HM3:PNG (The PNG Next Generation)

I've just uploaded the HeroMachine 3 Alpha "Violodion Edition", which has a new button right next to the "Save as JPG" one that lets you "Save as PNG", allowing you to save your creation as a transparent-background PNG format instead of the lossier JPG.

Holler if you have problems with it. It should let you produce images that are slightly larger in terms of file size, but without the pixelation and degradation of the JPG format. Since some operating systems and browsers don't play well with JPGs PNGs I am leaving both formats in. More options are more better!

22 Responses to HM3:PNG (The PNG Next Generation)

  1. John D says:

    That’s awesome Jeff! It really helps when I do some background editing in Paint Shop!

  2. MCTales says:

    Is there a reason the “Save Character” and “Load Character” features don’t work yet? It would be very helpful for updating our characters without having to start over from scratch.

  3. Jeff Hebert says:

    @MCTales: It’s going to be a pretty intensive effort to code, and I don’t even have all the features in yet that need to be saved or loaded. I have to know what all it needs to do before I can write it.

  4. berserker says:

    two questions why is blades 1 and 2 only for the right side and are you going to make a way to have pants and other arms on the other poses

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    I want to get all the Right side item sets done first, then transfer them over to the Left. It’s the same reason I am doing all the Standard sets for the male before doing the female — keeping track of duplicates is a pain in the ass. In the meantime, just use the Flip button, it’s the same thing.

    There will be very very few (if any) pants and tops for alternate body parts and positions. The Standard pose is the only one that will definitely have full support. Again, you can rotate, scale, and move items to get them where you want mostly, there’s no need for me to do it for you.

  6. LoneWolf6155 says:

    Well Jeff, the Modern Day Warrior Contest was overrated. The game sucks.

  7. Anarchangel says:

    Thanks Jeff. This a lot 🙂

  8. violodion says:


    My very own button, gosh, I feel so special now! 🙂

    PNG indeed ought show off the HM3 art better than JPG — e.g., reds were getting pretty muddled. As JohnD (post #1) noted, PNG is easier to tweak in paint programs when one
    Believe the line in the blog “Since some operating systems and browsers don’t play well with JPGs I am leaving both formats in”, ought be more “browsers don’t play well with PNGs”. (Yeah, looking at you IE6.)

  9. Jeff Hebert says:

    oops, you’re right, that should have read browsers and OSes that don’t play well with PNGs, not JPGs. Part of the reason I did this was due to the unsatisfying quality of some of the jpgs posted to the forums especially in the reds. Hopefully this will help.

    And you are the reason I first became aware of the format, V, so you have at least one convert!

  10. The Imp says:

    Yep, PNG is a great format. Doesn’t take up near as much space as a bitmap, doesn’t lose definition like a JPEG, and mucho easy to play around with in photoshop. I’m an amateur cartographer, and I work almost exclusively with PNG format.

  11. Kublajkan says:

    Jeff, thats reasonable, that only the standard pose will have full support. It would be great though, if you could make the tops and legwears more module like. For example Top: 1.torso part 2. Right upper arm part 3. Right lower arm part 4. Left upper arm part 5. Left lower arm part. In that case we could make the clothes fit perfectly.

    Question: how can you mask 2 Item Right Hand item in the same time, to right and left hand? For me, one of them always stys unmasked.

  12. violodion says:

    Weirdness/Bug: “Save as” creates images of 1067 x 744 size (dimensions seem to vary slightly), whereas the applet viewport is 850 x 650. Resultant saved image is left aligned with much white space on the right.

    Adjustment for later(?): Allow the default “save as” filename to be superseded with Item > Font when that item is used, instead of the default “hm3-beta”. Ought to assist the, umm, less organized creators out there. Similarly, would increase the value of the “Font” item. (“Font” may be better renamed as, say, “Title”, “Caption”, or “Heading”).

    Not sure how/why to use the “Outline character” button/feature. (Anybody out there using it, or finding it particularly useful?) It can do unflattering things to the image. Might be better as a “Outline Current Item” button, and to outline/un-outline with lime green (or some such standout color). It is getting busy with an increasing number of items on the HM3 canvas — e.g., Hakoon1 used *45* ‘Flame’ Hair in one image (post #274 in his “Hak’s House of Heroes!” UGO thread).

  13. violodion says:

    Relevant reference images for post #12:

    ‘Manual’ screenshot —
    Save as PNG —
    Save as JPG —
    Outline Character —

  14. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Kublajkan: Masking an item with both hands is tricky. Basically you add two of the same item, masking one with the right hand and the other with the left hand. Then you layer them all in such a way that it looks like just one item, like so:

    SwordA (masked by HandLeft)
    SwordB (masked by HandRight)

  15. Anarchangel says:

    Jeff I’ve encountered a problem on a number of occasions.
    Sometimes when creating a character all the items will just lock up. Certain things will move but others won’t. I can’t delete anything. My only option is to start again. This is quite annoying with the more detailed characters.

    Someone mentioned the same problem on a previous blog so I know it’s not just my computer but I can’t remember if you addressed it or not.

  16. Jeff Hebert says:

    That’s a problem that’s been reported, yes. No idea of possible causes or solutions yet. It’s still an alpha, lots of fixing up to do one the main chunk of drawing for the male is done.

  17. violodion says:

    @Anarchangel: Seen the same. Bummer is, it is not easily replicable; thus, it is it easy to trace to the root.

    Contributing symptoms appear to be:
    * Creating ‘Body’ using all limbs part on MaleStandard and MaleMilitary (mixing-n-matching bad?).
    * Selecting a category but NOT immediately selecting a sub-set.
    * Backplane > Wings seems the MOST susceptible (coincidence?).

    For instance:
    * Load the HM3 page
    * Drop a standard Body
    * Add multiple Wings (whole bunch, like 20+)
    * Change Wings to ‘Single’
    * Try selecting one Wing (nothing?)
    * Select back to ‘Multiple’
    * Try adding a Wing (nothing?)
    * Try ‘Transform’s (sometimes semi-usable)
    * Try deleting items from the ‘Items’ tab (sometimes semi-usable)
    * Try adding a ‘Wing’ (still no-go)

    Moral (for now): Careful add too many items in one category (over 10+) or too many of the SAME item. Also, careful with switching back-n-forth between ‘Multiple’ and ‘Single’.

    As always YMMV, but hope that rough explanation helps.

    (p.s.: May be good to create a dedicated HM3 “Bug Reports & Fixes” blog category thread, and re-reference it frequently for tidiness. Such as the one for HM2.5, back in the day.)

  18. Jeff Hebert says:

    Good idea on the Bugs thread, V.

    I think the problem is likely in the array that keeps track of what items are loaded, and is the same root cause as when you get an item that can’t be deleted. It gets stuck thinking it’s on the wrong slot or set and can’t figure out what it is that’s being asked.

    Or something.

    It’s going to take sitting down with the debugger and trying lots of things, and looking at the reports it gives while it’s doing it.

  19. Anarchangel says:

    Thanks for the help guys 🙂

  20. paul says:


    I want to make a wide character but when I save to JPEG and PNG he resets to normal size.

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Paul: That’s one of those “advanced options” I’ll be addressing down the line.

  22. violodion says:

    @paul, post #20: Manual screen shot still works! 🙂

    For Windows:
    * Use Alt + PrtScn to capture to clipboard. (‘Alt’ key copies only the active Window.)
    * Open MS Paint (Start > Programs > Accessories > Paint)
    * Paste
    * “Save As” > PNG
    * Crop as desired

    For Mac OS:
    * Use Cmd + Shift + 4
    * Use crosshairs to drag select desired area
    * File is auto-saved to desktop (default name “Picture 1.png”)
    * See also, http–tinyurl-com/mnvfl

    Both techniques do not capture the very nice transparency the HM3 “Save as PNG” button does.