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Common mistakes made with TxdWorkshop (at least for me).
If you want to mask/alpha mask/make invisible, part or all of a pallet, you have to uncompress it and save it as PNG. When you import it don't forget to re-compress it. If you don't compress your files they become huge and will fuck over any gamer with a slow PC whenever that car/model comes up on the map.
If you import a file that was saved as PNG into a spot that isn't PNG the model/vehicle won't show up in the game, and might even crash the game. Same for a BMP file put into a slot that is PNG. If you see red digits in the title of a plate it is PNG.
When choosing a player (ped) to over-ride with a new skin, remember not all players are modable in the data/pedgroup or peds files. Cut Scene characters must be re-engineered in the .dff file to work properly in the game mode, because of their movements.
If you get an all-white character in your game it's because the TXD and .DFF don't match. At times you can recognize the player even when they're white by their form. You can also"talk" to them and get an idea who it might be.
Taking photos for your upload: God have I seen some ugly photos. The lighting sucks or they're so small you can't show the folks what you have. Get close, at least for one photo. You want to see some boring photos? Visit gtaall.
The Sun in your game moves East to West just like our Sun does. Chances are a Sun behind your model doesn't always work so well. Then too the Sun in front of them can also look bad.
I don't do vehicles much but I assume the same goes for them.
I like to take photos at night with car lights, but you have to be on your toes because a passing car doesn't give you much time to see a good lighting situation. You have to recruit the model then use the light of the car you arrived in. Move back and forth until the lighting is right. I go to the particle section of the TXD files and extract the car and motorcycle lights. Then in PhotoShop I color them with a bit of black to make them less intense.
Your game's camera goes nuts if you're in the no frame limiter option, nor can you move back and forth with the camera in hand. Fraps (a free program) takes good third-person photos, movies too. A good trick is to film a video and play it with VLC Player then hit "take a screen shot" at the right moment. Go to your Documents/My Photos folder and find it there. Same for movies, Documents/My Videos.
Taking photos indoors: Some indoor locations are great, most have boring lighting. If the lighting is bad (flat), enter the location with your trainer then save the location ALT+ number 1-0. Then get your model on the back of the scooter or motorcycle and hit TAB+whatever number you chose and find yourself inside the location with passenger. Drive the bike somewhat close to a wall and let the light reflect and fill the room. Move around to find a good spot. This has to be done at night or the vehicle's lights won't be lit (unless you have a head light cheat). The problem with this method is that your model is a gang member, so you have to bear that gang signing routine. And then too their movements are limited to gang shit.
Once my model is a gang member I look for him/her on the streets and photograph them in a more natural setting, drinking, smoking walking, talking. I like to find them two or three in a group and wait until I can get a frontal, back or side view of the models in one shot.
PhotoShop: If you ever get serious about skinning you're going to want P.S. CC or CS5, BeautyBox and Paint.net. You can get PS via torrent, Beautybox too, Paint. net is free and there are LOTS of upgrade packs available in the I for free. Download my texture pack in the TOOLS section here.
This isn't the time or place to write a PS tutorial but here are some hints: Paint.net isn't good for painting IMO, P.S. is. Paint.net will alpha mask a BMP file, PS will not (as far as I know). Paint.net has some cool features like fishnet (for stockings) lots of gradients, lots of outrageous stuff.
Both those programs can save a good photo take that's poorly photographed because of poor lighting. You need to correct contrast, vibrancy, color, intensity, use BeautyBox (for skin tone) and so on. The trick is to start with a good photo, with that anything is possible.
Cropping: I learned about composition in uni classes. There is a rule: 1/3. 1/3, 1/3. On a landscape 1/3 is sky, 2/3 is land. Never put the subject in the middle .. 1/3 of the horizontal space to the right of left .. depends on the motion of the vehicle or the gaze of the model. I.e. if the model is looking left give the left side more space.
Lastly, I hate EMB. It looks OK for vehicles, too contrasty for humanoid models.
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