Monday, May 30, 2011

Weaving till it hurts, or, if it ain't broke - then break it.

So, in my quest to bring diversity as well as clarity to the files that I create, I decided to try my hand at building a better mousetrap - or, better known as - remaking the 4x3 rug. I did this for better scale and image quality in game. This requires little work to the mesh - it's a rectangle. It has to do with the mapping in UVMapper. I remapped this file so that is was in better ratio to the file. The 'old' one was squished a bit because it was originally made with UVMapper free version - where you can actually shape the window to be the correct size you want (with the help of a couple of photoshop files in the correct size) and then everything can be mapped to the size you want and exported at the correct scale - no stretching or warping. That said, it was a pain to use and I am not singing its praises - just that it was easier to map at a strange size that was non-square. The pay version you cannot reshape the map - it's always a square and yes, you could use a texture to map in the correct area and then stretch your shapes to fit the square, save the map at a un-square size and presto - theoretically it would work. I haven't tried it - it seems like an exceptional amount of work - it should just be something you can do. Wah. Boo hoo. Et cetera. I know - poor little me. Oh woe.

In trying to rebuild the rug file, there was a secondary purpose. Martine requested (two links there) smaller rugs as she likes them more than the larger rugs for the intimate spaces she creates. I liked the idea of being being able to offer the same file on the smaller mesh, but the overlays would need to be completely resized to work on the old 2x3 mesh that mesh was poorly mapped by even EA's standards. Solution? Take the map from the larger rug and apply it to the 2x3. Now, I can make a suitcase victrola, but sometimes one can over intellectualize a simple problem. Resize the 4x3 original mesh, right? No - never occurred to me as I was wanting that crisp texture and I was stuck on the remap idea.

Finally after remaking the map and saving it at the 1024x1024 size that made sense (remember 1 square = 256 and there is no 768 size for texture in the game - it always doubles 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024)  a 4x3 rug would theoretically be 768x1024 for proper un-stretched texture. Of course - I wanted to try that. Problem is - TSRW(workshop) had a hell of a time trying to work with files that large. Especially a lot of them. Add in the trouble that I have with .dds files in photoshop, I now save as TIFF. Workshop converts these and it just takes that much more effort for the program and I had to save after importing every single overlay file. After about four hours of beating my head into the ground, a 22mb raw workshop file and a 9mb sim3pack export for each of the two files, I figured that it was just too big for most people's games. This morning I simply took the original 4x3 - mind you - a not broken file - and simply scaled it smaller and re-exported it from milkshape and now I have a new (if slightly larger) 2x3 rug. Honestly - it was like walking around the block to get to my mailbox because I decided to turn left instead of walking three steps forward.

 2x3 new mesh left / original resized to 2x3 right
 4x3 new mesh left / original mesh right

So really - no noticeable difference in the quality of the image (you'll note that the 'new' files are a bit brighter and that was an oversight on the original 'new' overlays - the game makes things very punchy in color so saturation levels need to be subdued to look sort of normal in the game). The thing I am a little disappointed with is that I don't like the shape of the old 4x3 which is a literal 4x3 square. The 'new' 4x3 is actually more like 2.875x4.375 (2 7/8 x 4 3/8 for the fraction minded). It was a literal enlargement of the smaller rug. If it was going to be new I wanted it to also be a newer size.

So HUGE perk to using the old mesh is that I can now go back and resize any file I made with this mesh - that means the green, blue, oversized kilim, cb2 series 1 (the above is part of series 2) et cetera can all be re-released as a small file. Tah fucking dah. Kudos me.

So the moral of this lesson - the easy way is probably the best way and for some reason I always forget this lesson when I come back to meshing.

So on a completely different note, I am struggling with a tiny bit of poison oak from working in the garden. Odd thing - it originally was one tiny comma shaped bit on my inner forearm and two tiny spots on my other forearm. Now it's suddenly, a week later, in new locations too. I don't know if Laika is giving it to me but she has had two baths and isn't allowed off leash (no, we simply do not trust her off leash or with money) so she isn't going anywhere near the stuff.

Speaking of Laika - ubiquitous shot . . . . now:

 Her last vet visit 
(she's had three for shots as we didn't know if she ever had shots, her spaying, and her stitches removed) 

She's cost us a bloody fortune.

Lastly, if you know of an office job - please let me know. I am officially a free agent now (read: unemployed). I am DONE with the luxury item line of work. After a wildly erratic run these past few years with the economy sucking, I am looking for a more stable field - emotionally and fiscally. Tired of being a starving (literally) artist and looking for a relatively drama free line of work. Creative fields, while personally rewarding, are magnets for the overtly dramatic, slacker, obscenely vain types.

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