Alpha Mask in 3DMax

By , last updated July 6, 2017

The image that is going to be used for this tutorial is taken from the below link, it’s always a good idea to use a high resolution texture for crisp and sharp results. (Download the version of the leaf with the Alpha Mask)

big green damaged burdock leaf autumn eaten old bush plant single separated isolated nature huge alpha masked transparent texture front view small preview

  1. Launch Photoshop.
  2. Open the leaf image you downloaded.
  3. First we will fix the holes (Eaten away).
  4. Select the Clone Stamp Tool.Tut_8_1_s4
  5. Press ALT and Left click on the area on the leaf to define a
    source from where to copy the pixels to fill the holes.
  6. Paint over the empty hole to fill it in. You need to select an area that matches and blends well.
  7. Save file as “Leaf_Diffuse”, make sure you save it as transparent PNG.
  8. Next open up 3DMAX (Any version will do).
  9. From the command panel select “Plane”, draw a plane of size Length 2’ and Width 3’.Tut_8_2_s9
  10. Press ‘M’ to launch the Material Editor and assign a Shader to the plane (Make sure the plane object is selected in the viewport).Tut_8_3_s10
  11. In the Material Editor press the small grey box next to DiffuseTut_8_4_s11
  12. Double click on the “BITMAP” Map type in the Material/Map Browser window(if the roll.out is collapsed you will have to open it by pressing the ‘+’ sign). Browse to the location where you saved “Leaf_Diffuse.png” and select this to assign it to the diffuse slot.Tut_8_5_s12
  13. In the Material Editor press the button that says “Show shaded Material in Viewport”.Tut_8_6_s13
  14. You will notice that your leaf appears stretched. Next we fix that by applying a UVW MAP from the modifier list.Tut_8_7_s14
  15. Next make sure that the UVW MAP stays selected. We do a Bitmap Fit (See Image).Tut_8_8_s15
  16. After pressing the Bitmap Fit button select the “Leaf_Diffuse.png” once again. This will fix the leaf.
  17. If you feel you need to reposition the leaf on the plane, in the command panel click on the ‘+’ icon next to “UVW MAP”, select GIZMO . Now you can translate the XYZ in the view port. (See Image)Tut_8_9_s17
  18. Now, if you press F9 and render you will see that the leaf image is not transparent. In the next steps we take care of that.
  19. In the Material Editor (Press ‘M’) to open it.
  20. Select the grey box next to the Opacity Slot.Tut_8_10_s20
  21. In the Material/Map Browser that opens click on ‘Bitmap’ (Same as in Step 12 ). Browse to the location where you have saved “Leaf_AlphaMask.png” and select it.
  22. This is the most basic process of applying an alpha mask, hope you liked it and found it interesting.
  23. You can go further and duplicate the leaf and make different arrangements.
  24. Here is the final image, rendered from 3D Max. I have used Bend modifier, rotated the planes to give some variation. Used skylight with Lightracer and Scanline.Tut_8_11_Final