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Creating alpha channel

I'm new to alpha channel creation using FS2004 and Photoshop CS6.

I am working off an aeroplane's bare metal image - the plane has no paintkit. All the painting is done but I need to make an alpha channel for fuselage and nose reflections.

Some of the bitmaps already have alpha channels (wings, engine nacelles), other parts have not (fuselage). None of these carries the xxx_t.bmp tag.

So far I have had no success using either:

'Create Alpha Channel (black)' and 'Send to Editor', or
'Create Alpha Template'

Is it true that alpha channels cannot be created in some bitmaps? That this is a property coded into the original model file by the designer?

Thanks for all your excellent tools, Martin.


Re: Creating alpha channel

Alpha channels can be created in DXTBmp in the ways you have already tried. "black" creates an alpha channel where all black areas in the main image are placed in the alpha as 100% transparent with all else opaque. "Template" creates an alpha channel using a greyscale version of the main image (useful as a map for further editing)

Either method gives you an alpha which you ca the edit (send to editor) as muh as you like


In order to retain the alpha channel when you save the texture you MUST use one of the formats that supports alphas (DXT3, 32 bit, 16 bit 444). If you choose a format that only supports 1 bit alpha (DXT1, 16 bit 555) then you will just get a 2 colour on/off alpha. If you use formats that have no alpha (other 16bit formats, 24 bit etc) then the alpha will be lost