Help Wanted

Texturing Questions – Ereon

Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
Hola gents. I have some questions for you guys regarding textures for a small project I've been working on. First, I have learned that jpgs aren't exactly the hot tip for making textures for games, however, I'm still at a loss as to what format to use. I'd like one that offers as much detail as possible with as small a video footprint as possible. I have little experience on image formats and such so I'd appreciate another other missellanious information that crosses your mind on the subject as well.

My second question, though, involves UV mapping or UV unwrapping. The link for the UV unwrap tool I used for Truespace has expired, so I'm left looking for another tool. All I really need is a simple, concise tool for unwrapping the UV map of a texture so that I can paint it and what not.

I appreciate any assitance you can give me, and thanks in advance for you help.

~Ereon

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How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

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Jari

Member

Posts: 1471
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: 03-11-2005
Hi Ereon, try using PNG for images that have lot of same color and JPG for the others. You can also try to use 50-70% compression for the noise based JPG images without loosing quality.

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[This message has been edited by jari (edited October 23, 2006).]

Faith_Warrior

Member

Posts: 490
From: So.Cal.
Registered: 09-05-2006
I dont use JPGs you may have noticed my post in the model dump thread with the website link that tells exactly why not to use them .Honestly, I can often easily spot who is using JPGs in their work, its that bad.

Another point is that by using them you only save hard drive space and nothing more. When the jpg is loaded into VRAM it turns into a hefty texture file just like any other. So if you use a raw and uncompressed texture like a bmp or a lossy and compressed jpg they both take up the same amount of video memory. So your even though your 1024x1024 face.jpg may be 10k on your hard drive it will still equal 4MB in VRAM just like every other image format.

In VRAM it does not stay in the .jpg format, and what is really tweaked is that it takes extra resources to uncompress the image to what VRAM can really read. So if you are in a game engine having everything being rendered in real-time, you may see rendering slowdown when the models with jpgs come into camera range.

Whats sad is that when you go to like turbo squid.com and search for fee textures, there mainly .jpgs! So unless you make the textures yourself or buy them from a reputable source that isnt compressing them into worthless jpgs, you are out of luck. Its like the worlds best kept secret or something.

What to use? PNG has gotta be the best format to do 3d model textures in imo. Also tiff is something that others would recommend. I use a lot of BMPs myself but that depends on what Im applying them to, it lacks layers but no big deal. The downside with tiff is that it has a paten. Downside to png is that it uses color management but no problem at all. Here is a really good technical chart (scroll down the page): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_image_file_formats

As for an unrapper you may want to check out these:
LithUnwrap : http://www.garagegames.com/index.php?sec=mg&mod=resource&page=view&qid=1755
Ultimate Unwrap 3D: http://www.unwrap3d.com/

Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
Excellent, LithUnwrap looks like just what I needed, now please excuse me while I go sob in the corner because I have to redo all my textures in png J/k thanks for the info, I can't wait to see how my games improve once I make them with png textures.

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How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Portia The Merchant of Venice

Faith_Warrior

Member

Posts: 490
From: So.Cal.
Registered: 09-05-2006
yw. Oh and sorry for the dead lithunwrap download link, I should have checked, but this one does work:
http://files.filefront.com/lithunwrap+setup/;51766;;/fileinfo.html
Dees not support png though, but it does for some other formats including bmp.

edit: oops, now it should be the right link lol


[This message has been edited by Faith_Warrior (edited October 23, 2006).]

GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
Use the .dds format and DXT5.
Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
Any particular advantage to those Gump? And what tools do you use to create/edit those formats?

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How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Portia The Merchant of Venice

Faith_Warrior

Member

Posts: 490
From: So.Cal.
Registered: 09-05-2006
DXT (or 3SDT) is S3 graphics compression. You dont see it in many applications because S3 Graphics collects a license fee to use it.

.dds is Microsoft Direct Draw.

Basically its about video compression. If you are working with a massive amount of textures, have an editor that uses it and a game engine or rendering app that supports it than its a good format to use.

Id use it but my game engine does not support it yet, but may in the future. You can apply the format using Lithunwrap and maybe find a photoshop plug-in to create them.

[This message has been edited by Faith_Warrior (edited October 24, 2006).]

GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
S3 may have invented it but you're dead wrong that many applications don't use it. Pretty much every single modern game uses it since Microsoft adopted it as part of the DirectX standard. And for normal maps there is 3Dc from ATI.

I highly recommend using ATI and Nvidia's texture tools:

http://developer.nvidia.com/object/nv_texture_tools.html

http://www.ati.com/developer/tools.html

Faith_Warrior

Member

Posts: 490
From: So.Cal.
Registered: 09-05-2006
Depends on the variation you are referring to. M$ uses a variation of it for DirectX. As for the reason its not so popular by many (not all) is because its a lossy format. Lossy = image degradation, no matter what compression algorithm one uses you take a hit to quality. Also it still has a paten which is enforced and levied.

For computer gaming its a bit different. Often times there will be a setup option to use compression for computers with limited memory. Consoles are limited from the getgo so its more often forced upon the system just to run the application such as in a cross over game that works on both the PC and console. Personally, when a PC game offers such compression I shut it off as many do, I have the VRAM to run the game with out the image degradation. As for running rendering jobs outside of games, it is hardly used.

Its still good to use, if you are creating a game and plan to target some low-end computer systems than its fantastic to have the option so that players can choose to use it or not, but should it be a standard for a PC game? I certainly hope not! Its definitely better to use than Jpegs, those do not stay compressed in VRAM, but you still get some image degradation nonetheless.

[This message has been edited by Faith_Warrior (edited October 25, 2006).]

GUMP

Member

Posts: 1335
From: Melbourne, FL USA
Registered: 11-09-2002
It's already become standard for many games. For example, the uncompressed files for just ONE high quality character in EWn is around 116MB (that's including diffuse, normal, and specular maps). Using DXT5 it's down to 24.5MB. The files for just one weapon also use ~11MB when compressed. If you want a very detailed mixmap for your terrain you might use at least one 2048x2048 texture, which would consume 12MB uncompressed; never mind the 48MB for 4096x4096. We also use spherical harmonics for environments and a 512x512 Per Pixel PRT file uses 12MB when compressed. Do the math; even a high end video card's VRAM would get eaten up in a standard scene if we didn't use compression. I know for certain Rebel Planet would have loved to use compression if 3D game studio had supported it decently if only to cut down on the install size.

When quality becomes an issue, such as for heightmaps, normal maps, etc, use DXT5 or 3Dc instead of DXT1 or just switch compression off completely. But for the average texture there isn't a major reason to not use compression.

http://udn.epicgames.com/Two/TextureComparison

http://www.codeproject.com/cs/media/NormalMapCompressor.asp?print=true

[This message has been edited by Gump (edited October 25, 2006).]

Ereon

Member

Posts: 1018
From: Ohio, United States
Registered: 04-12-2005
Well, DarkBASIC is DirectX native and I know that format works in the engine, but I think I'll just go with png for the sake of simplicity. Right now, with almost all the media the whole files is about 5 megs so I'm not worried about space, but when I get my new dev computer and really start pushing the envelope I'll probably start using the format you suggest Gump, or at least try it. Thanks for the advice guys, can't wait to show you my new project .

P.S. My goal is to have it ready by Monday

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How far that little candle throws its beams; So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Portia The Merchant of Venice