[Graphics] A Workaround For The AC Palette Problem in GIMP

Submitted By: Buster's Uncle Date: October 13, 2012, 07:20:29 PM Views: 3329

Transparent Colors, the AC Palette Problem in GIMP and a Transparent Layer workaround

To my monolithic dismay, since I got back into the graphics modding saddle recently [last November],  finding myself confined to GIMP for the moment, along with changes in the Windows 7 version of Paint and my own rustiness, have left me a major learning curve I really didn’t expect. I never thought I’d have to figure out yet another way to do scanlines at my level of experience.

I certainly was shocked to find out I was getting the old ‘blue boxes around my bases’ problem at THIS late date.

In short, anything you do to the transparent background purple (or pink if you’re vanilla SMAC) will no longer be transparent in the game, and that naturally sucks real hard.  In Photoshop, sampling the background and doing a fill is all it takes to fix it - GIMP doesn’t take care of as much color stuff automatically ‘under the hood‘ for you, and replacing the exact same background color doesn’t work.  Loading the palette in GIMP doesn’t fix this. 

-Also, there a shade of blue that displays a mustard brown in-game, but I’ve only seen that be a problem with one faction that used that exact shade a lot in the leaderhead.

I don’t know if this was a Windows 7 change or what. I’d like to know, but what matters is that I found a workaround:

I assemble my factions in a blank .pcx. You can find a copy here: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=65 (Look around the Downloads folder that file's in for a lot of other useful goodies and remember who yer buddy is.) Open a copy. I'd advise creating a palette from it before doing anything else - Windows>Dockable Dialogues>Palettes. Right-click on any palette in the menu>Import Palette. Check Image, the second option, below Gradient, and blankpcx.pcx(and a number) and import.

To get a transparent background copy to do the assembling in, Layer>Transparency>Add Alpha Channel. Then Select>By Color>click on the purple background>Delete.

(Or save a step using the Select by Color Tool in the Toolbax indicated by the red arrow above.) Now you should have the guide boxes and nothing else against a gray-checked background (the gray checks let you know it's a complete transparency).

You'll need to Image>Mode>RGB to turn on a lot of the functions in GIMP (same for Photoshop), especially color manipulation. When you’re finished and/or need to check how a color will look in the SMAC(X) palette, Image>Mode>Indexed>check Use custom palette>click on the colored square>pick the palette you made, and uncheck Remove unused colors from colormap. (While it's in Indexed mode, you can reload the palette with Colors>Map>Set Colormap.. - click on the Palette Default box in the pop-up and choose your palette.)

When the faction is finished, or at least ready to test, paste the whole thing into an unaltered copy of blankpcx.pcx ([Ctrl]a>[Crtl]c>bring up the unaltered copy with the purple>[Ctrl]v) and Save As with the filename you want. For playtesting, I usually replace the Gaians.pcx and have a look in an old gamesave with many Gaian bases - you'll wanna back up/save a copy of the graphic you're replacing, or course.

It's harder to explain than do, really. It surely sounds complicated until you've done it - then it will be no big deal.

Have fun.

Rating: ***** by 1 members.


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