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Tutorial: Changing Colors in Existing Units

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Tutorials, Reference, & Guides' started by Gary Childress, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Tuturial: Step by Step recolouring of a unit with Photoshop

    BEWARE! LONG POST!

    This shows how to recolour a unit that has NO CIV COLORS, and requires no seperate parts of the unit to be colored differently. This type of recolour is extremely easy to do, and requires absolutely NO MESSING AROUND WITH PALETTE COLORS OR RE-ADDING COLORS TO THE PALETTE. It's all automated for ease-of-use.

    This example is of embryodead's Earth Elemental.

    It takes me 15 mins at most to do a recolour of this type of unit from scratch (the whole unit, all flc's). once you get the hang of it, you can apply the exact same method to any unit of this type (NO CIV COLORS, recolour of the whole unit).

    PROGRAMS NEEDED:

    Flicster Version 1.0.1 (build 18)

    A graphics editor such as Photoshop, GIMP, JASC, etc. This tuturial is for Photoshop, I may come back and add in information for other graphics editors.

    TilesetPal 1.1 - used for Palette Mergers (see below)

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    TilesetPal is extremely useful, no more going back to the stupid palette and adding in dumb colors 1 by 1, which is so boring, it makes one not even want to think about thinking about doing a recolour. With this, you can easily copy and paste palette colors in any way you choose with a few clicks. Note: this program is not required, but highly recommended.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    For ease of keeping things organized, I will show exactly what I do step by step.


    Open up your graphics program, and Flicster. Open up your EarthElemental unit folder (which contains the flc files), the PCX files are contained in a seperate file, you can copy and paste those into the EarthElemental folder.

    To keep things organized, I make a new folder in the EarthElemental folder for each flc as such:

    1Folders.jpg

    Open up each FLC in the EarthElemental folder and export it to it's appropriate folder. So export Earth_AttackA.flc to the EarthElemental/Earth_AttackA folder. Hit the Export button and you are done.

    2Export.jpg

    When it asks to Open a New FXM file, just hit NO. You can also close the FLC Info windows after you export them.

    Go back to your EarthElemental folder, and open up the Earth_AttackA folder, you should have these files.

    3EarthAttackA.jpg

    Open up the Earth_AttackA.pcx with your graphics editor.

    Open up the Palette/Color Table (in Photoshop it is Image -> Mode -> Color Table).

    NOTE: DO NOT SAVE THIS IMAGE UNDER THE SAME NAME AFTER YOU HAVE MODIFIED IT. You need to use the original image later.
    The first thing we are going to do is get rid of all colors except for the Shadow Colors of the unit. Here is the original Color Table:

    4ShadowColors.jpg

    As you can see, the shadow colors are in the top row (they can take up the first 2 rows)
    . In Photoshop you can click and drag to get a selection of colors in table to change them all at once. Change all the unit colors (the brown colors) to the Magnenta Color (FF00FF), DO NOT CHANGE THE MAGNENTA COLORS in the top row!

    5ColorTable.jpg

    The Color Table will look like this once you are done, and only the shadows will be left of the unit.

    6ColorTableMagnenta.jpg

    NOW, DO NOT SAVE THIS IMAGE AS Earth_AttackA.pcx... but do a File -> SAVE AS, and select a name such as Earth_AttackAShadows.pcx.

    Now, we need to select all pixels on the screen EXCEPT for the Magnenta Pixels. In Photoshop, here is how you do this (other programs may vary).

    GO to the Select menu, then Color Range. It brings up this screen.

    7ColorRange.jpg

    Make sure the selections are as shown. Select: Sampled Colors, Fuzziness: 0. The Eyedropper Tool 7EyeDropperTool.jpg should be selected, so point it at a Magnenta portion of the image and click. Then pick the 'Add to Sample' 7AddToSample.jpg and point it at a Magnenta portion of the image and click.

    The selection will include all Magnenta pixels of the image, but no others (the Shadows). Go to the Select menu, and right-click Inverse. Now ONLY the shadow colors are selected. Leave this screen exactly as it is for now, we will use it later. You can save this again.

    8ShadowSelection.jpg

    Now, back in the folder EarthElemental/Earth_AttackA, open up the Earth_AttackA.pcx file into your graphics program. This will open up the original image, since the other is saved as Earth_AttackAShadows.pcx.

    Go to Image -> Mode -> Color Table to open up the Color Palette again. This time (similar to how we did before), Change all the Shadow colors (the magnenta colors) to the Magnenta Color (FF00FF).



    This gets rid of all the shadows and leaves only the Unit colors (as shown below).



    Now, same as before, go to Select -> Color Range, and with the Eyedropper Tool select a Magnenta portion of the image, then with the 'Add To Sample' tool select a Magnenta portion of the image. Go to Select -> Inverse (to inverse the selection); and now we have only the unit selected as shown below.



    Now, we need to change the Image from an Indexed image to a RGB image, so go to Image -> Mode -> RGB Color; and it does it for us. Now we can modify the unit's colors to our heart's content.

    The easier and quickest way to do so is by adjusting Brightness, Contrast, Hue, and Saturation. In Photoshop, these are located in Image -> Adjustments -> Hue/Saturation; and Image -> Adjustments -> Brightness/Contrast.

    Let's do this then... You can play around with the sliders and get whatever color you wish, let's make a Golden/Yellow Earth Elemental. Adobe has a Colorize option, which is very useful, other programs may have options similar to this. From the Hue/Saturation menu, I have set the Hue to +30, the Saturation to +60, and the Lightness to -7. And I come up with this.



    We are halfway done!

    Now to quickly create the correct Color Table (which we can use for all the rest of the Flc's).

    We need to change our image back to an Indexed Image, so go to Image -> Mode -> Indexed Color. You will see this screen, make sure Transparency is not selected, and nevermind the Palette selection.



    If something is selected under Forced, change it to 'None', then change it to 'Custom'. This clears out any pre-loaded palettes that may be in there. Simply hit the 'OK' button, and 'OK' out of the Indexed Color dialog box.



    The image is now indexed with the colors that were in the image, in my case, there were 116 colors, yours might be different. We need to save this Palette now.. go to Image -> Mode -> Color Table again; and now we see the 116 colors that are in the index.



    For all the other 'empty' boxes with no colors, select them all so we can fill them in with a color (this is needed so TilesetPal has no problems reading them). Use a color that is not used in the image, we will use Red (FF0000). So click the first empty box and drag all the way to the last box (selects them all), then enter FF0000 hex color code into the Color Picker box.





    Save this Palette, click Save and save it as UnitPalette.act (Adobe Color Table file) in the EarthElemental Folder (other programs may use .pal files, which is fine). You can click 'Ok' out of the Color Table Dialog Box.

    Now, go back to the Earth_AttackAShadow.pcx that you should still have up in your graphics program (we never closed it). Go to Image -> Mode -> Color Table... and Save this palette as ShadowPalette.act in the EarthElemental Folder. PHEW!

    Once you get the hang of it, you can whoop all this out in a few minutes :)

    Now open TilesetPal. This program lets you easily merge palettes together in any way, shape, or form. This is highly recommended for Units with Civ-colors, and is also easier for non-Civ-color units, but not necessary (you can always put the colors into the Palette Box in your graphics program).

    Click 'Palette Merger' or from the top menu, Palette -> Merger. Go to File -> Load Palette, and select the Palette ShadowPalette.act and open it.



    Select the first 2 rows on the left side (External Palette) and click the right-arrow (->) located in the center of the Palette Merger screen. This brings those colors to the left side (Internal Palette).



    Now go to File -> Load Palette, and select the Palette UnitPalette.act and open it. Now select all the unit colors as shown below in the External Palette. Uncheck the 'Link selected postion' box near the bottom. On the Internal Palette, start at the third row and select all the boxes until the unit colors on the left (External Palette) are selected.



    Click the right-arrow (->) located in the center of the Palette Merger screen. This brings those colors to the left side (Internal Palette).



    Now recheck 'Link selected position' box near the bottom. On the right side (Internal Palette) select all the cells you just copied over (the first 2 shadow colors, and the brownish unit colors), and hit the left arrow (<-) located in the center of the Palette Merger screen. This brings the colors over the External Palette... Now your Palette is complete!



    Select File -> Save Palette and save the palette in the appropriate type. For Adobe, I saved as an ACT file in the EarthElemental folder and called it FinalPalette.act.

    NOTE! Rarely, this program may not correctly save the colors correctly on the very bottom row (where some of the civ colors are located). If this happens, save as a BMP file, then in your graphics program, bring this BMP up and save the Palette from there to get it correctly.

    Now we have a perfect Palette file to use for all of the animation files.


    Go back to your graphics program (Photoshop).

    Go back to the other image you should still have up, the Earth_AttackAShadow.pcx (with the Shadows selected). Hit Ctrl-C or Edit -> Copy to copy the shadow images. Then go back to the Earth_AttackA.pcx and Ctrl-V or Edit -> Paste to paste the shadows into the unit image.





    The Shadows are pasted back into the unit, and now we have a Yellow'ish Golden Earth Elemental! Yah! :clap: :drool::dance::beer::banana:

    We need to change our image back to an Indexed Image, so go to Image -> Mode -> Indexed Color. Photoshop may ask to Flatten Layers, select 'OK'. You will see this screen, make sure Transparency is not selected, and nevermind the Palette selection. Under the Forced selection, select None (to make sure no previous palette is loaded), then select 'Custom'.

    In the Palette Forced Colors Box that comes up, all 256 spots should be empty. Click 'Load' and select the FinalPalette.act we just made.



    And our Palette is there! Click 'Ok' and 'Ok' again to exit the Indexed Color Dialog Box.

    Save the Earth_AttackA.pcx in your graphics program.

    Now with Flicster, open the Earth_AttackA_StoryBoard.FXM that is in the EarthElemental/Earth_AttackA folder. ALWAYS CHECK the animation on the view animation tab, including with civ colors (N/A in this case) and especially in the Alpha Blend mode. If it does not show up right, then there is a palette problem which will need to be fixed.

    This unit should be perfect though! And look something like this:



    Go ahead to the Export tab, and hit export. The NEW recoloured FLC is now ready and in the Earth_AttackA folder.

    1 FLC down, 5 to go! :banana::band::banana:

    Now for the rest of the FLC's, follow the same instructions, but the only difference, is that you can load the FinalPalette.act into the each pcx instead of creating a new palette (no need for new palettes, since the colors are mostly the same). Once you are done, Bravo!

    I wrote this to be as detailed as possible, but it is much easier than it may seem. Once you play around with it, and do several times, you will get the feel for it pretty quickly, and you will be able to bust out a whole unit like this in under 15 minutes.

    For units with Civ-Colors, the same pretty much goes, the only thing different to do is to include the bottom 4 rows of the palette in with the Shadows, and merge them over into the FinalPalette into the bottom 4 rows.

    Tom
     
  2. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Additional Pics used in above post
     

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  3. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Last of the pictures used in the above tuturial...
     

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  4. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    WOW ! Great tut.
    I have just found it. Will download everything.
    Maybe it would be better if you have started a new tutorial thread for it. So more members will find it easily. But you can still c&p the tut into a new thread or ask the Mods to move the posts.

    From my first view it looks very helpful. Special Thanks for all that screenies.

    .. now the only thing that can stop me is our slightly different versions. Hope it makes no probs.
     
  5. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Thanks... different versions can be quite a pain, since many functions are in slightly different spots. I will have to go through GIMP and make sure it has some of the above functions such as being able to select all pixels of a particular color (although I would think it should). Since many use GIMP, GIMP info would probably help more on here than Photoshop.

    I will probably make another showing how to do Civ-Colors, but in essence it is the same as the above.. but if anyone requests it, I can do a quick-and-dirty tuturial showing the extra steps that the above doesn't show.

    If Mod's think it would be better in new thread, or in another forum, then they are welcome to re-locate it.

    I'm exhausted from writing this :) and need a break!

    Tom
     
  6. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    I have it dl now. Will try my luck today with Aaglos "Lava Giant".
    Want him as Earth/Water/Air versions.

    Yeah ,you deserve a break now. Thanks for your efforts again.
     
  7. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    Hi ,tom2050 ! Because I was a little bit sick in the last days ,so I have waited for this after I`m at full strenght again.
    I was able to follow your tutorial perfectly:goodjob: ,until the point were TilesetPal was needed for the first time.:(
    My problem is that TilesetPal needs Netframe1.1 as an must. But I`m just not willing to install it again. I have had installed it once. Immediatly my machine was slowed down a lot ! Even so much that all my soft was painful to work or play with.:thumbsdown:
    In the moment I`m unsure what to do.:confused: I would like to continue ...:)

    btw: I can run PEdit ,is it capable of doing the job ?
     
  8. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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  9. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Dedicated to Excellence Supporter

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    General 666... What do you call that Unit... Torch? :lol:

    You can change those darker shadow spots by saving the current palette then open the palette and change the dark colored spots to the same shadow color as are around them. Just change the Color Slot for the dark spots in the palette to the same shadow color as is around those dark spots and then load your saved palette and use Nearest color matching. that will keep your same palette and those dark spots will then be the same shadow colors as is used around them.

    Alternate is to use a Color Changer with a quick click of your mouse that would change those dark spots to the shadow color you want but that can also change other colors that are close to that shade...so the above technique has absolute control :)
     
  10. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    In the moment I have just call it "Fire Element" ,but in my "Elementals" Mod he will be called "Fire Fighter" or "Fireman".

    With the help of toms tut ,I have just started to develope my own way of recoloring. I had always missed that `select` feature in PhotoShop and how useful it can be. I will use the select to fix the shadows. Just as I had uploaded the previews I have seen the dots for the very first time. I wanted to uoload the whole unit to here ,originally.
    Now all I really need is a "Palette Merger". Have to browse my favorite freeware sites for it. If someone knows a tool for it please tell me.

    My biggest problem in the moment is ,that I mostly want to recolor Modern Tanks and Soldiers into Urban versions. But these Units are very harder to recolor than the Elemental or other Fantasy Units.

    For that reason I do start in the very moment to recolor Gary`s cool "WW II French Partisan" as test and for training. (http://forums.civfanatics.com/downloads.php?do=file&id=11443)
     
  11. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    It looks like I have found no good Merge-Soft.

    Deleted
     
  12. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Dedicated to Excellence Supporter

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  13. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    Yeah ,I have linked them to here ,because I know that you will find them useful.:)
    Especially PalMerge is an absolute TOP-TOOL. It allows me work that I have never dreamed of.:D
    ... and it was a Hell finding a working link.
     
  14. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Yea, Tileset isn't exactly a state of the art program :) It's the first one I found, and very easy to use, although it has some annoying issues. Sorry I didn't respond, I missed new msg's here because the thread is kind of hidden.

    The Fire Torch looks great! Once you do it a few times, it becomes rather easy and fairly quick.

    I'll check out PalMerge, it is likely better than the TilesetPal I found... since it sometimes doesn't merge properly, requiring me to export as a BMP, and convert to ACT palette from Photoshop.

    I was going to do another tuturial on how to do complex units with civ colors; units where you need to change a variety of different spots to different colors. But that is really why the Palette Merger is essential, it allows you to do whatever without having to worry about the non-sense. At first I struggled with more complex units but have figured out a pretty easy way to go about it, using mostly the same method as above. Perhaps after I move in a week I can post it up.

    Tom
     
  15. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    TOM2050: :clap:You have given your very best writing the tutorial.:goodjob: Giving the TileSet link was very welcome to me.:) Only it needs ...:blush:
    BIG THANKS !!! I OWE YOU A FAVOR ;:king:TOM2050 !!!:high5::deal:
    :thanx::thanx::thanx:
    Thanks for the Fireman too. He is the result of my very first try. I have done him instead of the Gold Golem. I don`t have followed your tut so slavery. That`s just me !:D
    (I have found his palette in Photoshop itself. (Palette save/load dialog box))

    I`m for 150% sure PalMerge will become your best friend. ;)
    Pay special attention to his capability of `clipboarding` palettes !!!:yeah:

    I have tried your methode with all CivColors(CC) (first or last two rows). First cutted them away ,then recolored the unit and then imported the CC back. It has given me missing pixels ,where before the CC has been. But maybe it was only Garys CC usage what has brought me this. Will try out one of Vuldacons Units next to learn more. He has surely used a perfect palette. The same should be true for WS Units (he has 1784 uploads today,BOAH !).

    Vuldacon: Any suggestions which Unit of you to use ? And in which color to change it?
     
  16. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    You mean first/last 4 rows of Civ Colors :) Unless you are talking about the shadow colors.:hammer2: The thing with Civ colors is that sometimes units have non-civ colors that use the civ colors (colors other than the ones that change, like browns and the near blacks. For these you would have to add those culprits colors into the 160 unit colors (usually near the end of it, after the rest of the unit's colors are indexed). Because if a palette contains 2 of the same color, it will use the first one instead, and then you get around this problem (mostly).

    I'll have to check the shadows colors for the Elemental, I think it was only the first row magnenta's. All kinds of strange things can happen though, if you find where the color is located in the palette that is causing the shadow problem, it's usually easier to determine why it happened.

    Tom
     
  17. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Dedicated to Excellence Supporter

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    General 666... There was someone wanting to change the Omega Zombie Skin Color to Grey a while ago. If you want to try that, it would be a Good Test because as in most Units, many of the same colors are also used in other areas of the Unit so we cannot simply change the color for a particular area and keep that same color for the other areas easily.

    This Palette Image is for Units. I blocked out the CIV Specific Colors with Green so you can see the remaining colors that can be used that will basically stay the same for all CIVs. without change. You can see the Pattern to this as well :)
     

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  18. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Indeed, it looks like their are colors in the 160 unit color box that are the same as colors in 4 rows of the Civ Colors. This is why it's a must to take out the Civ Colors and Shadows, then recolour the unit, then add civ colors and shadows back in (C&P). Now, for the Civ Colors that are used by the unit (and not as a civ color), these need to be added somewhere in the 160 unit color box, then the palette will use those instead of the one in the last 4 rows. And the animation comes out with no probs. (or not this problem at least).
    It might be a pain at first, but MANY units with civ colors encounter this situation somewhere.

    Tom
     
  19. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Dedicated to Excellence Supporter

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    IF a Unit uses any of the NON CIV Specific colors in the 4 Rows of so called CIV Colors, when a unit is re-colored, those Non Civ Colors in those rows should be added to the Palette Colors that are being Changed. This will obviously be More than 160 Colors so this Number will have to be reduced to 160 colors when finalizing a New Palette because we cannot Recolor any colors that are in with the CIV Colors in those 4 Rows.
     
  20. General 666

    General 666 Culturebringer

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    tom2050:
    Sounds like I have only selected two rows instead of the four rows.:wallbash:
    Will try again...

    Vuldacon: Ok ,the Omega Zombie is a very challenging Unit. But I will try my best.
    Thanks for the palette screenshot ... Will help a lot.:)
     

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