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Workflow - Vector Program to Photoshop Template...

Posted By jrb_20131001151647257 2 Years Ago
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jrb_20131001151647257
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So - this is not exactly a CrazyTalk Animator question... though I am sure that I am not the only one to have this issue / question.

I am wondering what you use to mainstream character creation.  There has to be someone else who uses a vector-based drawing program (CorelDraw, DrawPlus, Adobe Illustrator... etc) and needs a slick way to pull the character pieces into Photoshop to use with the new pipeline "templates".

The best way I have found so far is to export all of the layers as high-quality PNGs... but this is still pretty tedious.

Does anyone have a better way?
garylearntech
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Hi JRB

I know a few weeks have passed, so you may have solved this or just moved on - but I thought I'd chip in anyway, since you seem to be missing a simple trick here.

It's probably 10 years since I last had up to date versions of Illustrator and Photoshop, but I recall this trick from then.  I now have both Affinity Designer (vector) and Affinity Photo (bitmap) as my alternatives.  I just made a quick multi-layer image (including renaming each layer) in Designer and saved it in its native format.  I also exported it as a PSD file.  I then opened Affinity Photo and simply opened the native Designer file - perfectly converted, retaining layers.  It was also happy to open the PSD file with the same results.  I then also tried the two common general vector formats - EPS and SVG - and they both seemed to work too (with the exception that the EPS version lost the layer names).  My final test was to simply select and copy the objects from Designer and paste them into a convenient blank document in Photo - and this also worked.

You've not said exactly what software you have at your disposal - and it's probably different that I have mentioned - but I hope this gives you (or other users coming to this thread in the future) some food for thought.

Cheers,
Gary


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jrb_20131001151647257
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THANK YOU FOR THE RESPONSE!

I have CorelDraw (a couple years old - X4) which is probably my favorite program to use for the initial drawing process.
I also have DrawPlus - which I had to purchase last year so that I could use for Pipeline (also last year).
And finally - I have the current version of Photoshop - a subscription that I am hoping that I won't need to renew, though I am running into more and more issues where I need it...

Anyway, I would like to figure out a nice way to go from CorelDraw / DrawPlus into Photoshop (so that I can arrange the layers for importing into CrazyTalkAnimator 3).
[Btw. what version of Photoshop do you have?  Is it before the "subscription" modes and does it still work making the correct layer changes so that you can upload G3 characters?]

1)  I just tried exporting a PSD from DrawPlus (which is where I have all of my character files from last year - because that was the format required for pipeline in CTA2) and I am not seeing it as an option.

2)  I exported from CorelDraw and the graphic is a one-layer image.  This, though, might be due to my limited knowledge in "layering" in CorelDraw... I will try setting up a test and see if I can make a file with layers that work...

Do you usually open your files in Photoshop after you export them from Affinity?  Or do those PSD files import directly into CTA3 (for G3 characters)?

I am just looking for any possible ideas to shorten the process...

On another point... I am also having some issues with joints and such (my characters have big shoes, short legs, and detail on the pivot points...) - I don't want to post character files in the forum (due to copyrights...) but do you have a place I could send you character files for assessment?

jrb_20131001151647257
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So... CorelDraw DOES preserve layers IF layers are used in the CorelDraw file and if you select the "maintain layers" option when you are saving a PSD.

The last thing that would be AMAZING is if I can re-create the "Template" file as a CDR file that can be saved as a PSD and can be imported directly into CT3 for a G3 character.

Let me know how it works for you with Affinity...
garylearntech
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Hi JRB

Btw. what version of Photoshop do you have?  Is it before the "subscription" modes


The last Photoshop I had was v3.3 (if I remember correctly) - very definitely pre-subscription.  It continued to work for something like 5 or 6 years after v4 came out, but eventually I had to give up on it.  That was a sad day.  I'm not a graphics pro and can go for weeks and even months without firing up either Affinity Photo or Designer - so Adobe's subscription model would be very bad value for me.

and does it still work making the correct layer changes so that you can upload G3 characters?


I've got these two Affinity apps for general (albeit occasional) graphical use, not for importing into CTA3: I've only got CTA PRO, not Pipeline, so that's not really relevant for me.

On another point... I am also having some issues with joints and such (my characters have big shoes, short legs, and detail on the pivot points...) - I don't want to post character files in the forum (due to copyrights...) but do you have a place I could send you character files for assessment?

Sorry, but I think you're probably much more experienced with this than I am - I've not tried building my own characters yet.  I'm not even up to date with all the official training videos yet.  I really doubt I'd spot anything you've not already found.

So... CorelDraw DOES preserve layers IF layers are used in the CorelDraw file and if you select the "maintain layers" option when you are saving a PSD.


Yay! 

The last thing that would be AMAZING is if I can re-create the "Template" file as a CDR file that can be saved as a PSD and can be imported directly into CT3 for a G3 character.


What I would recommend you do (if you haven't already tried this) is simply try to open or import the PSD template into CorelDRAW.  If it comes in cleanly, then you have a document with all the layers (presumably) correctly named.  Then just make that your CDR template.  Thereafter, save as your multi-layer PSD and try importing it directly into your CTA3.1 Pipeline.  If the fates are smiling on you, it will be as simple as that.

If Reallusion's PSD template  won't import directly into CorelDRAW, take it into your current up-to-date Photoshop and try exporting it in whatever variations are available.  If this is going to work, you'll only need to do this once, so even if it involves a few steps along the way, that won't matter in the long term.  This Adobe support page appears to talk about its available export formats.  Only a few seem to support layers.  I'd focus on PSD, turning off any fancy options (compression, etc) if required (apart from saving a flattened image, since that will throw away the layers).

If CorelDRAW X4 doesn't want to play, it might be down to the age of your version: according to this it shipped from 2008 to 2010 - that's actually pretty old in computer terms.  In which case focus on DrawPlus.  Success there might allow you to then punt the intermediate file on to CorelDRAW.  Alternatively, you could maybe take a look at Affinity Designer for Windows, which came out at the end of last year.  It's fairly inexpensive (certainly compared to the price you used to have to pay to buy Illustrator in the pre-subscription days). They have a trial version available.

More food for thought.  Hopefully something here will be of further use...

Cheers,
Gary


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garylearntech (5/1/2017)
Hi JRB


If CorelDRAW X4 doesn't want to play, it might be down to the age of your version: according to this it shipped from 2008 to 2010 - that's actually pretty old in computer terms.  In which case focus on DrawPlus.  Success there might allow you to then punt the intermediate file on to CorelDRAW.  Alternatively, you could maybe take a look at Affinity Designer for Windows, which came out at the end of last year.  It's fairly inexpensive (certainly compared to the price you used to have to pay to buy Illustrator in the pre-subscription days). They have a trial version available.

More food for thought.  Hopefully something here will be of further use...

Cheers,
Gary

Try this with that Mac:
https://www.photopea.com/


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garylearntech (5/1/2017)
I've got these two Affinity apps for general (albeit occasional) graphical use, not for importing into CTA3: I've only got CTA PRO, not Pipeline, so that's not really relevant for me.



With CTA Pro you can build G1, G2 & G3 actors from Png, & tga using sprite import or replace. To import Swf for vector use DrawPlusX4 to X8. Alot can be done wth CTA Pro.

Hi JRB
On another point... I am also having some issues with joints and such (my characters have big shoes, short legs, and detail on the pivot points...) - I don't want to post character files in the forum (due to copyrights...) but do you have a place I could send you character files for assessment?

On your shoe make a little niple the color of pants or leg and be sure pivot point is on nipple and pants or leg.





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Hi All

The best solution for now is indeed to export all of the layers as high-quality (over 300 dpi) PNGs then import to Photoshop. 
However, we are devoted in developing more user friendly way for vector-based images.
G2 character is all about vectors, but it is rather challenging to create.
We will simplify the process of G2 character creation in the near future, meanwhile, we are trying to optimize the vector to CTA workflow.

BR
 
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I have found that it is actually simpler to export a .PSD [make sure to preserve layers!] from my vector-based program (in my case CorelDraw but it looks like this will also work in Adobe Illustrator).

This PSD file opens wonderfully in PhotoShop.  I can then move the layers into their appropriate folders.

The difference is:

Option 1)  I have to export 10 high quality PNGs (one for each piece) all with the same size of background (to preserve alignment).

Option 2)  I only need to export one PSD and essentially accomplish the same thing.  The vector images are flattened into layers.


The one draw back that I have found with the PSD method over the PNG method is that in PhotoShop you cannot use the "update or re-link image" option... which allows you to modify one of your body pieces (in your vector drawing program) and re-export it as a PNG and "update" your PhotoShop file (without needing to scale, rename, or re-add to the layer folder).

I think that exporting a PSD is idea for if you only need to export the character once, and I think that PNGs are ideal if you plan to tweak and or modify the PNGs after you have positioned all of nodes in PhotoShop.





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