Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Textures, Bump Map Files, and RAL colors for Autodesk Inventor

You are looking for a transparent surface for a chain link fence, barbed wire, and/or tread plate. Or you want create your own image to use as a transparent texture.

With a photo editing application you can take an image and fill in the "empty space" with a color of your choice and then set it up so that Inventor will use that color as the transparent color. There are a few things that you must do in order for this to work:
  1. The pixel in the lower right hand corner of the image must be set to the transparency color. This is what Inventor uses to know what to set transparent. The standard convention is to use the pure magenta color: (R,G,B) = (255,000,255), but Inventor will use the lower right pixel as its guide no matter the color.
  2. The file should be appended with &.bmp . For instance a texture file called Ironlace would be named Ironlace&.bmp .
  3. The file needs to be saved in the surfaces folder, as specified by you project file. You can see the location of your surfaces folder by hovering your cursor over the Design Data node in the project settings pane as shown here:
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Here is an example of one of the transparent surfaces included with Inventor, notice the file names:

click to enlarge

And here it is in use, applied to an extruded surface.

For some interesting transparent surface files you can go to the Inventor Wizard's Textures page and download their transparent surface file samples.

(Thanks to Johan for the pointing me to these textures.)

In addition to the interesting transparent texture surface files, you can find a nice set of RAL colors, Bump files and Reflections for Inventor at the Inventor Wizard's Textures page.
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Click to learn more on the RAL color system