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Little homemade aids for object creation
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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:35 pm    Post subject: Little homemade aids for object creation Reply with quote

This was brought up in another thread, but it got me to wondering. I imagine a lot of us have made or downloaded some sort of creation aid that helps making things a bit easier or more streamlined. These are things that are almost never mentioned on boards, but just hearing about them might give us all some ideas.

In that other thread, I showed a simple little image that has diagonal guides on it that I made up to help me get the top and bottom angles right on objects - that's one example. The Z templates that come with Bunny Wuffles' tutorial kit is another. And I seem to recall a grid meant to help match up tiles on multi-tile object graphics - can't remember where I saw that, maybe a bed tutorial somewhere?

I once made a four-rotation one-tile rug - just a white square with the direction printed on each sprite (one said NE, one said NW, etc). I meant it to be useful for testing objects that looked nearly identical from different angles. The problem with it was that I didn't always remember make -sure- the rug and object were both pointing toward the same spot, so it sometimes only confused things. :lol:

I'd like to hear about what other people have come up with - any little shortcuts and gadgets that help in making things in some way. Even the ones that didn't work out so well - knowing what doesn't work can be just as useful as what does. Doesn't even have to be a visual aid - Mtaman's tip about using a single pixel as a place holder for X and Y purposes applies here!



Diagonal.jpg
 Description:
This is the one mentioned in another thread - the quick and dirty diagonal guide as skewing aid
 Filesize:  5.91 KB
 Viewed:  11095 Time(s)

Diagonal.jpg




Last edited by annettebrks on Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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jotapomba
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i started making objects and using TMOG, this was one of the things that i was confused. The orientation of each TMOG position.
Here it is!

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ruthml
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jotapomba, I'm with you there - for months I had a little post-it note which said NW, NE, SE, SW - until finally it sunk into the memory.

Annette, there is a grid in the Bunnywuffles tutorial kit. I find it invaluable for getting angles & perspective right - and getting edges on furniture straight.
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bruja
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This won't be the slightest bit of help in object making, but when you start skinning, you need to know that the first time you use a mesh, and figure out which is the left side and which is the right side of the front AND the back, you should use your graphics program to put an L over the left shoulder of the front AND of the back onto your uv map.
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mtaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Annette, one of the first things I did with Rug-O-Matic was make an arrow rug. :lol:

That a good tip, bruja, because some of the meshes flip the front and some don't.

I made myself a big tmog background grid.

In Tmog, left means subtracting from x, right means adding to x, up means subtracting from y, and down means adding to y.

I keep my z buffer templates in my tmog folder at the same level as the sprite folders and xml files. That way I don't have to do a complicated search for them when I'm ready to do the z sprites, I just back up one level.

I made IffPencil2 my default opener for iff files and Notepad my default opener for cmx and skn files.

I also added the maxis yellow and both the thumbnail background blues as part of my swatch collection.

What keeps messing me up is that I know the way the rotations are in tmog, but that is not the way the extracted sprites are in the folder. They are extracted NE, NW, SE, and SW.
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Raeven
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine is a Z-buffer aid.

I use this for working on the Z buffers of small objects. I don't tend to draw objects from scratch. Instead I frequently snip something from a larger image (like we've been doing to build up the Clutter-box) and make that it's own object. This means I have a Z buffer from Maxis but it's not usually the right shade (the item is not usually center tile and is usually elevated off of the floor).

Instead of using Tmog to make a new Z for them I adjust the Maxis one using an image That I have saved in individual layers.

One layer has the Z buffer of a one tile rug (actually I used the Z buffer from one of SSoW's seamless dancefloors but that's essentially the same thing). The second is a copy of that Z buffer but with guidelines crossing through it from corner to corner so I can see where the exact center of the tile is.

After trying to position the small item by hand I take a screen shot of the object in Tmog with the grid on. I paste that image into my Z Buffer aid and remove the white leaving the object and the grid dots. That lets me position the screenshot over the Z buffer template with the centering guides perfectly and see if my object is actually positioned properly. If not I can see how far off it is and position it better if need be.

Once it's positioned where I want it to be I export all channels and load the Z buffer up in my graphics program so I can copy the object's current Z into my Z buffer guide, positioning that on the tile just as the object is positioned on it's tile.

Now I can darken or lighten the Z buffer (usually lighten) until it's bottom is just slightly darker than the Zbuffer guide. I Actually use the color picker to see exactly how much I need to adjust the Z buffer but other people would probably eyeball it.



z-buffer-aid_example.png
 Description:
An example of using the Z buffer aid to adjust the bowl from the Super Star buffet table to a curio item
 Filesize:  7.7 KB
 Viewed:  11100 Time(s)

z-buffer-aid_example.png



z-buffer-aid_guides.png
 Description:
A copy of the Z buffer but with guidelines crossing through it from corner to corner so I can see where the exact center of the tile is.
 Filesize:  1.75 KB
 Viewed:  11100 Time(s)

z-buffer-aid_guides.png



z-buffer-aid.png
 Description:
The Z buffer of a one tile rug (actually I used the Z buffer from one of SSoW's seamless dancefloors but that's essentially the same thing).
 Filesize:  1.6 KB
 Viewed:  11097 Time(s)

z-buffer-aid.png



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bruja
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those look as if they're going to be very helpful, Raeven. Thank you.

Quote:
I made myself a big tmog background grid.


Will you share a copy? For our toolboxes?
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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a suspicion that the order those rotations appear in T-Mog have been a source of confusion for an awful lot of beginning creators! I think I probably still have the note laying around someplace where I wrote myself a little reminder of which notch meant which rotation. :lol: You'd expect for them to be alphabetical (at least I did), and it throws you off. I still sometimes forget what the order is.

Bruja, thanks for that tip. And even if I never really get into skinning in general, chances are I'll end up wanting to make something for an NPC that comes with an object. Sometimes the two skills cross over!

What a great idea to make a texture swatch of that Maxis yellow! Up to now, I've usually pulled up some Maxis sprite from another object to get that yellow, and there isn't always one handy.

Mtaman, I'm curious about how you went about making that big T-Mog grid. Did you start with a screenshot and then just carry the lines on from there? Sounds like a really good idea.

Raeven - that's ingenious! I've gone so far as to make a separate layer where I drew lines to identify intersections, but it never even occured to me to actually make them directly on a template. And by the way, could I coax you into mentioning your formula for darkening or lightening a horizontal Z when changing its position? That one's been invaluable to me. Anything that saves some time in Z work is a great thing!
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ruthml
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NW, NE, SE, SW

N comes before S in the alphabet, so the north ones are before the south ones. Looking at a compass, West is to the left of East, so it's NW then NE. Then reverse it for the south views - SE & SW.

Kinda clunky but it's how I memorised it.
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bruja
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
NW, NE, SE, SW


If you're in the U.S., think of starting in Seattle, then moving clockwise though New York City, Miami, and finally to San Diego.
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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aha! It's clockwise, starting in the top left corner! That never occured to me until you described it that way, Bruja. It's actually very helpful, because we tend to forget the order when it makes no sense to us. This makes it much more logical.
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mtaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took screen shots of the stage in Tmog, one of the rotations had a lot of open space in the middle, then I started copying and pasting to expand it. If you need it bigger, copy and paste and match up the dots.


backgroundgrid.gif
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Background grid of Tmog
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backgroundgrid.gif


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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a great help, thanks very much for posting it!
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bruja
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, thank you for the grid. If I ever get to make a 2 tile object, it will be most helpful!
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Raeven
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd mentioned elsewehere that the little template for making thumbnails could be found in this thread but since I was mistaken here 'tis :)


template4thumbnails-maxisbg.zip
 Description:
Small bitmap with the two squares of colors that Maxis uses as a background for items in the buy and build mode catalogs

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 Filename:  template4thumbnails-maxisbg.zip
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