[Tutorial] Making a Poster Overlay

Discussion in 'Tutorials & Resources' started by Nineaxis, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    Making a Poster Overlay
    by Nineaxis

    Here is my tutorial on making poster overlays for Team Fortress 2. Today we'll be making this:
    [​IMG]
    http://forums.tf2maps.net/downloads.php?do=file&id=513

    Creating the Base
    The image creation program I'm going to use Adobe Flash CS3 Professional (unconventional, yes), but the program doesn't matter, so open up your favorite.

    I'm going to start by opening up the TF2 palette to use as reference. You can download it here.

    Now I'm going to make my image 512x512 square. On top of that, I'm going to make a 384x512 rectangle, left justified. I'm going to use the lightest tan color on the palette, the first one in the tan row.
    [​IMG]

    Next I'm going to add a 354x482 rectangle on top of it, so that the tan forms a 15 pixel border on all side. I'm going to use the light red color, 3 from the left on the red row.
    [​IMG]

    Congrats! You've made a base for your poster!

    Creating the Image
    Oh noez! Your poster is just two colors and boring! Time to add some fun to it. Since my poster is red, I'm going to do a product ad that follows RED's agricultural theme. Likewise, if I had chosen to make the second rectangle a blue color, I'd choose something related to BLU.

    So, I'm going to do an ad for Redhill Livestock. I'm going to search on google images for a good picture of a cow. It needs to be a very clear pic and people should be able to easily understand the silhouette as a cow. I found this:
    [​IMG]

    To give the poster the propaganda feel, I'm going to reduce the cow to a mere silhouette with some defining features highlighted- the spots. To further give the propaganda look, I'm not going to trace over it with the pen tool, but use the line tool to give a more blocky feel while not turning it into a cubist piece. So, on a new layer, I make this cow "wireframe".
    [​IMG]

    Now just start filling it in with colors off the palette until you get something you like. Just avoid using anything off the team-color row your poster isn't from. Since this is a red poster, no colors from the blu row should be used.
    [​IMG]

    The cow looks kind of alone there. It needs a background. So let's start a new layer behind the cow. I'm going to add a farm fence just by making some lines with the line tool. I'm going to make two lines spaced slightly apart, and copy and paste them to form a second row above. After that, I'll just add some vertical lines and copy and paste them at 30 pixel intervals for fenceposts. I'm going to color them the red to the right of the one used for the background, as well as fill in the ground below the fence to seperate it from the sky.
    [​IMG]

    Adding your Text
    So now we have a cow and a fence. That doesn't seem like a very good promotion for Redhill Livestock. It needs some text!

    A really defining feature of mid-1900's posters was the text and the focus on styling it. Accent text was usually done in a "brush" style, making short exclamations about the product. So we'll start with the font.

    Windows comes standard with a font called Brush Script (surprise!). That one works, but because it comes with Windows, people have beat the crap out of it and if you're like me, you can recognize it immeadiately and the initial reaction is "those people are cheap". No one had Windows in 1946 either. I like to use Dafont for getting new fonts to use. Check the Brush section in the Script category for some good ones. Here are 3 fonts I downloaded and Billy Gates' Brush Script:
    [​IMG]
    Download Express
    Download Forelle
    Download Marketing Script

    I use Express for all my RED posters, so I'm going to use it for this one too. What is Redhill Livestock's unbased claim to fame? Let's go with "World Class". So, I use the text tool to make World Class with the Express font at size 62. I'm also going to set it at a slight angle. I am going to make it the same color as the fence/ground. (Wait for the reason!)
    [​IMG]

    Now, copy that text and paste it in the same place... and move a bit to the left and up, and change the color to the midtone tan. Amazing! Overlayed text! Fancy drop shadow! So now our Redhill Livestock, which no one has ever heard of, is "World Class".
    [​IMG]

    For the bottom, I'm going to add a logo for Redhill Livestock. You might think Redhill is a cheesy name for a RED company, but judging from what Valve does, cheesy is the way to go. It's a red company and farms are generally near hills, so why not Redhill? I think Cliffe Rocks, Gray Gravel, and Red Valley Mining all fall into the same category.

    Period logo's were made to the same simplicity as the poster artwork, so I'm just going to make a lighter red diamond and put some text over it. For this I'm using DeJaVu Serif Condensed. I'd recommend a sans-serif font when you aren't putting a logo on the poster. "Condensed" fonts work very well. The font is colored the lightest tan, same as the border.
    [​IMG]

    Weathering
    That poster can't be spiffy and new looking! It's in the middle of a run down farming area that's become a battle ground for corporate sabotage! Time to make it look like it's been there forever.

    We'll start by "staining" it. I'm going to take the leftmost color on the red row and set it at 10% alpha (90% opacity). Use this color even for BLU posters. I'm going to take a midsize solid circle brush and do random vertical scribbles, keyword being vertical. Water drips would go downward, so make strokes from the top down. Another important thing is to cover large areas without making large blobs. Also, try and bring your splotches across area of different color. You don't want the splotches to be too noticable, but at the same time, because they are so opaque, you want to add some contrast by overlaying multiple colors providing visual variety.
    [​IMG]

    So now your poster is stained. But surely at some point in time it was hit by something. Maybe a farmer wasn't careful with his hoe, someone leaned against it, or confused bird hit the broadside of a barn, but however it happened, some holes got torn into it. So let's make some... Valve style. Select the gray which is the color farthest left on the blue row. Select a smaller solid circle brush, and start making random circle-like shapes of varying sizes.
    [​IMG]

    Now we need to cut some corners- literally. That poster couldn't have stayed a perfect rectangle with all that's happened to it. So I'm going to just cut some small amounts off the edges.
    [​IMG]

    Save your image as a transparent PNG.

    Finally, we'll make it look like it was printed in 1940 instead of 2008. For this I'm going to use GIMP, but I'm sure Photoshop has the same effect somewhere. Start by opening your PNG.
    [​IMG]

    I'm going to add some HSV noise to make it look like it was printed on rough paper- the kind you'd want to print a poster on to hang outside. The effect can be found in the "Filters" section on the toolbar, under the "Noise" category. Through much experimentation, I've found that the default settings for noise works perfectly- noticeable but not too much.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, we need it in .TGA format to convert to a VTF- Valve Texture Format. So, a simple "Save As" and select TarGa format, leaving the default settings. Save it named something simple but descriptive of your texture. Hammer's Texture Browser searches the name of your VTF, so having it named something appropriate it important. I'm naming mine redhillcattle, because it is a simple, and if someone knows what the poster looks like they shouldn't have trouble finding it.
    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  2. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    Making it Valve Texture Format
    To have your poster work in Team Fortress 2 and the Hammer Editor, it needs to be a VTF, as well as have a matching VMT. Valve provides a program for the conversion of TarGa (TGA) files into VTF with the Source SDK. Unfortunately, it's inconvenient. Fortunately, it's extremely basic and easy to use.

    Vtex.exe, the conversion program, is located in your Source SDK Orange Box "bin" folder, C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\***YOUR USERNAME***\sourcesdk\bin\orangebox\bin
    [​IMG]

    For Vtex.exe to work correctly, your TGA needs to be located in your Source SDK Content Team Fortress 2 Material Source folder, C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\***YOUR USERNAME***\sourcesdk_content\tf\materialsrc . You may not have a TF2 materialsrc folder, just create one.

    Vtex.exe will output your VTF in your Team Fortress 2 materials folder automatically, and it also respects subfolders. For a poster, it should go in the signs folder, so I will create a signs folder in the materialsrc directory and place my TGA in there.
    [​IMG]

    Now, to make Vtex.exe convert your TGA to a VTF, you need to drag and drop the copy in your materialsrc/signs folder onto the vtex.exe icon in the source sdk orangebox bin folder. This will open a DOS prompt. Vtex.exe will show an error message saying there is no config file for your TGA, which is not a problem, just follow its directions and hit a key to continue.
    [​IMG]

    If you look in your TF2 materials "signs" folder, you'll have a VTF! C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\***YOUR USERNAME***\team fortress 2\tf\materials\signs
    [​IMG]

    You aren't done yet though- without a VMT (Valve Material Type), Hammer and TF2 won't know what to do with your VTF. A VMT is a simple text file that sets some parameters for your texture- like the fact that it is transparent, a decal, and should show up under the "tf" filter.

    Here is the required VMT code for a poster overlay:

    "LightmappedGeneric"
    {
    "$basetexture" "signs/yourtexture"
    "$decal" 1
    "$decalscale" 0.25
    "$translucent" 1
    "%keywords" "tf"
    }

    Just copy and paste this into notepad, and save it as a VMT named exactly the same as your VTF, in the same folder. So, to complement my redhillcattle VTF, I'll have a redhillcattle VMT.

    And here's for a little explanation on everything:

    $basetexture: The VTF that's the base for your texture, without the extension. So, for my poster, which I named redhillcattle, and put in the signs directory, my basetexture would be signs/redhillcattle
    $decal: It's set to one, so it's a decal/overlay.
    $decalscale: Doesn't appear to do anything if changed. Probably the default value for the scale if you were applying it to a wall. So, unimportant, but still there.
    $translucent: It's set to one, so that Hammer knows it has alpha channel.
    %keywords: Keyword for your texture. I haven't been able to successfully add more than one keyword without making it cause the texture browser to crash.

    And viola! You should have a working TF2 styled poster overlay accessible in Hammer.

    Make sure you pakrat your custom poster in before you distribute your map!
     
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  3. ZargonX

    ZargonX L3: Member

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    I somehow need to be able to apply even more thanks for this post. Excellent write-up!
     
  4. Vander

    Vander L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    I worship at the altar built by NineAxis. Excellent work!
     
  5. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    If any of you manage to follow it through, I'd appreciate any comments or questions if it is confusing at some point. Also, please post images of any posters you make following it!
     
  6. MangyCarface

    aa MangyCarface Mapper

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    Excellent, but vtf plugin for photoshop might save a few steps in there.
     
  7. NightHawK

    NightHawK L3: Member

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    Very Nice Tutorial!
     
  8. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    This is awesome! I really feel like making a poster now. If I do, I'll show you how it went. =P
     
  9. Randdalf

    aa Randdalf

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    Is the colour palette workable in GIMP?

    If not can I have the RGB codes for them?

    EDIT: Hang on, silly me, I didn't realise it was a photo /facepalm

    EDIT 2: I just realised you did the second part in GIMP /facepalm2 I have however managed to do the whole thing so far in GIMP, I'm up to the picture part now

    Thanks Nineaxis!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  10. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    Hey, that looks really nice, Randdalf! I happen to have GIMP, so I'm definitely going to think up some ideas for posters now.
     
  11. Randdalf

    aa Randdalf

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    The thing that's real difficult to get right in GIMP is the picture. Hence the reason why my gold bars looks like they were drawn in paint. I was going to do a nuclear barrel but I couldn't find a picture good enough.

    Out of boredom I just did another one:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  12. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    is that rotation done in the texture or afterwards? should definitely be done afterwards by rotating the overlay
     
  13. Randdalf

    aa Randdalf

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    I did it afterwards in-game, I have a habit of rotating every single overlay.
     
  14. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    You shouldn't rotate them as much, it looks a bit odd
     
  15. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    Well, I decided to try it, and just for the heck of it I used the original Redhill Livestock poster as...inspiration. >.>

    [​IMG]
    Mine's on the right. It's very similar, but it is made from scratch.

    I downloaded the trial of Flash CS3 Professional, and while I really had to fight with it to do anything (could it be more complicated to tell how big your square is? >_<), I finally got it. Now for some original posters...
     
  16. Vander

    Vander L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    Nice work Bread!
     
  17. Nineaxis

    aa Nineaxis Quack Doctor

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    Looks good! Nice to see some people have made it through.

    I find Flash easy for vector drawing... and it's not that hard to tell the size... it's in the bottom left.
     
  18. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    D'oh. I used the ruler to find out the sizes. :p
     
  19. Memento Mori

    Memento Mori L2: Junior Member

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    Right I've done this but in Photoshop how do I make the rectangle an exact size?
    How do I do this in Photoshop? Lost me.
     
  20. Benvox2

    Benvox2 L1: Registered

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    Hey I just followed through your tutorial and it worked great, but
    CAn you please post some instructions on using VTFEdit instead of that stock valve program? I tried it myself but beccause it locks to 512x512 but the right hand strip is not transparent!?