OK... A Lil Help/Discussion On Game Art

Community Forums/Developer Stations/OK... A Lil Help/Discussion On Game Art

Red Ocktober(Posted 2006) [#1]
i've been living with loust looking tetures, and i would appreciate a lil open discussion on just how some of you better artist (you know who you are) get such nice clean looking textures and skins on your models...

i'd like to discuss three things in particular that i seem to be having trouble with...

1- nice sharp, hi res looking textures... sharp lines... do these have to be 1024x768 sized in order to look sharp and clean...

2-how do you guys/gals go about making a specular map... a diffuse map... and a parallax map... and what is the purpose of them...

3- what format do you use to export your textures... jpg, tga, png, dds... and why...

thx for all input... i'm going over stuff in books and fromt he web as we speak... i gotta learn all this in a day... or two :)


Mustang(Posted 2006) [#2]
My input:

1) do your textures for example double the resolution you think will be the final rezz in game, then downscale it before saving for game use. You can also sharpen the final "small" texture with "unsharp mask" method for crispier look:


Also the blurriness can often come from MipMaps and how the app uses them, so even if your textures are HQ and crispy the app might use too soon lower level MipMaps and thus make the model look blurry.

Also keeping everything at constant scale will make things look better, ie do NOT have a table with 512 texture and a bottle on top of it having a 512 texture also - both models will look bad because they have so big (comparative) texture scale difference.

2) I do specular map after diffuse (your "normal" texture/color maps) maps are done and usually start by making it BW and trying out different contrast/brightness values. Often this process loses areas I want to be specular ot non-specular and then you have to draw this on top of the base spec map using what ever method is most handy.

3) I use .tgas at work and home because it's lossless. JPG is lossy so I wouldn't use that - it does not save your VRAM or anything, just makes the textures load bit faster. I rather take the better in-game quality instead of one-time load from disk speed-up.

Having your textures in .tga format is good for editing too; if you use .jpgs and edit it you'll lose details everytime you edit and save it because image gets re-packed and usually the whole image is affected (degenerated) a bit in result. Soon your whole texture is a one big mess... :)

At work we convert our (BIG) textures to .dds because it's a good way to save VRAM and still keep quite nice quality. I would use .dds's in Blitz3D too of course if it would support that but BRL is not going add it... maybe I should switch to A6 too? :)

Red Ocktober(Posted 2006) [#3]
THANKS Mustang... cleared up a few things i was wondering about...

one or two more things...

how many 1024x1024 textures would you advise as being the healty limit for a game app... and do you force your textures into vram, or not...


Mustang(Posted 2006) [#4]
I don't consider 1K maps that big... most cards have 256/512 VRAM these days anyway. Of course DXTC would reduce the VRAM usage to 25%... so I'd use as many as I need, typically at least over ten in complex FPS game with HQ textures and citylike enviroments. Exact number is impossible to give but you'll get the picture.

I don't generally speaking force textures to VRAM at all unless it's absolutely critical - like if you have a game texture you manually change (paint over or something) often during the game. Forcing things is usually bad - better let the DX and Drivers take care of the texture management.

Red Ocktober(Posted 2006) [#5]
sounds good... THANKS again Mustang.