Paintshop Discussion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RJ, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    Hi guys . . . this may be a bit premature, but somebody's gonna start down this subject line sooner or later, so why not here 'n now, lol.

    1.) Will the same palete of ISI tools; ie, MAS Editor, DDS Converter/Viewer, etc., be compatible with rF2?

    2.) Will there be greater access to certain MAS files, namely Specular Map.dds, to achieve better chrome effects?

    Cheers . . .
    RJ
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2010
  2. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    *Bouncy*
     
  3. Bee

    Bee Former ISI Staff

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    1. There will be new versions of the tools for rF2.

    2. There already is access to every file in the mas file. How to better achieve chrome effects, I don't know.
     
  4. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    Thanks, Bee, for responding. Yes, every aspect of the MAS file is accessible for editing. But, I don't imagine now is the time to get into "details" of the MAS file thing as it pertains to specular mapping. Suffice it to say that in rF1, the ability to edit the Specular Map on an individual basis is possible, but the effect does not carry over on a scale viewed by others in an online environment. In other words, if I want to really make my wheel rims supper chrome shiney, I can edit the specular map.dds in the MAS file. But, that file edit does not carry over for others see, even it they receive my car.dds file. The MAS file is totally separate and is a "general" file (dang, I'm not technical enough to properly express myself on this. So, I hope somebody else picks up the mantel and understands what I'm trying to say.). Maybe this link to a similar discussion will help illustrate my point: http://www.mnrlonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5444
     
  5. mianiak

    mianiak Registered

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    I know what your trying to say, the team I'm with had this discussion not long ago. The ability to use specular maps in the wild card system would be an advantage, you could create some really nice effects like pearl and metallic or enhance the cars colour and add more individuality to individual cars. But as it stands atm, the one spec map does all, if you change it you change every car you see, but not what others see, they see what the spec map on there system is.
    For chrome, you could achieve it by setting the alpha layer to white, with the alpha reflect it will cause it to bring out the cube map really strong.
     
  6. D.Painter

    D.Painter Registered

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    Let's see if I can make this simple.

    Specular Map
    This is a representation of a light source moving over a shiny surface. It accentuate light on the closest point to a light source. Much the same as a light spot on a billiard ball.

    Cube Map
    This is a representation of reflection over a shiny surface. The cube is exactly that, A cube. A cube of textures usually tree lines, Sun sets and in some cases buildings that shadow over the cars giving the appearance of reflection.

    All the things that mianiak said about enhancing the livery can be achieved by using the mip maps in your DDS saved livery. Pearling or metallic paint. By using this method every one who gets your car will see the desired effect.

    Chroming
    This is a alpha thing. A white alpha uses white to maximise the alpha effect in the case of livery or in this case wheels. This effect is maximising shine. Thus chrome. When saving the wheel texture to DDS pasd a white (Stark white) to the alpha channel. Save as DX5. If this doesn't work then the wheel in the Mas file have been saved with no alpha. This prevents the spec from coming though and been saved like this for a reason known only to the model producer.

    Hope this helps. I'd never recommend using the spec in any other way then what it's purpose is.
     
  7. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    Gentlemen (D.Painter & Mianiak), I think we all can agree on the terms and their definitions as D.Painter has expressed, and very well, too, I might add. Mianiak is absolutely correct in that there is only one Specular Map that "does it" all because it's located in only the "main" MAS file. But, D.Painter really nails the problem in his "Chrome" paragraph when he says, "If that doesn't work, then the wheel in the MAS file have not been saved with no alpha." Herein lies the problem.

    If such a situation occurs, would it not be great if the painter could correct this without having to do it in the MAS file? Secondly, simply using just the alpha channel to create the chrome is not enough. As D.Painter points out, the Specular Map puts the emphasis on the "accenuate(d) light" thus enhancing the chrome effect. Without the Specular Map, chroming becomes, more or less, 2 demensional without depth.

    I can't think of a better example of what I'm trying to say then to illustrate the difference between chrome generated through the specular map in the MAS file (TPSCC v1.1 Pace Car on the left) and pseudo chrome generated soley using the Alpha channel (car right). [​IMG]
    Car right's rims give the appearance of brushed aluminum or nickel whereas car left's rims are mirrors by comparison. Yes, as you rotate car right on the spinner table, you will see high reflection of the Cube Map, but there's no "depth" to the effect without the Specular Map's effect.

    I hope these discussions will produce further constructive debate.

    Cheers . . .
    RJ
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2010
  8. mianiak

    mianiak Registered

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    That would be the chrome cubemap and a different material setting to the car paint.
    Car paint is most commonly 'bump cube specular map add alpha reflect t1'. Wheels usually have the same material setting but under a different name.

    Chrome can be done a few different ways, 'cube map t1' is what I have been using.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    Thanks, mianiak. That does explain a lot as to why I can achieve very good results for such things as gold or silver (albeit chorme) foil effects on the car body, but not on the wheel rims themselves. It did not occur to me that different 'materials' would be used. Although I have 3dsMAX, I am not versed in it and at the rate I'm going, I don't see that occurring anytime soon...LOL

    Nevertheless, I'm not sure, but it now seems I am asking the wrong questions with respect to being able to edit and share the "common" Specular Map / Cube Map files? As for using the 'cube map t1', frankly, you lost me there. I'll do some homework on my end about this 'cube map t1' thingy which may allow me to restate my questions.

    Cheers . . .

    (EDIT): Okay, it seems the 'cube map t1' is associated with the GMT file(s). If this is correct, then there would be a lot more than meets the eye to making just the Specular Map (and, possibly, Cube Map) files in the MAS folder "sharable" (is that a word?). It would seem the GMT files would need to be involved as well? (Still reading on the subject)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2010
  10. rogdini

    rogdini Registered

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    the big issue about chrome materials in rfactor is the cube map itself. A chrome material reflects almost all the light it receives, that means that when we look at it we don't see its actual color but the environment around it. Since in rfactor there are no real environment reflections, we only see a cubemap which is always the same, doesn't matter if you are driving on tarmac or ice or its a sunny day or cloudy night etc. In other materials this weak point is not as obvious because we only see maybe 30% of the cube or so. I'm pretty sure this problem will be partially sorted out in rfactor 2 with dynamic environment reflection.

    Meanwhile, you can achieve a noticeably better chrome effect in rFactor using a natural colored, much brighter cube map than that default one we are used to. The key is to make it as close as possible to what is actually out there. The specular doesn't really matters, it should be white and set the power very high but that's all.
     
  11. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    The real issue isn't whether or not the Specular Map, Cube Map, and materials in any of the GMT file can be edited. These files can be easily edited and the results viewed in our respective rF1. The issue is how to distribute these finished effects so that others online can see them as well. It's currently not possible to incorporate these Specular/Cube edits using the DX5 Converter to DDS process. But, we can keep plugging away at this and hopefully reach a consensus for the rF2 Staff to consider....maybe....lol.
     
  12. mianiak

    mianiak Registered

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    You would have to edit the gmt and change the materials.
    Someone else is probably better to explain it, but I'll give it a go,,,

    The gmt contains information for the mesh (where each vertex (point)is located in zyx land) and what material to use (they hold a lot more information but no need to confuse you with things not related to this). The material is a combination of textures and information on how those textures are displayed. For cube map t1, there are 2 textures, t1 is the base texture and cube map is the shader (effect) put over the base texture.

    You can simply put textures and gmt's loose in the car's folder, best usually to put them in the same folder that the mas files are in. The game will pick up loose files before it looks in the mas files. So basically, if you made your own spec map, you just have to name it the same name as the spec map in the mas file, then dump it in the folder, same goes for gmt's, if you edit a gmt and change the material, just dump it in the folder.

    But remember, this will cause missmatches on public servers, but in saying that, the advantage of leaving the edited files loose means when you want to join a public server, all you have to do is move those files to another place and you will have the default textures and gmt's again.

    There is one step further you can go, you can put all your modifications in a separate mas file and edit the car's gen file adding your masfile first inline in the Massfile entries. Once again, the way the game looks for files, it follows the information in the gen file, searches in the first folder first and the first mas file first, if it finds what it needs there it loads that, if it doesn't find it, then it moves onto the next folder/mas file. So in your case it will look in your mas file find the wheels, load them, then go to the original mas file to load the rest of the car bypassing the original wheels.
     
  13. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    Mianiak, thanks for the lesson, most helpful, really. I learned early on that whatever I edited in the MAS folder would ultimately apply only to what I would personally see. If I wanted others to see any of these effects, I'd have to send them each my MAS folder as well as the DDS files (Skins). Obviously, this would not work out. If everyone were to start throwing their MAS folders out there, can you imagine the chaos that would occur? I shutter to think of being "the one" who brought down the Matchmaker Server by distributing a rouge MAS file....lol

    Hopefully, there's a solution.
     
  14. mianiak

    mianiak Registered

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    Yep, works well in league situations, but not so much for public use.
     
  15. afborro

    afborro Registered

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    I was thinking along those lines, one such possible system would be to allow overides ( at least for the wildcard materials) for all others maps besides the diffuse one through the upgrades and veh files.

    I would imagine it to work like this

    If no overrides in veh, or optional overrides in upgrade sections the default maps in the mas are used. Use the ones specified if present in the veh folder when specified in the veh file. If specified in the upgrades they would sit in the same folder as the mas file, or put them in the mas file, as they'd have a unique name anyway, so it would not matter.

    You can have what you like, unique spec maps per livery, unique cubemap, normal map etc, whatever you want for the number of maps assigned to a specific material.

    A further development of this would be to allow specific masfile overrides through the veh to give the same functionality, so you have compression if needed, and save some space.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2010
  16. D.Painter

    D.Painter Registered

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    Yes afborro your quite right and some mods have done what your suggesting here. The problem here though is trying to get chrome wheels on a mod that hasn't been set up to do so. RJ can and has made the changes needed to get the chrome look on his computer but these changes are not transferable to others without the changed Mas file. To alter the Mas file would mean everyone he races would need to update their mod and as the mod isn't his work and would not be a official update by the mods creators and released as a new version the chances of mismatching on the servers would be high.

    All the things both you and Mianiak suggest are sound and viable but not in this instance.

    RJ have you considered or tried pearling the wheel DDS? To do this open the DDS and show mip maps. A mip map shows resizing of the template down to 1 pixel x 1 pixel by the power of 2. A normal map shows the same template over and over just smaller. To pearl this in the instance of the wheel replace these with others of different colors. For chrome I'd suggest White, Little grey and a blue grey. Repeat this sequence from 1024x1024 or 512x512 down to 1x1 then save using DXT5 with existing mip map over a completely white alpha.

    No guaranties this will work cause I haven't tried it myself but seen the effect on liveries so it should work. You may need to play with the colors used till you get the desired effect though.

    Cheers.

    P.S. You'll need to replace the altered Mas back to it original to eliminate any confusion.
     
  17. afborro

    afborro Registered

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    I suppose I should have said, but i think with the right code changes in rF2 what I said can be made to work I believe, but changing mods afterwards in the way you say (If understood correctly ) should not be considered IMO without significant thought, it would potentially get messy, may something possible in time ? but I reckon it would require a significant overhaul or rethinking on how mods can be synchronised in rF2.

    I'd be happy with the support for these extra maps to allow unique specs, nomal etc, in the way I said.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2010
  18. RJ

    RJ Registered

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    D.Painter quote: RJ have you considered or tried pearling the wheel DDS? To do this open the DDS and show mip maps. A mip map shows resizing of the template down to 1 pixel x 1 pixel by the power of 2. A normal map shows the same template over and over just smaller. To pearl this in the instance of the wheel replace these with others of different colors. For chrome I'd suggest White, Little grey and a blue grey. Repeat this sequence from 1024x1024 or 512x512 down to 1x1 then save using DXT5 with existing mip map over a completely white alpha.

    D, yeah, I've used this technique on the car bodies and it does impart some good effects, but only on the body of the car. "Pearlizing" the wheels doesn't come off as good; it kind of looks like you've driven through a mud puddle....lol
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2010
  19. Pandamasque

    Pandamasque Registered

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    Now that's new to me. How do I get to see those elusive mipmaps? I'm using Photoshop with nVidia dds plugin and only heard of those...
     
  20. D.Painter

    D.Painter Registered

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    That's a good question! I use Photoshop 7 to open the mipmaps. I get a dialog window asking if I want to show mipmaps yes or no. With CS2 I get no such dialog and just opens it as a single image. I've tried to find the settings for this with no success. So if some one can help here that would be great.
     

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