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How to create palette for units

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Tutorials, Reference, & Guides' started by Steph, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. Steph

    Steph Multi Many Tasks man Retired Moderator

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    I often see this question: how to get a palette once you get a true color storyboard from SBB, or when converting units?
    Here is my method when converting units:
    - Open the true color storyboard in Paint Shop Pro.
    - Change the color depth to X colours, and select 160 colours (or 96 if you are making an army). You get a bitmap that contains 160 colours, with few visual loss. The best is usually to use the death animation, as it often has the most colours, but this could vary from unit to unot.
    - In Paint Shop Proi, Edit the palette, make a screenshot of the palette edition tool, save as bitmap.
    - Open PEdit, select your new bitmap (it shows all the colour needed to create the storyboard). Open an empty palette (like the one provided by Kinboat, with the civ colours already in place). And now just click on the bitmap of the palette to set all the needed colours into the actual palette in PEdit.
    - Save the palette
    - In Paint Shop Pro, load the palette in your storyboard
    - Done
     
  2. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

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    I think I followed the directions above pretty closely, but it didn't work out very well.

    I downloaded a trial version of Paint Shop Pro XI.

    First I eliminated the pink background by choosing a black background. Then I eliminated the Civ blue to black and came up with this:



    I selected to reduce the palette to 160 colors, then selected edit palette and this is the palette that came up:



    I don't know where all the greens and blues and other weird colors in the palette came from since I don't think there were any of them in the image. I Alt+PrintScreened the palette and saved it as a BMP, opened it in PEdit and selected the 160 palette colors and placed them on the blank rows in this palette template which Vuldacon sent me for starting normal units:



    The final product I came up with was this:



    Please help!!! I really would like to learn palettes. :sad:

    EDIT: I also tried creating a palette without changing any colors to black, using the original BMP image and all it's colors, reduced the image to 160 colors and once again came up with a very strange looking palette like the one above with all the greens and stuff which weren't supposed to be in the image.

    This is the image I started out with before reducing to 160 colors:

     
  3. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    Gary... You need to remove all Blue shades and all Magenta shades before reducing colors to 160. Check by reducing colors and IF any Blues or Magenta shades are in the palette...select them one at a time, click the Undo arrow and when you have returned to 16 million colors, use the color replacer Tool to replace the Blue or Magenta with Black. You then reduce colors again and select another Blue or Magenta shade you find still in the 160 colors and repeat the procedure to remove it.

    Note that is is good to check through all frames before reducing the colors in the first place to speed this process.

    After you have the 160 Colors without the Civ Specific Blues or Magenta Shades. Edit the palette and when it is on your screen, Press ALT+ Print Screen Keys. Close the Palette and then Press CTRL+ V to paste the ScreenShot of your 160 Color Palette. Save as a .bmp and use that to copy the 160 colors to the "Essential Color Palette" using Pedit.
    You will then have your New Palette to apply to your .bmp storyboards using "Nearest Color Matching". IF you have performed these steps correctly, all should go well. Just save the new Storyboards as .pcx files to use for generating the new Flcs. Note that you can change palettes and Flc speeds before you generate the new Finished Flcs...so test it all out and especially test your final results on the game map. because units do not appear exactly as they look in Flicster or Civ3FlcEdit :)

    IF you have trouble seeing the CIV Specific Colors on a Unit, Change the Palette in Flicster to #1 or another Palette when viewing your unit so you can see the Civ Specific Colors better.

    Make sure you Load your New Palette to "Nearest Color Matching" when applying it to your .bmp storyboards.

    You show the "essential Color" palette" but I hope after adding your 160 unit colors, you saved that palette as a "Jasc" palette with what ever name you want. That is what you apply to your .bmp storyboards. IF you did this, then your problem was in HOW you applied your new palette.
     
  4. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

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    Thank you as always Vuldacon!! You are a tremendous help to all of us newbies and just about everyone else too I think. :) I'm going to give your advice a try and see what I come up with.
     
  5. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    When I said to remove ALL Magenta Shades, I was saying to remove all smoke and shadow Shades. What you want is ONLY the Unit Colors without any Smoke, Fog, Shadows or Civ Specific Colors. The 160 Colors are then added to the existing Palette that already has the Smoke, Fog, Shadows and CIV Specific Colors on it. So when you aplpy your new Palette to nearest color matching, the smoke and shadow shades will have to choose from those shades already on the palette. Hope that makes sense. :)
     
  6. vingrjoe

    vingrjoe Landlocked Shipwright

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    Listen to Vuldacon. His advice on the palette has greatly helped me.
     
  7. Wyrmshadow

    Wyrmshadow Chieftain

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    Oh god what a horrid mess you are making Gary. Look my my Youtube tutorials.
     
  8. aaglo

    aaglo Furioso!

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    This would be my 1st rule for palette makers.
     
  9. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

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    OK. I followed Vuldacon as closely as I understand how to (and actually ventured off on my own a little on a couple points). This is what I came out with. I think I'm getting the hang of this. Much better, however, this gun is having the same problem which Vuldacon initially had with my mountain gun. There is a gray haze around the gun in the game which doesn't show up in either Flicster nor CivFlicEdit. Something to do with smoke effects bleeding into Civ colors I think. :confused: I've contacted Vuldacon and hopefully he'll be able to get back to me relatively soon on what to do next. I think I've actually caught on to some of this. :)



    EDIT: One more... :)

     
  10. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    Lights and Anti-Aliasing cause the light magenta "smoke" shades around units. There are several ways to remedy this but I will need to talk to you because too much to type. lol. IF you look closely, you will see this same thing on most units other than The Original CIV Game Units. Most of us are ok with a little if it does not seriously detract from the unit and blends in ok.
     
  11. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

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    Give me a call whenever. I was up all night working on this but I still feel alert (plenty of caffeine).
     
  12. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    Just a LONG "note" :lol: that may help with palettes and programs used to make them.

    Each Color on the palette is indexed...meaning it is linked so the computer can use it where it is suppose to go on a Unit.

    When you reduce colors of a 16 Million Color .bmp storyboard to 160 colors, it is important that you first remove any colors that you do not want in the palette for the 160 colors. This is also taking into consideration that the "normal Game palette with the usual Civ Specific Colors and the smoke and shadow shades are already available so are not needed in the 160 unit colors.

    The Thing I want to stress is that when you remove the unneeded colors that are already represented on the palette, you will have X number of Unit Colors.
    When you reduce colors to 160 colors, the program you use will take the % of the colors into "consideration" as it reduces the colors.

    This means that IF you have a Unit with many of the same colors that are therefore more abundant then lets say the Attack Fire...the Yellows and Reds etc... for the Attack will be reduced according to their percentage amongst all the other Unit Colors.

    Work Around: Copy the Attack Flames and paste more of them onto the storyboard you are making a palette from. This will increase there percentage and therefore allow them to be taken into "consideration" by the program when you reduce colors to our meager 160 colors.

    You can experiment with this and you will see the difference. Sure all colors are "represented" on the palette when you reduce colors to 160 but this Representation is based on %. Keep this in mind for your units and especially for those special animations that have other Special Colors for effects that you probably Really want to look as Good as they can be.

    Other than this...when you replace all those Magenta and Civ Specific Colors when making a palette, you can reduce colors to 256 colors after removing what you can see are obviously not needed in the 160 Unit Colors. After reducing to 256 colors you can individually remove the other unwanted colors from the palette by changing them to Black for example.
    The reason for this is because when you use a "Color Replacer Tool" such as is available in Paint Shop Pro, it will replace all colors that are close to the color you are replacing as well and many times this is undesirable. The way to handle this is to observe what happens when you replace a color with the Stotryboard enlarged and if too many other colors are replaced...leave that color there and continue on replacing all that you can without removing colors your Unit Needs to Look its best.
    Keep in mind that when you change the Magenta Background to Black, many subtle shades with Reds and Blues will appear as though they are colors you need to replace. If this starts to cause you Problems, change the Background to White temporarily so you see the Colors from a different perspective.

    When you have replaced all of the Colors you can, reduce to 256 colors and THEN replace each color individually by editing the palette and changing colors to Black for example that you do not want on the palette.

    When this is accomplished, you can then increase the colors to 16 Million and then immediately reduce to 160 colors. This will provide you with better results.

    There is No Panacea Procedure that will take care of All possibilities concerning your Creations so Understanding the Palettes and things you can do to get what you want are important to your end results. Good Luck :)
     
  13. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

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    Thanks again Vuldacon! I'm still working on the unit. I actually got it to work in the game without the smog around it. The run, default, death, and fortify animations are now fine. However, in the attack animation the smoke coming out of the barrel looks grainy in game. It looks fine in Flicster but when I place it in the game it looks very grainy.

    I used your technique of color reduction and it worked like a charm. :goodjob:

    I just need to refine the attack animation some now. :)
     
  14. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    Gary... the Attack Smoke is Probably "Grainy" because the smoke was either replaced by another color or removed totally in some cases.

    IF you removed/replaced the "Smoke" shades on the Storyboards in order to prevent them from surrounding your Unit, you will need to Make a separate Storyboard of the Smoke and copy and paste it Back onto the Attack Storyboard for the areas where you want Smoke for the Attack.

    Change all smoke shades to a pure color on both the Attack Storyboard and the Same attack storyboard that you make with Only the Smoke shades on it. (See Below) You can then copy and paste the smoke shades onto the Original Attack Storyboard and then Apply the Normal Unit Palette and Maintain Indexes to return the smoke shades back to their Original shades.

    The Reason to change all smoke shades to a Pure Color that is not in your Unit for both those storyboards is to Keep them from matching any other shades that are close when you copy and paste them onto the Attack Storyboard. No Need to worry about what they look like for the procedure because when you apply the unit Palette and maintain indexes, they will all return to the Normal smoke shades as they are on your unit Palette.

    Make a Smoke Palette that Only has the Smoke shades and the Pure Magenta shade (for the Background) remaining on it... all other colors are Black. When you apply this palette, Maintain Indexes and it will make all unit colors Black, leaving Only the smoke shades.

    Note that you will need to First Flood Fill the Frame Lines on the Storyboards to one of the Smoke Shades so they will remain on the storyboard after you apply the special "Smoke Palette". For this reason add Pure Green or Red for example to your "Smoke Palette" so the Frame Lines can be Flood Filled again with one of those colors after you apply the special "Smoke Palette". IF the red or green color is on the storyboard (and they probably will be) after applying the special Smoke Palette, you can replace them with the Color Replacer Tool to Magenta then Flood Fill the Frame Lines with Green or Red after that.

    You then use the Color Replacer Tool and change all the Black to Magenta. This will leave all Frames with Just Smoke Shades that you can then use to copy and paste back to your Original Storyboard where you want smoke such as the Attack. Be sure to change all smoke shades to the SAME Pure colors on Both Storyboards before copy and paste procedures and all smoke shades will then maintain the correct index represented by the Pure colors you changed each of them to.

    By the Way... the Frame Lines are what you use to make sure you are placing the Images correctly when you paste them. In Paint Shop Pro, after you Copy part or all of an image with part of all of the Frame Line (Ctrl+C) you can Hold Down (Ctrl+Shift and Press E) to paste a "Floating Image" that will allow you to move the image around before setting it in place (Left Click) and Finalize (Right Click). I generally Copy 5 Frames across and 4 frames down at one time. I use the Frame Lines to know exact placement when pasting. You can Flood Fill the Frame Lines after you complete the work on your Original Palette if they are several different colors. When you generate the New Flc or another storyboard, the Frame Lines are placed by Flicster or Civ3FlicEdit.

    When you make "Special Palettes" that will help you with a procedure, save them for use at another time to speed the process.

    Hope this makes sense... easier to do than try to explain...or read through. :)
     
  15. Steph

    Steph Multi Many Tasks man Retired Moderator

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    You can also use SBB to create the storyboard instead of copying the frames.
    It includes a feature to take two sources, one for the unit, one for the smoke, and assemble them into the storyboard.
    If you want to render them separetely to have a better control on their color
     
  16. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    ...that is True Steph. This is IF rendered separately so both sources are available.
    The thing I was talking about in regard to correcting smoke shades surrounding a unit is a Manual way to selectively accomplish the task. Duplicate the Same Storyboard by opening it and saving it as a different name. Make that storyboard with ONLY the smoke shades on it...no shadows on it either. Then it can be used to copy any particular frames of Smoke that are wanted and paste them on the original storyboard.

    IF I am not mistaken, Vingrjoe renders separate shadows and units then combines them. He and I talked about this a few years ago. No Doubt, Fraxis has a Method for rendering units with NO shadows or smoke shades surrounding their units at all. Experimentation rendering without Anti-Aliasing and using different colored backgrounds may offer some methods to help correct the problems caused by rendering over a Magenta Background with Anti-Aliasing and the Lighting that Mixes in with Unit and Background colors.
     
  17. Steph

    Steph Multi Many Tasks man Retired Moderator

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    I added originally the feature in SBB to have the smoke and the unit separately, because it was the method used by Balou to make his units
     
  18. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    Yes, and that is a Nice Feature too Steph...SBB has saved a Million of Hours of work for units :goodjob:
     
  19. Steph

    Steph Multi Many Tasks man Retired Moderator

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    If only I could get 1$ for everyhour saved...
    1$ per hour, it's not that much...

    Call to all the unit makers who have saved hours of work, for the cheque, Steph is spelled S T E P H
     
  20. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Chieftain

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    :lol: Too Funny Steph ...but perhaps you should open a Web page and accept "Pay Pal" for Contributions... then let the unit Makers know the Link to your Web Page. You would probably make some extra cash. I would contribute and I am certain I am not the only one who would :)
     

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