Finally, an update!
Since I havn’t posted an update about the USS Dauntless for a while now, I thought I should let you guys know something about it. I’m still working on it, albeit slowly. Deck 6 (engineering, deflector control) is comming along nicely. I’m also doing some experiments with some shaders and textures which is also taking its time.
RAW in the park
I went to a park a week or 2 back. I took my DSLR and my dad was so generous as to lend me his great 24-70 F/2.8 lens (you can really shoot some ultra-sharp photos with that one). I took a lot of pictures of nature, grass, stones, gravel, metal plates, cloth of tents that where set up there etc. to build my “images database” from which I can create textures.
I also tried my hand at shooting in the RAW format (.NEF file format on my Nikon D3200) with a DSLR is great actually. I never cared much about it untill my dad told me about the advantages. RAW images contain much more color data which would get compressed (and thus would be lost) when saving directly as JPEG. I have a nice example here of a picture that was taken with slightly wrong settings and came out too dark. To the left you can see the original, unedited picture, in the middle the RAW imported automatically enhanced version and to the right the JPEG imported and manually enhanced version.
Had I opriginally saved it as JPEG directly on my camera, all hopes of getting the actual colors captured back would be lost. Well, I’m being over dramatic, but since the information gets compressed in a JPEG, it would be harder (and in some cases impossible) because you are basically throwing away the color data. You can see this clearly as the right image looks a bit bland. There is also a more subtle effect: the reflections of the trees in the glass, they aren’t as overly bright in the RAW enhanced image because that color data was still present. Luckily, I shot in RAW and the color information is still present in the data since RAW images are saved with a higher than 8-bit per color channel color depth (i believe my camera saves it as 10-bit per color channel, but I’m not 100% sure). Since our computer monitor only shows 8 bits per color channel, the information stored in those last 2 bits is not seen. But with some Photoshop tricks (that is, pressing the “auto” button when opening a .NEF file on white balance and exposure settings), the image looks perfectly fine, plus it is done automatically versus having to adjust color levels manually when working with JPEG. You can play around in Photoshop some more to get the correct white balance and exposure settings, which is great for getting good reference images to use as textures. You just have to make sure you have a neutral white balance and a good exposure to get a good base texture in order to use some other tricks later on to edit it to the requirements for the map.
Check out teh YouTubez
I’ve been experimenting with this after Griffin Endurance gave me some tips about how to create realistic looking textures. Griffin also has a series about creating textures in Paint Shop Pro on his YouTube channel, so check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaALLJdLXvo
Of course I am not going to leave you without at least a little REAL eye candy. So here is the top view of the layout of deck 1 of the USS Dauntless as seen in GTK Radiant. I’ll be posting more of these in the future, so you can already get a feel of the deck layout of the map once it is finished. Enjoy!