Kexikus

[WIP] High quality skyboxes

331 posts in this topic

Oh! Just the landing and take off vids?

 

That wouldn't be as bad, then  :P Kexikus was talking about all the cutscenes, but yeah, landing and take-off wouldn't be that massive of an undertaking, then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the others are equally bad / low quality so I don't see the point in doing only some cutscenes. But let's not discuss this in this thread. If someone wants to start such a project, he/she now knows that there are others who'd help and can create a thread for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 But let's not discuss this in this thread. If someone wants to start such a project, he/she now knows that there are others who'd help and can create a thread for it.

Done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I have fixed my area model issues, I can finally show you what I was trying to do:

 

Xt5Bxo9h.png

 

The royal palace is finally visible from the skyramp!

 

I know that its textures probably need some work and it definetly needs some lightmaps, but I think it's looking pretty good already :D

The skybox in the background is still the vanilla skybox as I've yet to find the right clouds for my own Onderon skybox. Next on my list is thus to continue experimenting with clouds and to figure out how to create lightmaps.

 

In other news, I tried the red version of the Korriban skybox again with a changed fog color and it looked quite promising. I don't have a screenshot of that, but I'll show you the result once I decided on the final lighting, color and fog.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SPQvInvh.png

 

The palace is now lightmaped although I'll probably tweak that lightmap some more while working on it.

 

And in the background you can also see a low quality version of my current clouds for Onderon. They're not quite what I want yet but I think I'm getting there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks to me like the light bake is too uniform. Given the sun position in the scene, the building should be fully lit on the left and in shadow on the right (as you look at the pic).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I don't think so. If you look at the shadow of that column thing on the left, it's going pretty much in the direction of the camera. If the lighting were like you described it, it should go to the right.

 

The palace would look better if it were lit closer to what you described, so maybe I'll tweak it to get a little closer to that, but I'll have to see.

 

Random question: Is it possible to get the ingame sun position somehow, i.e. the light direction that's used for the dynamic shadows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can get the co-ords of any actual lights, sure. For 504OND:

 

SunAurora

 

-533.71211 279.90932 234.846

 

AuroraLight01

 

-533.71211 359.2618 559.90398

 

Seems like AuroraLight01 is the actual sun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SPQvInvh.png

 

The palace is now lightmaped although I'll probably tweak that lightmap some more while working on it.

 

And in the background you can also see a low quality version of my current clouds for Onderon. They're not quite what I want yet but I think I'm getting there.

They're definitely looking closer to the cutscenes for sure.

 

For the record THAT noise in the cloud level is what made me abandon Terragen for most if not all of my skybox projects. I don't know if it's the renderer or what, but it just ruins an otherwise awesome cloudscape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can get the co-ords of any actual lights, sure. For 504OND:

 

SunAurora

 

-533.71211 279.90932 234.846

 

AuroraLight01

 

-533.71211 359.2618 559.90398

 

Seems like AuroraLight01 is the actual sun.

 

Where did you get those from? The model files?

 

They're definitely looking closer to the cutscenes for sure.

 

For the record THAT noise in the cloud level is what made me abandon Terragen for most if not all of my skybox projects. I don't know if it's the renderer or what, but it just ruins an otherwise awesome cloudscape.

 

That noise is just the render/atmosphere quality setting and/or the anti-aliasing being set too low. Increasing these values will remove the noise but also increase the render time which is why I'm not doing that for testing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent the last days iterating over dozens of versions for the Onderonian sky. And here's the current result, also showing the updated lightmap for the palace, using the sun position provided by DarthParametric:

 

dJ88bKth.png

 

And here's another view down into the city:

 

CEGqktph.png

 

And just for fun, here's an animation showing some of the iterations I went through:

 

iXGVRgn.gif

 

The really dark ones in the middle were probably the closest to the vanilla skybox but in the end I decided to go with a brighter sky as that works better with the sun position and area lighting.

 

As always, I might still tweak that skybox but I think I'll let it rest for now while I work on one of the others.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's probably the fog doing that. Does the same to the original palace. Might be better to turn it off for that module.

 

Progress looks good, though. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah. In that case you should be able to disable it just for the palace room rather than the whole level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cause is indeed the fog (which I already modified to be weaker) but disabling it only for the palace would just make the palace stand out against the other rooms in front of it. I'll try disabling it completely or I'll keep it the way it currently is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding the line "compresstexture 0" to the txi for your boxes may stop the game from auto scaling the textures down to that grainy 1024x1024. Seems to have worked on my latest creature textures, but it's honestly difficult to tell the exact difference on those smaller models at the moment. I'll confirm later if this works, but just passing it along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding the line "compresstexture 0" to the txi for your boxes may stop the game from auto scaling the textures down to that grainy 1024x1024. Seems to have worked on my latest creature textures, but it's honestly difficult to tell the exact difference on those smaller models at the moment. I'll confirm later if this works, but just passing it along.

 

Thanks for the tip. I'll keep that in mind and see if it makes any difference for the final textures but the current test renders are only 512x512 anyway, so it doesn't really matter quite yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cause is indeed the fog (which I already modified to be weaker) but disabling it only for the palace would just make the palace stand out against the other rooms in front of it. I'll try disabling it completely or I'll keep it the way it currently is.

 

Yeah, that's why I suggested to disable it. The game's fog is terrible in general, usually a waste of time to mess about like that.

 

However, if you do want to keep it and mess about like that, I'd suggest disabling it for the palace and then changing its self illumination. That's pretty much what the fog does anyway, and you'll be able to set it to whatever color you want and reach a happy medium.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So yeah, that other skybox I worked on after Onderon turned out to be Onderon... But it's not the same skybox. Instead I worked on the skybox used down in the city, which obviously uses the same terrain but is rendered from a different point of view. At the same time, I added a better skyline to all Onderon city modules (including the civil war module). For that I rerendered the vanilla ond_skyline01 and ond_skyline02 textures in 3ds max and then modified the skybox models themselves to include the skyline. For the spaceport module I only had to scale and move the already existing model parts to bring them in line with the city seen on the skybox, but for all other modules, I added the new backdrop buildings. At the same time, I also moved the skybox itself downwards, as it was placed way too high (which resulted in the horizon being too high). Then I also had to move the sun in my renders, so that the shadows in the module match the sun position again, and I also had to move the clouds as the shift of perspective from the top of the mountain down into the city resulted in the sun being hidden behind clouds which I didn't want. But in the end it all worked out and I consider Onderon finished: (Disclaimer: I'll go over all skyboxes before rendering them in high quality and might tweak them, but don't expect any big changes.)

 

UQbfR9qh.png

 

nU5Ro7Uh.png

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More progress: I finished modeling and texturing the backdrop buildings for Manaan that are seen from the hangar and in some parts of the city. I still need to render them properly, i.e. with a better alpha channel than the one seen on the following picture, but apart from that they're done. The sky in the background is taken straight from my original HD skybox release. That's not quite final but it will stay mostly the same apart from being rendered directly at the full resolution.

 

m3ruULlh.png

 

As I mentioned before, I still need to render this with a proper alpha channel so that I don't have to add the alpha channel manually in Photoshop. That's easy when doing a standard render with one camera, but here I need to do a cylindrical render. For that I use the "Panorama Exporter" but that doesn't seem to generate an alpha channel. Even if I tick "Save Alpha channel" (or whatever the option is called) when saving the render to a texture, the alpha channel will just be full opacity.

Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong here? Or any suggestions on how to get the alpha channel with a cylindrical render?

 

Edit: Found the solution. Applying the "WarpAround" shader to the lens produces a spherical render that's close enough to a cylindrical render for me to use it.

 

 

Also, another question. As was discussed before, the skybox textures in both KotOR games are cut off at their edges and also often don't have the horizon in the right place. For my original skyboxes, I just fixed that by stretching the texture but that obviously causes a loss in quality, so this time, I decided to edit the models instead. For the horizon, that's easy: I just moved the meshes up or down.

 

I thought fixing the cut-off edges would be easy as well but that was due to an incorrect assumption. I had thought that the textures were cut off because the meshes overlap, but it turns out that this is not the case. Instead it's an issue with the UVW map that is slightly smaller than the texture. For the vanilla 512x512 textures only about half a pixel is missing at each edge so there's no visible seam (sometimes it's actually more than one pixel missing and for some reason still no seam), but with bigger textures, that half-pixel becomes about two pixels which is very much visible ingame.

 

Now, I could of course manually adjust the UVW map for every mesh using an "Unwrap UVW" modifier but that sounds really tedious and boring. So I was hoping that someone here has a better idea about how I could fix this. Maybe it's possible to do these edits in the ASCII model? I don't know.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has this got an ETA at all?

 

I know what you all say about release dates but my anticipation is quite high for this and I need my fix after the disappointment TLJ turned out to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has this got an ETA at all?

 

I know what you all say about release dates but my anticipation is quite high for this and I need my fix after the disappointment TLJ turned out to be.

 

No but you can always check the very first post in this thread to see how much work is done.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now