2D Painting with an external application?

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Trackmaniack
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2D Painting with an external application?

Post by Trackmaniack » 19 Nov 2009 18:59

I know that the ingame painter is far from perfect--but that's all I've been using, because in it, you can set the car to be "shaded" properly, and I thought that this was the only place you could do it. However, after doing some looking around, I see that this isn't the case. But I don't know how to do it for myself. What I mean is, if I were to repaint my car in GIMP or DXTBMP, how do I prevent what I paint being "flat-shaded", just one single shade without shadows or anything?
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Re: 2D Painting with an external application?

Post by Gording » 21 Nov 2009 14:19

Trackmaniack wrote:how do I prevent what I paint being "flat-shaded", just one single shade without shadows or anything?
You're not joking are you? :thumbsup:

You simply paint the alpha channel, or for an even speedier result turn the colour saturation down of the coloured image so it's black and white. Alter the various areas to donate white (super shiny and / or specular(ish) metallic), grey (semi-matt / satin), to black (completely matt / non shiny).

Step 1: Paint your car skin (diffuse) or details in 16 million eye bleeding colours.

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Save that as the full coloured image.

Step 2 : turn the saturation down so it's black and white

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Change the various levels of white/grey/black to alter shine, and save that as a 256 colour black and white (8bit) alpha channel image.

Combine both in whatever app you use Paint.net, Gimp, Freehand, Winblows paint, Paint Shop Pro, DXTBMP (obviously) and export as a dds DXT5 file, which goes into the car's zip file.

Job done :
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Re: 2D Painting with an external application?

Post by Trackmaniack » 23 Nov 2009 05:45

Thank you for your reply--and no I'm not joking. Maybe I'm just too stupid to see that this works...but see, what I mean, is that there's a thing called "pre-light" that shades the vehicle for use on the track...and I'm wondering if that'll still work in shading everything and putting the decals on and stuff if you paint it outside of the TM-Painter.
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Re: 2D Painting with an external application?

Post by Gording » 23 Nov 2009 15:27

No, no, and no....and yes, why wouldn't it? :?:

A "thing call a pre-light" eh? Wow, never, whatever next? :oops:

A "pre-light" is just an image that represents and simulates how a shadow would be cast on a virtual 3D shape from an overhead light source. In the real world you could apply a darkened shadow under your chin to give the effect of a direct over head sun. At halloween kids use dark shadows around their eyes to look lke their eye sockets (you must've seen them?), while airbrushers, painters, movie set designers etc. have been using the same technique for centuries (cave men painted a coyote chasing a roadrunner running into a simulated 3D tunnel that had been painted onto a very flat and solid wall too!). Women do the same thing with make-up every day, apply a bit of darkening here and there to suggest or emphasise shadow and create shapes of high cheekbones, narrow nose bridges, more interesting cleav...*cough*...but I digress. The point is : this is everywhere you look. It's no mystery regardless of the odd name you apply to it, and artisitc people from the "dawn of sludge" are well aware of it's many uses.

By painting anything carefully, you can emphasise, or give the simulated appearance of a shadow, or even a 3 dimensional shape that could be there even though the shape is as flat as a very flat thing, lying totally flat.

In TM circles it's referred to as a "Pre-light" , I don't know why actually, but millions of people a day call TM tracks "maps" too, and they're playing TRACK-mania, and using track editors.

Nadeo here's a hint for the TM2 title : "TRACKMANIA 2 : Cartographer's revenge". :roflol:

This "pre-light" image is created by a 3D app based on how an overhead light source casts a shadow on a simulated 3D shape. It's therefore sort of "Pre-lit", but it is actually simulated light shading, and most apps will actually create this as a "shadow map" (maps again, will the madness never end? :wink: ). Again, artistic types who took art when they were at school understand the use and effects gained by emphasising, or creating shadows. They create the added illusion of depth, and shape.

Most petrol heads will have seen a very clever Mitsubishi Evo (VII I think it was, but it was green with yellow details) with a cleverly applied decal set that suggested you could see shapes of the internal structures of the car and interior. Same thing really.

It "can work" in the virtual world or the real, as you see fit. Why wouldn't it exactly? :ftw:

As many of the 3D vehicles on the carpark (maybe they all do, I don't check/use them, so I can't confirm this) include a so called "pre-light" image, and you simply apply that image to a layer on top of your arty farty paint job, and using a method you are happy with, fade it in/out, blend/merge, stengthen/soften it (graphics apps have many of the same tools with different wordings) so that shaded "pre-lit" image is applied over your own painted skin jobs.

Apply a little shade along the side of a car body whether there are decals or painted colours there or not, and you create the illusion of a shadow cast by a crease in the body or bump strip. Or hard solid lines to give the illusion of panels and edges, it just works, there's nothing really magical, special, or any secret to it.

For example : The actual 3D shape is a flat as a pancake
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I apply racing livery, and decals, and paint in panels lines, and draw in some shades where the bumper strips would be (this saves 3D polygon counts and makes it more GFX hardware friendly, at the expense of some artistic time)
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And now I add a layer with simulated shading (you can call it a "pre-light" if you like, it's a simulated shadow cast)
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it adds a subtle 3D enhancedment as shadows cast under the door mirrors and the overhanging bumpers deepen, and vertical panels go slightly darker. Or just call it "magic". :3

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Re: 2D Painting with an external application?

Post by Archdeluxe » 26 Nov 2009 08:18

it saddens me that prelight is ever needed to make a car more realalistic.
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