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Author Topic: Textures Pack for New Systems  (Read 32196 times)

Tartiflette

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Textures Pack for New Systems
« on: July 24, 2014, 04:04:09 AM »


Ever thought that while vanilla textures are great for making vanilla stuff, they become a bit limited when you try to stretch the boundaries of the game?
Well then these are the textures you were looking for! More variations in your planetary rings, dusty systems, shiny giant stars, sharper clouds for big planets and a huge collection of backgrounds. Everything here is free to use in your mods. Click on them to get to the High resolution image.

Collection of system textures:

New texture elements to populate your systems. I'm providing an already named archive: do not change their names or place if you didn't modified them, that way if several mods are using the same texture the game will only load them once. Given the memory issues rising, that seems like a good idea. Here's how your mod folder should look like.

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Star halo
Star corona
Soft clouds
Medium clouds
Heavy clouds
Giant clouds, can add a bit of life in giants when used with low opacity.
Star clouds, can add a bit of life in stars when used with low opacity.
Swept clouds

Cloudy ring
Vanilla sized rings
Dusty ring
Saturn rings, can be cut in quarters to make thinner rings.
Small rocky ring, works well in conjunction with the Dusty rings, several can be combined together to form a Oort cloud.

And here the result using some of those:
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Collection of backgrounds:

The collection is growing steadily, so check back from time to time if you didn't found the background of your dreams  ;) Unlike the planets textures, backgrounds are loaded on demand and can be duplicated across mods without any memory concerns.
 
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If you want one of them without stars to make your own sauce, just ask, I'll upload the file.

About the rings texture:

The API says about the rings:
            /*
             * addRingBand() parameters:
             * 1. What it orbits
             * 2. Category under "graphics" in settings.json
             * 3. Key in category
             * 4. Width of band within the texture
             * 5. Index of band
             * 6. Color to apply to band
             * 7. Width of band (in the game)
             * 8. Orbit radius (of the middle of the band)
             * 9. Orbital period, in days
             */
After spending some time fiddling with the values I've come to the conclusion that:
The indexes are determined by the division of the texture size by the texture width in game (*7)
The index is placed in the middle of the band and they start with 0 on the left
One should always use the same value in both *4 and *7, the games does not stretch the bands in texture width but in the length. This can lead to unwanted results, see this for visual reference.
For the textures I provide, Cloud, Dust and Rocks NEED to be 1024 in *4 and *7. Sharp can be either 1024, 512 or 256 depending on your ring size, and Small have to be 256.



This is a simple process to get some nice nebula that almost match the ones in the game. Once you get used to it, you can churn out new backgrounds every 45min to one hour.
It is a Photoshop only tutorial! It should work with any CS version.

Spoiler
Phase one, THE CLEANUP

   For starter, you need an image, obviously, of relatively high resolution. Don't worry if it's a bit under 2048px, but don't take a highly compressed thumbnail. Also avoid all the already retouched ones, as they are often compressed, or burnt in the white and black. The best is still to get them at the source: the Nasa and Hubble websites. This is especially a good idea since all those images are NOT COPYRIGHTED.
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/index.html
http://hubblesite.org/

Since it's a game background, I'd suggest to avoid pictures that have large bright areas or too much contrast, as it might be too distracting.



   It's a classic, true, but a nice one. Now we need to get rid of all those pesky stars. To do that, we will use the Clone stamp tool, and the Healing tool.
The Clone Stamp allow the pick some area of the image (clicking with ALT) and then painting that area elsewhere. This allow to erase the big stars with  nebula or space rather than with a solid color.
This is only useful to erase the biggest stars, the small ones will be taken care of later.



   Now to erase the small ones there is truly a magic tool: the Spot healing brush. After each stroke, the software will check the highlighted area for mismatched patterns or bright spots and erase them with surrounding details... It' like an automatic stamp tool that only erase small stars!



   In a few minutes you can get rid of most stars, don't bother whit the tiniest ones if they aren't too bright. A few Clone stamp strokes to erase the couple of spots the healing tool might have messed up (like on the borders) and you're good.

Phase two, THE EFFECT

   If your image wasn't at the right size before, this is the time to crop it to 2048x2048. Why now and not before? Well the healing brush does some artifacts, so the tinier they are, the better.

   Now to get a somewhat painterly effect: You may have noticed before, most of the "painting" effect in photoshop don't work that well... However there is one unrelated effect that, if overused, give a nice airbrush aspect. That effect is the Reduce Noise. The settings are simple: max strength, no sharpness! Generally you need to use it between 6 and 10 times to get a nice smooth effect. Also keep a copy of your layer after a couple of effects, for later use.



   A second useful effect is the High Pass. This effect will allow you to give back some local contrast to your image (meaning contrast between shapes, without crushing your whites and blacks). Duplicate your less denoised layer several times (I personally go to 4) and apply the high pass effect to each of them, each time with a different precision (in my case, 2 pixels, 5px, 10px, 20px). After that you can combine them in Overlay fusion mode. Why to use that cumbersome method instead of applying a simple sharpness effect? 2 reasons: much less artifacts, and more control since you will be able to change it's opacity or paint a mask later.



   Then all is left to do is combine those layers: The smooth one at the bottom, the sharper one above in Multiply fusion mode and 25% to 75% opacity, then the High pass on top in Overlay mode and 25% to 75% opacity.



Phase three, THE COLORS

   This is the fun part: curves, color correction, hue saturation, gradients, layer in Color fusion mode, everything is good to change the color of the nebula to your liking. As a finishing touch, I sometime add an different image on top in Color mode after blurring it. It add some nice variations in the color that might be missing when using too many gradients and color corrections.



   Don't forget that too much contrast and saturation can be distracting when playing!

Phase four, THE STARS

   This can be a tricky part. You may have noticed, it is actually quite difficult to find a nice starry background on the internet. Most of the time there is too much stars, not enough, too bright, too small,  with a nasty star-glow or even a lens-flare! Things are even more complicated by the fact that the games background use a very stylized aesthetic (slightly blurred, often not completely white in the center). Of course the best course would be to take a brush and paint your own stars, but there already is a starry background in the game. So most of the time I don't bother and directly integrate the background_4 in mine (the subtle nebula in it often add a nice effect) that way I'm sure to stay close to vanilla.



You'll notice there are more tiny stars behind the nebula rather than in front for obvious reasons.

After some finishing retakes, I get this:
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And for further improvement of your mod, check SniZupGun's BoomBox to find sounds!
« Last Edit: January 31, 2019, 01:58:22 AM by Tartiflette »
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kazi

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Re: Painterly backgrounds depot (large images)
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 12:15:48 PM »

Ooh those are pretty good! I like the 5th and 3rd from last ones a lot.

I'm more curious how you created the images than interested in the images themselves (maybe just give me a short one-paragraph description and I can figure it out). I'm assuming you used a filter like "oilify" or something?

Also one thing I've learned while painting backgrounds myself is that they need to be mostly black (very close to absolute black) or planets will look a little funny, especially if they have no atmosphere (a little bit like floating spheres against a flat background).

It also looks like you used the "background4.jpg" as the base starfield for all of your backgrounds. To create your own, grab an ultra-high res starfield shot from NASA (or somewhere like that), crop out a 2048x2048 area starfield (with no nebula, stars only!) and create a layer mask from a greyscale copy of the image. This wipes out all of the smaller stars (everything smaller than a couple pixels, which doesn't look good in game) and gives you a very painterly starfield that you can just plop in the back of your background, with no residual "blackness." You can color the stars very easily from there if you so choose.
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Tartiflette

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Re: Painterly backgrounds depot and tutorial
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 06:12:25 AM »

Added a small tutorial on how to make those backgrounds.
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mendonca

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Re: Painterly backgrounds depot and tutorial
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 08:15:38 AM »

This is great, thanks Tartiflette.
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HELMUT

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Re: Painterly backgrounds depot and tutorial
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 01:33:23 PM »

I'm intrigued by the fonts you used in your Nebula Tutorial title. It's very similar to SS style, how did you do that?
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Tartiflette

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Re: Painterly backgrounds depot and tutorial
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 02:09:39 PM »

It's quite similar indeed, since it's one of starsector fonts (Insigna) that you can find in the game files. ;D
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Tartiflette

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2014, 12:18:20 PM »

Bump because HUGE modification of the thread and I didn't wanted to make another one while they are complementary:
In addition to the ever growing collection of backgrounds, I posted new texture elements to populate your systems: new rings, new stars, new clouds, everything needed to expand the vanilla content.
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The Soldier

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2014, 01:25:01 PM »

Oh, they look REALLY nice, the Red Star in particular. :D
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Debido

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2014, 01:27:18 PM »

Stunning, beautiful work. Well done! Definitely be using this in future projects.
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Cycerin

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2014, 02:05:42 PM »

This is such an asset. Great work.
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kazi

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 11:35:06 PM »

Ooh these are a definite improvement over vanilla! Nice work! Also the "star clouds" starting image is the EXACT starting image I used for my last planet lol... (it's a Mercator projection of Mars, correct?)

One thing I might want to see put together is something to overlay rocky planets/moons/stuff without an atmosphere. Currently the transition from those types of planets is a little on the jarring side. Like it goes from planet to background in the space of a pixel, which seems a bit rough. Having something to smooth the transition would be FABULOUS.
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Tartiflette

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2014, 12:24:46 AM »

I wouldn't call them "better" since Vanilla is still the best for vanilla stuff, but if you want large scale stuff, or more variation, it's a bit limited. Also I'm far from David's planets quality. I started making some of those, and one day I'll probably will post them here too, but they scream bad photoshop for now.

For smoothing the barren planets, you may try to add an "atmosphere" the same color as the planet and low opacity, it will make them slightly diffuse on the edges, like a small glow effect...
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Tartiflette

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2015, 04:05:52 AM »

Necro-bump because I added plenty new planets texture and some backgrounds, also reorganized the thread for better readability.
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Xanderzoo

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2015, 10:07:37 AM »

If I use these for a mod I'm working on, do you want me to give you credit? And if you do, in what way should I?
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Tartiflette

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Re: Textures Pack for New Systems
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2015, 11:14:12 PM »

I won't force you to do it, but a little thanks in your thread with a link to this one would be nice.
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