Dang shans and other graphical problems

If anyone read that Cheap-second hand graphics topic, several shipyards were posted. I downloaded some of the ships, but they didn't come with shans, and I cannot figure out how to create a working shan for them, let alone get it to recognize it over a rlEd or rlE8 resource.

And EnRLE is confusing me when I try to convert it to rlEd/8. I figured out weapon and planet sprites just fine, but ships it starts asking me the same question forty times in a row.

And is there any quick and easy way to bring classic outfit/shipyard/planet picts from things like EVC to the proper resolution with Graphic Convertor or GIMP? They look really ugly and pixelated right now...

The shan does not override the RLE resources. It tells Nova how to interpret and display them. Make a shan with the same RID as the ship it's for and set the base image to the RLE resource ID in question. There are, of course, a number of additional options, including running lights, alternate sprites in two different formats, engine glows, shield bubbles, and banking sprites. The Bible is the best reference here.

The problem is they're PICT sprites with no shans. And I didn't make these graphics, but downloaded them from Onyx's and Saber's shipyards. Without shans, I can't get them to work, assuming I could figure out how to get Nova to recognize the fact that I'm using PICT based sprites.

Nova first looks for RLEs and if it doesn't find them it looks for PICTs. So as long as you don't have any RLEs of the same ID it'll use your PICTs. I believe this was mentioned in the other topic.

I highly doubt there is anything wrong with the resolution of any of the PICTs you're trying to use. If your spin/shan specifies an incorrect size when using PICT sprites then both Nova and EnRLE will scale the output accordingly.

And what is so hard about making a shan?

I downloaded ships for my plugin and none of them came with Ship or Shan resources. All I did was simply copy/paste the Ship/Shan resources from the Federation and Auroran starships into my plugin and tweak them to reflect the type of ship portrayed by the graphic.

When I downloaded the graphics and expanded them they had no file extension but EVNEW imported them happily as RleD's and PICTS with no problem. I used RleD's because then I didn't have to mess with Spin's or anything else. (Did your graphics come as PICTS or is that how you imported them into your editor?)

It is possible to convert PICTS to RleD's on a PC in a couple steps (for Mac I have no idea but I expect the process would be similar) it just takes a while.

@joshtigerheart, on Sep 26 2006, 04:22 AM, said in Dang shans and other graphical problems:

The problem is they're PICT sprites with no shans. And I didn't make these graphics, but downloaded them from Onyx's and Saber's shipyards. Without shans, I can't get them to work, assuming I could figure out how to get Nova to recognize the fact that I'm using PICT based sprites.

Why can't you make a Shan and copy paste in the PICTs. Then convert to RLEs?

This post has been edited by Modesty Blaise : 26 September 2006 - 09:56 AM

I'm using Mission Computer, and if there is a way to get it to make the shan of the ship itself, I can't figure it out. I don't know all the little pixel measurments and all those details and I can't figure it out. Nova either ignores my replacement PICTs and shans or crashes without saying why in the debuglog. I've never delt with sprite editing or more than copying and pasting existing shans. I'm not a graphics guy.

And wasn't EVC/O outfit/shipyard pictures in 8 bit format and Nova in 16 bit format? Or something along those lines? Because when I try to use graphics from the previous era, they look really really bad in the outfitters/shipyard.

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It is possible to convert PICTS to RleD's on a PC in a couple steps (for Mac I have no idea but I expect the process would be similar) it just takes a while.

Theres Mac Apps for it (EnRLE and DeRLE), and I figured out how to get weapon and steller sprites to convert, but shans seem to be a bit different.

@joshtigerheart, on Sep 26 2006, 03:12 PM, said in Dang shans and other graphical problems:

I'm using Mission Computer, and if there is a way to get it to make the shan of the ship itself, I can't figure it out. I don't know all the little pixel measurments and all those details and I can't figure it out. Nova either ignores my replacement PICTs and shans or crashes without saying why in the debuglog. I've never delt with sprite editing or more than copying and pasting existing shans. I'm not a graphics guy.

Rles replace PICTs, shans just refer to either, just to clear things up.

What you do to create a RLEs from PICTs for a ship.
1. add a Shan
2. add the PICTS. Give the mask and base different IDs.
3. refer to the picts(mask and base) in the shan with ok IDs. Give the shan a name. Add the sprite size and other information needed.
4. make a ship resource with the same ID as the shan.
5. Save and drop plugfile onto EnRLE.
6. Copy and paste in the resulting Rrled and Rle8 files.
7. result should be an Rled, an Rle8, a shan, and a ship resource.

Hope this helps. The ship resource might not be necessary, but it is the way I have always done it.

I have sometimes run into a problem where I think i copy the entire PICT but instead just get a preview. When I then paste the image is really small and therfore the ships becomes grainy, but this should be visible in MC if you look at the PICT.
Are you using preview to copy the files into MC?
If so that might be the problem.
You might try to use Graphic converter to make PICT resource files out of the PICTs and import them directly into MC.

@joshtigerheart, on Sep 26 2006, 03:12 PM, said in Dang shans and other graphical problems:

And wasn't EVC/O outfit/shipyard pictures in 8 bit format and Nova in 16 bit format? Or something along those lines? Because when I try to use graphics from the previous era, they look really really bad in the outfitters/shipyard.

Might be. I am not sure.

This post has been edited by Modesty Blaise : 26 September 2006 - 04:31 PM

If you've got PICT sprites and need both RLEs and their associated shans, I recommend using the "Make RLE" command in the "Utilities" menu of MC. In the middle of the bottom of the dialog box, you'll see the words "sprite resource" and three radio buttons, one of which is labelled "shan." MC isn't asking you for a shan -- it's offering to make one for you at the same time that it makes the RLEs! This is your easiest route to making sure you've got the pixel dimensions and frame count right.

Now, if you've already got RLEs and don't have the source PICTs, or if you want to get fancy with glows and such, I suggest making a trip back to good ole' NovaTools if your Mac can run it. For starters, its RLE viewer windows (unlike MC's) tell you the pixel dimensions of your sprite. For another, NovaTools shows you the effects of fiddling with shan parameters in an RLE (and/or PICT) pre-viewer right in the middle of its shan editor. This is particularly useful when you get fancy, since it shows glows, shields, weapon exits and other such things directly overlaid upon the base sprite.

As to upping the color depth in EV/EVO sprites... some 256-color sprites (Onyx's, for instance) actually look pretty good once they've gone through RLE-ing -- it depends on the original palette. I've fiddled with trying to improve other sprites by using GC to up the color depth to millions, applying the "median" command, applying "unsharp mask," and then taking the color depth back down to thousands. Sometimes it helps... sometimes not. Another approach would be to to do a variant of the LASIK technique: take a large 256-color ship, up the color depth, apply a bit of unsharp mask if needed, scale the sprite down to 50%, and use it to represent a smaller ship.

This post has been edited by Dr. Trowel : 26 September 2006 - 05:35 PM

@joshtigerheart, on Sep 27 2006, 03:12 AM, said in Dang shans and other graphical problems:

And wasn't EVC/O outfit/shipyard pictures in 8 bit format and Nova in 16 bit format? Or something along those lines? Because when I try to use graphics from the previous era, they look really really bad in the outfitters/shipyard.

No, I think the problem you're talking about is EV/O's outfit and shipyard pics were 100x100 while Nova's are 200x200. Obviously Nova's going to scale them up and they won't look all that great. There's really nothing you can do here unless you think you can find some fancy sort of scaling algorithm which will give better results than Nova's own scaling. Or perhaps apply various sharpening effects and such after scaling.

Gosh dang Trowel, that worked perfectly. How come I never saw that before? Now I feel blind and ignorant. 🙂

Yea, thats what I meant with the outfit sprites. If GIMP is anything like Photoshop, I shouldn't have any problem rendering them better myself I suppose. I was just hoping there was some quick and easy way to do it. Guess I'll invent it?

GIMP does many of the same things photoshop does, and some photoshop doesn't.

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