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Author Topic: Check your Wood texture orientation  (Read 159 times)

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WxTech

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Check your Wood texture orientation
« on: February 04, 2019, 01:26:46 AM »

For modders and users of modded/new maps...

I'm not sure if there has been some change post 4.08/4.09 in the handling of the Wood0-Wood4 textures used for the so-called 'layer cake' forests. But for years now I've occasionally had to fix incorrect orientations.

You see, for northern hemisphere maps, and particularly at mid to higher latitudes and in fall/winter, tree shadows generally point north. This means that for the Wood0 textures, which typically contain the shadows as cut out via the alpha channel, these shadows must point *downward*.

You can check if things are correct by firing up the FMB, and setting the time for noon. Under the 'layer cake' forests the shadows should be seen on the north side of the tree elements, just as for the auto-generated trees. If instead these shadows are drawn on the south side, you must rotate the relevant Wood textures, as determined from the map's load.ini.

Furthermore, these textures are typically painted so that the 'sunny' side of the tree elements are brighter. And so if they're placed on the map in reverse, the lighting cue is opposed to that intended, which looks odd.

I'm reminded to issue this caution because I've just been tweaking the forest textures for the autumn version of Cyberolas' (most excellent) Stalingrad map. Those Wood textures required to be rotated 180 degrees.

Incidentally, what I was doing principally was lengthening the Wood0 shadows, to be more concordant with a lower Sun in the Autumn sky.

And while I'm at it...

I also often have to darken the texture which represents the forest at far distances. Too often the map maker/modder bases this texture on the *forest ground* texture upon which the layer cake textures are placed. If this ground texture is rather lighter than the trees, the result is the odd effect of the trees disappearing beyond their near field draw limit.

I end up tweaking the forest far texture so that it has a hue and tone not much different from the average hue and tone of the Wood0-Wood4 textures. This makes for an essentially imperceptible transition. The game engine's distance haze takes care of the decreased contrast with distance, just as for the other landscape textures.
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CzechTexan

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Re: Check your Wood texture orientation
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2019, 03:27:59 PM »

interesting.  Thanks for your observations.  I never realized the effects.
Have you by chance made any changes to the Ostrava, Moravia map?  If so, I'd like to post them in an update.
I did notice there is an issue with Far views of forests.
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WxTech

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Re: Check your Wood texture orientation
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 09:47:58 PM »

CT,
I've never yet seen those maps you mention. ;)

For anyone having modded maps, and for textures not having alpha layers (often so for forest far textures), even the freeware Irfanview permits one to play around with the adjustment of color cast and lightness/darkness. Just keep a copy of the original texture, then muck around, testing each change by loading another map between each iteration so as to ensure loading anew the changed texture(s) you're working on.

(With Gimp, Photoshop, etc., the field is wide open, of course.)

To make assessment speedier, remember to hit F3 upon first starting up the FMB, as this enables the fastest movement through space using the mouse.

The best texture hue/tone results when, with weather set to Clear (so as to have minimal distance hazing), the transition between the nearer 'layer cake' forest and the farther forest far texture is essentially indistinguishable. I don't ascribe to the practice of 'artificially' lightening the far forest more than the game engine might lighten other (similarly dark) non-forest land textures. When all land/vegetation textures exhibit much the same degree of alteration with increasing view distance, this is a good balance. To me, at any rate. ;)
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