Transparency/Translucency lost in export.

Yikes…. well, ok thanks.

I guess this is an area that needs some extra special attention when Richard starts to write his updated docs once we stabilize. <!– s:-) –><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":-)" title="Smile" /><!– s:-) –>

I’m still using at the moment while stabilizes a bit more – it’s working fine for now. One thing I am having a problem with is transparency. In 3DC the transparent and translucent windows seem to be fine but when I export to MSTS and look at the model in Shape Viewer the alphas appear opaque. Has there been a change in the way these are defined? Such as do I need to define the properties as Tex, BlendaTex and BlendATexDiff somewhere? I hope not as I’ve never learned which is which because all I’ve done is define the transparency as 0, 1 or 2 in 3DC.

Actually, there were changes in the export. I’m not sure if you use the Wizard or not. I’m guessing not. If you run the Wizard it will convert your materials to the new format. You don’t actually have to export with the Wizard, just start it and then exit.

3DC will convert the ‘Translucency’ value into two separate custom material fields ‘Tx Alpha’ and ‘Alpha Pr’.

The first is ‘Tx Alpha’, which is used to indicate if the texture has ‘Translucency’, ‘Transparency’ or ‘None’.

The second custom material field is ‘Alpha Pr’ which is the priority of the ‘Translucency’ and only needs to be set if you have multiple layers of translucency. A higher priority means that the object will be rendered later, which means it’s translucency is more or less guaranteed to be correct. You can set it to 0, 1, or possibly some higher value. Normally you don’t need to set it to anything. It’s only a rare case that you will need to set it to 1.

Thank you for the explanation. That seems to be doing the trick. In looking back over the model I see that one component was converted automatically but not the rest. It wasn’t until I entered the values in the appropriate boxes in the properties window that the transparency/translucencies were exported. Were those conversions supposed to be automatic?
BTW, I attempted to export with the Wizard first then with the exporter both with the same results.

I have just installed 3DC and found a few changes from which I have been using due to its simplicity and reliability. The new 3DC seems a big improvement in the right areas <!– s:-) –><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":-)" title="Smile" /><!– s:-) –>

I compacted a train model and exported it to without a hitch. After checking it out I needed to alter a texture and thats where I had trouble due to not understanding the new Alpha materials. I have a couple of questions since there is no tutorial on this at the moment.

Firstly, when I export the model to MSTS it looks perfectly good in Paul’s Shape Viewer but when I run it in MSTS things change a lot. Textures that previously were translucent 2 are now translucent 1 and previously translucent 1 on the outside of a model ‘sees’ completely through the layer behind it.

The second problem I have is that I have no idea of how to use the new Alpha materials. In the Material’s palette ‘Miscellaneous’ window there are the fields for setting translucency, specular etc that I am familiar with, so I entered my settings as I would for 3DC In the ‘Custom Fields’ window I see there are fields for TxAlpha and Alpha Pr. What kind of values do I put in these field and under what circumstances do I have to place values in these fields? For example do I place a number 2 in the TxAlpha field if I want the subject to be partially translucent as in and would I place that value there every time I need that kind of translucency, or do I write ‘Translucent’ in the box to achieve the same results or leave it alone, or … Maybe its an export only feature in which case I know nothing. I am totally confused.

Is there a chance of a short tutorial on how to make Exterior translucent windows ( originally translucent value 2 ), interior windows (originally translucent 0), and transparent decals such as lettering to place on the outside that sees no further than the layer behind it ( originally translucency 1 ).

Thanks very much,


What I found with the explanation above is that if you open an object with Properties, you will see the fields that Richard mentions above. Enter the properties as he mentions and it the model should export as expected. It doesn’t seem to be an ‘automatic’ conversion based on the translucency box in the textures window but now has to be entered explicitly in the properties.

I’m beginning to feel like I’m really dense.

[BLOCKQUOTE class=’ip-ubbcode-quote’][div class=’ip-ubbcode-quote-title’]quote:[/div][div class=’ip-ubbcode-quote-content’] What I found with the explanation above is that if you open an object with Properties, you will see the fields that Richard mentions above. [/div][/BLOCKQUOTE]

I have no way of opening an object with properties. I open the imported model using the drop down file menu, click on th body of the carriage, open ‘properties’ in the drop down file menu, select ‘custom fields’ and indeed there are some fields there.

I have multiple layers of translucency. There are windows which can both see into the carriage and out through the windows of the other side. The windows of the carriage interior are transparent, the windows of the carriage exterior are translucent. The carriage numbers and lettering, plus some compenents like door handles are done on double sided polygons that have a transparent background around an opaque picture of the number or whatever, and the transparency cannot see through the layer behind it.

In the properties, Custom fields, Group custom fields says MSTS. Material custom fields say Rail Sim, TxAlpha and Alpha Pr.

In the empty field next to TxAlpha what value do I insert to indicate that the exterior carriage windows texture has a partially opaque translucency? As in the older material selector I tried inseting the value 2 here and exported .. it didn’t change a thing so its not a number and Roger doesn’t tell us (above) what to place in that field. So I wrote ‘translucent’ in the field, saved and exported … still didn’t do a thing. Obviously I’m doing something wrong .. the old way was so much simpler! I also tried the same for transparency using the old values 1 and 0, still nothing.

What is AlphaPr, does that have anything to do with how many layers you see through?

How do I select the transparency can see through the layer behind it or stops at the layer behind it?

Also does ‘properties’ relate to each individual item you highlight on your model or does it apply to the total model. If its the latter then I can’t select the translucency/transparency or none for the individual items.

As I said, I’m confused <!– s:-( –><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_sad.gif" alt=":-(" title="Sad" /><!– s:-( –>


I’ll try to reply to the best of my understanding. For transparency, under TxAlpha enter ‘Transparency’ and set the AlphaPr to 0. If you want something less than fully transparent, enter ‘Translucency’ under TxAlpha and set your AlphaPr to 0,1 or 2. So far I’ve been able to get the effects I want by playing with those settings. It seems to me that the AlphaPr (Alpha Priority?) controls how many layers you can see through – something like 0 is one layer 1 is two and so on. I could be wrong here though. Test your experiments outside of the program though because you won’t always see what you will see in a final form (i.e. the sim or Shape Viewer etc.) in the modeling windows.

I was dense <!– s:-) –><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":-)" title="Smile" /><!– s:-) –>

I highlighted the items in the hierarchy and selected properties and yes .. an all new window as you had described it. Thats the good part!

In order that the transparent decals would not see through the side of the carriage I had to change the carriage side AlphaPr to 0 (zero). This rectified all the problems in the trainsim except one, and an important one at that. The carriage side has no translucency although it is set to translucency. In Paul Gausden’s Shape File Viewer everthing is correct and the side has translucency but in the trainsim it does not, its transparent. I went through all the combinations of ones and zero’s for Translucency and AlphaPR and even tried changing the Blend Tr but nothing worked.

In SFV I looked at the model in both quality textures and low quality textures and the model was perfectly good so and the window glass translucency had a degree of opaqueness that it should have. The fact that the opaqueness doesnt show up im MSTS doesn’t appear to have anything to do with MSTS 258 color limitation as SFV shows that opaqueness in both lo and normal quality texture modes.

What else is there to try?

Note: This is an imported model. I will have to import lots more later for conversion to Railsim so its a problem that needs to be solved.



Is there still something I’m not doing correctly?


The ‘Translucency’ field does nothing in the current version of the exporter. I’ve responded to this in your post in the ‘Rail Simulator’ forum.

And it’s ‘Alpha Pr’ not ‘AlphaPr’

If you use the Train Simulator Wizard to convert your model to the new format (start it and then cancel), you shouldn’t have any problems with improperly name fields, loss of translucency etc. If you do, let me know and I’ll fix it.

A follow up to my problem. I used a process of elimination with the hierarchy of the model and found a culprit causing the translucency to appear transparent in the trainsim, although the logic escapes me.

In the hierarchy I have a folder called ‘outside’ that contains the shell of the outside body, the shell of the outside of the cab and the headcode_frame. The body and cab are both a single component, a modified cylinder. The headcode_frame is a coplex item made from merged simple components. All the textures use the same tga/ace file and had spec 1/ translucency 1 in 3DC 6.5.10.

When these three items occupied the same folder named ‘Outside’ the translucency was transparent. When I made the item ‘headcode_frame’ a child of the ‘Outside’ folder the problem was solved and all translucencies returned.

I’m happy that it works but I wonder the logic of material hierarchy. Is there an obvious reason why the two primitive but modified cylinders work in the same folder, yet the component made of merged items, although made of the same materials, has to be in a separate folder though not necessarily the same group?

It would be nice to have an answer for this as it would help avoid such pitfalls in the future.

Hi Richard, here are your comments relating to this post’

[i:784ynj7j][b:784ynj7j]If you use the Train Simulator Wizard to convert your model to the new format (start it and then cancel), you shouldn’t have any problems with improperly name fields, loss of translucency etc. If you do, let me know and I’ll fix it.[/b:784ynj7j].[/i:784ynj7j]

However,I’am still having problems exporting textures with a transparent mask, and ask if you to check the exporter to MSTS or perhaps better still a small explanation of the changes and how they effect texturing since version 6.5. But at this time I cannot get the TGA’s to show in the game, but would add they are fine within 3DC 7 itself.


Thid thread on UKTS should explain a lot for you.

<!– m –><a class="postlink" href=""> … andt=85548</a><!– m –>



Thanks very much – I have been two days wondering why a perfect simple update changed everything.

It just as shame the we have to waste so much of our time – when release notes explaining the change are sadly missing!

Below is our finding a day later. . . . .

It now seems that the changes made in Version 7 are to accomodate Rail Simulator, which is not a problem in itself, but the requirement have changed MSTS texturing near to completely.

but adding ‘Translucency’ to the Tx Alpha in Custom fileds and ‘1’ to the Alpha Pr field need to be action each time you load a model.

Could this not be a save feature so for those of us who only work in a single mode i.e. MSTS can have it set once and forget.

Well, now this one has bitten me… and I’ll be darned if I get a simple Alpha channel working on a new model.

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