Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:54 am
I've been having fun seeing what new beast skins I can generate and posted a few raptors over on this thread
. However it's off-topic for that thread so I thought I'd post some more of them here, despite the fact it's not so much true "art".I claim no real artistic talent for these.
All I do is extract existing skin files from the WoW database and swap the colour channels around, either within the same skin image or between different skins for the same model. If it looks interesting I'll tweak it further by shifting the colours/contrast/etc. a bit, and clean-up stuff like fixing up teeth that turn out green or purple, for example. I then insert it back into the database and put it on the model. A lot of them look ugly, boring or unnatural, but some really do work. Some even look pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Or at least they look kinda weird and interesting. And all it takes is just a few minutes' work (well, and a lot of trial and error!!!). In later posts I've been a bit more involved, adjusting colours, and regions of the images specifically, smoothing over pixellated areas, etc. But the images are still basically the original artist's work with modifications... I haven't created new textures or images.INDEXBeast: page(s)
- Remember there could be multiple entries on the same beast, so check the entire pageBasilisks (Outland):
25Basilisks (Old World):
11Bone Spiders: see Spiders (Bone)Carrion Birds:
17, 33Core Hounds:
3, 4Crabs (Regular):
40Demon Dogs: see Darkhounds (non-runed) or Magehunters (runed)Devilsaurs:
30Dogs (Darkhound / Demon Dog): see DarkhoundsDogs (Magehunter / Runed Demon Dog): see MagehuntersDogs (Mastiff):
1, 9Dragon Turtles: see Turtles (Dragon)Drakes:
16Fen Striders: see Spore WalkersFoxes:
5, 7Faerie/Fey Drakes:
9Fel Boars: see Boars (Fel)Goats:
29, 31, 32Gorillas:
18, 19Helboars: see Boars (Fel)Hydras (original):
44Jormungar: see Worms (Jormungar)Kunchong / Mantid Tanks:
28Mantid Tanks: see KunchongMarsh Walkers: see Spore WalkersMastiffs: see Dogs (Mastiff)Monkeys:
1, 37, 38Nether Rays:
7Outland Hydras: see Hydras (Outland)Pink menagerie:
23Raptors (Old World):
1, 32, 33Runed Demon Dogs: see MagehuntersSandreavers:
39, 40Scarabs: see BeetlesScorpids (Horde/Amber):
27, 28, 31Shale Spiders:
9, 19Silithids (Worker/Ant):
8, 10Spiders (Bone):
33, 34, 39Spiders (Fire):
1, 5Spore Walkers / Fen Striders:
6, 7Tarantulas: see Spiders (Tarantula)Thunder Lizards: see StegodonsTigers (Pandaria):
8, 9Turtles (Dragon):
2Wind Serpents (Old World):
33Wind Serpents (Outland):
13Worms (Silk): see SilkwormsWyverns:
10Someone asked me what I use to do this so here's a basic summary of the steps. All the programs mentioned are free:
- I use Ladik's MPQ Editor to load a fully patched copy of the WoW database (MPQ files) from my game folder.
- I then use it to extract the Creatures files to a folder on my desktop. This takes a while but basically extracts all the files from the WoW MPQ archives and sets up a folder system with all the files for all of the creatures in the game.
- The skin files end in .blp which is a Blizzard graphics format based on TGA and very few programs will open it. Ignore the .skin files, they're not what you're after.
- I use XnView to open a skin (.blp) file of interest, it's one of the few graphics programs that will
- XnView also has some very basic graphics manipulation tools, including a colour channel swap tool, so you can have fun switching colours around.
- For most work, however, I only use XnView to export the skin as a PNG image, which can then be handled by pretty much any graphics program.
- For editing the skin, if you have Photoshop then cool, but I use the free program Gimp. It's one of the best known of open source graphics packages.
- In the Colors menu of Gimp there's an option to "Decompose" the image into its red, green and blue (and alpha) channels. You can do this for a bunch of skins of the same type so you have lots of channels to pick and choose from. Close the original skin files and just leave the decomposed versions open.
- Then select the "Compose" option, and choose random (or calculated) channels for each of the colours. You'll end up with a new skin file. Probably something hideous.
- If you like what you got, save it as a new PNG.
- If the alpha mask is making the skin look all misty and grey, don't include it in the compose until you're happy with what you've got (i.e. select "RGB" for the composition instead of "RGBA"). For example sporebats have a horrible alpha mask that makes it very hard to see the proper colours. It's easier to simply not include it at all while you're trying to view them. If you're happy with the skin you got, then deompose it again, and immediately recompose using the channels from your new skin, but select "RGBA" and include an alpha channel from another image. Ideally you should instead be able to just hide the alpha mask from viewing in Gimp, but that option seems to be bugged and makes the entire image vanish.
- Once you have your new skin saved as a PNG, use the little drag-and-drop app BLP2PNG to convert it to a BLP file, ready for inclusion in your WoW archive.
- Copy the art.mpq file from the Data subfolder of your WoW folder (or textures.mpq if you're working with MoP files... they've moved most of the textures to that file now) to somewhere else. This is the copy you'll be modifying for viewing the new skin. You really don't want to be editing the copy that you're using for your game!
- Open your art.mpq copy in MPQ Editor. Go to the relevant creature folder, right click and add your new modified skin file to the creature.
- Install and run WoWModelViewer. The first time it runs it'll detect your WoW folder and ask to load the database.
- Now you want it to use your modified art.mpq file instead of the official one. Go to the options and add your modified art.mpq to the list of files that it loads. Move it to the position on the list that the original art.mpq is located and delete the original from the list of files it loads. Close and reopen WMV.
- In WMV if you go to the correct creature file you should now see your new skin by name. You can select it and it should (with a few odd exceptions) appear on the model.
- If it fails to display, you might have to use MPQ Editor to rename your new skin to the same name as an existing skin (back up the old skin first). The same is true if you have a skin that has 2 or more parts. For example if there are separate body and wings files you'll have to give your skins the names of existing skins in order to trick the model into displaying both body and wings at once. Thanks to Wassa for this tip!
Shaman avatar by Spiritbinder.
Last edited by Wain on Thu May 17, 2012 12:13 am, edited 9 times in total.