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2D All the way! / [STICKY] Simons Artistic Agony Aid

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Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
13
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Joined: 27th Apr 2004
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Posted: 27th Apr 2004 20:26
Hi Folks,
I felt it was about time that I was more active around the forums, so here goes.
For those that don't know me, I've been The Game Creators more-or-less permanent freelance game artist for the last three years.
Title's I've worked on for TGC iclude: 3D Gamemaker, Dark Matter 1, Dark Basic Pro, and Driving Test Success Practical.
Currently I'm working on the much-awaited FPS creator.

I'm happy to help out with any problems of an artistic nature you might be having. My expertise is in the modelling, animating and texturing of 3d game models, sprites and effects. I'm not so hot on the programming side or getting art assets into DB or our other products.

So here's the deal...
If you've got a question for me, mark the subject of your post "FAO SIMONS AAA" and I'll try and help you out.

Regards,
Simon

This Week I have mostly been......
......Making special level objects for FPSC and getting really frustrated with Nvidia's Melody tool
Flashing Blade
15
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Joined: 19th Oct 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: 28th Apr 2004 14:25
A real helpful thing would be a tutorial for people with absolutely no artistic flare (like me) to show you how to turn a UV map into a realistic texture.
If I search "Paint Shop tutorials" on google theres lots of 'em, but they all to make web graphics, text effects, or to enhance photos. I can't find any to make good model skins.
I can make a model, make a UV map, then I get disheartened when I can't make a good looking skin.


Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
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Posted: 28th Apr 2004 15:31
Hi Blade,
Take a look at my post in the 3d forum, that may help you.
I am considering making some tutorials for various techniques, so stay tuned.
Take a look at http://www.polycount.com , they have some good tutorials hidden away there.
Also http://www.planetquake.com/skindom/tutorials/
Dont get frustrated if a style of working doesn't suit you, just try another tutorial
Texturing skins, just like any kind of painting can be really disheartening when you start out, but the good news is that it's a skill that can be learnt. The more you practice the better you'll get.
Try not to compare yourself too much to other artists, pretty soon you'll realise you have your own style of painting that is completely unique to you.
I would recommed investing in a graphics tablet, I use an A3 wacom, but you could just as easily buy a cheap A5 tablet for around 40 or 50 quid. Using a cheap tablet is still a million times better than painting with the mouse.

Keep at it
Flashing Blade
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Joined: 19th Oct 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posted: 28th Apr 2004 21:02
Thanks - i'll give them tuts a go.
Some of those ones on planetquake look very good.
Seems I didn't search hard enough


las6
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Joined: 2nd Sep 2002
Location: Finland
Posted: 29th Apr 2004 15:55
...ever got the melody tool to work properly?

oh and do you have any ideas on how would I get proper spherical mapping that wouldn't create so bad distortions near the poles or along the edges. I'm not using a sphere object, but a rocky, deformed object that should be texturemapped. No matter what program I try, spherical uv mapping always seems to create some bad effects. I'd rather use planar instead of it.


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Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
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Posted: 29th Apr 2004 16:35
Not an easy one,
You can apply spherical mapping to a round object and then use photoshop's polar coordinates filters to correct the texture, but I dont think this will help you.
I would stick with a planar map, but then apply a checkerboard pattern to the object and adjust the UV coordinates manually until the checkerboard looks as even as you can get it.
It'll never be perfect I'm afraid. If you want to be dead on with the texture you'd have to identify all the co-planar faces on the model and map them individually. Then you'd have to match up all the seams on the texture map manually.
hope that helps a bit
zircher
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Joined: 27th Dec 2002
Location: Oklahoma
Posted: 30th Apr 2004 01:36
For some planet models that I have made a while back, I used planar mapping for the poles and cylindrical mapping for the remainder of the sphere. If you plan where the circumference of the polar regions matches the cylinder, you can get a good mapping with a minimum of distortion.
--
TAZ

las6
15
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Joined: 2nd Sep 2002
Location: Finland
Posted: 1st May 2004 18:36
Simon, that's exactly what I would do, if only it wouldn't be that much work. Try mapping a 30k really deformed solid model like that and you'll see why...

also, is a texture repeating and spherical mapping widely considered a no-no. Seems to me that it would never work.

Now if someone could create a geospherical mapping that would use all the space in the texture, I'd be very happy.


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Pincho Paxton
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Posted: 1st May 2004 21:07
With a Geosphere you should end up with a perfect rectangular map. Photoshop can then adjust a texture to distort it into polar coordinates. It has already been mentioned...This works. Yo can fill the entire space with the rectangle if you want.

Tapewormz
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Joined: 15th Sep 2002
Location: Winnipeg, Mantoba, Canada
Posted: 5th May 2004 03:26
I'm looking for some good information on creating graphics with an alpha channel using adobe photoshop 6 and up. I want to create graphics that can be pasted on a transparent plane that don't have hard edges.

Quote: " Timesoft - Your wife is death. How? NO idea.
But it is murder. REVENGE!!!!!!!!!"

Hands down the funniest synopsis for a game ever. All your base are belong to us!
Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
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Posted: 5th May 2004 15:36
Hi tapewormz,
I don't use photoshop 6, but as far as I know you can access the alpha channel of an image by clicking the channels button (the same window as layers). In a 24 bit image you'll see 3 channels, each for Red, Green and blue. In a 32 bit image you'll see an extra channel called alpha. Hit the add channel button if you're in 24 bit mode, click the new channel and paste or paint your transparency. Black for transparent, white for opaque, or any grey shade between for different levels of tranparency.
Note that only a photoshop PSD file can store multiple alpha channels, so make sure you have just the 3 RGB channels and 1 alpha channel.
Now export to a 32 bit tga (truevision targa, make sure "ignore alpha" is not checked) and you'll have your image with alpha channel ready to be used in DB.
Check your help file just in case I'm wrong about the channels button

Regards
hexGEAR
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Location: Naytonia
Posted: 6th May 2004 01:53 Edited at: 6th May 2004 01:56
Hey simon, i'm planning on getting a graphics tablet. The good wacom's are above my budget so i descided to go for the alternate and cheaper trust brand, more specifically the trust wireless tablet 1200. Could you like check it out and give me an honest opionion whether to get it or not?

so basically, using graphic tablets i can like run photoshop or simillar programs and draw/colour unto the screen with the pen as i would with a mouse? are they all in colour or some in black/white?

Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
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Posted: 6th May 2004 19:45
Hi Hex,
I haven't come accross this one before, so this is all just based on what I read on the page.
Looks like its a reasonable size, which is good, It says it has a pressure sensitive pen which is just what you need for photoshop.
It'd be good to try it out in a shop to be honest, that stylus looks a little strange. Good to have the mouse with it, though in my experience tablet mice aren't as good as normal ones.
If its drawing area is about A4 size then I'd say its good value. My wacom set me back 300 quid, but I guess I was paying for the brand.
Hope that helps
Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
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Posted: 6th May 2004 19:47
Oh yeah.....
All tablets should work with colour in photoshop. The tablet will have a driver which will add it as an extra pointing device, just like adding a second mouse. Photoshop has some nifty tools for pressure sensitive tablets.
Evil Noodle
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Posted: 6th May 2004 21:56
@Hexgear , I got the Nisis A4 tablet and going by the picture that one is the same casing ,price etc.
If it is then Ive no complaints with the Nisis. Mind you Ive not used any 'High End' tablets for comparison. Forget using the mouse though as its cack..

http://www.nisis.com/Products/GraphicTablets/G6.asp
hexGEAR
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Posted: 6th May 2004 22:18
@simon: thanks for the advice

@evil: i just checked out the Nisis, pretty much the same... guess it wouldn't matter which one i bought. Thanks for the input

AlecM
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Location: Concord, MA
Posted: 7th May 2004 12:49 Edited at: 7th May 2004 18:33
Hexgear. Thats a smaller version of the tablet i hate (Nisis easypen G6). Its not terrible, it does the job. Ever since I got to using the Intuos I had at papyrus it feels junky.

Simon: Why all that work for melody? ATIs normal mapper works really well. Is there something special about melody i have missed? because alot of people talk about it and how difficult it is to use.. Does it have some amazing features the ATI one doesn't?


Buy it
hexGEAR
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Posted: 7th May 2004 15:13
@Froggermon

lol, yeah i guess after using the high-end tablets, the others just seem pretty weak. I'm not a major artist, i'm just a guy that needs a cheap yet effective alternative to using the mouse to draw.

by the way what model did you have and why did you hate it so much?

AlecM
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Posted: 7th May 2004 18:33
I didnt hate my tablet. I loved it until i tried another one. I had the G6. is that the same as the one you are looking at? For the money its a good tablet. Just doesnt quite feel as smooth as a nice waccom.


Buy it
hexGEAR
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Posted: 7th May 2004 21:27
yeah it's the same G6. i guess the amount of money i earn over the summer hols will determine if i go for a Nisis or a Wacom.

Oraculaca
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Location: Scotland
Posted: 7th May 2004 23:28
Odd I logged in on my old account yesterday :-s

Quote: "I didnt hate my tablet. I loved it until i tried another one. I had the G6. is that the same as the one you are looking at? For the money its a good tablet. Just doesnt quite feel as smooth as a nice waccom."


Its the G6 ive got. One other point I should make was I had to cover the tablet in paper to get a decent feel on it. but I think a lot of people do that anyway.

I do wish I had bought a Wacom but my money situation decided otherwise ahhh perhaps one day. How much was your Wacom Frogger? and what size is it?
Simon
TGC Lead 3D Artist
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Posted: 10th May 2004 04:03
Hi Froggerman,
I agree, I'm very happy with Ati's tool. Melody does have its progressive mesh thingy for creating LOD's though. It was promised a year ago and I was hoping it would make life easier when it arrived....not to be sadly.
Cyberflame
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Posted: 3rd Jun 2004 18:24
@Simon
where is your avatar from, it reminds me of this great amime i have called totoro, but im not sure.

CPU
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Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posted: 20th Jun 2004 23:20
@Simon - i don't know how many software packages you have used, but of the ones that you have which ones would you recommend for both modeling and texturing if someone wasn't wanting to spend a ton on like 3ds max or photo-shop?

Sparring - Loved by many, Pefected by few.

I'm going to live forever, or DIE IN THE ATTEMPT!!!"

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