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Author Topic: Shadows for static objects  (Read 235 times)

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Plowshare

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Shadows for static objects
« on: March 26, 2020, 06:33:56 PM »

Hi All:

I'd like to contribute something to this great pack of objects - shadows.

I can't get to first base with any 3d modelling software so what I need is someone to make three squares on the ground with alpha layer so I can paint shadows (translucent, dark grey airbrushed blobs) in a variety of shapes and sizes.

I can see a need for one each of the following sizes:
1.0mX1.0m
2.0mX2.0m
3.0mX3.0m

I will need the following files in a folder:
skinHi.mat
skinHi.tga
skinLo.mat
skinLo.tga
skinMid.mat
skinMid.tga

With these, of course, are whatever other file(s) are needed to make this work.

None of the new hi-def figures and the "Flat People" have any shadows and it looks a tad jarring. There are also some objects we've had forever that are lacking shadows as well. The shadows I'm proposing wouldn't be figure-specific - more like generic shapes that would give at least a representation of a shadow on the ground. From a great enough distance these wouldn't be necessary but for up close and personal screen shots they would lend a depth that isn't there right now.

Here's a pic from SAS~vampire_pilot's upcoming campaign:



Note how the figures look almost as though they're floating off the ground? Even an oval shadow under them would look better than nothing IMHO.

This would only be a stop-gap measure until someone can to do whatever it takes to place actual shadows under these objects. In the meantime this is something I can do to contribute - if I can get the blank, paintable squares.

Hope this works out.

Bob
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SAS~Epervier

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Re: Shadows for static objects
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2020, 04:25:45 AM »

To make shadows on simple objects (with only one Material) you need NotePad only .
Here is the tip:
by Oscarito (20/06/2015)

Look at the MSH file.
There are sections like these:

[Vertices_Frame0]
[Faces]
Each section contain all necessary coordinates.

To add shadows write new sections like these:

[ShVertices_Frame0]
[ShFaces]
copy & paste those same coordinates at the new sections and you're done!

Do the same for each LOD(1,2,etc.)
LOD sections appear like these (example):

[LOD1_Vertices_Frame0]
[LOD1_Faces]

So you must add new sections like these (example):

[LOD1_ShVertices_Frame0]
[LOD1_ShFaces]


Then you have to clean the file... it's easy to do... but if you don't do it, it's ok!
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WxTech

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Re: Shadows for static objects
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2020, 10:02:49 AM »

I'll add that I do all my 3D work using a spreadsheet and Notepad. No need for sophisticated 3D software. Certainly for such simple projects as this. By doing it yourself you get to tweak until results are to your liking. And not much can hold you back when other like issues demand attention.

Adding the proper shadow vertices is so simple, because you're copying the existing model vertices! Looking over an existing mesh that incorporates shadowing will make everything clear.

It makes me wonder why an original model maker would leave this out; it requires almost no additional effort. If later on one does not want a particular object to display its shadow, the .ini file can have the IgnoreShadowVertices parameter (or whatever it's called) entered.
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Mick

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Re: Shadows for static objects
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2020, 11:03:46 AM »

... yep, the method is simple, although time consuming and boring, but when there are more than one [Materials], it gets more complicated, like when you have for ex for a plane:

[Materials]
Gloss1DO0
Glass

... and it is different when you have:

[Materials]
Glass
Gloss1DO0


Fortunately, no Glass for static staff ...!  8)

There are other strange things with AC shadows, but Epervier who taught me all, knows them way better than I do ...  ;)

Notepad2 is a real must for this painstaking task ...  ;)

http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html

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Plowshare

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Re: Shadows for static objects
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2020, 11:45:39 AM »

Thanks for the tips guys but this all assumes I can find the objects. I only have a couple versions of BAT - 3.7.2 and 3.8.2 - which have all these objects locked in .sfs files (I think). So, I'd have to find the appropriate .sfs file, extract said file's content, fine the objects I'm looking for and apply the fixes described above.

Okay, at the risk of being called lazy, wouldn't it just be simpler for someone to supply the little squares I asked for so I can paint a bunch of pseudo-shadows?

If not that's okay; we've lived without these shadows for a while now so, like someone else said somewhere here, "It's not a deal breaker."

Thanks for the help.

Bob
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WxTech

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Re: Shadows for static objects
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2020, 04:29:16 PM »

Bob,
I gather your notion is to make individual objects that you place under otherwise shadowless objects. One downside is the need for sufficient variety to accommodate for a range of object sizes, and potentially shapes. Another is the matter of dealing with a range of illumination angle. At low Sun altitude shadows elongate; but I suppose at least a splodge of shading directly under something is better than nothing.

If you have the extracted file for some simple object like a building, you can use it as a starting template for your project. Look at the last LOD for the vertices, materials and faces (likely LOD2 or LOD3) Discard all other LODs, and rename the retained sections as is done for the lowest (first, most detailed) LOD. That retained LOD should consist of just a 4-vertex rectangle lying at ground level. Re-jig the mesh header blocks to reflect this new single-LOD model. That rectangle will be sized accordingly for your intended shadow size. The .tga utilized would contain a dark blob of the desired shape, with transparency for blending.

By doing this yourself, you can make as many and as varied a set of shadow objects the meet your criteria.

Do you have a graphics program like GIMP? You could then create or adapt an existing extracted .tga.

I encourage you to do this because it's not hard to do, and you'll derive much satisfaction. As for myself, I'm up to my eyebrows in several modding projects.

Personally, I'd love it if the creators of their shadowless objects would revisit them to fix this. ;) That's the ultimate solution.

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