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Historically Accurate Norse Dress

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Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:33 pm

Someone over at SkyrimNexus requested an accurate Norse dress for her toon to wear, so I retextured an existing dress:
http://www.thenexusforums.com/index.php?/topic/465359-some-nordic-dress-up-clothes/page__pid__3977466#entry3977466
There are still some misaligned parts to fix, such as the belt. The jewelry doesn't look right except from a distance because it's "painted on," even though it has a good normal map made in a 3D program. And, I have to determine how to make clothing wrinkles that look realistic (because the normal map is not enough).

Pics:



Suggestions?
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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  Ultiman on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:19 am

for the belt i can not comment on how to add depth to it i assume one would need to actually model it into the dress.
as for the cloth texture the bump map will work to an extent but increasing it to much will generally result in a fake looking texture.

Use something like the following as an overlay all tho im not sure this is the texture in the pic as its a little bit to small to pinpoint the exact texture.
simply pasting it over the texture wont work but you can add some distortion and curve and roughly lay it on top as a guide. (but I'm sure you knew that Razz)
It will go a long way to generating a believable texture (im thinking its some kind of burlap type cloth correct me if im wrong)



Using this texture and some Transparency, distortion and repeating the pattern and then generating a normal map for it may work better I'm no expert tho Razz

is it possible to link your original texture?

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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  DiGiTAL ZOMBiE on Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:11 am

How are you creating your normal?, I recommend Crazybump for creating normal maps from heightmaps as well as combining multiple normal maps together in photoshop for more depth. A tutorial on combining Normal maps here

The nVidia normal mapping plugin can be downloaded from http://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

A 16 bit replacement filter for the normal map plugin can be downloaded here it is paticularly handy for grayscale images exported from ZBrush.

Crazybump can be downloaded from http://www.crazybump.com/




Last edited by DiGiTAL ZOMBiE on Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  Ultiman on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:23 pm

Nice one man thanks for them i have been meaning to get crazy bump have been using the nvidia one for a while and wow... better late than never lol.

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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:17 am

Aaaaa....I wrote a very long response to this, and suddenly the page reloaded and it was gone. Evil or Very Mad

Again, thanks for the comments.

The fabrics are linen. Some could afford silk for the outer layer, but it wasn't shiny like the machine-made stuff we see today. In this case, the embroidery is gold thread, so let's say the outer dress is silk.

The files are here, packed up as mod already:
http://www.willadsenfamily.org/us/don/ttlg/models/dlwNorseDressv0.5.zip

I made the normal map in the same 3D program I used to make the diffuse map. Once the models are made (the dress, belt, pouch lids and buckles, and jewelry are all 3-D objects, the underdress is just a flat sheet right now) and the camera is all lined up, I render the diffuse map. Then I save it, change all the textures to white, change the lighting to normal-map style (turn off the regular white light, turn on the blue at -Y, red at X, and green at Z as I recall, my setup has names on the lights so I don't have to remember them), then render the normal map from that. I don't save the texture changes, in case I want to fix stuff later.
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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  DiGiTAL ZOMBiE on Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:25 pm

What a strange workflow, what 3D package are you using?. And when you say render out the diffuse do you mean your texture sheet with the blank UV islands on ready to paint in photoshop?. Just tried to DL your zip but get a damaged archive warning upon trying to open it. :S


Last edited by DiGiTAL ZOMBiE on Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  Ultiman on Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:15 pm

i cant open that file says it is corrupt Sad

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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:58 am

I don't have a NifSkope that works on Skyrim models, so I'm not doing UV mapping. I just match the new texture to the UV islands on the old texture. And I don't use a paint program except for the last step, i.e. Gimp to compress the DDS formats. I could do the main (diffuse) texture in a 2D drawing program, and have done many of those before. But when normal maps were invented, I figured the best way to do them was to actually model the objects in 3D so they reflect light exactly how they should, then render them with special lighting to create the normal map. I know there are programs that automatically generate normal maps by guessing which areas are smooth or bumpy, but those programs are guessing wildly (presumably based on hue or brightness) so why use them?

For my 3D program, I use Anim8or. It's very simple to learn, but the trade-off is that it's not very powerful (i.e. slow to use and limited capability). I tried Blender and after working through the tutorials every day for 3 months, I could make and change meshes all day long but the textures never mapped correctly, even when following the tutorials step by step. But since the 3D models I make in Anim8or are only used to render textures, it's still quicker than learning Blender for someone who doesn't do major modeling.

I don't know why the ZIP would be corrupt. It opens fine in Win7 native as well as WinRAR, on my machine (which, admittedly, is the machine used to create it). But while I can download and open the one I uploaded, it does give errors for some reason. I rebuilt the ZIP and renamed it and the file size is smaller and I got no errors from the uploaded copy, so try this one:
http://www.willadsenfamily.org/us/don/ttlg/models/dlwNorseDressv05.zip
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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  DiGiTAL ZOMBiE on Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:27 pm

Thats better Very Happy , your file opens fine now. It looks like your problem is simply not enough definition in your diffuse map, its very flat with very little tonal variation. The belt can be made to look more 3d simply by adding more tone and shade (if you look in game there are plenty of character textures with really nice painted on belts), the folds in the fabric are not really apparent or defined enough to affect your normal map much either.

Once its all painted up nice you then want to take your diffuse and use either the Nvidia normal map pluggin or Crazybump to generate a height map using the information from the texture sheet (not your model in this instance). These are both industry standard methods of normal map generation, and after three years of study (and including XNormal) these are the three most effective and accurate ways of normal map generation from a diffuse texture that I've found to date. Give them a go and compare the results to your regular workflow study

In this instance where you are painting from scratch I would use the model to bake off a ambient occlusion map, which i would then overlay over my diffuse a couple of times. This provides an instant layer of tonal variation and a good starting guide as to where to paint your lighter tones. (finer details like fabric folds you will need to illustrate with your own art skills)

As you have what looks like a metal material add a specular map to give this a reflective contrast and make it stand out against the matt of the dress fabric, this will give you another dimension of realism to play with and make your final design read better in engine Smile

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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:35 am

You're right about the belt. Right now it's basically a flat strap (an irregular polygon extruded along a path to be precise) with edges rounded by smoothing. If I decorate the edges, it should look more defined. And I agree that the diffuse map seems to need more definition because the normal map isn't doing its job...just not sure yet what to do about it, because of the rest of your suggestions.

The rest was over my head, so pardon questions that seem uninformed. I'm not trained as a modeler, I just made textures for various games when they needed done, using existing UV islands (except in ES4 via NifSkope where I could remap the islands).

Why would the diffuse map (the color and intensity that light is reflected from each point) necessarily have anything to do with the normal map (the angle and intensity at which light reflects)? To my limited understanding, a height/bump map sounds like lower tech than a normal map, and generating the normals from the diffuse map sounds like you're asking software to make preconceived assumptions about the object's contours (light=high and dark=low for example). That might work for a tavern sign, but I'm not understanding how it would be a good thing here. And I'm not clear how the specular map adds anything when the reflection intensity is a combination of the diffuse plus the normal maps -- I've only used specular maps (in combination with bump maps) when I was unable to use a normal map (no engine support for example).

While I know was ambient occlusion is, sort of, I don't understand it well enough to see how it applies to any object that does not emit its own light and is not shaped so as to cast significant shadows on parts of itself.


Last edited by runestyr on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:37 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed one part)
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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:37 am

I upgraded this texture in several ways:

* improved belt: position, edge definition, added belt tip
* improved overdress wrinkles
* added under-dress embroidery, color-coordinated of course
* darker hues on overdress by request
* new fabric texture, courtesy of DigitalZombie

But now, the compressed versions of the DDS look like 8-bit graphics, i.e. large pixellated noise has appeared in both the diffuse and normal maps. I used Gimp w/ the DDS plug-in to convert to DDS before, but I don't know what settings I changed in Gimp this time without realizing it. I tried different settings and all of them gave the same large-pixel noise...yuck.

NVCOMPRESS.EXE (64 bit version) doesn't have this problem, but it also doesn't seem to do much (if any) compression. These are the settings I use for that:
for %%x in (*.tga) do "C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NVIDIA Texture Tools 2\bin\nvcompress" -bc1 -rgb -nomips %%x

What settings should I be looking for that might be responsible?
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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  DiGiTAL ZOMBiE on Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:43 am

Hi There,

Good to see you are making progress, post up some after shots when you can. Just noticed your above post on texture theory. There is so much information available online it would be silly of me to type it out here again. For further reading I would certainly recommend 3D Game Textures by Ahearn publishing, i have first and second edition however I do believe its in its third currently and 100% worth owning if your interested in taking your knowledge on texture creation further.

As for saving the texture again, when you open a texture, in the right panel where it says Layers, Channels, etc. click the Channels tab. If you see no channel that says Alpha, go back to the Layers tab and save as DXT1RGB. If there is a channel that says Alpha, go ahead and save it as DXT5ARGB, as the file size difference between 3 and 5 is negligible compared to the quality.

Are you resizing any images? If so, when you hit Image-> Size, make sure Scale Styles and Constrain Proportions are both checked. Also, change the Resample Image to Bicubic Sharper and leave it on that setting forever. It works better than Bicubic Smoother for enlarging images.

For Mipmaps, go ahead and check 2. It's really all you ever need, although 4-7 depending on the game is industry standard. There is a filtering option in the center of the dialogue box, click it and check Unsharpen Mask. This will apply an unsharp mask on your Mipmaps, which will help make the transition from one to the next less noticeable.

Always open a texture using ignore existing Mipmaps, and always save creating new Mipmaps when using them. If you did save with existing Mipmaps, that could be the source of the problem right there. If they are being opened with existing Mipmaps, you will need to check the box in that first dialog that pops up to Ignore Mipmaps.



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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:56 pm

Thanks very much, I will try those things and post some screen shots.
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Re: Historically Accurate Norse Dress

Post  runestyr on Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:14 am

The dress is looking better.

Unfortunately, I was not able to solve the noise/pixellation problem. Both the green and the normal map exhibit the problem with any level of compression. The only variable that seemed to affect the amount of noise was the UV scaling of the fabric texture, i.e. the finer the texture the more noise appeared. To recap what I did:

1. None of these textures use Alpha. But, another thing I'm working on does use it, so your advice is well taken. Very Happy
2. The "5" format vs the "3" is good to know. I tried both and see what you mean on size vs quality.
3. No resizing needed, I set the size at render time.
4. My version of Gimp (2.6.11 64-bit) does not allow me to pick the number of MipMaps, and the filter options (only visible with Advanced open) are Default, Nearest, Box, Bilinear, Bicubic, and Lanczos. I tried them all and got the same result, except Lanczos which simply crashed that Gimp instance.

Here is an updated version of the mod (4.3 MB size because 2 of 3 DDSs are uncompressed):
http://www.willadsenfamily.org/us/don/ttlg/models/dlwNorseDressv07.zip
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and now for something completely different

Post  runestyr on Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:14 am

This is the thing I'm working on that uses transparency. It is a replacement for the female daedric cuirass (images NSFW):
http://www.willadsenfamily.org/us/don/ttlg/models/daedric-falmer-front.jpg
http://www.willadsenfamily.org/us/don/ttlg/models/daedric-falmer-back.jpg

Too bad the model has clipping issues. Mad
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