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WHAT & HOW you SHOULD DO when making TEXTURES



  • It's time to wait until ScriptHook update again. Last days/weeks I was using tons of textures for my upcoming package so I decided use that time to deal with big problem in textures mods which is 'not 100% finished mods' and help to improve level of mods here.

    So if you are making or want to make any textures mod, take your time, read this tutorial to make sure your mod is 100% done and people will love it and don't need to say you what you didn't do and have to do :relieved:



    3D model textures

    First problem which is appearing really lot of time is making just 2D textures for 3D models which is caused I think by uninformed modders, coz making textures look like easy way to create first mods. 'Just have to change that picture right?' Not at all! When you are making textures for anything which is 3D not 2D for example 2D is cover of bottle, cover of book, magazine or poster on the shop windows. But models as logo of shop, brick walls, or any not flat model is 3D.


    What is difference between 2D & 3D textures ?

    The main point how you know if you are making 2D textures or 3D is maps files. When you have in customizating file - most of times inside of .ytd file - you can find there 2-3 files with same name with different ending.

    Example or Example_d
    Example_n
    Example_s

    This means the textures are 3D and you need to make NormalMap (called also NormoMap) & SpecularMap. Once you have done textures for 2D it's really easy to make this maps, so let's check how to do that.


    How to make texture Maps ?

    First of all I would like to mention how they look like to don't mix them up, which I also seen in few mods. File with ending '_n' is socalled NormalMap and it's blue picture with some tones. SpecularMap is ending '_s' and look like it's your texture in black&white filter. BUT NO IT IS NOT! Take care on this please. I seen it many times that people just get black&white filter on their files to place it on SpecularMap. Most likely they have no idea what Maps are and they just saw vanilla Example_n was looking like black&white Example_d .

    What you need for creating Maps is program like Phothoshop, which most of you making textures have I guess and your prepared 2D textures file. Your textures can look also like this - surface textures.

    0_1564036081640_Ancient_road_surface.jpg


    NormalMap

    Step 1

    Open your texture file, most often in PNG format, in Photoshop.

    Step 2

    Open Photoshop Menu > Filter > 3D > Generate NormalMap ...

    Step 3

    Now your picture changed to blue with some tones and you can see window with some type of silver ball with your textures on + few settings. Basically you can change just 1 settings which is 'Detail scale' (second bar). Use this to define how much 3D would you like your textures to be. I'm working most of times on scale from 20% for almost flat like floor tiles textures to 80% for 3D models as badges, shop logos etc.

    Your picture is changing in real time during changing this settups. In simpe words, more tones means more 3D. Next setting that you can play with is right after Detail Scale and it's 'Contrast Detail'. Here you can change Low, Medium and High points of your textures, coz Photoshop may not generate them 100% right. It's still just program right?

    If points that you mean to be low are high and vice versa don't worry, it don't happend often, but it can happend. For this you can find on top of this window the tick bar 'Invert Height'. When you're satisfied with your setting just click OK and save your file. Save as PNG, or if you want to be more advance texture maker, continue reading to find out how to save file as DDS with special NormalMap settings.

    Result would like this, in this case I had to use 'Invert Height' option & put highs from 20 to 75 coz this picture is not much good for program to recognize, and that is the case, when you have to play with it a bit and not just click OK right after generating.
    0_1564036309670_Ancient_road_surface_n.jpg


    SpecularMap

    Generating SpecularMap is a bit harder than NormalMap, but if you are a just a bit familiar with Photoshop, you can do it easily too. The result look pretty simple as NormalMap just picture is not blue but black&white (or better to say black&grey with tones, coz you don't want pure white almost never).

    They way how to make them is open your textures picture in Photoshop as we did in creating NormalMaps. This time we don't use filter. Go to the Photoshop Menu > Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and change midle bar 'Saturation' all to the left what mean your value change from 0 to -100. Click OK and go again to the image menu Photoshop Menu > Image > Adjustments > Curves. Grab the line you see somewhere in the middle and drag it the way to the right down corner, but not too much. Play with this just in distance of first square to make picture darker, but not all black. You need to see curves but you want eliminate most of white places to make it all black&grey.

    For more details you should use this step. Ok if you are not familiar with photoshop and you will be lost in this step, you can skip it, it would be still better than no Map, but take your time and make people love your mod coz you did all details right. You can do this step without the selection, but selection help you to color only the marked location and not paint all over the picture and the locations which are OK. For example in circle locations it's easy to paint and you don't need selection, but on places with a lot of edges it would be a lot healpfull tool.

    So, let's use 'Quick Selection Tool' which look like brush with dotted circle. Find the places which are too white but don't have to be reflective (more white the place is, more reflective it would be) and select them using this tool, it automatically find the edges so it help you with selection. If you don't see this tool, hold Magic Wand Tool and there it is. When you have selected white places take a Brush, set up black color and opacity 50% and make them a bit darker. Again don't make them too dark, you want them lighter then other places, but you want them a bit grey, not white. And that's it, your SpecularMap is alive.

    Result would look like this. In this case I was painting without selection. If you look closely, you can see it, but in textures like this it's ok because there is no 100% corners separating what have to be how much reflective. Example in what case you would want white parts is glass on the shops, where you want it reflective so it's part which would stay white.
    0_1564036480804_Ancient_road_surface_s.jpg



    Pretty simple huh? You just need to know about it and you can make it by yourself in few seconds. Before we look on DDS files and saving options I would like to check next really often mistake which are people creating textures doin' or maybe better to say what they're not doin'.



    Missing LOD

    Next often problem is that modder make nice and smooth textures for example for billboard ads. In 99% of time you don't even need maps here coz billboards are mostly flat = 2D. But once you move out of the billboard, it changes for original one. What happend? Did you do anythig wrong? No. You're just missing LODs.


    What is LOD ?

    Just in few word, coz explaing what it is, is not main goal of this topic. LOD is so called Level of Detail what means that if you are closer to the model, it have different file for textures as when you stay a away from it. It's in the layman words, for full definition visit wikipedia.


    How to find LOD & how this files look like ?

    First way how to find LOD is browsing folder using OpenIV, where did you changed the main textures. For example you changed textures in v_22.ytd so you should first of all find v_22_lod.ytd which is most oftentime there and contains main LODs for all files called v_22...

    Second file may be sLOD which mean SuperLOD for farther LODs of models. May look just like v_22_slod.ytd or v_lod_slod2.ytd. Or it can contain LODs for more files and in that case it's often called 'children' file which don't have to be in same folder, for example for all files v_21..., v_22..., v_23... and v_24... it would like somehow like this v_lod_slod3_21_22_23_24_children.ytd. Another pretty repeating file for LODs is called 'emissive' which can look like v_lod2_emissive_slod2.ytd

    All this files can be also in model version .ydr not only textures version .ytd. You may need to change all of them to get your LOD working 100%! If you change only LOD and not SuperLOD, you may go a bit far from model and still see your textures, but after you go a bit much more away, it again dissapear and change for original one, which of course you may not even notice on some places where is not much free space.

    You may be telling yourself 'really? So I should browse all similar files to find some LODs to make just textures?' Not you don't need, you can simply use tools prepared for this purpose for example I'm using CodeWalker.

    But this informations are usable for the purpose that you changed all LODs in files that program showed you and you are not able find any more, but your LOD is still not working right. It can happend for example when there is too much models and you are not able find and click all entities containing that model.


    How to change LOD ?

    Changing LOD is pretty simple, again you can use for it Photoshop. LOD is also texture file in DDS/PNG/JPEG formats where are walls and roofs of the models in one specific area placed to the one picture. So just find in this picture your billboard or another model that you want change LOD for and cover it with your new textures picture.



    YDR files conection to textures

    Speaking about textures and LOD's I have to say there is not always only '.ytd' files. Also files '.ydr' containing whole 3D model many times hold textures. Yes sometimes it's connected to their .ytd "friend" which may look like Example.ydr and textures are in Example+hidr.ytd. Sometimes it may be connected but you should forget about it and change textures also in YDR files if it contains any.


    How to change texture in YDR file ?

    Ok, you would like to change texture in YDR, but how? There is more ways how to do it, but first I explain for me best way to do it.

    You need to bring YDR file out of OpenIV first. Then open in with any program as for example I'm using Texture Toolkit which show you all DDS textures and allow you replace them or export them. Simply open YDR file and drag&drop DDS file with same name as texture which you would like to change. Take care, this tool work only with DDS files, not PNG. So if your textures are in PNG or JPEG format, you need to change them to DDS first which I will explain in a minute.

    Once you replaced the files you wanted, don't forgot save it. After saving you can close program and simply drag&drop YDR file back into the OpenIV targeted archive.


    My YDR is already modded and Toolkit can't open it

    This may happend if you have already modded YDR file. It never happend to me with vanilla files. Don't worry, it's easy to change it. This option is also other way how to change textures in YDR files. Instead of bringin' YDR files simply out of OpenIV, right click on YDR file and choose 'Export in openFormats (.odr)'. This will export YDR file as 1 .odr file + 1 folder containing textures. In this folder are DDS + OTX files of each texture + some MESH files.

    Just replace DDS files of texture you would like to change and after that drag&drop only ODR file into the OpenIV. It again remake this folder and ODR file back to the YDR file for you. It take few more seconds and it make more "trash" for you. I think using Toolkit is more effective and organised way.



    Work with DDS files

    One way which I was also using at the start but it's really strange is every time you need convert PNG file to DDS just open any .ytd file in your OpenIV, replace any texture with your PNG, export it as DDS and then don't save changes in .ytd. Stupid but it work :D

    After some time using this method I find out problem with converting files containing like 50% transparent parts. It changed the part of picture to clear and parts to no transparency. So next option, this time pretty usable is open any online convertor, upload PNG and download DDS. For example I was using this. It solve problems with transparency in files and work good. But there is still faster and more professional way.


    DDS in Photoshop

    That way is simply download DDS plugin for Photoshop. I'm using NVIDIA Texture tool which is free to download. Thanks to this plugin you can not only open DDS files and work with them without need to change them to PNG and then again back to DDS, but you can aswell save files in DDS format.


    Saving DDS files in PS

    Once you download plugin from link that I did, it should include pdf tutorials how to use them. But if you would not have them coz you donwload different plugin or any other reason, I would share simple steps to use it with my settings.

    Once you have done your textures picture, as always click in Photoshop Menu on File > Save as... and choose D3D/DDS. After this step will popup NVIDIA dds Format window. For simple saving DDS format in let's say average settings, meaning enough for game but not uselessly too high just choose DXT3 and click save. First time you should make sure the automatic settings are ok, so before first time saving DDS click in this window on 'Image Options' and make sure you have set up Image Type: Color Map and Compression Quality: Production


    Maps saving

    Once you made your NormalMap and SpecularMap by method I mentioned before, just simply save it as normal DDS file. But if you are too lazy and don't care what people think about your mod if it's perfect or not, there is another option - this section is just to explain setting that you might later find and wonder why don't use them and how it works, I DON'T RECOMMEND TO USE this way for making your maps!

    Once you are in NVIDIA dds Format window you find out that in possible formats is also format '3Dc' with note 'Normal Map'. You may wonder why don't use this format to save NormalMaps? Well, this option would make automaticly NormalMap from your picture. What means you can save your texture this way with skipping steps, that I show you to create NormalMap, BUT your NormalMap would be set let's say on 10% Detail Scale which is really low. This aswell means, if you use this settings to save NormalMap that you made, it would transfer it for low 10% NormalMap and your really long 1-2 minute work to create perfect NormalMap is lost.

    Next settings that you might find is button 'Normal Map Settings...' and inside this you will see tick box 'Convert to Tangent Space Normal Map'. Make sure this is not ticked! Yes, we are using Tangent Space Normal Maps in GTA but this option is for the case that you have World Space Normal Map and want save it as Tangent Space without hard work. In layman words, how to see difference on first look between this Normal Maps is that World Space is not only blue with tones, but contains also more colors.

    Here is example of difference.
    0_1564037051307_Mfunv.png



    I hope I didn't forgot anything and people would be using this a bit to improve their texture mods and make life for their followers easier (:



  • @ArmaniAdnr Perfect Tutorial but i am sorry for telling this. You forgot to mention SPECULAR MAPS and you called Bump map to _s . Actually you should call them SPECULAR MAPS whenever we mention _s the "s" word indicates specular and not bump maps (NORMAL MAPS) i would suggest to mention SPECULAR MAPS in the Description. :)



  • @Venkey hm, I thought specular maps are used just for LOD not for 3D models textures but that '_s' indicate you're right :D not sure from files right now, but that would mean some models would have only _n files (normalMap) and only some of them would have also _s files (specularMap), coz specular map is to say in layman words - if you have model which look like complex of 2models, specular map is map for just one of these models. Or in other words, it's map just for heights without showing lowland of model if I'm right :thinking:
    EDIT: to make example, badge of car brand don't need specular map



  • @ArmaniAdnr OH! Height Map is commonly we call DISPLACEMENT MAPS to enhance the surfaces for example Railway Track or something and you have to make blurry and brightness of course contrast also important.

    SPECULAR MAPS is for the Reflections for the Textures whenever the rain is completed.... All textures to start to glowing i mean reflecting even in the night when we turn on the car headlight the textures to start reflecting.



  • @Venkey oh so, I get it now :face_palm_tone3: So I changed this section, I think this way to make them would be enought for GTA files and pretty understable for everyone. What do you think ?

    SpecularMap
    Generating SpecularMap is a bit harder than NormalMap, but if you are a just a bit familiar with Photoshop, you can do it easily too. The result look pretty simple as NormalMap just picture is not blue but black&white (or better to say black&grey with tones, coz you don't want pure white almost never).

    They way how to make them is open your textures picture in Photoshop as we did in creating NormalMaps. This time we don't use filter. Go to the Photoshop Menu > Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and change midle bar 'Saturation' all to the left what mean your value change from 0 to -100. Click OK and go again to the image menu Photoshop Menu > Image > Adjustments > Curves. Grab the line you see somewhere in the middle and drag it the way to the right down corner, but not too much. Play with this just in distance of first square to make picture darker, but not all black. You need to see curves but you want eliminate most of white places to make it all black&grey.

    For more details you should use this step. Ok if you are not familiar with photoshop and you will be lost in this step, you can skip it, it would be still better than no Map, but take your time and make people love your mod coz you did all details right. You can do this step without the selection, but selection help you to color only the marked location and not paint all over the picture and the locations which are OK. For example in circle locations it's easy to paint and you don't need selection, but on places with a lot of edges it would be a lot healpfull tool.

    So, let's use 'Quick Selection Tool' which look like brush with dotted circle. Find the places which are too white but don't have to be reflective (more white the place is, more reflective it would be) and select them using this tool, it automatically find the edges so it help you with selection. If you don't see this tool, hold Magic Wand Tool and there it is. When you have selected white places take a Brush, set up black color and opacity 50% and make them a bit darker. Again don't make them too dark, you want them lighter then other places, but you want them a bit grey, not white. And that's it, your SpecularMap is alive.



  • @ArmaniAdnr Okay i appreciate, but i am just again suggesting to put the screenshots to the related topics from example like this:

    DIFFUSE MAP:

    0_1564024165132_example_box_diffuse.jpg

    BUMP MAP we can make normal maps from DIFFUSE MAP and as well with the HEIGHT MAP so this picture you're seeing from BUMP MAP from DIFFUSE MAP and the Height scale is high (100)

    0_1564024278240_example_box__normal.jpg
    and this BUMP MAP has been Inverted
    0_1564024337165_example_box_high_scale_normal.jpg

    And this LOW HEIGHT SCALE BUMP MAP :

    0_1564024369083_example_box_low_scale_normal_normal.jpg

    SPECULAR MAPS

    0_1564024727961_example_box_low_spec_LOW.jpg

    0_1564024751161_example_box_high_spec_HIGH.jpg

    And.... above all. And we can also make BUMP MAPS from HEIGHT MAP for example like this please note these bump maps from HEIGHT map not from DIFFUSE MAP and it's scaled to LOW

    0_1564024869529_example_box_diffuse_NORMAL_FROM_HEIGHT_LOW_SCALE.jpg

    And this one is FULLY maximum SCALED

    0_1564024990106_example_box_diffuse_NORMAL_FROM_HEIGHT_HIGH_SCALE.jpg

    and ALPHA TEXTURE we can call "ALPHA CHANNEL"

    0_1564025517938_example_box_diffuse_ALPHA.png

    So. why i am sending these means i am just suggesting to put some screenshots to the related topics like those examples mate. :D



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