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XyZspineZyX
06-21-2003, 09:28 AM
I wonder what are the best settings to decrease color depth before you save your skin as a bitmap (in PSP 7). Sometimes it looks rather crappy sometimes rather good.
And some skinners seem to have found a way to do that without much loss of quality (Hammerd or CanonUK for example).
How do you do that?
Oh and another question: is it possible to reduce color depth with GIMP? I didn't find any option yet.

XyZspineZyX
06-21-2003, 09:28 AM
I wonder what are the best settings to decrease color depth before you save your skin as a bitmap (in PSP 7). Sometimes it looks rather crappy sometimes rather good.
And some skinners seem to have found a way to do that without much loss of quality (Hammerd or CanonUK for example).
How do you do that?
Oh and another question: is it possible to reduce color depth with GIMP? I didn't find any option yet.

XyZspineZyX
06-21-2003, 04:17 PM
You might want to wait for one of the real pros to answer, but these are the settings that seem to work best for me:


http://www.world-data-systems.com/aerofiles/albums/userpics/sets.JPG


-------
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adlabs6
06-21-2003, 07:29 PM
I generally use these settings...

256 colors
Error Diffusion
Adaptive palette

Indeed the quality of the conversion can be spotty. Skins with very smooth solid tones are easy to make if you use colors which are known to convert to 256 colors with NO dithering required. Make a test page that is striped with colors that are very nearly the same shade, just a bit of difference each, and convert the page to 256 colors. You'll see which colors are less likely to dither worse than others, and use that 'hue' in your skin.

Also take care along the edges of camo marks, since the two colors may produce very odd dither colors. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to minimize the level of 'feather' along the color border, or randomize the boundry area before performing color depth conversion to 'force' the palette.

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Message Edited on 06/23/0307:22AM by adlabs6

XyZspineZyX
06-22-2003, 06:13 AM
Thanks, guys! I'll try that out.

XyZspineZyX
06-22-2003, 10:30 AM
My suggestion would be: save it it 24Bit depth and then use B.R.I.G.H.T. (http://www.planetunreal.com/fordy/bright.htm) (Best palette Reduction for Industrial Grade High quality Textures) from Erik de Neve (Epic Games).

Thats the tool they used in Unreal Tournament to compute the 256color-textures. This proggy is simply amazing! Check it out. Its (IMHO) way better then the routines in Photoshop 7.

Simply download it, save your 24Bit BMPs, open an command prompt in a directory with bright and your 24bit bmp´s and type "bright *.bmp -o -bmp -colors256". Then bright will convert all the bmps in this directory to 256colors with EXTREMLY high quality. (it will OVERWRITE them!! (due to the -o parameter)

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XyZspineZyX
06-22-2003, 02:04 PM
I use PSP7 too.I save my schemes in the following way:

1/save the template as a PSD file into whatever folder you use to hold your templates to work on.(I have one on my desktop I called "FB Utilities").This allows you to come back and work on the layered template as you see fit.

2/Now save it as a GIF file,it tells you it will be reduced to 256 colors and have no Alpha channels and asks if you wish to continue,click Yes.Once done close the template.

3/Now re-open the GIF template and save it into the relevant aircraft skin file in the game as a BMP file.

Job done!

I found that saving the initial PSD file straight to a 256 color BMP file lead to color distortion occuring.The GIF step has eliminated it.If you have any of my skins try comparing one of my first ones to one of my latest and you should see the difference.

Hope that helps.

Bo_Nidle


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XyZspineZyX
06-22-2003, 02:34 PM
Thanks, I tried out Bo Nidle's trick with gif-files and it's an improvement.
But than I tried BRIGHT as InsaneDruid said and I think it's simply awfull! It nearly looks like 24 Bit.
That was more than worth downloading the 61 KB /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Edit: It's of course awesome not awful... my mistake

Message Edited on 06/23/0312:03PM by Vermicelli

XyZspineZyX
06-22-2003, 03:18 PM
You think it's awful or awesome?

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adlabs6
06-22-2003, 10:56 PM
Is the Gamespy Fileplanet the only place to get the B.R.I.G.H.T. software? They want a pile of info about everything I play, think and do... likely for a Spam fest.

I'd like to try B.R.I.G.H.T. out if I can without all the baloney from the downloader, if possible.

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XyZspineZyX
06-22-2003, 10:59 PM
page me email addy will email file to you

adlabs6
06-23-2003, 12:19 AM
Taylortony, Thanks for the offer Sir!

Before I returned to find your reply, told those people everything they want to know, including my favorite breakfast cereal, so I could D/L the file out of desperation. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-mad.gif

I've been having the toughest time with this 256 color conversion system, especially with my P40 skin. Last night I stayed up till 4 a.m. painting the cockpit. I was overjoyed with the way it came out. Then I converted it to 256 colors and bam... the whole project was trashed. Apparently the additional colors added by the cockpit pushed the limits of my Photoshop conversion system over its limit, and reduced most of my fuselage shading to a simple 2 color, LARGE hash. Repeated efforts did not improve the result. After putting over 30 hours of work into that bodywork and 6 hours in the cockpit, I was more than a little mad. I went to bed at 4:30 a.m. with my pulse pounding, resigned that either I would paint my beautiful cockpit black to conserve color gamut, or I'd cancel the project.

"Bright" apears to have solved this problem. Here are some shots of my cockpit as examples. All the images below I hand painted using the 'airbrush', 'paintbrush', and 'pencil' tools, all set to a brush size of one pixel.

This is how it looks in the PSD, 24 bit color:

http://www.geocities.com/adlabs6/B/bin/Detail24.JPG


This is what the Photoshop 256 color conversion did to it... The rest of the plane is even worse... unreleasable!

http://www.geocities.com/adlabs6/B/bin/Detail8.JPG


Here is how it looks after BRIGHT conversion, what an improvement:

http://www.geocities.com/adlabs6/B/bin/Detail_bright.JPG



All of those parts were cropped from the WHOLE file which had bee converted to 256 in each case, not converted as they are shown (which would've messed up the conversion dithers). The parts are shown at 200% magnification, and were painted at 300-500%.

Thanks goes out to those who built this software, and to the guy who linked to it here. I will rest better tonight! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif



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XyZspineZyX
06-23-2003, 04:53 AM
Dealing with a 256 color pallet and associated dithering has always been a challenge for me, and I've developed some techniques for dealing with it. But, certain situations have continued to give me grief. One of the worst offenders is subtle shading on bright, light colors. Yellow (RLM 04) is a good example.
So...I ran a little test of my own with BRIGHT. I couldn't get it to run from a command line in Win XP, but a simple batch file solved the problem and is simpler anyway.
Here are the results:

A 32 bit PSD converted by Photosop 7. note the awful dithering in the rib shading of the rudder:

http://u1.lvcm.com/covsplace/CompletedWW2/images/BrightTest_NO.jpg


The same PSD (saved as a 24 bit TGA) ran through BRIGHT. The difference in the rudder (yellow) is amazing, and it's better overall with the rest of the colors:

http://u1.lvcm.com/covsplace/CompletedWW2/images/BrightTest_YES.jpg


I have to say...I'm impressed. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

I need to work with some of the available switches to see what they do, but this should have a noticeable impact on the quality of my skins from here on out.

Geat find, InsaneDruid! Thanks.



Hammerd

XyZspineZyX
06-23-2003, 12:01 PM
Oh how embarassing, of course I mean awesome...
It's good that you understand me even if I write the complete opposite of what I want to say /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

XyZspineZyX
06-23-2003, 06:07 PM
there is also an add on for BRIGHT and a photoshop plug in for it, to be honest this is a bit over me, anyone know if this will help? and how do you use it?

see http://udn.epicgames.com/pub/Content/TextureSpecifications/

XyZspineZyX
06-23-2003, 07:15 PM
The plug-in is the hot setup. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
Doesn't allow for any switch tweaking, but I didn't see any differences with any of them anyway.
It appears to be an older version of BRIGHT than the other though.

Hammerd

adlabs6
06-23-2003, 07:21 PM
I don't know about the plug in version. I do OK with the command line system myself. I may write up an article on how to do the command line method if I have time.

BTW, I am truly amazed at how 'smooth' the textures look in FB after processing with BRIGHT. I can't get over it. Hammered is right about the lighter colors being tough to shade correctly in 256, but I wonder how much of a color shift may be induced by the BRIGHT process? Eg. How far from the selected/intended color does the conversion shift the paint colors? I only wonder since some folks use the actual historical color codes. Hopefully the shift is small, and even better, invisible on most colors.

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XyZspineZyX
06-23-2003, 08:06 PM
For starters "actual historical color codes" is only someone's interpretation. There are as many variations as there are experts. I won't even get into batch to batch variations and in field concoctions./i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
Besides different video card settings, monitor settings, and game engines all influence what you actually see on screen. About all you can do is pick one, get close, and then tweak it by eye on your' system.
As you can see in the above screens though, the difference isn't noticeable...at least on my set up. /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Hammerd

XyZspineZyX
06-24-2003, 12:05 AM
Like I said at Il2skins.com forum... Amazing tool! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Thanks a lot Insane Druid...!! /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif


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adlabs6
06-24-2003, 02:03 AM
Hammster wrote:
- For starters "actual historical color codes" is only
- someone's interpretation. There are as many
- variations as there are experts. I won't even get
- into batch to batch variations and in field
- concoctions./i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
- Besides different video card settings, monitor
- settings, and game engines all influence what you
- actually see on screen. About all you can do is pick
- one, get close, and then tweak it by eye on your'
- system.
- As you can see in the above screens though, the
- difference isn't noticeable...at least on my set up.
- /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif
-
- Hammerd

Very true Sir. I mainly use the colorlists as a starting point, and work from there into whatever seems best. This is quite obvious in some of my skins, who's colors are far from the imagined 'ideal'.

Also I have completed a few quick tests on BRIGHT. So far its biggest achillies heel is its handling of circular, or elipical color gradients. Banding is almost as bad as Photoshop's default conversion in such cases on my setup. Its seems that an area with a more random shade dithering (most everything) is helped most.

Ocassionally some subtle colors that crossfade on a white ground are effected pretty badly as well, but gladly no worse than Photoshop.



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XyZspineZyX
06-26-2003, 04:00 AM
Adlabs6, you can get results just as good as BRIGHT by choosing the right settings in Photoshop.

In photoshop 6,

Image->Mode->Indexed Color...
Palette: Local (Selective)
...Colors: 256
...Forced: None
...Transparency: no
...Matte: None
...Dither: Diffusion
...Amount 50%

adlabs6
06-26-2003, 05:37 AM
Thanks for the info Theo,

I use Photoshop 5.0 LE to skin, can't afford a newer version. IIRC, the settings you mention aren't in my prefs. In fact the only settings my version has are 'use system palette' and 'diffusion dither'. I had been considering a switch to GIMP (I used this a lot some years back) on order to get such features, but BRIGHT is making my work easier, and I am just to settled into Photoshop.

I once had the demo of Photoshop 7. Very nice stuff. Maybe someday... /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

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XyZspineZyX
06-26-2003, 04:08 PM
In order to use the plug-in version of BRIGHT, which directory in PSP and/or Photoshop should it be extracted to?

XyZspineZyX
06-26-2003, 05:27 PM
Some images in this thread don't work!

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XyZspineZyX
06-27-2003, 02:40 AM
Does anyone have another link to B.R.I.G.H.T.? The one above is linked to a corrupted file. I've had good luck with Photoshop in reducing to 256 bmp files, but some of the pictures in this thread look very nice.

Or if someone would be so inclined as to email me the file, I'd be most appreciative.

rjelmiles@comcast.net

Thanks in advance.

Rjel

XyZspineZyX
06-27-2003, 02:55 AM
Oops....I guess those web search engines really do work. I looked for B.R.I.G.H.T. and found it.

Thanks all,
Rjel