Skinning - All about Tiles
Sections are seperated, so if you want to jump to a certain section do a "find" and type in one of the following:
1. = Something to start with =
2. = What tile goes where? =
3. = Editing tile sets =
4. = Converting, Importing, & Working with tiles in the editor =
= Something to start with =
Okay, lets start with the very basics here. We need something to work off of, a tileset or a cliffset, so lets get some.
Step 1. Open up your extrator of choice, I use WC3 Image Extractor 2 and open up the war3.mpq (if you need more info on how to do this, check a wc3 image extractor tutorial, or just mess around a bit, you'll get it)
Step 2. First we are going to get a clean small tile base, a large tile base, and a cliff base. (Remember when you export these to save them as TGA files. Some programs, like image extractor, allow you to export as a tga, If you use another program you might have to first convert the blp to tga. So to make things easy, just use image extractor ^_^ ) I used the White Marble, Grass, and Cityscape Cliff (CliffY) for most of the tutorial.
We should now have a good place to start from, a small tile set, a large tile set, and a cliff set.
= What tile goes where? =
Look at the bottom right info in image extractor. On the first set we see that a "normal" tile set is 256x256. This will take up only 1 "tile slot", which I explain more later. The next set has 512x256 this is what I call a "large" tile set, and it will take up 2 "tile slots" (you can click on 'more' in image extractor to see the whole image, the previews are always 256x256 in that program) And finally, we see that cliffsets are ALWAYS 256x256, there are no large cliff sets.
Okay, now lets open up the White Marble tileset in your paint program of choice (I am going to use Adobe Photoshop 6, your program may be slightly different).
1. All about the layout of a tile set.
A. This is the basic tile, it is placed where ever there is a large area of the same tile. (A2 is the first alternate tile, it can go in place of A more on this later)
B. These are your straight edge tiles.
C. These are outer corner tiles, as well as part of diagonals edges.
D. These are inner corner tiles, and also part of diagonal edges.
E. These are the tiles used to connect "caddy corner" tiles, or a single width of tile placed diagonally.
I am not going to post a picture of a large set at this point, but all of the others tiles in large sets work like A2, and can be used as alternates to A.
2. All about the layout of a Cliff set.
This can seem a bit more tricky.
A. These tiles are a pain, some show up mostly on corners, some rarely, and some are almost never seen. In general though, these are your cliff "face" tiles.
B. These are the straight edge tiles. I have placed the B's on the halfs that show up above the cliff. You can tell where the split is between upper and lower fairly easy on this set, thats why I picked it.
C. These are the corner edges. A random one will be choosen, so if you want it to look the same, make them the same. If you want to have some different top edge corner looks, then make them different.
D. This is the bottom tile for inside corners. (outside bottom corner just use part of the straight edge tile, upper inside corners do the same)
*E. To tell the truth I have no clue what these are for. They may be used only on a certain wall, or certain dirt walls, but I haven't figured that out yet. To be safe, just make them look like an inside upper edge tile would, but without any shadows, since thats how they look on blizzard sets.
(*If you know for sure what these tiles do, please pm me.)
= Editing tile sets =
There are many art tutorials found around the web, if you need help with your program look it up on the net. The only thing that this section is going to cover it what needs to be done to make tiles look right in game.
1. Alpha Channel Basics
In photoshop, the alpha channel can be found under the "channels" tab, it is usually the only one besides the cmyk channels, other programs may have it in other places. All channels are Greyscale. If you can't find the alpha channel in your program, you will be limited to what you can do, and probably should not mess with anything other than recolors.
The alpha channel will tell the game what part of the tiles you want to display. The Black areas are hidden, while White areas show up. Anything in-between is semi-transparent. The easiest way to set up the alpha channel is to make all areas of the tiles you don't want to show an odd color that is not even close to the colors used in your tiles. For example, if you were doing a stone path set, use a brite pink color. All you have to do then is use a wand tool to select the pink areas, go to the alpha channel, fill in the selected area with black, reverse the selection, and fill it white. This should work fine for all the "hard edged" grapics.
2. Advanced Alpha Channel Work
So what do you do when you want tiles to blend together better, instead of being "hard edged"? Well, you can do one of two things. The first is to follow the above steps, then go back and refill the unused area with a color closer to what you want to blend with, then go back in and "feather" the edges. If you want to take more time, and get a better look, you are going to have to go in and do things a couple pixels at a time. I won't bother going into detail, if you can do it you can, if not, ask someone that can. The only real advice I can give is don't count on things looking or fitting together exactly like they do in your paint program once you bring it into wc3, it can do some nasty things to tiles.
3. Problems with tiles in WC3
The main problem with tiles in WC3 is that they get "jogged" and don't join up just how you would think. When designing the "main" tile, it is often useful to design with 1-3 pixels unused on the left and bottom of the tile, then kind of fill in that area to blend with the other edges. Warcraft usually cuts off, or overlaps that part of the tile. This becomes a bit harder when you do diagonal tiles, and even more so since a few tiles don't seem to get "jogged". Be prepared to experiment, and don't expect perfection. You can even look at the Blizzard made tiles and see how there are small divits, and jags to the tile edges, the trick is to learn to disguise them, or simply make them less obvious.
If you need more help when acutally editing a tile, chances are you shouldn't be editing them because you really don't know the paint programs well enough to move around.
4. Saving your new sets
You can save the file with any name you want, just make sure that you save it as a 32bit tga file, otherwise lots of strange things can happen, none of which I am gonna bother explaining, just save it right.
= Converting, Importing, & Working with tiles in the editor =
To convert your tiles is very very easy. You just need the program WC3Viewer. Simply start the program, go to "convert files" on the menu, and select bmp,jpg,tga -> blp. You then pick the file you want to convert, and it does all the work. When the option for "compression" is presented, just leave it the default 85. If you want to mess with this, do it on your own, I don't think any explanation is really needed, but be warned that the more you compress the file, the less detail you keep. 85 usually keeps a more than decent amount of detail (since the tile is streched in WC3 anyways).
Click on the "Import Manager" icon, this brings up a new window. Select the import icon, and select your new blp tileset. Change the custom path of your tile to the one you want to replace... here is a list of all the tiles (yes it's long). The only thing you need to make note of is the "large" and "small" sets. You don't to replace one with the other, the results suck. If you need help on managing tiles go to the next part.
(Only in TFT)
After you have imported all the tiles you want, you are going to have to restart WE before you can actually see the tiles in the editor. Make sure the map you want the new art in is the first one you open, other wise you will probably not see the new ones. Also be aware that any other maps that use overwritten tiles will APPEAR to use those tiles. These things happen just because the editor uses stored info for a lot of things rather than referencing them each time they are used.
3. Working with tiles in the editor
First, to edit the tiles used, go to Advanced, and select "Modify Tileset". This will bring up a new window. The first thing you want to do is check "Use custom tileset", this will bring up some new options for you. You cannot replace cliffsets or tiles with the red square, but you can still mess with them.
To change tiles, simply go through and select tiles you want and replace the others. Sometimes you may have to first remove a small tile before adding a large one. This lets you sort through the tiles you want, and enables you to include your tiles in campaigns, I believe all imports in a campaign use the same name, so this lets you find the right tiles without having to use multiple copies to overwrite different maps tiles.
The final useful thing on this little window is the "shift" buttons. Basically, these allow you arrange the tiles to overlap any way that you want. The tiles on the left will be overlaped by everything to their right, you no longer have to worry about what tile name to use for your custom one to make it overlaps right.
I think that should cover just about everything that you need to know about using custom tiles. No I am not going to add pictures, simply because I don't want to take the time to do so. If you think there is anything missing or would like to see something added, let me know and I might update this.
To show up new textures in the editor without restarting (at least in the Frozen Throne), by going to File->Preferences and the "Video" tab - then change the "Texture quality" to something different. This makes the editor refresh its textures, to whatever new ones you've got, as long as the map has been saved with its imports.
You beat me to it smurf, I was like 1/2 way done my tile and cliff tutorial and then I check here. Good Job! the only thing it lacks is pictures, if you added a few it would look really nice. :emote_thumbup:
yea, really nice tutorial, i have always wondered myself how to go about skinning tiles. how about after i move this, you can edit ur post and put in some actual pics. i think that would make this tut easier to follow.
Yeah but, if after overwriting the wanted tile, we want to use the old one in another map ?
I believe the tiles you did not know were used for are the slope tiles. but beats me. I was able to get the normal ground tiles to work but not the cliff tiles. Here's what I did for the cliff tiles.
1. Save ReplaceableTextures\Cliff\Y_Cliff1.blp as a tga
2. opened in photoshop and edited it.
3. saved as a blp with image extractor
4. imported into my map with the import manager.
5. changed the path to ReplaceableTextures\Cliff\Y_Cliff1.blp
6. saved, closed, and reopened.
7. The cliff was still the old one, not black or scrambled, just the same.
nice tutorial, useful. Another way of viewing tile quickly without restart is to hit 'test map' and they'll all show up 'in game'
Banana Twist- you don't need the 'y_' part, I don't have WorldEd handy on this PC but I think the path is just
Set a 64x64 pixel grid on the tileset for easier editing.
How do you get the cliffs to work?
I tried using the same method, simply wont work
i used the Space Station tiles from Whitehorn and the ground works but the cliffs are still like in Cityscape i tried it with
then i restarted the WE and still no changes plz plz plz help )=
b.t.w im a Dummy :D
unfortunately thanks to blizzard's editor system your cliff tiles will not show up in game, to get them to show up in game you need a modified editor, i myself prefer World editor unlimited, it comes with it's own enhancer as well, very useful tht enhancer. The enhancer tool has an option to allow you to start the game with the WEU(World Editor Unlimited) patch, which will make the cliff tiles show up in game. Another path you can take is to try and rename the space station cliff tecture so it replaces the cityscape cliff one.
I'm a Tauren so I'm quite capable of spotting bullshit.
well i'm a Troll and i say Thanks :D :emote_thumbup2:
What about water tilesets. Don't they have their own path?
whoa 6 month resurection...ya water has its own paths >.>
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