)... and a little playing around. I haven't really had any bleeding problems, unless I simply didn't notice them because I don't yet know what to look for. ... nothing extreme at any rate.
Is the 800% thing because the color-select outline has a width? (something like 1 px?) Anyway that sounds like something you learned by trial-and-error. Thanks for sharing, and the trial & error work... It IS appreciated.
-btw- how goes the visor line? R U planning a release?


the 800% thing is just something I've learned so that I can see all of the different shades of colors and make it easier to isolate the ones I want to change and not the ones I don't.

As to alpha channels any image that has one will be obvious as there will be a checkerboard pattern in the background of your image. If there isn't a checkerboard your image will have no transparency(alpha channel). The higher the alpha channel is turned up the more transparent a section will be. If you turn it up full your entire image will be fully transparent. The alpha channel is adjusted in the menu relating to layers in GIMP.

-- Side note I sure like Alpha channel alot better than the old transparency method used for sprites. RGB value 255, 0, 255 -- Magenta. I occasionally have use for that color.

CrudeMatter
10-11-2005, 07:15 PM
@Darkkender- Thanks for the info. That sounds like some subtle stuff. Maybe, I'll get into that in more depth when I want to do some metallics. ...or maybe trying to brute-force some models to look like diff shapes. Good stuff to ponder. thanks!

T7nowhere
10-11-2005, 09:17 PM
The reason I mention useing a hex editor to change the .mdl name is that if you have multiple items that use different model vars but the original model name is still in the mdl "header"(can't think of a betterword) for each color variation you will get model swapping during module transitions.

In simpler turms if your green visor and purple visor both have the same header name its likely they will change color evertime you load a new module.

CrudeMatter
10-12-2005, 01:35 AM
^^^^

hmm... and the mdlops renamer function(or simply renaming the mdl) doesn't deal with that? ...does renaming the file cover the old name rather than actually changing it?
Is the "header" something you can only access with a hex editor?
Perhaps I just need to learn more about exactly what a hex editor is/does before I ask anymore questions... but thanks for the info, I will certainly be watching for that effect. (...and looking to learn, yet another, program.)

oldflash
10-12-2005, 04:12 AM
The reason I mention useing a hex editor to change the .mdl name is that if you have multiple items that use different model vars but the original model name is still in the mdl "header"(can't think of a betterword) for each color variation you will get model swapping during module transitions.

In simpler turms if your green visor and purple visor both have the same header name its likely they will change color evertime you load a new module.

Only for nonanimated models.
Operation order
1. In mdlops "select file" button and select binary mdl (mdx file is in same location as mdl) and hit "read and write model". Mdlops has acrive checkbox "extract animations" and uncheck "convert skin to trimesh".
2. Load in notepad model-ascii file, search for texture name (that name is in model-texture.txt file), replace original texture name with custom texture name, save.
3. In mdlops "select file" button and select ascii mdl (which I have modif. in notepad) and hit "read and write model". Rename the binary result (mdl and mdx) to be unique item.

Is this ok?

CrudeMatter
10-13-2005, 12:41 AM
Ok ...I'm having a new issue.
When I make a new icon image, the inventory icon loses it's little outline box. Anybody know what I'm doing wrong... or not doing right?
It doesn't really bother me that much, but it does seem kinda sloppy.
Also, I looked through some tutorials that sounded applicable, but I couldn't find this addressed anywhere. Does nobody else have this issue? ...am I missing something 'obvious'?

Darkkender
10-13-2005, 01:06 AM
Ok ...I'm having a new issue.
When I make a new icon image, the inventory icon loses it's little outline box. Anybody know what I'm doing wrong... or not doing right?
It doesn't really bother me that much, but it does seem kinda sloppy.
Also, I looked through some tutorials that sounded applicable, but I couldn't find this addressed anywhere. Does nobody else have this issue? ...am I missing something 'obvious'?

This is where you need to start playing with the alpha channel functions of the image. What you want to do is color select the main black/dark blue background and delete it. Then go into the menu for layers and find the option to add alpha channel. This will allow the borders in game to remain and your icon will sit over the top of the borders if it goes outside there bounds but it will look fine and much much cleaner.

CrudeMatter
10-13-2005, 02:03 AM
Ooh ok, I gotcha. So the default background is black(with the outline box) and I don't need to insure that my image has either. ...As long as I, esentially, have my image 'cut-out', by having the background as a transparency (alpha channel). I think I get it.
...but it does lead me to more questions...
Why does the extracted tga have a background instead of the checkerboard that marks it as an alpha channel? Does the act of extracting it as tga kill the alpha channel setting? If so, why doesn't saving it do the same thing? ...and more importantly is there a way to prevent it so that I can see what is normally transparent in a newly-extracted tga?
and... where the hell did most of you learn this stuff? lol

Thanks alot for the info, as usual. This helps me considerably with understanding the importance and function of alpha channels.

T7nowhere
10-13-2005, 03:55 AM
Only for nonanimated models.
Operation order
1. In mdlops "select file" button and select binary mdl (mdx file is in same location as mdl) and hit "read and write model". Mdlops has acrive checkbox "extract animations" and uncheck "convert skin to trimesh".
2. Load in notepad model-ascii file, search for texture name (that name is in model-texture.txt file), replace original texture name with custom texture name, save.
3. In mdlops "select file" button and select ascii mdl (which I have modif. in notepad) and hit "read and write model". Rename the binary result (mdl and mdx) to be unique item.

Is this ok?

Ya thats fine to do to , but its more work than you need to do. mdlops's renamer function will cover renameing the textures in about a minute and opening the mdl in a hex editor to change the model name takes about 20-30 seconds. Its how we(USM team) made all our saber color variations. For me it only took about 30-40 minutes to do all 50 plus models and thats while chatting on YM. So for me its the best and most efficient way to do it.

ChAiNz.2da
10-13-2005, 10:44 AM
^^^
Yup... I think I was doing the same "back in the day" of the USM build... of course I had less sabers so it only took me about 20 min. ;)

The .2da file on the other hand... ugghhh...

Just remember when HEXing the saber model (to make it a unique model number) You only need to change the first entry you come to. It's usually on the very first or second line of the HEX.

I'd also suggest to do the HEXing portion after MDLOPs Renamer function.

Darkkender
10-13-2005, 12:21 PM
Not to nitpick moderators too much but aren't you guys straying from Crudematters orginal topic. :p

Actually , our posts are still on topic. The topics are related and it was CrudeMatter that asked about making multiple color variations for the same model. :p

oldflash
10-13-2005, 05:54 PM
Not to nitpick moderators too much but aren't you guys straying from Crudematters orginal topic. :p
I like direction for this discution. I get some info about gimp and how to change fast and safe textures and name for models.
My method was good but long road. With great view btw. In that way I have found about 3 important things:
selfillumcolor 0.0 0.0 0.0
Alpha 1.0
transparencyhint 0
And in that way I was able to make this http://q-net.netfirms.com/wip/ without remodeling existing models.
To find out about one easy way to make something it`s great.
I need to thanks to Crudematters for starting this thread and to all of you for replys with valueable information.
:)

CrudeMatter
10-13-2005, 06:42 PM
Wow! Nice work oldflash! ...the blue visors thing certainly pales in comparison. I would ask all kinds of questions about how you accomplished that, but I'm sure that would take a while. lol I'm glad you've gotten something from the thread, I sure have. Thanks for sharing... you guys continue to raise the bar.
DK- you're probably right about deviation, but I wasn't worried... I like to think that I've been getting something from it all anyway. Besides, its kinda nice to see the moderators reminiscing... maybe it can get them to be so nostalgic as to recall 'way back' when they were noobs. lol (if they ever were.) That sounds educational to me, if not exactly on topic. Also, the thread is about 'finished'... with all the help, I've accomplished what I set out to. I've got my blue visors and clean icons, and I've learned a whole lot more in the process. I'm ok with some deviation, in the hopes that I can learn some more by listening to these kinds of 'similar' discussions. Plus I hope the thread stays open in case I need some more handholding with GIMP down the road. Not that I'm in a position to say anything about it but, no need to repress on my account. I do appreciate the attempt at focus, regardless.
I am still interested to know if any of you have some formal training in this kind of thing. I'm pretty sure there aren't GIMP classes but theres clearly a much higher comfort level with things like alpha channels that I'm just learning about.
Thanks to all for all the info-tainment... I've gotten a lot from it.

oldflash
10-13-2005, 07:05 PM
CrudeMatter, you won't belibe if I tell you but my fist modification on kotor was one blue visor.
And just for fun, load ascii model in notepad. Locate "alpha" - must be 2 lines in all model. One is set to 1.0. Forget about this one and go to next. This one is set to 0.6 or .07 That means transparency. 1.0 means opaque 0.0 is 100% transparent. Try .08 or 0.9 (almost opaque) as value and near by this line you will find "selfillumcolor". Values is for RGB (red, green,blue). Try on this 0.4 0.0 1.0
Save and use T7's method (it' beter) to replace texture and name if you need.
And give-us a pic of result.

CrudeMatter
10-13-2005, 07:12 PM
^^^^
Got it... it's on my 'to do' list. Thanks for the tips.

CrudeMatter
10-18-2005, 07:41 AM
CrudeMatter, you won't belibe if I tell you but my fist modification on kotor was one blue visor.
And just for fun, load ascii model in notepad. Locate "alpha" - must be 2 lines in all model. One is set to 1.0. Forget about this one and go to next. This one is set to 0.6 or .07 That means transparency. 1.0 means opaque 0.0 is 100% transparent. Try .08 or 0.9 (almost opaque) as value and near by this line you will find "selfillumcolor". Values is for RGB (red, green,blue). Try on this 0.4 0.0 1.0
Save and use T7's method (it' beter) to replace texture and name if you need.
And give-us a pic of result.

hmm... ok I tried this but obviously I did something wrong. All I could get was an invisible item. It had it's icon and description, but didn't show up when equipped.
I located "alpha" in 3 lines, not just 2... and they were all set to 1.
and when I tried the renamer function for the ascii model it wouldn't do it.
any ideas?
I may have missed something simple, but please forgive me... I've dl'ed and started learning half a dozen new programs in the last week or so, and the modding portion of my brain is leaking out my ear. :wornout: I've been dreaming about the stuff and I think my wife was starting to suspect my sanity, since I've been mumbling about 2da's, and forgetting mdx's, etc. :lol:
...I think I handled that one though... I got her to give me some advice on a pfbamc texture. :naughty: Now she doesn't think I'm crazy. ...well, no more than normal. Maybe its time for a "You know you've been doing too much modding when..." thread. :lol:
anyway, sorry to screw up on your trick... I really wanted to see what you were pointing me at. btw- I could use some help with gmax... but thats another thread. And thanks, it didn't work but I learned a few things in the process anyway.

T7nowhere
10-18-2005, 07:38 PM
hmm... ok I tried this but obviously I did something wrong. All I could get was an invisible item. It had it's icon and description, but didn't show up when equipped.
I located "alpha" in 3 lines, not just 2... and they were all set to 1.
and when I tried the renamer function for the ascii model it wouldn't do it.
any ideas?

Mdlops renamer function will only work on binary models not on ascii and all that it will do is find the texture references, allow you to rename them and then write a new model.

If you found 3 Alpha's in the ascii then that mean the model was devided into 3 trimesh's. the level of alpha that you assign to the trimesh determines its level of transparency. 1.0 = opaque, 0.0 = Completely transparent. The devs strangely enough did use the 0.0 setting for a few models that did not want to show in-game, I have no idea why they would do that when you can just set the trimmesh to not render.

oldflash
10-18-2005, 07:48 PM
No, T7nowhere and CrudeMatter. That was my mistake. I have try to point to alpha (to control transparency) ans self ilumination. Both I have use-it in my last mod but this example was bad choise. Sorry. Next time I will think twice before post something like this. Again, sorry.

CrudeMatter
10-20-2005, 04:14 AM
@T7- As always, thanks for the info, it helped educate me even further... and as always it gives me more Q's. :lol: ...not to mention giving me one more reason to wonder about the devs. Your experienced advice makes me work... and want the Holowan Dictionary. :lol: Many thanks.

@oldflash- no apology is necessary, I learned a few things in the process and I really appreciate that you took that much interest in my developement. Just the pics you posted showed me alot about alpha channels. Thank you very much for the excercise and inspiration. I am very happy with what I've gained from this thread. No worries.

...and again, to all of you who have contributed to this thread...Thank you so very much!!! I've got GIMP all over the place now. :lol: Your help has made me surprised at my own progress.