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Author Topic: [Resolved] Material editor - post export.  (Read 2420 times)

AlmightyGir

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[Resolved] Material editor - post export.
« on: Jun 20, 13, 08:17:13 AM »

Hey there, i'm sure i'm not missing anything but i figured i'd ask anyway...

Is there any way to add textures to a material AFTER a mesh part has been exported? for example, the shader is currently diffuse only with no specular or normals, can i add normals to a parts material without having to re-export that part?

if not, why not?
« Last Edit: Jul 03, 13, 04:33:09 PM by HE-Cooper »
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Chromehound

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #1 on: Jun 20, 13, 11:40:50 AM »

Try the Override Material function.  Very top in the Properties window when you select the model.
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AlmightyGir

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #2 on: Jun 20, 13, 12:31:16 PM »

thanks, will check that out later today!
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AlmightyGir

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #3 on: Jun 20, 13, 05:33:41 PM »

how would i go about doing this for a dynamic character part? i can't seem to find this option.
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keeperofstars

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #4 on: Jun 21, 13, 09:40:21 AM »

don't think you can do it with dynamic characters cause they kinda need "baked" in to the parts file, so the system has all the options and settings etc.

For normal meshes you can do the override option in the properties window.
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HE-BENNETT

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #5 on: Jun 21, 13, 11:14:06 AM »

In regards to "If not, why not", the answer is because it hasn't been implemented yet.  Key groundwork that will allow a more comprehensive in-engine material editor is in the works.

It is expected that while working on assets, multiple exports will be needed.  Our pipeline and engine are setup around the idea of being able to quickly adjust, re-export, and drop in the modified asset.
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AlmightyGir

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #6 on: Jun 21, 13, 02:57:22 PM »

Hey Bennett,

i just re-read my post (it was late when i posted it) and realised that "if not, why not?" could come across as pretty inflammatory! sorry about that!

so here's the thing, i'm a character artist, i've worked with so many engines i don't think i can even count them on my hands anymore, i've been doing this since the quake 3 days (started out modding). the reason why i asked is because as an artist in the "modern" industry, i think i've become pretty spoiled, and i know i won't be the only one. almost every engine and editor i work with now has some form of in-engine material editor. whether it's crytek who have pre-built shaders that you can adjust paramaters for, or input your own hlsl, or unreal where even as an artist you can build your own shader networks without in depth knowledge, all engines are geared toward one thing:

make it faster for artists to work.

so yes, while building characters, i accept that many tweaks, and changes will need to be made. i do not accept the statement that it's quick to adjust, re-export, and drop in the modified asset. that's three steps, of which two of them could encounter errors which slow the process down even more.

it is absolutely essential to have a robust material editor that is separated from export as much as possible. being able to create or edit a material, and apply it to a mesh that is already exported, and we know works in the engine already is probably the most fundamental of features.

i hope you don't take this criticism personally, i don't mean it to be. i'm just trying to help point out an area which could cause people to turn away from your product, and on to others. the art side of development is arguably the most expensive because it's also the most time consuming, so any way you can speed up that process is a definite plus.

also, for texture and memory optimisation. if you're going to be as specific as having specular in the alpha channel of a normal map, and the diffuse alpha be used for one of three functions, you may wish to switch to having a "special" texture, where the channels are used like:
R: Specular
G: Glow
B: Transparrency

since it costs the same amount of memory to call in one RGB texture as it does to call in just the alpha channel in an RGBA. so currently using a diffuse RGBA and a normal RGBA you're using enough memory that you could call in a diffuse, normal, and two additional RGB textures.

just food for thought :)
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keeperofstars

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #7 on: Jun 21, 13, 03:12:34 PM »

well I think we would all drool over the day material editor for hero challenged that of UDKs. *hint**hint*.

What Bennett is saying is true though. If you setup the your art pipeline well. It takes 1 second to make an update.

Open 3ds max, make the edits / changes, hit save. Open repository highlight and drag, 2 seconds later your game world is up and going with the newly modified assets.

And since the repository is already open and 3ds max is open, all you are doing is real time editing, hitting export, and drag drop uploading.
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HE-BENNETT

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #8 on: Jun 21, 13, 03:15:47 PM »

Alas for the lack of tone and inflection on the internet, don't worry I did not regard your comments as inflammatory as you said.  You certainly make some good points and as I said, that is the direction we are heading.

It's worth discussing that some things in the engine are simply the engine being originally created for a single game, many years ago.  Much work has been done to remove dependencies on "how things were" to allow for the coming "how things should be".

What you see of the art pipeline now is what's left of "making it fast for the artists - given the constraints of the tech and the project at the time".  We're absolutely moving towards a better system (which, yes, includes full robust material editing after export)  and your input on how it could be better is always appreciated. :)
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AlmightyGir

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #9 on: Jun 21, 13, 03:30:33 PM »

Well, if you would ever require anyone to test or give feedback on anything you have in mind, please feel free to contact me. if you wish to see my portfolio it's here: http://crazyferretstudios.com i can also provide references and exampls from professional works.

i'm also happy to donate any personal assets for testing purposes.

i'm always happy to help if it makes the life of artists easier!
« Last Edit: Jun 21, 13, 03:32:18 PM by AlmightyGir »
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keeperofstars

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #10 on: Jun 22, 13, 07:59:09 AM »

tip, download UDK, glance at material editor, try to not break any copywrites they have while copying it.

:)

But in all reality, the biggest thing I think you guys could do is, split the dependency on the material and mesh at the time of creation, and let us add it via in game material editor. Biggest challenge for most people is getting their art assets in the game. Cause they have to use hero materials, which takes a bit getting use to, they have to redo their textures and materials, if they bring them from another tool, etc. Then there is the ensuring you use the correct relative path, which is "simple" concept but for non-web design people starts to be like huh? Once it clicks they go oh ok not so bad, but at first view, it's just frustrating. If we could just take meshes have the exporter tool apply a default grey, and then give us a upper end material editor for inside the game that would solve a ton of head aches. TAkes the relative path equation away, (really helpful for spread out teams) who are usually using drop box to try and stay in check but that can get expensive when you go full force cause of the storage of high quality textures and models takes up lots of space.

But biggest thing is just being able to grab models from a billion free sites and pulling them into 3ds max exporting, and having them show up. Even if all just grey.

You guys made a huge step forward with the material override and the override window, just need to "expand" on it's ability, auto set a default hero material for meshes out of 3dsmax that don't have a proper texture. I know we get disco ball, but why can't it be grey. I can look at grey, and figure out it doesn't have a material. Then let me do my material tools work in hero itself.

If you really want to make us happy, build a compiler for .fbx format that converts it to .hgm, that way people using daz, blender, sketchup etc aren't left in the cold.

Then I can use any fbx model I can get my grubby paws on, convert with your tool, add to repository, open hero, build my material, apply them to the uv's and call it a day. Hmm world builder thinks that roof color just not right. He selects it, click on material editor, drag the red hue up, click ok, and done.

I know it's a ton of work, and a bunch of headaches, but I think it would really step up the overall wow factor for hero, as you remove the biggest headache for it. Which you guys know it is. we got what 6 tutorials 8 stickies, and about 10 wiki pages dedicated to just getting assets into the engine. Be nice if that was 1 page on importing and 16 pages on using the "ingame" material editor instead.

From there we can talk about dynamic parts, characters, animations etc. Those are pretty well handled, but as AlmightGir points out a few "quick and dirty" changes inside the engine could be helpful.
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AlmightyGir

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #11 on: Jun 22, 13, 08:24:32 AM »

the simplest thing i can think of right now is like...

you have a texture bank folder. this folder can contain sub folders. this is your texture library. your game will call all required textures from this folder + subfolders.

the subfolders are more for organisation than anything else. for example, if you are working on a custom character system you could have something like this:

Quote
texture bank
                  l
                  human
                            l
                            male
                            l       l
                            l       head
                            l       l
                            l       upper body
                            l                        l
                            female              torso
                                    l                l
                                    l                arms
                                    head                l
                                    l                       hands
                                    upper body
                                                     l
                                                     torso
                                                     l
                                                     arms
                                                            l
                                                            hands

that's just an example folder structure set up by the user, as long as all textures are in the texturebanks folder it doesn't matter how they're organised.

the in-engine material editor pull up your texture library, it has every texture in the texturebanks folder in this library. the library is arranged according to the clients organisational skills (so the above example would be quite tidy).

you can then drag + drop any textures into the appropriate material slots within the editor, and then select any model part, right click - assign material to. if you ever want to change the textures of a material, just do it... as long as the material is applied to a mesh it will update itself on that mesh.

that's based on your current pre-built materials. you could also go the node based route of UDK, or the material build route of Unity and still achieve the same result. but the idea here is to allow users to quickly build materials and assign them to their meshes on the fly, allowing for quick and easy changes.
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HE-Cooper

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Re: Material editor - post export.
« Reply #12 on: Jun 22, 13, 05:52:03 PM »

You've got 2 years minimum of engineering to do before a team's at alpha, you'll have plenty of time to get your art assets setup and into game. It just feels like a stumbling block early. But making the game, client and server is the hard and time consuming part. We are always going to prioritize work that has to be done by us, as opposed to work that makes things easier, which is always nice to have, but never needed.

Just keep telling yourself,'the reason we don't have a thing isnt because we don't know about it, or need help figuring out how to do it, it's just because we can't prioritize it over other work that's more important for shipping profitable product. Especially compared to engines that are client only.
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