Leveling Up at Unit Creation

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Unit Graphics' started by tantanmen, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. tantanmen

    tantanmen Warlord

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    Wow, thank you very much MightyToad. Two thorough & fantastic tutorials in one day.

    Not only are you fiendishly photogenic, but you are a real pillar of the community. Thank you!
     
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  2. BossDaddy

    BossDaddy Warlord

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    Awesome. Thanks MT! I have the same problem with different key binds. I do most of my work in 2.49. There are things in 2.79 like instead of hitting B twice to get the circle select, you hit C. In 2.49, you can hit the magnet button, select vertices, and hold down Control and they will snap to the next vertex. In 2.79, you don't hold Control. A thousand other things that make it ponderous. Blender 2.79 will adjust a UV map whilst decimating though. Blender 2.49 destroys the map and it has to be done again. Having the UV map adjust automatically while decimating though is unbelievable helpful. Especially when the user is a dunce and unfamiliar with UV's...*cough* *cough* Me *cough* *cough* :p

    Very happy to see that I've been doing a lot of what you do. You're guide is going to help me a lot for what I've been lacking.

    Do you want me to send you a copy of my nif scripts for 2.79? I've only found the nif scripts for 2.79 to be needed for Skyrim up til now. Skyrim nifs won't import into 2.49 that I've found, but they import no problem into 2.79. I import there, save a blend file (save as legacy mesh) and then open that in 2.49. Conversely, 2.79 will open Civ 4 meshes, but the import ruins the armature. Opening in 2.49, saving, and then opening in 2.79 save the armature. That's really helpful with, in my opinion, 2.79's better modifier scripts. As I mentioned with decimating in 2.79 saving the UV map and what I think is a much easier mirror modifier. If you're not interested in those options, you aren't missing too much.

    Do you know what to do about the mesh not appearing in nifskope? I got the mesh to appear with the MTW 2 conversions, but my method hasn't worked yet with Warhammer. Are there any models from a Total War game you would like me to get to you for you to experiment with?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2021
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  3. Bagdemagus

    Bagdemagus Warlord

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    yes i think ypure right , stick to stuff for now that already has a texture!
     
  4. MightyToad

    MightyToad Sith Lord

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    I don't know? The mesh is definitely there in the nif you posted. The first thing I would check is to see if the material has the alpha set to "0" instead of "1". If it is just not there period the mesh either wasn't selected when you exported, or the export scripts are trash and it didn't work (or something I'm not thinking of).

    I think I already have the latest nif scripts when I was trying out Blender 2.92. I haven't installed them into 2.79 yet. I haven't bothered because I figured 2.79 was only good for saving blends in legacy mode.

    I've never played any of those games. So, I don't know what they have honestly. :dunno:
     
  5. BossDaddy

    BossDaddy Warlord

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    Thanks MT. The texture is showing up now. There's a small issue with the horns, but otherwise I think it looks nice. Wondering how some of these might do for LH's now.

    upload_2021-10-1_20-59-58.jpeg
     
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  6. BossDaddy

    BossDaddy Warlord

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    So yeah, Rome TW 2 meshes convert fine to Civ 4. They're not large meshes really and the textures seem to be mostly 512 X 512. Here's a Dacian Scale Cuirass in-game.

    upload_2021-10-2_18-14-24.jpeg
    upload_2021-10-2_18-14-38.jpeg
     
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  7. BossDaddy

    BossDaddy Warlord

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    Here's some Mitanni scale armor. We may use these with the Skyrim bodies we've been working on.

    upload_2021-10-3_0-33-46.jpeg
    upload_2021-10-3_0-34-8.jpeg
     
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  8. Bagdemagus

    Bagdemagus Warlord

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  9. BossDaddy

    BossDaddy Warlord

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    Thank you sir. I'll have some more for you shortly.
     
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  10. tantanmen

    tantanmen Warlord

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    From the great cinematic masterpiece, Animal House...

    Spoiler "Thank you sir may I have another" :
    Animal House.jpeg

    It's for your own good RTW2 :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2021 at 1:59 PM
  11. BossDaddy

    BossDaddy Warlord

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    Ahahaha. That's awesome.
     
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  12. Spillsandstains

    Spillsandstains Warlord

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    cor looks great, look forward to pillaging your releases x
     
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  13. tantanmen

    tantanmen Warlord

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    Hi and Hello!

    Building off of BossDaddy’s recent success, @Bagdemagus and I would like to improve our skills at glossing.


    Spoiler Online Tutorials I used :
    Here's the tutorial I used for my attempt at adding a gloss texture in nifskope: http://phantombunburyist.freedomforceforever.com/NIFgmax_simple_tutorial/index4.html

    I followed this tutorial for creating a gloss file in GIMP: https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Color2BW/


    From my experimentation, getting a nice gloss requires not only a knowledge of the tools, but moreover seems to rely on artistic technique. So we would greatly appreciate hearing about various approaches :thumbsup:

    Spoiler Gloss - First Attempt :
    Here’s my first attempt at adding a gloss:

    Scale Armor.JPG

    BossDaddy converted this scale armor from a RTW2 mod called Age of Bronze. The texture files came with gloss maps.

    bro_eastern_scale_01_b_gloss_map.png

    I tried to grayscale this (Image > Mode > Grayscale), then adjust brightness & contrast -- but I wasn’t satisfied with the result. So I took the ‘specular’ file, duplicated it, and repeated the process. Here’s the specular file with my resulting gloss:

    bro_eastern_scale_01_b_specular.png Custom Gloss.png

    I didn’t add the ‘normal’ file. From my understanding, this is usually reserved for LH’s?

    bro_eastern_scale_01_normal.png

    All feedback and criticism is welcome, please help us perfect our glossing techniques! :king: (edit: file removed, will continue to work on it :thumbsup:)

    ¡¡ Bonus Question !!: Does anyone have familiarity with Mask Files? This seems to be an overlay / filtering file that ‘tints’ the file below it. But it seems that you can combine these files for colorful, spectacular results:

    bro_eastern_scale_01_c_diffuse.png bro_eastern_scale_01_c_mask.png Colorful Armor.png

    Thank you very much in advance for any help or insights. Happy Weekending~!! :goodjob:
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  14. topsecret

    topsecret Believer Supporter

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    I can't give you any help on the mask file, but you are completely correct on the normals file. You typically don't use it for units.

    As for the gloss, I usually take the regular texture, grayscale it, and use two techniques:

    1. Black out anything that should not be shiny.
    2. Use dodge/burn to darken the parts that don't need to be as shiny.

    Also the NIF will sometimes have an environment light that affects the type of gloss applied. It's usually gold or metal colored. You'd have to look in some unit files to see what I mean.
     
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  15. tantanmen

    tantanmen Warlord

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    Hey topsecret!

    Thanks for the quick response. Hope you’re off to a good start for your weekend :)

    Okay, I’ll put these two techniques into practice, thank you for the guidance.

    Yeah, I forgot to ask about Environment Light. I’m not really sure where to add it or what it does exactly. BossDaddy rigged this to the Charlemagne HeavySwordsman, which comes with ‘Environment_FX_GreyMetal.dds’ iirc, so I was simply banking on that to make the armor shine... :p

    As a side observation: From what I’ve seen ‘Environment_FX_GreyMetal.dds’ is the most common?

    But does a unit only need one Environment Light? Or does each unique piece of weapon / armor require its own Environment Light? For example, for his Mycenaean (Dendra Panoply) units, I believe MightyToad created a GreyMetal sword (or shield?) in combination with dendra armor that used environment_fx_bronze. I think the lighting for the armor was referred to as ‘brass’ because the bronze was 'incandescent'.

    So @MightyToad, if we could please ask for your help as well, if you have a free moment, we’d like to learn as much as we can about Environment Lights, especially for Bronze & Iron Age weapons and armor.

    Thank you again topsecret! Good luck on the Rohirrim if that’s what you get up to :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
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  16. topsecret

    topsecret Believer Supporter

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    I'm not sure if you need multiple. I usually just use whatever was already on the unit I started with :lol:

    I can poke around in the NIF files, MT might know more.
     
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  17. topsecret

    topsecret Believer Supporter

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    Grey Metal is one of them. Gold Bronze is the other most common.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
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  18. MightyToad

    MightyToad Sith Lord

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    The environment lights textures are in the shared folder. Most are packed in the FPK.

    "environment_fx_bronze.dds" and "environment_fx_greymetal.dds" are the most used. Nearly all the units use either one of those, or a combination of the two. There is also:

    destroyer_environment_light-1.dds
    enviroment_light_white_64.dds
    environment_fx_bluemetal.dds
    environment_light.dds
    environment_light_brass_64.dds
    environment_light_white.dds
    environment_light-1.dds

    There is also Final Frontier one called "Environment_FX_Space.dds" It is gives a subtle rainbow like look. Bluemetal and brass are good alternatives to greymetal or bronze. The "bronze" is strongly colored and looks more like gold. The others are kind of meh... IMHO. I would use them if you made the gloss texture too bright since they are hardly noticeable otherwise.

    These are all in the shared folder. So, no need to actually include them with the unit. You could also use the FF "FinalFrontier_Damaged_State_All.dds" for the damage texture of Modern ships to avoid having to pack the texture with the unit.
    To make a gloss map I have identical procedure to topsecret. Desaturate, play with contrast/brightness, and filters like enhance or bumpmap (makes it look more 3D). It is easy to overdo it.

    I've never used a mask file with units. I think you may have to use a LH shader for that, but I've never tried. :dunno: You could always just tint the normal diff texture.
     
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  19. topsecret

    topsecret Believer Supporter

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    Correct it's Bronze that I use for gold :crazyeye:
     
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  20. tantanmen

    tantanmen Warlord

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    Perfect. Thanks for all this info MT, we really appreciate it. I'll start experimenting.

    Aaaand after reading MT's post, my first instinct was to try Bronze to make these scales more golden. We'll see what I come up with :lol:
     
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