Author Topic: Stellar enhancements  (Read 75265 times)

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Offline Raven2001

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Oh, you were talking about the behaviour in game... I was talking about how the effect should be to appear more realistic and eye pleasing :P
Yeah, I know you were waiting for a very nice sig, in which I was quoting some very famous scientist or philosopher... guess what?!? I wont indulge you...

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Offline DaBrain

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FS2 SCP does support lens flares, perhaps this functionality could be exploited to acheive the desired effect?

Media VP 3.6.9 will feature lensflares.



« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 11:48:29 am by DaBrain »
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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->Raven:

Yeah, that was the other possibility, but if you read your message again, that's not what you said... :p Meh, no matter.

Anyway, if you test the theory you'll notice that it doesn't work that way.

What happens when a human looks at very bright light? Well, the first reaction is to close eyes or at least squint them, and pupils of course contract to limit the amount of light getting into eyes. In case of stars, that is not even close to limiting the light to safe levels, but it does reduce the brightness of everything else in sight, while the immediate area around the star becomes an "overexposured" mess of light.

Also, perceived contrast scale will be affected so that the brightest light (star) is at the bright end, while darkest dark (black) is in the dark end. However, since practically everything in sight will have a brightness vastly inferior to that of the star, that means that practically everything in sight will fall into the dark end of the contrast scale... which makes the objects simply look darker.

Unfortunately, achieving more realistic sun glares with the tools at disposal now would be hackery-pockery at best, and results might not be very much better than now. I think it's best to wait what kind of options the shader support opens... perhaps it would be possible to implement some kind of HDR solution to make very bright lights actually appear dazzlingly bright.

...although maybe, just maybe, it would be possible to construct a system where overall brightness would be decreased instead of increasing it, while a bright glare texture would be overlayed on the background, increasing in intensity if the pilot would be looking in that direction... that would be at least a bit more realistic than what we have now. But obviously, it would require someone to do the job of actually implementing the required stuff to check the player's view orientation and change the intensity of the glare texture accordingly. And it is very likely that there are much higher priority things to be done instead of this. :cool:

->DaBrain: Sweet shots there... :nod: Although what I know as lens flare is a bit different, that looks completely cool.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 08:58:52 am by Herra Tohtori »
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Offline Admiral Nelson

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It might still be nice to make simple properly colored stars for each system.  This would help give each system a unique look, pending availability of more elaborate stuff like you suggest.
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I really like those lens flares. The star depicted in-game looks very similar to one of the stars in Freelancer which also has two "flares" ejecting from opposite ends of the equator:



I can honestly say that THIS is what I have always wanted to see in Freespace, and I tried my best to apply that luminous appearance given my limitations. I am happy to see that I have interested some people in what I have done with the stars, and if anyone wants me to continue with the fantasy stars like Adhara I will run through the entire FS list.

Now, for the sake of simplicity, I will also produce spherical-glow stars that probably won't look much different from those in the media vps, but will have their correct colors corresponding to their luminosity types and spectral classes. Here's the Adhara system in its simple, realistic form.



Herra, I would appreciate if you did provide the explanation on how you made the star. Thanks
« Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 03:47:19 pm by m2258734a »

 

Offline DaBrain

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I had to keep is more simple, cause the lensflares in FS2 aren't rendered on top of everything. Which looks pretty ugly with 'strong' lensflare effects. :(
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Offline takashi

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how about new stars themselves, like animated twinkles, and star clusters. i have photoshop skills that could help.

(if this has already been mentioned be aware i havent read thw whole topic)


 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Herra, I would appreciate if you did provide the explanation on how you made the star. Thanks

Okay, let's see... for the sake of keeping it brief, I assume you're familiar enough with GIMP to understand the terminology - if something needs clarifying, I'll be happy to provide more information. :) Also, I'm working with a Finnish copy of GIMP so I need to translate them on the flight and they might not be precise, but I hope you can understand my rambling...

1. Create a new image of, let's say 1024x1024.

2. Fill it with uniform noise cloud with seamless option on. Copy this layer.

3. Create a new image sized 2048x2048. Paste twice so that the image is filled with two tiles.

4. Reduce the contrast and increase the brightness so that there are less darker than brighter surface. Exact values are not a concern yet, but dark areas need to be a minority.

5. Colourize. Find suitable tone from the uppermost slider and adjust brightness and saturation to almost white with colour-tned darker flecks here and there.

6. Fill with RGB noise, individual RGB off, correlated noise on, at about 15 strength.

7. Gaussian Blur at 3-5, again find the suitable values. Now you should be looking at nicely granulated surface texture for star's fotosphere.

8. Copy the 2048x1024 texture you just created. Create again a new file of size 1024x1024. Paste the copied layer and resize it to fit the visible area. This is important because it will reduce the equatorial stretching of the texture at the next phase.

9. When you have the texture fitted to 1024x1024 size, find the option where you can fit a square texture into an object (surface, cylinder or a sphere). Select the sphere, transparent background, create new image, set highest anti-aliasing mode (though it's not really important in this case). On next tab, do nothing. On third tab, set diffuse to zero and environmental light to about 1.05-1.10, depending on the particular texture you created and how bright you want your star to be. You'll need to find suitable values yourself. The attitude controls are, in this case, good as the are. Click OK and let the processor do it's magick.

10. Now you should see a new image (again) with transparent edges and a round star in the middle. Brilliant. To make things look better, create a black layer as a background texture - makes things somewhat easier. Now you will start working with layers.

11. First, duplicate the star texture.

12. Now do gaussian blur of perhaps 200-300 value to the lower one of the star layers. That'll be a good start in creating a corona around the star's fotosphere.

13. Create new layer below all others but above the background black layer.

14. Find "Filters->Lighting effects->Supernova". Set colour to #000000 (ie. black, and don't question that - I know there's no black light but that's not really what the supernova effect does. Play around with it a little and you'll see a logic in what it actually does). Set the center point to (512,512), which positions the supernova effect nicely dead center of the image. Set radius to maximum and amound of spikes to something that appeals to you. Somewhere between 512 and 1024 is probably best area for this case - it depends on how detailed you want the corona to look like. Hit OK and you should now see the supernova's "spikes" spreading from beneath the higher layers.

15. Now, if you want to create protuberances and flares and stuff surrounding the star, you might want to duplicate the primary layer (again), select Smudge tool (S) and drag some gas into the space surrounding the star - I don't really think there's a filter that would create realistic effects, you'll need to look at pictures taken by SOHO et al, and manually apply what you want into the picture. This is obviously optional, but as you see from my ster, it gives at least some life to the star's surface. You'll need to play around with it to get it right, I can't really give better instructions about that.

16. Create a new layer (again) to make a corona layer. Position the layer behind the uppermost star surface layer. Select free selection tool (F) to select an irregular area around the star. Fill that area with something grey - uniform cloud might work fine. Now, un-select the area. Apply gaussian blur to the layer at about 300-400 strength. Now set the layer to "Display" mode and you should, with any luck, have something at least remotely resembling the star I posted earlier...


After this point it's all about meddling with several layers with different modes to get whe desired results out of it. Experimenting == good. For example, you can colourize the corona layer, make multiple ones of them, change the places of the layers etc etc ad infinitum.


By the way that "simple" realistic Adhara is looking great.
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Offline neoterran

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Hmm, yeah i like the simple Adhara too - perhaps keep it like that with a little of what herra has explained, keep going ! you're getting there !
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Offline takashi

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are these available in .vp's?

 
Not yet; all I have created are prototypes of what might be in the media vps in the future. I like the simple stars myself, but like I said if anyone would still like the fantasy stars I will still make them. I tried messing around and experimenting with new effects and features, and so I tried to apply what I learned from Herra into the Antares system:



Here I added some faded sunbursts, and an artificial lens flare just to see how it would look. The flare is only temporary as I was only experimenting, so don't worry about it being a static image. The next step is to go into a little more detail on the star's surface, putting everything together into the next star on my list... Betelgeuse.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Offline TrashMan

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Offline jr2

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...That looks like I always imagined our sun would look like close-up in space.

 

Offline neoterran

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Dude ! you're on to something now. Can you get these into some easy vp form for the lazy of us ! I want !
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Offline Raven2001

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This last pic you posted, thats an ingame shot?!? wow!
Yeah, I know you were waiting for a very nice sig, in which I was quoting some very famous scientist or philosopher... guess what?!? I wont indulge you...

Why, you ask? What, do I look like a Shivan to you?!?


Raven is a god.

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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I'm really starting to think that it's not necessary to add any detail to the surfaces of stars, seeing how good that last picture looks. Adding detail would just reduce the apparent brightness of the stars. And considering that the primary nature of stars is to be bright, not detailed, I'd say we're better off with stars that actually look like they are bright - detail is secondary concern. Although I must say that you managed to nail the corona detail extremely well. I want that kind of stars in my FS2_Open, stat. I'll have to start using sunglasses soon. :cool:
There are three things that last forever: Abort, Retry, Fail - and the greatest of these is Fail.

 

Offline neoterran

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agreed. I like that last image even better than herra's mockup.
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I was doing some thinking myself, and I really don't want to add detail to the surface of the stars... not that I'm lazy or anything  :p. But I agree with Herra and I really would not want to hamper the effect by adding such minuscule details. So that settles it, looks like I've finally got something. I'll start redoing the stars in this manner by tomorrow.

The picture isn't an in-game shot, though I wish, but something I created myself... background and all. So do we all agree that the realistic stars need to go into the vps?


 

Offline Raven2001

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Just a thought... im no expert in astronomy or whatever, so correct me if im wrong.

I think its the neutron stars (not sure), that give off a very small amount of radiation (light and the other stuff)... maybe it would be feasable for those to have that detail on teh surface? not very realistic true, but would add up on the eyecandy and diferentiation between star types
Yeah, I know you were waiting for a very nice sig, in which I was quoting some very famous scientist or philosopher... guess what?!? I wont indulge you...

Why, you ask? What, do I look like a Shivan to you?!?


Raven is a god.