hello ladies and gentleman, I noticed that r667 resources are being overused or there seems to be quite a few mods popping up using the same sprites over and over again so to encourage some creativity and original content I thought I'd post a simple tutorial on how I do sprites and stuff. It will require a bit of practice and exploration and I will add that I use Photoshop, its all I use for this, however most of these techniques can be reproduced easily in GIMP. Anyway, without blabbing on any further here it goes:
Spoiler: Beginner Tutorial
Note: the aliasing is pretty fucking bad on these because I forgot to turn on anti-aliasing with the polygonal selection tool.
So here I start by blocking out basic shapes on layers using the "polygonal selection tool" with a flat grey, For beginners using a base reference is great as it helps with perspective and general gun anatomy, I used a counter strike global offensive screenshot as a reference for this tutorial. Now, after you got your basic shapes blocked out on seperate layers apply a 1px inner glow with black set to multiply on a low opacity say <10%.
Now we add detail using my favourite tools, "Dodge and Burn", these are for lighting, you'll want to be careful with these as you can always bump up the contrast on them later so I use 10% and set it to midtones, also keep in mind that different materials reflect lighting differently, I will update this thread with more information about that at a later date but for now like I said, explore what works for you. Once you've got all your lighting added its time to add detail, this will involve layer styles, using the polygonal selection tool cut out details on to seperate layers and then go nuts with layer styles, this includes things like bevel and emboss, drop shadows, patterns, filters, inner glows and outer glows, for hard edges set things to 1px and use a white on overlay or a black on multiply depending on what you want to do.
At this point, you can either skip this step or not depending on how you want your sprites to appear, I like my guns dirty like they've been dragged through the wastes so grab a 1px brush with dodge and burn, and add scratches and dirt where ever you feel necessary, then Increase the brightness and contrast until you find something suitable. If your sprite still appears a bit blurry, try adding some smart sharpening or an un-sharp mask, this will bring out detail but don't overdo it (heh should speak for myself here) or you'll not only rape your anti-aliasing but the sprites will look really weird ingame.
Final step, add some colour, gun's aren't a solid black or a solid grey, if they are meant to be shiny they will reflect light and hence subtle colours, so on a seperate layer add some reflective complimentary colours to your lighting, I reccomend a nice teal-ish blue and orange, then set them to a low opacity somewhere around <15% and then again play with brightness and contrast till you find something your happy with, if it still looks odd, lower the saturation sometimes this can work wonders. From this point your basically done, all you have to do is clean up the sprite a bit, delete pixels that look out of place and what not, then add some hands! bam and the sprite is done.
I will get to animating at a later date, I'm actually not good at this at all, I will also update the thread at a later point with some examples of different materials like chrome, matte, wood, synthetic plastics and how to make them.
Spoiler: Advanced Tutorial[spoiler="Perspective, Focal Length, Field of View]So one of the things I didn't cover in the advanced tutorial was the perspective of the weapons when you're rendering them.
Advanced tutorial, Beginner Tutorial can be found above.
This tutorial requires a 3D moddeling application and a bit of knowledge or an ability to learn quickly.
I specifically use Autodesk Maya 2013 and this tutorial is for MAYA, I know these results are also possible in 3ds max and other modern applications
there's student versions of maya and 3ds max available or pirate shit as the full version is superior, I think blender
is free, popular and open source, softimage xsi is also worth a look and if you are really hardcore, milkshape 3D
the lowpoly legend found here http://chumbalum.swissquake.ch/ and you could also use CAD stuff you can use
like AutoCAD and Google Sketchup (not really my thing.) whatever you use keep in mind
they dont all fuction exactly the same, again with all things it requires heavy experimentation.
the tutorial will discuss how to create quality sprites using a process involving base clay renders and
some photoshopping voodoo, I will not be providing indepth knowledge on moddeling, there are plenty
of great tutorials on the net including animating which I may write another tutorial for later as this process enables
the ability to produce some realistic weapon animations very easily, I also will
not discuss unwrapping/texturing as they are not relevant to this tutorial.
Much of all the maya side of things are covered indepth with the programs default tutorials, beginner's
should study all of these before making any serious attempts,
PART 1: MAYA
Maya Moddeling 101
so basically here's a quick guide on how to model bits and pieces out of primitive prefabs like spheres,
cylinders and boxes. also because these are inorganic hard surfaces all the pieces do not necessarily have
to be attached, just pushed together. Keep in mind that every moddeler has their own way of doing things
so spend some time familiarising yourself with maya or whatever until you find a workflow that suits you.
1. Pushing shit together, dont be afraid to play around with pieces as if they are like lego.
2. This is not a bevel, this is an extrusion that has been scaled on one axis, it can be used for all sorts of things
like adding parts to make a shape interesting.
3. This is a bevel using the option in the mesh editing tab, pretty self explanatory, width can be adjusted.
4. A boolean which can also be found in the mesh editing tab, you can use this to cut holes out of shapes using other shapes.
Bonus: Also for a smoother more appealing finish one can use mesh smoothing while inserting a fuck-ton of edge loops along
hard edges that you want to preserve.
Unfortunately model's made using these techniques may be messy, unoptimized with heaps of poly's and difficult to unwrap
for texturing so avoid reusing these assets in their 3d forms.
Rendering in Maya
Here's a list of rendering settings that I like to use, again this is all up to experimentation, but I thoroughly recommend these,
especially final gathering and ambient occlusion as they will really bring out the lighting while adding depth with subtle shading to the model
And also I advise "production: fine trace" and fiddling with the filtering to bring out your preferred aliasing results.
Lighting and Materials / Light Sources (recommended)
you'll want to add a point light to define a light source, you can try other lights, but in general a point light is suited for this task,
you could even try three-point light systems, this will make your sprites more consistent and will also help shade details on the model.
You can enable hard shadows via raytracing or depthmaps, however I dont recommend it as they will create unsual artifacts and can even darken
area's too much.
also for material's, aim to use a plain default grey lambert material, colours can be added later in the photoshopping process and using phong materials
will produce ugly gloss sheen marks that will cause grief in the spriting stage.
position weapon's for rendering using the perspective view can run the risk of having your weapons tilted slightly up if close attention is not paid,
you can address this issue by creating and using camera's with a variety of settings to find a FOV that suits you. Also make sure that your
environment is set to white to leave a cleaner base for photoshop.
Example Finished Product:
here's an assault rifle / lmg thingy that got shelved so I have decided to use it for this tutorial.
PART 2: Photoshop (some of this overlaps with the begginer tutorial which I recommend using to familiarize yourself with this particular technique)
So once you have chosen the positioning of the weapon for your render, if you have used my settings listed above you will now
have a 320x200 layered psd containing your sprite, the first thing you'll want to do is use the magic wand tool to select the outside
of the gun and then click delete a few times, this will remove any unwanted artifacts created by the aliasing.
What you do now is decrease the sprights brightness by +100 and increase the contrast by +100, then clean up any noticable rogue pixels
or transparent artifacts on edges left by the aliasing, this can include realligning pixels or drawing corrections for shapes that didnt render out at low resolution well.
At this stage what we do now is using the dodge and burn brushes much like the beginner tutorial at 10% opacity is run 4-12 pixel strokes on edges to soften or harden them respectively
and also provide a bit of detail. When using these tools remember to pay attention to the lighting and the contour of it so you dont conflict with the existing lighting including over burning Ambient Occlusion.
Use a 1px dodge brush to add wear and tear or polish smaller parts up, other detail can be added by using line tools, layer adjustments and patterns.
Now adjust brightness and contrast making the surface brighter or darker to taste while also using a 30-45% smart sharpen to give the sprite a slightly crisper appearance.
coloured lighting can be painted on the reflect certain materials or finishes like metallic gunmetal, chrome, wood ect. Apply these using the brush on a seperate layer,
I tend to use a cyan-ish blue with a yellow-ish orange but you could play around with this to create unique lighting, the next step is to erase parts using a 30% erase brush
to soften the colour over parts where the lighting is darker and then overlay the layer with about 5-20% opacity for subtle variance in colour.
Once that's all done again you can begin the colourize parts of the sprite, adjust whatever you want, add hands, add extra details that weren't necessarily moddeled on.
and that conclude's the tutorial, I probably wont write up anything on muzzle flashes I suck at them and zrrion the insect has a great tutorial up here: http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=38940.
once again feel free to post your results of the tutorial here, i'd love to see what people come up with and if I was able to provide any help.
Also a quick preview ingame:
This is an easy step and just requires you to visit the camera attribute editor that we used to change the environment colour, this can be found on the view tab in your perspective viewport.
and from that point all you need to do is change the focal length setting, if you're using any depth of field in your renders I advise you not to, this can fuck with it and in general it will drastically increase render times
so you're better off doing some post editing in photoshop or gimp, it's alot easier anyway. Using this setting you can change this to whatever value you want for taste, just keep in mind that lower value's will make your gun stretchy and higher value's will make your model look chunkier. the default is set at 35, I would advise not going any lower than 25 and I personally prefer anywhere from 55-60 for angled sprites, no more than 75 for cent for centered sprites.