Help wth glow effects

how do you go about it?

Hello again,

I've looked all over this site and found a few topics on this but there is one underlying problem with all them. the people already have a general idea of what they're doing. I on the other hand have no idea. I'll tell you strait up that I'm 3D program challenged. It usually takes me about 2 hours to open a mesh and get it to spin correctly to make a sprite and most of the time the angles are wrong or the lighting is off and I have no idea how to fix it.

So with that said....how do you make glow effects? Is there a tutorial or something around titled "idiots guide to making glow effects"? I'm looking for a simple and strait forward way of doing it. Most the topics I read go off on some 3D mumbojumbo lingo and I have no idea what's going on. I would love to add some glow effects to the borg ships as they would really look neat. I have strata 3D as well as blender. I do prefer strata 3D as it's interface is more like Photoshop, and I'm well versed with Photoshop, but some of the meshes I have only work in Blender and that program just confuses me to no end.

One other question I had is how do you set the camera angles? I've always done it by just dragging the camera around and such. I've never seen an option to allow you set the angle by typing it in.

Anyway if anyone can give me some pointers or direct me to an "idiots guide" for making glow effects and even how to set up the lighting and camera angle correctly on a mesh for making a sprite I would GREATLY appreciate it! I'm pretty sure most of the sprites I made for the borg ships are off as far as camera angles go and I would love to correct them.

Thank you very much for helping!

Geoff

What kind of glow effects are you talking? Engine, weapon, sheild, or just general glowy-parts of a ship?

I've found that coloring engines' glow and making them a shape you want, then doing it in post in PS is actually most efficient and gets you a pretty decent result. The alternative involves complex materials and surface-lights, which suck up rendering time.

Also, the camera angle-thing specific to NOVA was covered somewhere, but I prefer to set up a scene that allows me to render all of my ships at 1 set angle and then use those (as in a TC) rather than attempt to use ships in the stock NOVA universe. (That's one of the huge downfalls I believe to be in NOVA - Ship graphics are so hard to make and make look like they belong in the stock game. Classic and Override were way easier to make ships for.)

Anyway- doing a scene should be easy enough for you - set up your camera with a placeholder ship, and set it up so the ship will rotate (as for your sprites) without too much work being done on the actual ship itself. Save the scene out as a model file and just load your ships into it without changing anything to render them.

ya I was mainly referring to engine and other glowy parts of a ship.

I like the idea of doing them in photoshop as I'm well versed in it's use. I am unclear as to how to make the mask though. Do I just make the adjustments on a separate layer and then use that? I say that because doesn't the glow effects and general ship sprite have to be separate? or can I just make a different sprite with the glow effects added on and set that as the glow sprite?

I'm trying to get my hands on a copy of Lightwave for mac as most of the meshes I have are available in that format so I'm hoping that will make my life easier. I've never used it before but I think some of the ship details are being omitted by opening the files in programs other then that in which they were intended, such as importing 3ds into Blender or strata 3D.

and now for some of the stupider questions to ask....well I guess they're aren't any stupid questions just stupid people right 😉 Anyway you had mentioned making a scene, getting it all set-up and then adding the ship in....ok umm how do I do that? I didn't know you could open a file within a file. Also how do you know what angle the camera is pointed at? I know sometimes I can find the x,y,z location but that doesn't give me an angle. Then how far back should I set the camera? I know in the past I've had huge problems with the camera being too close and such. Is there a good set distance for any model? Lastly what intensity and direction is best to set the light at? or better yet what is the best light source to use and how far away do you generally want it to be?

Ok I think that about covers my current questions and I apologize for the noviceness of them.

Once again any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks;

Geoff

This post has been edited by Arringfray : 18 August 2011 - 06:03 AM

Shoot me a PM, and I can send you some good Blender tutorials, including how to use radiosity and halo effects, which you'd want for glows.

@arringfray, on 17 August 2011 - 11:48 AM, said in Help wth glow effects:

ya I was mainly referring to engine and other glowy parts of a ship.

I like the idea of doing them in photoshop as I'm well versed in it's use. I am unclear as to how to make the mask though. ...

Ah, engine glows. For any glow effect (pretty sure - it's been awhile; definitely for engines though), you do need to render the effect as a separate set of sprites from the ship. That usually means that the sprites are larger, since they have glows coming out the back, but to counter the problem this creates (what size exactly?) I usually render (using my scene- I'll describe that later) the image way bigger than it needs to be for both ship and glow and crop them down later (So I'll render my shuttle craft in the center of a 48x48 px box, even though the shuttle will be at 32x32 px; because the glow sprite will be 48x48).

Getting back to actual rendering of glows; beside setting up materials for my exhaust parts; I usually set the ship itself to be completely non-reflective black; to block out all light coming from anywhere. Then set up your engine glow to be a shape you like and a color (or white; you probably understand how to color it later in PS), and make it so it doesn't absorb or cast shadows (preferably an illuminated or fake-illuminated texture). Render the same way as the rest of the ship as described above.

@arringfray, on 17 August 2011 - 11:48 AM, said in Help wth glow effects:

Anyway you had mentioned making a scene, getting it all set-up and then adding the ship in....ok umm how do I do that? I didn't know you could open a file within a file.

Usually it's file:import or something. Worst-case, you can always open both files simultaneously and copy-paste between your ship model and your scene file. As for setting it up, that's all a matter of personal preference. If you've got sketchup; you can download the files in my sig and use them to see what I mean. The scene is basically just a camera, light, and rotate setting that you like for your files. It's pretty straightforward for TC's - but for stock EVN it's a pain since you've got to figure out exactly the angles they used or it won't look right (And I don't know them off-hand). I kinda wish they would have released a scene setup for us to use in the beginning, would've taken away all the guess work and provided more nicely-rendered ships (EVC/O were easy since they were top-down and didn't use fancy reflectivity or textures).

@arringfray, on 17 August 2011 - 11:48 AM, said in Help wth glow effects:

Also how do you know what angle the camera is pointed at? I know sometimes I can find the x,y,z location but that doesn't give me an angle. Then how far back should I set the camera?

The camera angle is tricky to figure out - I don't usually know what angle it's at; though I'm sure there are settings in Blender to figure it out. It doesn't matter much what angle it's at in a TC, like I've mentioned earlier, because as long as every ship uses the same setup (and thus the same camera), it will always look right. The distance the camera is back is irrelevant as long as it doesn't clip out - just scale your ship up/down to fit in the frame and render the output larger/smaller appropriate to ship size (Shuttle - 32px, Battlecruiser - 128 px).

@arringfray, on 17 August 2011 - 11:48 AM, said in Help wth glow effects:

Lastly what intensity and direction is best to set the light at? or better yet what is the best light source to use and how far away do you generally want it to be?

I don't remember any of the settings for stock EVN; but for TC's, it's best to set it to something you like. For general settings; keep in mind that this is space and shadows are going to be harsh. I usually turn things down a bit to allow some detail to be seen even in shadow, but in space a line of pure-black to blinding white could be expected along a shadow's edge. A good spotlight (big & powerful) somewhere at the top corner of the screen on the render and somewhere above the plane of the model usually looks good. Don't bother with point lights or HDR - this is space, the next major light source is light years away. If you must have more lighting (to lighten up details in the dark side), have a second spot light at low intensity coming from the general direction of your camera (camera light).

Also, search for the "Delphi Ship Creations" thread, I think we discussed many of these things at length in there somewhere.

Camera is angled at 45 degrees.

The camera in NOVA is isometric or very close to isometric. If your 3D application does not support isometric projection it can be faked by placing the focal point of the perspective projection ridiculously far behind the camera.

Lighting is explained here.

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