Some skins I've been working on.

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Some skins I've been working on.

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Will T
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Post by Will T » Wed May 24, 2023 7:49 pm

These aren't finished yet, but I'm getting to the point where I probably need a few tips to put the finishing touches on, so here's some shots of some skins I've been working on.

The TIE Fighter and A-Wing were both made using the Void skins that come with the opt - they're an amazing canvas once you figure them out. The others are made using a variety of editing techniques, some of which I've refined over time and so some elements of the X-Wing and Y-Wings probably need a second pass.

Anyway, without further ado:

Prototype A-Wing:

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Gold Leader Y-Wing with Dutch Vander and R2-BHD:

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Gold Five Y-Wing with Pops Krail and an R2 unit:

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(yes, I've also made an object profile that borrows the R2 dome from the X-Wing for the Y-Wing)


Red 10 X-Wing with Theron Nett and R2-X2:

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ANH Grey TIE Fighter:

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Gamma Squadron TIE Bomber:

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181st Squadron TIE Interceptor:

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Skystrike Academy TIE Interceptor:

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Some of them need base opts and cockpits finishing off, and the A-Wing and TIE Fighter at the very least need to me to learn some new weathering and texturing techniques, as they're a bit flat at the moment, but the potential of those Void skins is huge!

If I'm able to improve where I'd like, and if the respective opt creators okay it, I'm hoping to release these over the summer for anyone who wants a few extra ship paint jobs to play with.
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Ace Antilles
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Post by Ace Antilles » Wed May 24, 2023 7:54 pm

Very nice work!
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Will T
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Post by Will T » Wed May 24, 2023 7:58 pm

Bonus pics because I forgot I wanted to point out the Gamma Squadron skins work on the TIE Shuttle and TIE Bomber Advanced object profiles too.

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Image
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Vince T
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Post by Vince T » Thu May 25, 2023 9:23 am

Great job there mate!
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Post by Erd » Thu May 25, 2023 10:36 am

Love the ANH Tie Fighter!

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Will T
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Post by Will T » Fri May 26, 2023 10:01 am

Ace Antilles wrote:
Wed May 24, 2023 7:54 pm
Very nice work!
Vince T wrote:
Thu May 25, 2023 9:23 am
Great job there mate!
Erd wrote:
Thu May 25, 2023 10:36 am
Love the ANH Tie Fighter!
Thanks guys! I'm having a ton of fun working with these!

I wanted to demo something else I think is pretty cool. The 181st bloodstripe can be stacked, as most of the texture is transparent.

Take your base TIE Interceptor:

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And you can add the 181st stripe straight to it:

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Or you can instead overlay a grey skin, like the ANH TIE Fighters:

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And if you want to make that a 181st TIE, as I know some depictions of 181st Interceptors show them as more grey than the standard blue, you can just overlay the 181st skin on top:

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There's a ton of potential with how these skins work. Hoping to show off a few more fun ideas soon.
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Post by Bman » Sat May 27, 2023 6:19 pm

Looking good. I like the weathered chipped spots in the red stripe. Can you also make a version of the red strip less saturated and/or faded/sorta transparent ?
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Will T
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Post by Will T » Sat May 27, 2023 8:30 pm

Bman wrote:
Sat May 27, 2023 6:19 pm
Looking good. I like the weathered chipped spots in the red stripe. Can you also make a version of the red strip less saturated and/or faded/sorta transparent ?
I could do, but it won't look as good.

My first attempt at this was just a band of red with enough transparency to see the lines underneath, but it didn't look 'real'. Here's what it looked like (it's on the old DS version of the ship):

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The idea is this is paint that's been slapped on a complete TIE. Paint isn't transparent. It might be a bit of a different colour depending on the base coat underneath, but it wouldn't be as starkly different as what the above transparency effect does.


If it's just that this particular red is too bright a hue, I could probably change that but honestly it's pretty accurate to the X-Wing Minis model I based it on:

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Also, these images are all from OptProfileViewer because it's easy and I'm too lazy to set up in game screenshots. The final version of the stripe definitely looks better in game than any attempt using a transparency layer did.


EDIT: Oh, another point of reference (and part of the reason I wanted to make sure a grey version of the Interceptor existed), here's the Hasbro toy version of Soontir Fel's Interceptor:

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It's a pretty vibrant red.
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Post by Erd » Sun May 28, 2023 12:43 pm

Those victory marks on that last reference would be a good thing to add, a little bit more red to tie things together. Another thing to think about is that the chipping and scratches you've added are mostly vertical, while the majority of damage from debris hits and even the strokes of paint when the lines were added would be horizontal.

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Will T
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Post by Will T » Sun May 28, 2023 3:44 pm

Erd wrote:
Sun May 28, 2023 12:43 pm
Those victory marks on that last reference would be a good thing to add, a little bit more red to tie things together.
I've thought about doing them since linking that image, but it might not ever materialise.

Firstly, those are kind of a Soontir Fel specific thing, and the idea is for this to be more of a general 181st ship. I based it primarily off the X-Wing TMG mini because that's my preferred depiction; the grey Interceptor was basically a little bonus when I realised I could reuse most of the textures from the ANH TIE Fighter, and just a cool way to demo skin stacking - I never set out to actually make Soontir's TIE as depicted in soem sources.

Secondly, they might be a bit beyond my means. I can't stress enough that I'm just reverse engineering textures that DTM and Spyder made, I'm not building them from scratch. That means I've got to work with textures that have already been 'baked' and compressed down. Adding straight lines to a flat surface is one thing, but adding silhouettes to the curved surface of a sphere is very different. I could borrow some X-Wing decals from the internet, but I may have to warp them slightly so that when added to a flat, unwrapped texture they look right when wrapped onto a sphere. I'm not sure I have the artistic ability to pull that off.

I'll give it a go, because it would be another nice demo of skin stacking, but if you don't see any images surface on this thread, it's because I couldn't make it not look terrible :D
Erd wrote:
Sun May 28, 2023 12:43 pm
Another thing to think about is that the chipping and scratches you've added are mostly vertical, while the majority of damage from debris hits and even the strokes of paint when the lines were added would be horizontal.
I think that's just the angle I've taken the screenshots at. They're more round than they are favouring any particular problem.

Also, I'm again limited by the resolution I can work in. It's a lot easier to get weathering looking good when you can work in a high res master file and then compress the textures down once finalised. Trying to go for more accurate looking streaks just didn't work - it was either too blurry to look like a scratch, or way, way too big. The scratch on the front of the wing was about as small as I could go and still have it look like a scratch, but if I'd repeated it, the stripe would have ended up more scratch than paint.

It's something I'd definitely work on if I decide to redo it, but for now I'm really just trying to demo how easy it can be for even a talentless schmuck like me to make something that looks halfway decent.
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Post by Talaris » Sun May 28, 2023 6:16 pm

Some very nice skins there! Perhaps there’s a chance you can work closely with the team to produce alternative skins in the near future 😊

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Will T
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Post by Will T » Thu Jun 08, 2023 4:27 pm

Still working on some things.

This needs a weathering pass, but I'm not 100% sure of the colours I've used yet, so I probably won't hit it with too much grime and scoring until I've got the palette nailed on. It's suprisingly hard to figure out.

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Note, the reference for this is the X-Wing TMG mini with this paint scheme, which is a bit different from the 'R-22' style in Rebels its based off. Notably, the cannon colours and engine housing are totally different, while some of the markings are in slightly different places.

Photo of the model for reference:

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Sneak preview of another A-Wing skin I'm working on...

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Currently, I'm trying to figure out if I can reverse engineer a good weathering layer mask from the existing textures. Using transparency on the Void textures has worked great for things like panel lines and details, and it does a decent of varying the colour tones to look lightly weathered, but unfortunately it doesn't preserve the hard weathering that's supposed to go right through paint layers. The shapes are there, but they are fully transparent down to the 'paint' layer, so you just get patches of the colour layers in true colour, rather than a bit of metallic grey, for example.

As an example of what I mean, here's Spyder's base texture on the A-Wing engine:

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Note the patches of worn off paint around the rings.

Here's my Phoenix skin:

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You can see the same patches are there, in the same shape. But on mine, the patches are done with transparency, and just show the colour layer underneath.

Finding a way to retain the colour variation and banding, but making the fully transparent parts into a layer mask that can go to a nice metallic grey at the bottom is proving difficult, but I feel like there's a way....



I've got better at doing my own weathering, which will be needed for new areas of colour, but I'd still love to know how the pros do it so I can hopefully get it looking as realistic as the above.

I'd also really love to know how everyone picks out colour choices. My process has become looking up colour charts of various model paints, finding the hex codes and then testing them out to see which one fits best. But I'm struggling to fine tune the process, and rendering something in a program is obviously a bit different from real life paint, which is subject to lighting, base coat colour and paint thickness.

EDIT: Oh, I also meant to say...
Talaris wrote:
Sun May 28, 2023 6:16 pm
Some very nice skins there! Perhaps there’s a chance you can work closely with the team to produce alternative skins in the near future 😊
So, actually a big part of why I want to do this is to show that XWA modding is easier to do outside of the 'official' XWAU than ever before. My goal isn't really to have these made part of the next Mega Pack or anything like that, it's to get more of a 'hobbyist' XWA community going where people can use all the amazing resources the team is producing to make and share their own content.

It's also because I really want to inspire people who maybe are contributing to the team to include things like blank skins, or other skin support in future opts or updates. They are getting used!
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Post by Bman » Sat Jun 10, 2023 12:21 am

Another idea, if you upscale existing textures say i.e. 32 bit texture map from 512 x 512 to HD 2048 x 2048, make your weathering edits, save, and then rescale back down to original size, that might be a way to keep image sharp. But it might loose some detailed pixels too. Not sure but might be worth a try.
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Will T
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Post by Will T » Mon Jun 12, 2023 8:51 am

Bman wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2023 12:21 am
Another idea, if you upscale existing textures say i.e. 32 bit texture map from 512 x 512 to HD 2048 x 2048, make your weathering edits, save, and then rescale back down to original size, that might be a way to keep image sharp. But it might loose some detailed pixels too. Not sure but might be worth a try.
It's a really good idea, and I had actually been meaning to try that before.

Turns out while it appears to work really well, you lost just a bit too much in the scaling down. It ends up looking basically the same as the smaller brushes.

Which is probably the more accurate problem I have, honestly. The A-Wing textures are 1024x1024. Should be good enough, really. I think the problem is just I'm working in free software, and the stock brushes aren't the best. There's probably a plugin for GIMP that would be better at doing this, but a quick research hasn't found me anything.



Anyway, I've done some weathering, learning more and more as I go, and I've updated the colours are bit. It's not perfect, but it might be about as good as I can do with reverse engineered textures. I'm pretty happy with this. Once I've compressed and exported the Base textures, I'd probably consider this ready for release:

Image
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Ace Antilles
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Post by Ace Antilles » Mon Jun 12, 2023 5:07 pm

Looking good 👍😎
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Post by Trevor » Tue Jun 13, 2023 8:28 pm

Will T wrote:
Mon Jun 12, 2023 8:51 am
The A-Wing textures are 1024x1024. Should be good enough, really. I think the problem is just I'm working in free software, and the stock brushes aren't the best. There's probably a plugin for GIMP that would be better at doing this, but a quick research hasn't found me anything.
just because a texture is 1024x1024 doesnt necessarily mean you can get good weathering. it depends on the texel density on the triangle.

if upscaling then downscaling provides "the same as before" then it sounds like thats what your stuck with as the texel density just isnt enough for the weathering style you are doing.

it would be like me trying to add a tatoo to my head, I couldnt do it in the base texture as it would be a blurry blob(32x64) - I would need to add a decal.

Trev

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