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Trying to make flat texture objects

Discussion in 'Bob's Track Builder' started by Pangaea, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Pangaea


    Hi... dose anyone know how to make flat texture objects such as bushes etc...
    Ive made a few alpha chan bushes in ps .. and exported them as dds with 1bit alpha.. then saved the same file this time as a jpg .... opened up max, made a plane ... applied the jpg.. exported as 3ds.. booted up btb.. placed the object.. opened up materials editor, replaced the jpg with the dds file and set the material properties to alpha.. dosent work,. also get the "object instance not set" thing..

    so i did a search for help, and came across a piddy vid,, a 3 part one, explaining the process.. however piddy seems have a gmotor option in 3dsmax.. i dont have it.. i looked around for this plugin but cant find it at all...

    I also noticed that this gmotor thing is always in reference to rfactor... I want to make these flat texture objects for rbr... is gmotor also needed for rbr?

    is there another way to make flat texture objects without gmotor?
  2. Ryan Callan

    Ryan Callan

    GMotor2 is the engine which drives rFactor's physics.

    I'm 99.99% sure RBR does not use this engine.
  3. martinez


    You can also build walls and apply repetitive textures - this way you can have really low poly background.
    I'm sure the textures will look much better when dds is DTX3 - with DTX1 you will get very bad edges on transparent places.

    I don't know what you call flat texture objects - just two-poly things? You can just put into xpack ready object with dds texture/material and avoid messing up in btb with materials. I have no idea why you use jpg in Max when you first have prepared dds. Which version of Max do you use? Sketchup cannot load dds, but Max should have no problems with that :)

    I also think that "Use Chroma" works better than "Use Alpha" - I heard it takes less calculations to render and rF likes it better too. I pick "Use Alpha" for DTX 5 textures when I have gradiented/percentage transparency.
  4. Pangaea


    Heya thanks for the replies guys

    ... sorry i probably didnt explain myself properly. Im new to btb/ track design/game design.. so ive no idea what the lingo or buzz words are.. I tend to make descriptions up myself..
    What i meant by a flat texture object is simply an alpha texture mapped onto a 2d plane.. such as bushes... grasses, some trees, people... etc etc

    Im not talking about 3d object, im talking about a 2d (2polygon) plane (rectangle) with a texture mapped onto it.

    I know i could probably map an alpha texture such as a bush or grass onto a wall (btb wall tool), but can you just imagine having to place this 100`s of times... and also a wall is often difficult to manipulate without stretching or squashing it on some axis.. I would prefare a solid object (2d plane) to map things like grass, bushes...etc etc...

    I see almost every xpack people have made for specificly rbr contains these flat texture objects (ill refare to them thus forth as FTO's) :p

    you can see exacly what i mean by this:

    this tutorial is good (well i already knew how to make alpha and apply to objects and stuff), but i cant seem to make a FTO... and also... piddy has used a "gmotor" plugin when using 3dsmax... I dont have this plugin, and i cant find ANYWHERE online. It literally dose not exist.. certainly not a download link.

    Its out of the question to map onto walls, because these objects will be many, and i cant use walls for this, too awkward to place, and manipulate. So is there any other method of making these FTO's without having to use the gmotor plugin?


    EDIT: "I have no idea why you use jpg in Max"... max cannot use dds.. so i need to first map a jpg (or anything) so i can see what im doing in max.. its only a temporary jpg. This method works usualy for regualar objects...etc .. I know there is probably some sort of dds import plugin for max, but i havent looked and didnt bother (up until now) beacuse my "apply jpg first, then replace with dds in btb mat editor" method was working so well before.

    EDIT.. um i remember talking to somone yesterday (i forget the nick).. this person had worked on the rural au xpack (which contains many of these FTO's) .. perhaps if your there and reading this.. have you got the gmotor plugin for your 3ds? .. if not how did u make these fto's?
  5. martinez


    @Pang - I didn't know that older versions of Max don't load dds. I have just Max 2010...
    I'm new still into Max, but I did quite many objects like that in Sketchup 6 (with jpg's) - this is so simple there - maybe you can try it? I think we need Andre - he is great when it comes to video tutorials.

    Andre - where are you? :) :)

    But - what exactly does not work - the object itself or the transparency? You can send me your texture and I will take a look - I suspect something could be wrong there.
  6. Pangaea


    hehe.. well it looks like im in trouble here.. after an extensive search online and reading many forums, on both gmotor and dds import plugins for max9.. ive come to the conclusion that its basicly impossible to make these objects with it.

    The gmotor plugin dosnt exist at all, seems to me some online myth..
    and the dds file import plugin, is only available for 3dsmax ver 3, 4 & 5
    .. it seems there has been no development of a dds plugin since 3dsmax 5 ... I use 9 so thats me pretty much done for.
    I didnt know 3dsmax 2010 has a dds, but i dont have 2010, and my max9 is setup very delicately for network rendering..etc and vray network rendering.. I certainly dont want to take the next week out and install a new max and set up all the networking/ paths, / textures..etc etc etc.. its almost as big a job as installing a new os for a network of pcs

    All i want to be able to do here is make flat texture objects for use in rbr, without having to buy expencive software (max 2010) just to do one thing.

    ""But - what exactly does not work - the object itself or the transparency? You can send me your texture and I will take a look - I suspect something could be wrong there."" ....
    at some stage today, or tomorrow i will make screenshots of the process im doing in photoshop, max, xpacker, then btb.... perhaps im doing something wrong that you might be able to spot.. but i cant see how this is possible with out the gmotor plugin (myth) and/or dds import plugin, which is not available for me.

    Give me some time and i will make a image diary of what im doing

    thanks again
    pan :))
  7. Pangaea


    Heya... well I had some luck... I have no idea what i was doing wrong the last time, but it seems to be working now. (i think perhaps btb was getting confused with files that where already in use or something) ....

    Anyway, although the end result isnt quite good enough, ill post a tutorial in Images, so others can do this for rbr without having to mess around with 3rd party plugins.

    1. I create the object/texture in photoshop.. making it on a transparent background, and making sure its in a legal size and aspect ratio... For this i will use 256x256.

    2. As explained above you`ll need to "see" what your doing in 3dsmax so ill first save this file as a standard jpg.

    3. After that is done, I need to save it as a dds file with alpha values. These are the settings I tried:

    4. Then its into 3dsmax ..... I open my scale template (a simpl car object that helps me figure out the scale of whatever im creating) .

    5. I create a simple plane. And give it 1 , 1 segments, so that a 2 polygon object... I scale it to the size i want to import it into btb as.

    6. I then map the "jpg" onto the plane and set it to 2faced.

    7. I then delete the car, and centre the grass object at 0,0 or as close to as i can

    8. I then export the object as a 3ds, the same way you would normally do it.

    9. Next its into Xpacker. I give the xpack a name and import the object.
    (make sure your texture files are in the same folder as your 3ds or xpacker cant import)
    I will leave the settings as they are since i can edit these in btb itself.
    So i proceed to export as a zipped xpack.

    10. Finaly we arrive in BTB. So I place the object ive just made onto my scene.

    11. Next i need to replace the solid jpg with the transparent dds file i created in photoshop.
    So I bring up the Mats Editor in btb, and click on the bush material. I set it to transparent alpha.

    12. I then flick onto the "texture tab" and looking for my dds file.

    13. This warning comes up almost all the time, Ive no idea what its telling other then what it says, but I have just created these image files and object with unique names, so there are no other conflicts with anything else.. I usually just press "NO" at this point and things "usually" work.

    14. After replacing the jpg with the dds file, you should see something like this

    15. Press ok. and assuming there's no more warnings or errors, you should see your bush now with a transparent background.

    And there you have it.

    Just something im curious about. The edges are pretty bad here, I looked at the original image in photoshop and zoomed right in on the edges, also put a temp background color in just so i can see what the edges are like under different shades.. its looks fine in photoshop, but in btb looks bad. I thought its because of the dds output settings, I also tryed dx1 to 3 with alpha.. but still same rough edging. For other things that use alpha i have used the 256 alpha mode with success, but for some reason photoshop refuses to export my experiment bush/grass out with these settings

    it crashes every time.

    this is where im at.. Ill mess about with the image in photoshop and see if i can get better edges on it


    EDIT: well it seems the main reason why i was getting hard edges on the bush was because of the poor original image, or more specificly the poor "feathering" around the selection/mask. .. I tried a few others and things are working fantastic now using dx3 setting:

    the "http://www.fractalscapes.net/designs/fto/20.jpg" link is linking to "http://www.fractalscapes.net/designs/fto/16.jpg" ?! huh?
  8. martinez


    Yes, it is linking ;) I told you about DTX3 :)
    I still think that applying the right material for the object in xpacker works better than in btb. And it's faster, because it's already there and you don't have to edit material in btb when making new projects.

    About # 2 and 3 - I would save dds first, then jpg, because if you save as jpg, the image has jpg's compression, so it has not the original quality. The dds compression is way better, then you don't have to care what you take into 3ds Max.

    Maybe you can take a look at my Photoshop tutorial about trees (or other pictures that need trasparent bacground). Simply said, you can process the alpha channel with Levels to cut some more pixels from the edges.
  9. Pangaea


    Ok this isnt totally realated to the original thread titile, but its in context to alpha textures, so i thought rather then start a new post ide ask here.

    I had a bunch of sobject fencing in my project, but im trying to optimize things as best i can so i decided to make a flat alpha texture of a fence and map it onto a wall, rather then using a more polygons with the sobject.

    I have made the relevant texture in photoshop... so you can see here that here is the original fence i made:

    after merging the various layers, then resizing the image to 1024 x 1024..

    I save with these settings as a dds file

    I then bring it into xpacker as a standard texture.. and zip it out as an xpack
    I load btb, make a temp wall.. i add this dds to the wall and orientate it so its sitting right.. good so far..

    but now i pull the wall out to another length, and the texture stretches.. thats ok ill just edit the tiling.

    however no amount of changing the tiling or offset or any other setting for that matter (except the the orientation arrows) seems to do anything at all. You can clearly see here that ive changed all the settings just to show you an example of what i mean (i know the settings are not the ones ill use)

    So, all is not lost.. ill mozzey on into btb`s material editor and see what i can do from there.. so i select my texture, and first thing i notice is the texture looks totally messed up.. what are thoses patches?... anyway i wont worry about that now since the fence looks fine in btb itself.

    so i proceed to change the tiling in there.. the first time i did this the tiling changed in the texture view in the btb materials editor, but NOT on the fence itself..
    I cannot provide screenshot of this as now all im getting is this tiring and monotonous error..

    So im not really sure what im doing wrong, why the texture wont tile, why the texture has messy patches in btb mat editor, and why i keep now getting this error....

    any ideas?

    regards pan

    EDIT: oh nevermind... i should have had the wall option set to "per pannel" not "per meter" ... I did try that before and it didnt work, but it seems to be working now
  10. martinez


    Set longer panel length - you don't need that many polys. The best way for me with fences like yours is to set panel length way longer and then make corners by adding control points (blue/red balls) - even in 2D. Then set material change "per meter", so it will be independent from panel length. Experiment with values to get desired results. You can also add material change sections to your wall and set different "per meter" settings to make it more flexible on corners, or just more interesting visually.
    Here are two examples of distant walls - observe panel length and material change. Both have as few polygons as possible. Top edges have set some vertical randomness (shape cross section) - they don't look so repetitive :)


    The wall below is a single quite long texture (1024) - stretched a little, but looking still enough. The material doesn't repeat due to mat. change like 500 m ;)

  11. Pangaea


    wonderful help as usual martinez, and thanks for taking the time out to take screenshots..etc

    Ill give you a special mention somewhere in my new track :)
  12. martinez


    No problem, it's good to have some track for taking screenshots ;)
    I'm sure your fences will work the same way, they are just smaller a little :) Good luck!
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