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 CascView to load a copy of the WoW database from my game folder.
- I then go to the Creatures folder and look in the sub folders for the model of interest and extract (drag) the relevant .blp files to a folder on my desktop.
- .blp is a proprietary 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 and is a nice picture viewer all round.
- 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. These images all look greyscale.
- Then select the "Compose" option, and choose random (or calculated) decomposed greyscale images for each of the red, green and blue channels. You'll end up with a skin that is a new colour. Probably something hideous. With practise you can start to guess at the right channels to pic to get colours you're interested in.
- If you like what you got, export it as a new PNG with a unique name.
- If the image has an alpha mask you may need to include that as well as the colour channels or it may look wrong on the model.
- 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.
- Now to model your new skin!:
- Create a folder to keep your custom skins in. For this example I'll call it "Custom Skins". Now, inside that folder you need to create a series of sub folders that mimics the folder hierarchy for where the model was found when you viewed it in CascView. For example if you're working on warp stalker skins and they're in Creature/warpstalker/ in CascView, then you need to create a Creature folder inside your Custom Skins folder, then a warpstalker folder inside that, then place your new skins in that. The reason for this comes up next:
- 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 include your modified skins with the relevant model. Go to the options, specifically the one that allows you to add custom files. Add the location of your Custom Skins folder to that and restart WMV.
- In WMV if you go to the correct creature file you should now see your new skin by name. You can select it in the skins menu below and it should (with a few odd exceptions) appear on the model. If the model takes multiple skins (like some flying creatures have separate body and wing skins) then there's a separate set of three menus on the right for selecting each of them.
- Some models won't display custom skins readily, which is annoying. In these cases their skin name is hard-coded into the model. But you can trick them into doing it by giving your custom skin the same name as the skin they do use (looking at the model's folder in CascView should gove you a good idea of what the skin name will be). In this case you need to also go back to WMV options and ensure the option is checked for custom files to replace database ones if they have the same name. 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.