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Soldier Texturing via GIMP, Normals, Alphas
MasterChiefRulZ
post Dec 21 2012, 02:03 PM
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I may be waaayy off base, granted I'm new to texturing, so I may be calling something of the wrong title/descriptive name as what it actually is.

I created a new set of glove textures, and I was meaning to properly normal map(?) them. I'm referring to the os files attached to texture files. My glove is quite different from the original MEC composition, and I certainly desire to correct those misaligned details/highlights.

Browsing the net I've found several tuts, but none for BF2 (mostly CSS). I've downloaded the Normal map generator plugin for Gimp, created several normal maps but they all look horrid. My questions are...

Are there any actual tutorials for generating this os file for BF2, short of what I've seen referred to as 'baking'?

If not, what settings does one use when saving os files after editing?


Thanks to any who can point me in the right direction.


EDIT:

Edited title to reflect (ha) new nature of thread. One cannot generate an os (short of 'baking' a model) but must 'hack' the original os to meet the newly created skin. In my case, my goal is gloves having proper reflection/highlights in desired areas, as well as eliminating old details from the previous default skin (currently working on new MEC gloves).


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Nikoagonistes
post Dec 21 2012, 06:56 PM
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Well, when I needed new normalmaps for objects and uniforms, I used a free normalmapping program from the internet (I forgot what it was called at this moment.)

Its normalmapping was in an opposite direction from the usual BF2 normalmaps, so if you need to normalmap only part of a texture piece then I have some advice:
1. Make a copy of the necessary section, then rotate it so that when you get the normalmap, said map will be aligned correctly with the rest of the nm texture once you rotate it back to the right position.
2. The program I used didn't recognize "transparent" pixels, so keep a "mask" of the necessary section to clip off any excess space the normalmap generator may leave.

Hope that helps!
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MasterChiefRulZ
post Dec 21 2012, 07:45 PM
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Thanks for the tips Nik. smile.gif

What I really need to know is a step by step process of properly creating the os files. What format I should save in, etc. The one good tutorial I found was a link we had to FPSbanana explaining how to do this process in CSS. Tried several variants but it still all looked bizarre/incorrect, and it wasn't the normal I generated flipped, it simply didn't look good ingame (lighting was off, details sparse, etc). Obviously I'm not doing it right. uhm.gif


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clivewil
post Dec 21 2012, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE
a free normalmapping program from the internet (I forgot what it was called at this moment.)

possibly Melody by nVidia? i used that to make object space normalmaps once or twice in the past

QUOTE
What format I should save in, etc.

find an existing map that's similar to the one you're trying to make. then use wtv.exe** (also by nVidia) to determine its DXT type, mipmap levels, presence of alpha, etc. and use those same settings for your own map (note that a reported mipmap level of 1/1 usually means no mipmaps, not one)

QUOTE
short of what I've seen referred to as 'baking'?

in 3ds max, this is called 'Render to Texture' fwiw


** wtv stands for 'woody's texture viewer' i think


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MasterChiefRulZ
post Dec 21 2012, 10:16 PM
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QUOTE
wtv.exe

Excellent tool, great for examining details of how it's created/saved! Thanks Clive!! biggrin.gif

For those interested...

Windows Texture Viewer


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Bubbles
post Dec 22 2012, 01:13 PM
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Is this applicable? BFSP Tutorials - Soldier re-skinning

Have you read this? http://gamebanana.com/tuts/9199 and http://davenunez.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/...p-maps-for-fsx/

I personally use Paint.net which is another option to Gimp. They have a very nice tutorial on creating Digital Camouflage

This post has been edited by Bubbles: Dec 22 2012, 01:25 PM
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MasterChiefRulZ
post Dec 23 2012, 11:29 AM
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Got a copy of that first link, but those others are great resources for info/new ideas (the Gimp one especially). Thanks Bubbles! smile.gif


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MasterChiefRulZ
post Jan 15 2013, 10:53 PM
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UPDATE BUMP:

Found some great new resources for GIMP users.

QUOTE (Stackoverflow.com)
To edit the alpha channel, add a layer mask and apply the brush effect to the layer mask.

Under the Layers tab, right click the layer to edit and choose Add Layer Mask. A dialog box will ask you how you want the layer mask to be initialized. Presuming you'll start with a visible image and brush away the part you want transparent, the best choice is White (Full Opacity). Click Add.

Under the Layers tab, you should now see the white thumbnail of the layer mask, next to the thumbmail of the layer image. Click on the thumbnail to edit the layer mask. Choose your brush effect and the color black, and apply your brush effect.

If you switch to the Channels tab, you will see in real time how the alpha channel changes as you paint on the layer mask.

If you prefer to start with a transparent image and brush on the part you want visible, just start with a layer mask which is Black (Full Transparency) and apply your brush effect to the layer mask with the color white.

You can always switch back and forth between black and white paint to add or remove transparency on the layer mask.

When you want to return to editing the layer image instead of the layer mask, go back to the Layers tab and click on the thumbnail of the layer image.

Source



QUOTE (Gimpforums)
Question:Is it possible to directly edit the alpha channel? I need to edit it for a 3D model I've made, and its showing up as too shiney (The engine is looking at the alpha for reflectivity) However, I have yet to see a way to edit the alpha channel directly .


Answer:That's what "layer masks" are for.

You create a layer mask with "Layer/Mask/Add layer mask". In the Layer list, your layer no now has two thumbnails: the regular image, and the layer mask.

The layer mask can be edited with any tool that works on grayscale images (in you case, Levels/Curves, likely).

The default view mode while editing shows you the results of your action on the whole layer (RGB+Alpha) but you can also display the alpha channel directly. You can tell if you are working on the mask by the highlight on the thumbnails in the Layers list, but you can also check the bottom of the image window: next to the zoom factor, instead of "layer name" you will see "layer name mask".

When you are done, "Layer/Mask/Apply layer mask"

Source

And finally....


QUOTE (GameDev)
I find the best way to do this in The GIMP is to use a layer mask (right click on a layer and create mask).

The layer will then have two "images" associated with it - the RGBA image and a grayscale layer mask which acts as an extra (multiplicative) alpha channel. You can click either of these images to select which one will be edited.

If you hold CTRL and click the layer mask, you will see just the RGBA image (this disables the mask). If you hold down ALT and click the layer mask, you will see just the layer mask.

When you export an image with an active layer mask, the exported image will retain the colour information even from areas that the mask makes fully transparent.

For your purposes, you may find it effective to compose your alpha channel on a separate (RGBA) layer - then when you are done you can just copy this layer into the layer mask of the original layer.
shareimprove this answer

answered Aug 3 '10 at 7:17
Andrew Russell
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This is closer to what I need. But it only affects the top layer! I have multiple layers in my image, and I would like to be able to do this without flattening it. Thanks for answering. – eli Aug 3 '10 at 7:58

Add a mask layer to each layer of your image.

Source

This new information gives me hope. I was making such great progress until I hit this certain snag in development, and have been at this point for several weeks now trying to figure out how to make my gloves look the way I want. Not sloppy with all those old details and original Dice model flaws (weird artifacts in the Alpha) of the MEC Heavy gloves showing through my skin.


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MasterChiefRulZ
post Jan 24 2013, 07:43 PM
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UPDATE:

UPDATE: 2 (2-04-16) Time to update this thing with the knowledge I've accrued

Quick and easy create your own Alpha Channel using Gimp.

CREATE an alpha channel for .dds files that don't have them for BF2.

Split the image into 4 parts (Red Green Blue and Alpha) with Gimp
Open the image
Go to the Colors menu
Go to the Components menu
Select Decompose
Color Model: RGBA (select Decompose to layers)
Hit OK


You now have two open instances of GIMP. Close the original one, keep the one with the image split into 4 parts open and continue to use it in the following steps...

Go to Colors menu
Components menu
Select compose
Color Model :RGBA
On the bottom of the Compose Window is the Alpha option, select MASK VALUE
Click OK


Click on FILE in the main window and then Export with the file named "insert name here".dds file extension with compression BC3/DXT5 with mipmaps set to generate mipmaps. Close all the following windows. If you are using the latest version of Gimp (2.8 as of this writing) you'll need to export your image to the proper format instead of using the 'save' feature.


I JUST WANT TO EDIT ALREADY EXISTING ALPHA CHANNEL (MY GUN IS TOO SHINY)

Super easy.

Open the .dds file that is the texture (also known as diffuse) which usually ends with a c in the file name. For example.... deagle_c is the texture for a desert eagle weapon model I have.

Once the texture file is open in the layers-brushes dialogue box right click it
Scroll down to add layer mask
Select Transfer layer's alpha channel
Click add

Now the Alpha channel, which controls how shiny the weapon is, is to the right of the texture image within the layers-brushes dialogue box.

Right click on the box on the right.
Scroll down and click show layer mask

Layer mask should now be highlighted Green in the layers-brushes dialogue box and you should be able to see the Alpha channel in the main Gimp window.

Click on the main window.
Click on Colors.
Scroll down and click Brightness-Contrast...
Adjust the brightness of this image DOWN to make it LESS shiny, BRIGHTER to make it SHINE MORE.
Click OK to save your changes.

Back at the layers-brushes dialogue box, right click on the box on the right (which should be highlighted GREEN).
Scroll down and click Apply layer mask

Back to the main window of the texture (which is the main big window).
Click on the File option in the top left of the window.
Scroll down and click Export
Export as "insert name".dds file
Click Export on the bottom right of this window

A new window pops up called Save as DDS

For compression you want to select BC3/DXT5
on mipmaps you want Generate mipmaps

Click OK and you're done.





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