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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:31 pm 
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I am having the hardest time replacing the cliffs graphics with custom ones. Any chance you have a guide/template lying around that you used to create the HMMap version or any advice on working with this particular type of graphic? I thought I would get my feet wet and start by trying to replace the HMMap version with a simple dark hex outline. Simple as can be right?

My Sad Attempt
Image

I have sections that are too long or short, the corners do not align with the HMMap hex grid/background, and some graphics are too high/low creating a hex with misaligned sides. Needless to say I can't figure out what needs to be X length or where Y should be exactly positioned, or what constitutes the absolute center of a segment.

The top segment of the Cliff graphics is 44px in height. I added a horizontal line at pixel #22 from the top down. Is this the true center as determined by HMMap though? Also, determining this value for the diagonal segments seems impossible :embarrased:.

Image

This should be simple but I just can't seem to figure it out.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:06 pm 
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MechMeister
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Location: RCW Enterprises, SC, USA
Ah, cliffs. Yes, harder than it looks. And the same thing is used for river banks, walls, etc.

First, ALL hex graphics are the same size: 287x287 pixels. Including cliff/bank/wall graphics. You'll see that by looking in any palette, say the Basic one, under the Palettes\Basic\Sides\Banks, \Cliffs and \Walls folders. Cliff/Bank graphics have the following features or requirements:

* one cliff graphic is required for each hex side, from 1.gif through 6.gif. Everything but the cliff must be in magenta, so as to be transparent.
* The cliff graphic should be completely opaque (a sold color, without any magenta pixels through it) along the edge of the hex, so as to cover the transition between one level graphic and another.
* Each cliff graphic should blend well with the neighboring cliff graphic, but preferably not leave pieces of it dangling in place when there isn't one next to it. In particular, it must blend well with a neighboring cliff graphic coming from either side, at either end. It's easier to do with irregular graphics, like are used with banks and cliffs, than with your straight line graphic. The Wall graphics have a small "tower" at each end, that are always at the same location, to ease this transition.
* Parts of each cliff graphic need not be exclusive. That is, 1.gif and 2.gif can, and in fact should normally have, a small overlap, allowing them to blend well. It can just be difficult to find the shape that blends well with a graphic coming in from say the upper right, or lower right. But using overlap and blending can usually make them look pretty good.

Yes, I use a template to design new hex graphics. There are two graphics in particular, located in the HeavyMetal\Map\Reference folder. HexMaster-256x222.gif shows a hex which is solid white, with everything transparent that needs to be. You can paint or draw on the white area to create any hex terrain/feature or graphic. HexOutline.gif is all white, with the outline of the hex, and neighboring hexes, shown in black. It's a good one to use to try to create cliffs and other items that depend on the hex line/edge locations.

I use PaintShop Pro, myself (an old version I'm used to), and use Layers continuously. That simulates how HMMap works with graphics, so if I start with the HexOutline, add a layer and draw cliffs or something, I can be sure it's covering the hex edge, and make sure where it goes to and from. Again, the trick is getting the various combinations of "lines" or cliffs (1, 2 or 3 coming together at each point) to look good, using some overlap, but not where it creates "points", as shown on your lines. If you simply take your line graphic, as shown above, and trim the parts that stick out where you don't want them, you can usually come up with a graphic that works pretty well).

For your straight lines, it's fairly simple to take each intersection, and decide what parts of the line /need/ to be there, and what parts are optional, or can be provided by the intersecting lines. This is easier to draw, than to describe, and there are too many small graphics or steps to illustrate here. If your program can read PaintShop Pro files, I can send you something with the layers on it, if you like. If this isn't clear enough, let me know and I can work out some other type of communication.

Lastly, I'm pleased that you're interested, and that you're taking the graphics to a new and possibly better level. Not too many have gotten into it this deeply.

_________________
Rick
~~~~~
[email]rick@heavymetalpro.com[/email] [img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/flag-us.gif[/img] [img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/ ... rolina.gif[/img]

* There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't. *


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:24 pm 
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MechMeister
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 8:00 pm
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Location: RCW Enterprises, SC, USA
Okay, I think your straight lines are quite easy to do, actually. They simply require rounded ends, centered on the corners of the hex. I've made a PSP layout that shows the 3 straight cliff lines, each in a different color for illustration, on different levels, then show the combinations copied to the center, to show how they match up. Once colored all black (or whatever), I think they'll look good.


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_________________
Rick
~~~~~
[email]rick@heavymetalpro.com[/email] [img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/flag-us.gif[/img] [img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/ ... rolina.gif[/img]

* There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't. *


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:03 pm
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Location: Colorado, USA
Quote:
Everything Above ↑
Thank you very much Rick! This is very helpful. I see what you are saying about the rounded edges. This definitely looks like the way to go. Thank you very much!

Photoshop has been my tool of choice for the last eight years or so, but before that I used Paint Shop Pro exclusively. I bought an updated version a couple years back during a sale. Photoshop does not natively support PSP files and existing plugins leave much to be desired. This way I can convert my old graphics into PSD files and lose nothing in the process. So if you ever have a file to share, I can open it :D!
Quote:
Lastly, I'm pleased that you're interested, and that you're taking the graphics to a new and possibly better level. Not too many have gotten into it this deeply.
I am extremely pleased with the offerings HMMap already has available. I believe everything important is covered by the existing palette but would love to add to it. Most importantly just to expand my aesthetic options for preparing even more varied landscapes (I love that you included Winter and Autumn trees). Plus there is all sorts of of things the exiting palette doesn't cover in regards to modeling even more possibilities for alien world landscapes (I'm thinking the uncivilized/wild/untouched areas of different worlds).

Unfortunately, my lack of access to a color laser printer makes this sort of modification useless to me personally. I'm actually modeling a palette based on colored pencils at my disposal :lol:. I've written about it here :wink:.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:24 pm 
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MechMeister
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Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 13482
Location: RCW Enterprises, SC, USA
Don't forget to look at the beauty of Add-On graphics. These are graphics, in JPG, GIF format (GIF with magenta if you want transparency), that do NOT have to be within any palette, and are simply placed on any hex you like, sized however you like (to be multi-hex or even full screen). You can add large natural features, buildings, ships and most anything you like, quite easily, and don't even have to mess with the palettes.

While I'm pleased with the palette operation, you get so much map bang for your work buck with Add-On graphics that I'm surprised they aren't used much more often.

You may have already fooled around with them, but make sure you look at them too.

_________________
Rick
~~~~~
[email]rick@heavymetalpro.com[/email] [img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/flag-us.gif[/img] [img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/ ... rolina.gif[/img]

* There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't. *


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:03 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Colorado, USA
That is actually genius! For some reason I had though the process of adding them was more drawn out and that the addon database reset with each new map. I just hopped in there and see that is not the case at all. I have some ideas now. I will be sure to update my other thread as my progress continues. Thank you very much!
:toast: :toast: :toast: :toast: :toast: :toast: :toast: :toast:


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