Need help with blending textures.

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by MOCOLONI, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    Hey there. So there was always a problem for me whenever it's related to the "Paint Alpha" tool. First of all, I actually tried contacting Fubar as he perfectly used the blending on his Viaduct_pro maps, but he didn't really understand me, probably because of my english skill. I still don't know how to explain it properly, so I went into maps searching for a good demonstration of what I'm talking about, comparing with a map of mine that is still in development (I'd really like to release the next version with better blending). Fubar gave me some suggestions for blending, and it actually improved the quality, but it still didn't give me what I wanted. I always painted with the "Raise/Lower" option, Brush 1, Default Radius and, with Fubar's suggestion, at the value between "30" and "100". So, I'm posting this here hoping that someone could understand me with screenshots I'm posting below.

    This is how I want those textures to look like, smoothy (map: mvm_TotalWar by XradicalD)
    upload_2015-11-20_15-38-25.jpeg

    upload_2015-11-20_15-42-34.jpeg

    upload_2015-11-20_15-42-59.jpeg

    This is how it looks in my map(s):
    upload_2015-11-20_15-43-55.jpeg

    and this is how it looks in Hammer, where it looks like it blends them properly (sorry for the low textures, I don't know how to fix it!)
    upload_2015-11-20_15-47-5.png


    Hopefully my question can be understood properly now, and that someone has an idea to improve the quality in the BSP file, unless Hammer's low textures have something to do with it (I tried everything to fix it in my previous OS, but nothing worked, and I'm sure that my graphic card isn't un-supported).

    I once asked Fubar if I should be using the "Smooth" option, but he said that I shouldn't.
     
  2. Dr. Orange

    Dr. Orange L6: Sharp Member

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    The materials uses a special texture called a "blend modulation mask". What this does is affecting the blend between two textures to look less smooth and linnear and more realistic. If this is not the effect you want, you can copy the existing material file and edit it to remove the blend mask.
     
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  3. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    Is this what Valve and other mappers do? I would also like to know if it will be seen to everyone playing this map or to me only. Thank you!
     
  4. killohurtz

    aa killohurtz Distinction in Applied Carving

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    Blend modulate textures are defined in the texture's vmt file and do not render in Hammer - no matter what the blend modulate is, or if one is defined at all, blends in the editor will always appear with the default gradient. It's working as intended, and it's not a resolution problem or anything. The effect you see in-game is what it will look like to everyone else.

    Of course, if you want the same blend material with a different modulation, you'll have to edit the vmt to remove it or replace it with a different modulation. I wouldn't recommend going without one because the default gradient doesn't look that great. Just remember that if you do edit the material, you'll have to pack in the new vmt.
     
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  5. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    If I had to guess, I'd say that the example you posted uses higher resolution displacements, and a starker contrast between grass and dirt, like maybe there's nothing in between.
     
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  6. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    I once decompiled a Valve map to check if there's something they do differently so I can take example, but still, it didn't extract any custom .vmt for that texture. Anyway, should I edit the .vmt, load the map, and compile it again? It's because I don't know if leave the painting or re-do it with the new .vmt file.
     
  7. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    Hey there, sorry for bothering with this thread. So I contacted XradicalD to ask him how he painted the displacements (what value and brush type), and if he used a custom blending mask. He said that he doesn't really remember what he did since the map was made a few years ago, but he said that he used the default painting value (125.00), brush type (Brush 1), and no custom blending mask. To ensure that it isn't a problem in my map, I made another one and used the same grass material he used in his map (blendgroundtograss007), and painted dirt from grass. The result was the same as in my map, and not like in his or the rest:
    [​IMG]
    (Source: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=584791999)

    I sent him the .vmf in case he wanted to perform some changes or so, and compile it himself. The result was the same:
    [​IMG]
    (Source: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=584798965)

    If anyone knows what else can be done or a nice custom .vmf/blend modulation material for the displacements, I'll really appreciate it. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  8. Moonrat

    aa Moonrat The end of an era

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    You can vary the amount of grass on parts of the displacement by wiggling the blend tool about, getting something that looks more natural
     
  9. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    If you're talking about the "Value", it won't help much, since it's just the opacity of the painting. If you watch the pictures of mvm_totalwar, you can see that the painting has "0 opacity", while it's nicely painted, without giving these bad-looking grass parts on the dirt ground.

    If you aren't talking about that, then I have no idea what to do. There aren't any "blend options". I will be using a custom .vmf, adding "snowgrass_blendmask" to the modulation texture, since it's the best one related to the "nature" textures.
     
  10. Egan

    aa Egan

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    Did you ever check like what Steve said - that his displacement power was just higher like level 4? Looking at his displacements it simply seems he's able to move more specifically with the paint tool - compared to your larger ones.
    Now I wouldn't say for sure that that's the problem, I think you are onto something with the blend modulate mask, but I would first test the power 4 thing because it's easy to.
     
  11. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    I did read every comment.

    Since 'Power 4' causes issues, I prefer not to use it. I know that I first can do things like noising or painting, and then later decreasing the displacements to Power 3, but that would not save the same state of these. Displacements will look weird, while the painting will randomly displace from where they should stay.
     
  12. Egan

    aa Egan

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    Well it very much looks like he's using power 4; if you do intend to get higher resolution you will need to do it with a more custom blend modulate texture, rather than to try to clone his method for your potentially different set up.

    [​IMG]
    The cliffs on the right look very specifically bumpy, as opposed to what I'd imagine power 3 looks like, so I bet it's power 4. If you still have the decompiled map you could go check - at least to solve if that's why it looks this way.
     
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  13. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    Well, I'll try to do what I wrote above. Also, I prefered to contact the author rather than decompile the map.

    By the way, does the size of the displacement matter in this case? I've set the ground to include 12 displacements, 1343x1640 each. Obviously, this affects the Geometry-Painting, but does this affect the Alpha-Painting too?
     
  14. henke37

    aa henke37

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    Displacements work by creating a map of values. The size of the map depends on the power of the displacement and the size of the base face.
     
  15. MOCOLONI

    MOCOLONI L5: Dapper Member

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    Comparing between powers, it seems that 'Power 4' has an immense change on blending, but do most maps use 'Power 4' even if it causes issues then? Just asking since most maps have a proper painting and use no custom .vmf's for it. I don't know myself what kind of issues can occur, but it's a note from everywhere where displacements and their Power values are discussed.
     
  16. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    it's the density of verts that affects the blending, if they're closer you'll be able to get a sharper transition and if they're far apart you'll be limited to a smooth transition.
    If you want to avoid the potential physics issues with power 4 displacements, use power 3 and simply cut up your displacements into smaller sizes
     
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  17. Zed

    aa Zed Certified Most Crunk™

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    IIRC the only Valve map that uses Power 4 is Gorge.
     
  18. MaccyF

    aa MaccyF Notoriously Unreliable

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    i don't see any point in power 4 tbh, 4 * 256 power 3 is the same as 1 * 512 power 4. using 4 smaller power 3 displacements gives you more control and doesn't cause phys problems.
     
  19. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

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    Did we ever conclusively figure out whether the physics issue was caused by power-4 displacements specifically or just density?
     
  20. JMaxchill

    JMaxchill L5: Dapper Member

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    I made a really small map (1 512x power 4 and 4 128x power 3, all surrounded by skybox) and nothing I could do made it crash...
     
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