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Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:00 am
by dczanik
Some Warnings first: This graphics on this page may take a while to load since there's so many animated images.
Also, these may be a little over-dramatic to emphasize the effect here, or just unfinished tests.
Saving as .GIF has had a strange effect on some of the brighter colors. Little bug on the export process.


I've been working on some art and creating some lighting experiments that I'd like to share.

Ships: the current situation
Each time the ship rotates, it's loading 1 of 16 files. Each were drawn by hand (or in HD mode, rendered separately). The original artists needed to draw a separate picture for each angle. Then add highlights and shadows to make it look convincing.

I've always wanted the option to add more angles. Keep the 16 angles for purists, but smooth out the animation. Problem is each angle would need to be a separate file. You want 360 angles for all 360 angles? That's 360 pictures to draw or render. If you want the ship to light up if you fire, that's doubling it to 720 pictures. 30 ships? Suddenly, that means 21,600 pictures. You're talking An INSANE amount to load into RAM, load, draw, render, etc. The only logical solution is to go fully 3D.


....Or is it? For people that enjoy the 2D or original graphics... The solution is creating normal maps for every ship. Use that for lighting calculations like they do in next generation 3D games.

So, I took it upon myself to experiment with creating normal maps for 2D sprites. Using the original graphics, I created the following (the exporting to gif kind of screwed up the colors it should look better when not limited by 256 colors):
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Some things don't quite work the same though. The Chenjesu ship's gems have colors depending on which way it faced. It may not be much to some, but I have to obsess over little things like this:
http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2014/ ... 71mp7n.gif

I can do the same with the HD ships as well. These are even easier since they're in 3D, so normal maps are a snap. Even if Zenzmurfy can't figure out how to render normal maps, I can manually make normal maps by hand and make something like this:
Image

We can even animate Comm images:
Image
Now we can even have things like a "red alert" light, when things go bad.
Image
Image

Now why is lighting for comm images a big deal? Because I'm planning on implementing a bones system into the animations. Animations will take up far less space, it will run smoother, and we have more possibilities. Things can be timed so the characters lips move, their faces make expressions, move around, etc. I'll have to save that for another post though. But if I added the lighting to it, I can get the most realistic, smoothest animation currently possible in 2D games.

Imagine something like this with real time lighting.

Hopefully I'll upload a test app that you can test out the ships yourself. I'm hoping we can get one of our programmers to get ready to implement it. In the future, I'll see about releasing my test app so you can try it out yourself.

How is it done?
Well, I have to draw about 7 images for every ship to construct a normal map. Every ship needs 7 images drawn of it? An image lit from above, below, right, left, front, specular (shinyness), and emissive (things that glow). I combine them using Sprite Lamp. From there, we can even add Depth maps, Ambient Occlusion maps, etc.

This is done with 1 image, and 1 normal map. Once programmed in, we can add lights from lasers, explosions, etc. on your ships. Also without having to re-make every angle, we could even do cool stuff like ship damage too. Red suns, will make shine red lights on the planets.

So when is this going to be released for UQM-HD (or Project 6014)?
That's the tricky part! I've got the art assets, proof of concept demos, etc. but I currently need programmers to help me implement it into the engine! So if anybody can help, let me know! Or if you know of a programmer capable of doing it, have them contact me!

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:19 am
by Angelfish
Good stuff! That's exactly how I'd do this :).

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:56 am
by Maloo Oture
Damn! dczanick, you definitely know your stuff. I'm very excited to see this progress. Lighting is so under appreciated.

Best of luck finding a programmer!

:P-smf

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:09 am
by dczanik
If anybody wants to download the graphics made to create the lighting effects, you can view and download them here:
http://imgur.com/a/y4vb9

You can see just what it takes to make the lighting.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to announce that I've created a Ur-Quan Masters HD graphics project on Sourceforge. I plan on uploading all the graphics, Photoshop files, etc. I have there. I've seperated it from the Ur-Quan Masters HD project due to size restrictions. I plan on putting a lot of large files there. I'd upload them all, but there's a few that need 'cleaning up' in order to provide the smallest file sizes possible. Lot of useless layers, too many layers, etc.

My hope is the Ur-Quan Masters team or another team will look into implementing this to their game.
Angelfish wrote:Good stuff! That's exactly how I'd do this :).
Well clearly great minds just think alike then! :lol: Thanks!
Maloo Oture wrote:Damn! dczanick, you definitely know your stuff. I'm very excited to see this progress. Lighting is so under appreciated.
Best of luck finding a programmer!

:P-smf
Maloo! I'll need to message you later about getting your planets into UQM-HD or 6014!
Lighting is one of the biggest things to make things look 'next gen'. In fact, I changed renderer's lately, and was amazed at how much more real some of my models looked.
Unfinished pic for reference:
Image

That was just a test render. Unfinished skin, way too glossy, and he's cross eyed. But damn if that renderer still didn't make it look good.

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:42 pm
by glory_device
...I'm awestruck this morning! Need more coffee to digest this awesome post!

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:18 pm
by Salk
Great stuff! :ugeek:

I wish I was a programmer to help with it. :(-smf

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:11 pm
by gtb2002
omg cant wait to see lighting in action :o-smf

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:22 pm
by Draxas
This is a great looking effect. However, I don't know if it's the gif conversion process or what, but the lighting goes a little weird in the upper left corner of every ship, pretty consistently.

Can't wait to see what you guys do with this. :)-smf

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:37 pm
by Maloo Oture
Hey man, you need planets? I can make 'em! I think all of the planets I've made to date are incompatable with the kind of stuff you're doing but give me spec and I'll get them to code.

Re: Art/Lighting Experiments

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:53 pm
by dczanik
Maloo Oture wrote:Hey man, you need planets? I can make 'em! I think all of the planets I've made to date are incompatable with the kind of stuff you're doing but give me spec and I'll get them to code.
The more planets, the better. Let's talk when we're further in development on 6014. Things may change regarding planets.
Draxas wrote:This is a great looking effect. However, I don't know if it's the gif conversion process or what, but the lighting goes a little weird in the upper left corner of every ship, pretty consistently.

Can't wait to see what you guys do with this. :)-smf
Yeah, that's the weird GIF problem. I'm using Beta software to create the normal maps. Not really a problem, since I'll be doing all the lighting in engine, and not using this program.