[Tutorial/Guide] Quick and Dirty Model Masking with WoW
While there are obviously a couple of choices in external model viewers, nothing can quite compare to the way the models appear in game, especially when it comes to enchants, and other effects. So my goal was to get a nicely masked (i.e. transparent background) model, using nothing but WoW, Photoshop, and an absolute minimum of manual work.
My first attempt was to simply use the DressUpModel UI widget, and apply a green background - effectively green screening it. For models without effects, that works great. copy the screenshot, apply a mask in Photoshop, and use the Color Range tool, to mask off the background.
However, when it comes to those effects, a wild problem appears:
First, as cool as a sword with green fire would be, it isn't accurate. Second, as the Color Range won't capture anything that isn't close to the background color, the end result would be a greenish yellow blob.
So I figured, in order to successfully remove all the green that the background contributes, I'd need a copy of the same model, without a green background. Adding a 2nd DressUpModel, this time with a blue background, resulted in this:
The next step was to split up the two models into two separate layers, and then repeat the process of masking off the green image, with the Color Range tool. This time however, I copied the green channel from the blue image, and replaced the green image's green channel with it. And now, I had the appropriate colors
However, if the actual enchant in game, was really an opaque blob like that, I wouldn't have had to jump through these steps in the first place. So another solution was needed. Then I thought, if everything that the green image's green channel contained, that shouldn't be masked, is in the blue image's green channel, then why not use the green channels as a source for the mask?
So, to start, I copied the green image's green channel into a new layer, and inverted it - so if turned into a mask, the more green there was, the more transparent it would be.
Then, I copied the green channel from the blue image, and placed it in its own layer above the previous one, applied the Linear Dodge (Add) Blend mode to it, and merged it with the layer below. The result:
Now that I had an appropriate mask, I applied it to the green image. However, since the enchant blended with the background, any semi-transparent area had a green hue to it. To solve that, it was simply a matter of replacing the green image's green channel, with the blue image's like before, to get the final result: