windows windows everywhere.......

Hi Everyone.

I need some advice. I have to make a large amount of windows, and they are semi-randomised so I am running into problems when I try and just cut them out. I cant use boolean either because it would litterally take years, not to mention that it would most likely drive me insane.

Here is the picture which shows all of the windows I need to create, and this is only the smallest group of windows…

please any advice on a shortcut would help me out a LOT! No suggestion will be overlooked.

Thanks in advance.

Paint an Alpha Map texture to simulate the windows?

I am assuming that you are not going to have close-up renders shwoing insane window detail, so an alpha map would make the most sense.


I can’t really tell what I’m looking at. Is this an image of a single circular window with patterns in it? What are all the dots? Or maybe this is an orthographic view of a dome with several windows in it?

I would do what BgDM said even if you have some closeups of the window detail – I would just have a separate scene with only a very few windows modeled for the closeups.


To answer ripsting… all those little black dots are the windows. Its the top of a star trek space station.

As for the alpha map, that would probably work. I just wanted to have them emit. I wasnt going for depth since they are really just flat windows along the edge of the panels I assume. I dont have Paintshop and isnt that the only way to do an alpha map??


In that case a texture map would most certainly be the way to go. For making the textures the GIMP is your friend.

You can download a copy of the gimp for free and create alpha maps with it. I found the easiest way is to decompose the image (take the 3 color channels and turn them into layers, with a 4th one for alpha). Then the alpha map itself : white areas are opaque, while black areas are translucent. Gray values are varying degrees of translucency. After you are finished painting your alpha map, Compose the image (which takes the layers and turns them back into channels). Uv map your resulting image onto your model. There are tutorials for the installation of gimp, decomposing and composing on gimps site. There are plenty of uvmapping tuts out there as well that deal with alpha. Have fun learning.


Uhm…I am no artist…I have never made a texture, or a map, and so I have no clue as to how to go about that. I could get GIMP easilly enough, but what then? Hmmm…

Ok thanks. I will give that a try…

Ok thanks. I will give that a try…[/quote]

Hmmmmm that was fun…I dont see what is supposed to have happened?

Is there any way you can explain that better? I decomposed it, but now I cant edit each layer…or at least I cant figure out how to do it. The tut’s on the gimp site are for very basic actions, and dont really explain it well…


Gimp 2.2.3 for Windows XP

Image > Mode > Decompose

When you decompose, use the RGBA option and make sure you have the check box “Decompose to layers” selected. A new image will now be created. Look at the “Layers” Dialog box; you will see 4 layers: alpha, blue, green, and red. Select the “alpha” layer to make it current. Remember these 3 rules:

Any white color on this layer will result in an opaque area on the final image.

Any black color on this layer will result in a transparent area on the final image.

Any gray color on this layer will result in a semi-transparent area on the final image.

If you want the windows on your ship to be completely see-thru, paint them black. If you want the rest of your ship to be opaque, paint the rest of it white.

Image > Mode > Compose

After you have finished painting your alpha channel, select compose. Make sure you select the option “RGBA”, and as long as you didn’t change the names of the layers, you should be able to leave everything else to its default. A new file is created called RGBA-compose. Save this as a targa file with a .tga extension.

I hope this works for you. If you need any other help, I will try to check back today, but I might not be able to untill monday. have a nice day,

Oh thanks a lot again. I was misunderstood. I didnt know i was going to have to actually paint over each little part of the image. It would actually just be easier/faster to cut out the individual holes I think. I will give it a shot though.

thanks again

You could just use your reference image and paste it into a new layer and erase the parts that aren’t windows – should only take a few minutes.

There is a free online book for the gimp (Grokking the gimp) that explains how to use it.


You must have a very steady and quick hand…as you can see from the image, all of those really tiny black spots are the windows. They take up most of the image. …but okay…we’ll see if I can do that.

They look a little grey to me where the outline looks completely black. You could probably use the colour selection tool.


well thanks for all your help, but I am giving up. I have no idea still how to do that…If I click by color it either selects the blcak or the white…I just need to keep the dots. Oh well. Guess I wasnt meant to do it this way.:stuck_out_tongue: I will put on my thinking cap.

thanks again.

The maximum size image you can use in the uv-mapper is 512x512 (that is, anything larger for me crashes Blender). In order to get great detail, I make a rather large image and break it up into 521x512 tiles. If you don’t need a lot of detail than you can get by with just one 512x512 map.

The alpha channel needs to be completely white with just black dots for your windows. You may even consider (after decomposing your image) to delete everything on the alpha layer, (make it completely white), and come back with a small brush (black) and make your black dots. Or you could (with a blank white area first) do a fill pattern with noise or polka dots, and then desaturate them and change the color to black.

To make your windows, it isn’t hard , just a little time consuming. And it will still be a lot faster than cutting holes in your mesh.

In the end here is my suggestion:

  1. Decompose the image, make your alpha layer completely white. Set the opacity to the alpha layer to something around 83, so that you can see your original windows below.
  2. Use the Pencil tool “Paint hard edge pixels”. Set the color to black. Set the brush size to around 3 pixels “Circle (03)”.
  3. Polka-dot your image by placing a new, crisp, black dot directly over your existing window.
  4. Change your opacity back to 100, and Compose the image.

I’m not going to lie to you, this is going to be monotonous. But you will end up with a crisp alpha layer where your windows will be transparent.


Ok Brian, you really did a good job of explaining it. Thanks. I can decompose the image by

Filters/Colors/Decompose. And then I chose RGB from the pop up and click the decompose to layers box. ( See there is also an ALpha option instead of RBG, or other options) Also I think I see how I can set the Opacity to the setting you suggested…

My only remaining question is if I do the RGB option I mentioned above then where is the Alpha layer I am supposed to be editing?


Hi, Id just like to jump in here. GIMP is a great tool. Drawing with precision however, in any bitmap editor, can be difficult. Another possible approach would be a vector editor. With vector maps you can zoom unlimited, make detailed shapes, i.e. rounded squares, and place them with precision. Vectors aren’t for everyone but they can work well for generating original architectural-style maps. Just my thoughts.

The editor I’m using at the moment is XaraX which is very fast and has a commercial license. There’s a good looking OpenSource application here I haven’t had a chance to take a close look but others in this forum have recommended the software. And then, after you have your image, you can export a bitmap into GIMP and generate separations etc. This will give a much higher level of customization and creative control.

At to the above post, wouldn’t the alpha layer be in the layers panel with the other seperations? hih.