Manual on creation of units from 3D models
1. Preparation of a 3D-Scene
2. Creation of auxiliary materials
5. Some words about Unit-Tools
6. Adjustment of the Sprites
7. The basic methods of sprite creation for a unit
8. Further Questions
1. Preparation of a 3d-Scene
So, you have certain 3D object which you wish to place in game. A skilled unitmaker uses a 3D-Scene for rendering sprites from the 3D-objects. The scene is a set of lights and camera views, from them we will generate a sprite.
Today unitmakers use some already prepared 3D-Scenes: for example from Leonards Lair, Jamb, Panzer, C11 and Deutschman.
These 3d-scenes are adjusted for rendering under SS2, Forever and Ressource War.
I recommend to use Panzers scene or its improved variant from Hansgroha, these scenes differ from other scenes only by a different set up of the light source. In my scene are 2 camera views, the first view is the sprite itself, the second view shows the shadows, pivot-groups situated in the ideal center of the object. and the group shows a flight over the motionless objects.
My scene is intended for manufacturing planes of 4 camera views, they are grouped on 2 and set up in space, for later creation of 64 and 32 sprite blocks. In my scene the group of objects and lights is frozen.
You can move them through the further options under "Display". There some buttons, their names speak for themselves.
So, you have received a scene and have inserted it through File-> Merge into a file with the 3d-object. Now it is necessary to choose a view on your
object through the perspective window. For this purpose press the key "C" to choose a camera.
Now we produce some auxiliary materials (in the material editor of 3ds-max).
Here the adjustments of the first:
metal, ambient, diffuse color 255,0,255, self illumination 100 percent, opacity 100 percent, specular level and glossiness on zero.
We name this material "pink"
We make another material "blue", the only difference from the first is the diffuse color 0,255,255.
If you want to make a plane or helicopter, with transparent rotor blades it is necessary to create another material: "green"....More about this topic
later. If you are going to make shadows under towers also to be necessary one more material.
Let's name it: Matte/shadow. To create it it is easy: in the material editor of 3ds-max we press the button "Get material" and we choose
3. Let's set up Antialiasing
We open the Menue "Customize" and we choose "Preferences" -> "Rendering".
Under "Background" the points "don't antialias against background" and "use environment alpha" should be activated.
Now antialiasing will have effect only on the 3d-objects, instead of all visible space from the camera. In some cases you can
switch of anti-aliasing under the "Render scene" - dialogue (the button with the teapot and the programm-icon)
4. Now we set up the background.
We shall use a background one-colour: either pink (255,0,255) or blue (0,255,255). The window for the background-setup will open in 3ds-max versions 6-8 by pressing «8», in earlier versions through the menue " Rendering "-> "Environment End Effects". Here it is only necessary to change the
color of the background.
5. Tools for the Assembly of Units
Some words about programs with which to you will assemble a new unit. Stirlitz and Lokal should forgive me, but i do not use their programms.
I use the programs from Jamb "Sust2.0, Sust3.0 and Sust3.5"
Sust2.0 works with bitmaps, Sust3.0 and Sust3.5 work also with bitmaps, but during transformation from bmp in pck it changes them into tga-files.
The difference between these formats:
tga-files have a mask of transparent pixels in a separate file. The mask of a transparency is a black-gray-white bitmap-file. This means, a tga-file
consists of two files, a normal bitmap-image and the second is a mask of transparency.
So, programs like Sust3.0 and above automatically create a mask of a transparency for bitmap-files and then pack a unit from tga-files.
I will better explain that later. I use Sust 3.0 and above for ground and surface units, for jeeps and planes I use Sust2.0.
6. The size of a unit.
Now it is necessary to set up the size of the future unit, at this time the object is ready for rendering, with caterpillars, wheels, towers and other.
We open the "Render scene" dialogue (the button with teapot and programm icon)
We choose how many pictures (shots from different perspectives) we will make:
"Range" from 0 up to 31 (from 0 up to 63 for planes) defines the necessary number of pictures.
"File number base" is the number with which begins the block of pictures, in our case it's 1.
Under "Render Output" we choose a folder where we will save our Sprites. Moreover we will
choose the file type of the future sprite - (Bitmap -bmp). For convenience it is recommended to create for each unit a separate folder.
Now we shall pay attention to the "Output Size"-Menue. Here you can change the size of your sprite objects.
Unfortunately there is no standard size for making units. I hope, other unitmakers like Jamb, Kassad, Hansgroha or others will share
and explain their unit-sizes.
I recommend to use the button "320*240" (it is the size of the future sprite in pixels) and to press also the button "Image aspect"
Then make a trial rendering by pressing the button "Render".
If you have made all correctly, 3ds-max has rendered 32 pictures in the choosen folder with names from р0001 up to р0032.
Import all these pictures into Sust 2.0. For comparison of the unit sizes I place in a folder a new unit as a "reference" unit.
If the proper size is found, we can go on, otherwise we can adjust the size of the sprite again under "Output size"
This can be modified through a higher value under "Image aspect".
I always make some test renderings searching the suitable size of a unit. As a result there will be a pck-file, that can be used in
the map editor.
7. Let's start manufacturing Sprites
The proper size is found, now it is possible to make sprites for a unit. For convenience I open a Fireglow-File of the necessary type in Sust 2.0, to see what pictures , what numbers and in what blocks the unit has to be placed. After changing the initial sprite number, the backgroud color and switching off antialiasing you can render all necessary sprites for the new unit.
!!!!!!!! SHADOWS are always created at SWITCHED off antialiasing !!!!!!!!
Sprites with the body of a unit are rendered on a pink background.
Sprites with a shadow are done on a blue background.
If the block of pictures in the Sudden Strike-Map-Editor is empty, it is necessary to render the sprite without the image.
Begin with something simple, for example a jeep.
8. Further questions
We will soon continue with this tutorial to answer further questions -> such as manufacturing of the unit-body separately from the wheels/Tracks (e.g. for tanks ), wheels from guns and howitzers, awnings from lorries, making Rocket lauchers ( Katjuschas) or translucent rotor blades (for planes and helicopters).
Actually you should make units as Fireglow produced them. But I also pack planes not as Fireglow did.
Only Fireglow knows, why they have broken the pictures into fragments, but this discussion is not a topic of this manual.
Zuletzt geändert von heyk
am 02.04.2007, 00:24, insgesamt 2-mal geändert.