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Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10935] Thu, 11 August 2005 07:12 Go to next message
Khor1255 is currently offline Khor1255

 
Messages:1817
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
I've been image modding for close to a year now and still only get results through exhausting trial and error.
I've read and tried numerous longwinded methods of converting colour palattes with only mariginal success.

What I'm asking here is for someone to briefly explain what the best method for converting .bmps (or other image types) to .stis so that you can see the exact colours while they're still loaded in you're imaging program. In other words removing the need to load the image into the game, start a game and test the image before you can see whether the colours look right.
Please, even include the optimum programs to use for Ja2 image modding as I'm not above buying $100 software to help me work on this game.

If you'd like you can add you're general tips for image modding but please answer the topic question first.

Thank you very much for you're contributions.

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10936] Mon, 29 August 2005 06:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
the scorpion

 
Messages:1834
Registered:September 2004
Location: CH
i don`t think it is possible to exactly see how your image would look like in ja2 without loading a game of ja2

the methode i`m usually quite happy with is about like that:

convert to 24bit .bmp
shrink to size

i find it useful to have the original sized picture in the background so i can compare. the human eye is very good at tracking similarities/ differences/

clean it up. if it is a bright picture, it may require to make it darker using photoshop or another program
(the mdguns pictures practically always require to be darkened)

open an existing sti
make a new multipage
select the bitmap image as your colour palette
import the bitmap image

for mditem/ guns pictures, it is useful to pack all images in one big bmp and select that one as your palette for mdguns/ items

if you examine the files snap has recently linked too, the pictures can get quite nice quality if darkened enough

but i guess you knew all of this already

sry if i was of no help

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10937] Mon, 29 August 2005 18:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Snap is currently offline Snap

 
Messages:286
Registered:September 2000
Location: USA (by way of the Old Wo...
Most JA2 STI's use 256-colour (8-bit) palette. When you paste an image using one of the STI editors, they'll decrease the number of colours in the pasted image, but since they use pretty simple algorithms to do that, the results may not be optimal.

What you can do is reduce the colour depth using an image editor. If you can't afford Photoshop, there is a very good free image viewer/editor called Irfanview. When you open your picture with Irfanview, go to Image/Decrease color depth and choose 256 colors. Save your picture. Then go to Image/Palette/Export palette and save the palette in .pal (Photoshop) format.

One of the STI editors (the buggy German one Smile ) allows you import a palette. Import your saved palette first, then paste the image.

Does this help?

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Master Sergeant
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10938] Wed, 31 August 2005 11:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Khor1255 is currently offline Khor1255

 
Messages:1817
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
Yea that helps alot. Thanx guys.

I've been up in the hills the last few days and haven't gotten to check in.
The animations are comming along but 139 frames x 12 means slow going.
The first thing I'll finish is the crouching and prone LAW series, followed closely by crouching and prone grenade throwing.

Hope to be done before tooo long.

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10939] Wed, 31 August 2005 12:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
the scorpion

 
Messages:1834
Registered:September 2004
Location: CH
the buggy german sti-edit actually allows you to use YOUR VERY PICTURE as the palette.

for bigitems you should really make use of this feature (no need to simply recolour your whole pic to black anymore!)

keep the pic in 24bit depht and use it as the palette for the .sti

this allows for decent quality in the bigitems graphics

(for mditems you still need to use a lot of black i`m afraid)

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10940] Wed, 31 August 2005 12:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Khor1255 is currently offline Khor1255

 
Messages:1817
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
When you say buggy German STI Edit, how buggy do you mean?
Also, do you need to unpack it into a Ja2 install and if so does the install need to be a certain .exe type? I really doubt it but thought I'd save myself some head scratching in advance. Thanx again.

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10941] Wed, 31 August 2005 19:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Snap is currently offline Snap

 
Messages:286
Registered:September 2000
Location: USA (by way of the Old Wo...
STI-Edit can be unpacked anywhere. I remember it caused a couple of nasty crashes for me, and there were some other kinks that I don't remember now. It's safer to close and open it for every STI rather than keep it open.

The palette acquisition feature in STI-Edit is so-so - for best results I would recommend an image editor. Also, it will sometimes pick the wrong colour for background. You should know that the STI always treats the first colour in the palette as the background colour (often it is blue, but it doesn't have to be). So when you make a palette by whatever means, make sure that the first colour is the background colour. Using Irfanview you can edit your palette.

When making multi-page STIs, a good technique is to make a composite image that incorporates all or at least the most representative pages, then reduce that to 256-colours and make a palette from that (don't forget to put them on some distinct background, like blue!) That way the same palette will work equally well for all images in the STI.

IIRC, mdguns (or was it some other multi-page STI?) uses black as a background colour, which is super inconvenient. What I did was I exported the palette, then changed the background (the first colour) to something unique like green or blue. After that I didn't have to worry about my pictures having holes in them because they happened to be black in some spots.

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Master Sergeant
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10942] Thu, 01 September 2005 03:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Khor1255 is currently offline Khor1255

 
Messages:1817
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
Thanx man.
I was asking about the specific differences between the German STI editor and the English version.

A handy thing you mentioned (and I always thought but never tried) is replacing the background colour if it doesn't work well with you're picture.
From Scorpion's post I took it to mean that with the German version of STI Edit you don't even need a special background colour. If I misread, please correct me because this is one of the most attractive features I saw him mention. I've never had any luck with moving pallettes into of out of the STI Editor. There surely must be something I'm doing wrong but don't know what.

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10943] Thu, 01 September 2005 03:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
the scorpion

 
Messages:1834
Registered:September 2004
Location: CH
@snap

a simple double click lets you edit the background colour

usually using white as background will do it though

yes, don`t treat sti-edit as a useful programm because it always crashes after you close it. best way is to open an existing .sti file

btw it`s mdp1items that uses black as background. it really is handy to change that background to blue or red or so, but a simple double-click will do that... no need for an image edior graphic program

in sti-edit, you can always handpick the colurs of the palette

sometimes you need to re-load your picture after you made adjustzments to the palette. in most cases it`s not necessarya though (given you have prepared your picture well before using in sti-edit)

http://www.freewebs.com/ja2vengeance/comparison.bmp


i added an example where the picture in paint is almost identical than what sti-edit displays

i might not look as clean and polished as when i have a longer photoshop session over it, but sti-edit pretty much displays what i want to see

ahhh, it takes forever to load. sorry

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Sergeant Major
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10944] Sat, 01 October 2005 22:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mysterious Dr.X is currently offline Mysterious Dr.X

 
Messages:33
Registered:March 2004
Location: Croatia

Howdy rowdies!

I got a question about the weapon-graphics, too. My problem are the sm-guns-pictures. You know, the ones which you see, when you drop a gun to the ground.

I just wonder where I can those x/y-numbers from, which STI-Edit needs to place the gun in the middle of the tile.

Example:
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7241/lalelu0xe.gif


Dr.X

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Private 1st Class
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10945] Tue, 29 November 2005 12:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrjmwarren is currently offline mrjmwarren

 
Messages:37
Registered:November 2005
Location: Houston TX
Hello all, I have been playing JA and mods for the last three years. I am now interested in making my own mod. I have never done any editing for JA, and would like help with the basics. Can anyone help. Thanks

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Private 1st Class
Re: Best .STI Colour Palatte Conversion[message #10946] Tue, 29 November 2005 13:09 Go to previous message
Khor1255 is currently offline Khor1255

 
Messages:1817
Registered:August 2003
Location: Pleasantville, NJ
This is actually a largely recycled post I made a while back trying to help someone who also wanted to get started. Let me know soon if you need anything.


I could donate some face .stis (the animated faces) maps and give you advice on general modding. I'm not any real virtuoso like some of the folks here but do have a rudimentary command of most of the modding tools so could save you some time figuring this stuff out.
However, my plate is already full when it comes to actual work on modding. I'm also flying out to California this week and expect to be very busy for about the next week starting thursday but if you e-mail me before then, perhaps I can get you started. I'd love to actively contribute but there is a boatload of work ahead of me to get the idea I'm trying to develop even back on track let alone done. This stuff is extremely entertaining but also extremely time consuming.

My first suggestion would be that you download as many modding tools as you think you might be needing to make you're idea come alive. They all have brief descriptions on what they're for and as you get further into this you'll understand what some of the more nebulous sounding ones do. For starters get:

SLF Explore (this utility extracts data from the .slf files into data you can actually modify). THIS IS A MUST HAVE ITEM

STI Edit (with this beauty you can change almost any image in the game).

Wedit 2.4 (if you're really basing you're mod off of the UB .exe you'll need this tool to alter weapon and item statistics use in conjunction with either Excel or...)

Batman's desktop editor (a Ja2 spreadsheet program that lists all weapon item data and descriptions in an alterable format)

They should get you started but as you get a little farther along you may find these tools leave you without the means to fully develop you're mod. In this vane my strong recomendation is that you base you're mod around Madd Mugsy's exe because this I believe is the future of the game and you don't want to do work on something you later can't use. Don't worry, with the...


UB Map converter you can switch you're UB maps into standard Ja2 format and then use the...

Beta Map Editor as you're mapping tool. Also, if you've done anything for UB you can easily convert it over to Ja2.

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