Texture distance recognition

Texture distance recognition

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Saktoth
Zero-K Developer
Posts: 2665
Joined: 28 Nov 2006, 13:22

Texture distance recognition

Post by Saktoth »

I always talk about contrast and distance recognition, but i thought i just make an example of it that is really obvious in CA with mr.d's gators.

Here are some gators at a distance. Dark grey body with light grey hightlights.
Image
The light grey helps you tell which way the gator is facing (light grey under the turret, towards the back, light grey on the treads) and for conveying all sorts of other other information. You can see it doesnt do this terribly well because there isnt much contrast.

But wait.
Image
Its not grey at all, its light and dark checks. They blend into eachother entirely at a distance. The 3 bright stripes coming out the front of the area under the turret do the same thing.

The model isnt a flat grey at all- the contrast in it is very high. But the frequency is also high. Dark greyish plates on the side of the treads, a much lighter trim sorrounding checks. There are all these subtle bands of white from underneath the front to around the turret and more. But the frequency of the changes in contrast is so high that it all becomes a flat grey at a distance.

By putting contrast and detail into the model close up and a high frequency of light-dark-light-dark, it just becomes grey at a distance. The primary contrast in the model should be between large, unifrom zones. There can be detail within them, but when that detail is averaged (as it is, at a distance) it should still contrast with other areas of the model.

This is why racing-strip style teamcolour and sticking all the lighting detail into tiny greebles and plates while overall the model is just one uniform colour is just a bad idea for distance recognition.

This is not to rubbish Mr.D's models, most of them are much better in this department and are excellent overall (just look at the con vehicle, its detail and direction are obvious, you can see the metal plates on the top even at this distance).
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jK
Spring Developer
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Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 07:30

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by jK »

I like high frequency noise on core models, it is just totaly inappropriate on arm units ...
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AF
AI Developer
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Joined: 14 Sep 2004, 11:32

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by AF »

You can still do whats being suggested and have high frequency noise and greebles
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smoth
Posts: 22309
Joined: 13 Jan 2005, 00:46

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by smoth »

this blending you refer to is more commonly known as mipmap levels. Glad to introduce you two, I hope you become friends.
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Zpock
Posts: 1218
Joined: 16 Sep 2004, 23:20

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by Zpock »

Notice that this is a theoretical discussion of how to make things look good, not about specific practical stuff.

It might be a good idea to divide the mesh into different areas of low frequency color at the start of texturing, and then adding in details, instead of using an uniform base and just putting in details.
Saktoth
Zero-K Developer
Posts: 2665
Joined: 28 Nov 2006, 13:22

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by Saktoth »

jK: Its a distance recognition problem not an artistic taste thing. I still have problems with gators.

AF: You can, as long as the contrast isnt all in the greebles rather than in larger areas.

Smoth: I suspect that plays a part but at a distance you'll lose detail regardless.
[Krogoth86]
Posts: 1176
Joined: 23 Aug 2007, 19:46

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by [Krogoth86] »

I demand a mip-mapping-level slider in the settings.exe so you can enforce a later decrease of resolution. Performance hit would be tiny to nearly not existent with any half-decent system...
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smoth
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Joined: 13 Jan 2005, 00:46

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by smoth »

Saktoth wrote: Smoth: I suspect that plays a part but at a distance you'll lose detail regardless.
Not really, if you are running at high enough resolution. It depends on the context. I am pretty safe on this as I tend to add micro detail that are lost at mip2 and spend 90% of the texture time on the macro details.
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Zpock
Posts: 1218
Joined: 16 Sep 2004, 23:20

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by Zpock »

The core dynamic is simple: At longer distance things get smaller, and smaller things take up less pixels, and so color from the texture will be averaged out and hence you get the grey blob effect. Mipmapping is just a way of averaging those pixels beforehand for performance, although it tends to be too aggressive in what distance it switches so it might increase this effect.
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Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by Argh »

The other issue, btw, is that if you don't tweak it, the default settings on the mipmap filter for Photoshop's DDS plugin grays out lower mip levels. Just thought you guys might wanna know that.
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MR.D
Posts: 1527
Joined: 06 Aug 2005, 13:15

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by MR.D »

Its called crappy mip-map processing + a tiny unit.

The Mip-map lod are probably at 128x128 or smaller at normal game zoom, might be worthwhile to test it with the 1024x1024 original full texture, that way at normal game zoom, the texture will still be at least 256x256 and not as washed together.

All the textures that get washed out are .dds and from .s30 models.

The ota tileset textures that all those OTA models use, don't have mipmaps built into them, its just video card processing the mipmaps.

I still think that there is more going on with using the .dds and built in premade mipmaps that is getting more washed out than its supposed to compared to the Ota .png's and .tga's.

Maybe there is a better way to compile the .dds so its using cubic instead of bi-linear or something, then it wouldn't anti-aliases pixels so much, but meh.. I don't know.
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Forboding Angel
Evolution RTS Developer
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Joined: 17 Nov 2005, 02:43

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by Forboding Angel »

If you don't allow spring to use it's little mipmapping stuff, then this becomes pretty much a non issue.

Smoth can tell you all about how to do that.
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MR.D
Posts: 1527
Joined: 06 Aug 2005, 13:15

Re: Texture distance recognition

Post by MR.D »

ATI user here , kthx :mrgreen:

Sure I can use LOD settings for my vid card, but it drops some fps because its doing it globally.
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