Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

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Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby DARoot » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:03 pm

A technical question, for any texturing experts out there --

Icons [and, some clothing/armors/etc.] are often SUPPOSED to have "transparent" backgrounds [or areas].
I can make textures with "transparency" [both "Alpha Channel" and "Additional Layer" -- I use GIMP] but only with .tga files [GIMP will not read/write .dds files], and what I make works fine for me in-game.

I also use "DDSConvert" - primarily to convert existing .dds files to .tga files, so I can edit them.
DDSConvert will also allow conversion of .tga files to .dds files -- but, therein lies the problem...
Files converted to .dds by "DDSConvert, on my system, LOSE their "background transparency" --
- Might be related to my lame "on-the-motherboard" graphics chip not rendering them properly...
- Might be a Windows Vista "undocumented feature" [when in doubt, I blame Vista...]...
OR
- I may not be saving the .dds files in the correct format.

So, here's the question:
What is the PROPER format for .dds files in Morrowind mods?

DDSConvert offers several options - currently, the "default" settings on my system are:
- Mipmap -> None
- Texture Format -> DxT3
- Dither [unchecked]
- Swap RGB [unchecked]
- Rescale -> None

Anybody see anything "wrong" with these?

[Background Note: I've recently been involved following another Modder's new project, to which a Second Modder offered some additional content, which the Original Mod Author gratefully accepted and included. However, the Icons associated with the new content somehow lost their "background transparency" when incorporated into the updated mod [shades of my own problem?] I said to myself, "Self, you can perhaps make a miniscule contribution to this "joint modding project," by simply creating new Icons (in .dds) with transparent backgrouds, that could just be dropped into the mod (overwriting the originals) without changing the Mod .esp." Sadly, I "failed to produce" (and, although both the Original Mod Author and the Second Modder have stated that, "Oh, I can fix that in seconds...", as of this date that has not happened...but, they have other fish to fry, and more important projects they are currently working on, and after all, this is really No Big Deal...).
Not that I need the glory or the appreciation, of course...]

But, I would like to know, for my own benefit, if there is something I am missing regarding conversion of .tga files [which work] to .dds files [which don't -- at least, regarding "transparency"].

If it's something my end [video graphics chip limitation/Vista "feature"], I can just accept it, and simply move on [with .tgas, which are not all that larger than .dds files, so no "overhead" worries here].

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

DARoot
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby neildarkstar » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:24 pm

when you open a DDS in an editor you don't want it open the mipmaps, when you save it you do want it to generate mipmaps though.

DxT3 is a good choice, that's what I use.

your other settings are fine.

Here's something to remember though. If you're using Photoshop you want to make sure to save the work at the end in DDS for export, and save a copy in the photoshop format. That way when you want to edit the DDS file, open the photoshop file, edit it, then use to overwrite or replace the DDs file. the reason is that every time you open and save a transparent dds and save it, you will lose the transparency. You can open it and not save it, but remember that if you open it and save it it's gonna screw up.

I use an old photoshop 7, and the interesting this about it is that in order to export a transparent file I have to click on a help option and run a wizard.

I offered to fix those icons, by the way... it's easily done. I think what happened is that I somehow I saved copies of the dds icons while I was moving them to pack them in the zip. as I said, they were transparent to start with. I would have fixed that before sending it if I had noticed the issue. Sorry about that Chief. Want me to send you a fixed version?
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby DARoot » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:51 pm

Thank 'ee, Neildarkstar!

As stated, I use GIMP and DDSConvert -- not Photoshop, or Adobe, or any of them other progams that cost a bunch 'o money and have .dds add-ons.

If the "DDSConvert" settings I already have are appropriate, I'm apparently up sh*t's creek regarding .dds conversion.
Oh, well, at my age, such minor inconveniences soon become par for the course, Eh?

- Errrr. should I change the "Mipmap" setting to something other than "None" --[my choices are - "Box" "Cubic" "Kaiser" "Gamma" "Full", none of which make any sense to me...]

Thanks for your assistance

DARoot
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby Jac » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:01 pm

Gimp has a DDS plugin, DARoot. I can PM it to you if you want it.
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby gagatek » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:05 pm

Huh? And can I just add it as an attachement?... there is instruction in the readme where to put it.

Regarding the dds with alphas... I bet Neildarkstar covered it all (I'm not entirely sure I understand all the dds related issues, I'm still a beginner in this area)

but I just found that dds with alphas are: Compression: BC3 / DTX5
http://forums.tripwireinteractive.com/s ... hp?t=33153 (post 5?...)
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby neildarkstar » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:32 pm

-I just took a look, and Pghotoshop has been overriding my initial choice of DxT3.

Here's what it changed it to:
DXT5 ARGB 8 bpp | interpolated alpha

DARoot wrote:-[my choices are - "Box" "Cubic" "Kaiser" "Gamma" "Full", none of which make any sense to me...]

None of those options mean a thing to me either... My Photoshop makes no mention of any such options though I searched carefully.

I have a version of Gimp on my computer complete with the dds plugin, but I've never bothered to learn to use it. This ancient photoshop works fine for my purposes.
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby gagatek » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:46 pm

Full - will be probably with no compression at all (the final texture will be big size) - and it should support alphas.

Cubic - i recollect it's a kind of compression of the file... it's a way to simplify the colours/details of the texture (and if you enlarge the picture VERY muchly, you will see the difference and "damage" in comparision to the original) - but the final dds texture is smaller as a result

Edit: Geee, another cool link with a LOT of info... :flamingmad:
http://tech-artists.org/wiki/DirectDraw_Surface
actually in this one it's pretty clear. :biggrin:
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby neildarkstar » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:07 pm

gigatek... thanks for the link, that's helpful!
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby DARoot » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:06 pm

Many thanks, Guys (Gals? who knows?)

I'll try the "DXT5" option and see if that works...
I'll then try the "DDS Plugin" you mentioned [Thanks for the link, Gagatek!!!]
If all of the above fails, I'll PM Jac to see what he has to offer in the way of DDS Plugins for "DDSConvert"

We shall see what we shall see...

DARoot
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Re: Question: Proper DDS File Format for Morrowind Textures

Postby DARoot » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:50 pm

Eureka!
Setting "DDSConvert" to "DTX5" and "MipMap=Full" sorts it!
[I am now, once again, fairly self-sufficient in my puny MW modding efforts...]
Thank You! One and all, for your assistance!
Have a rock, on me...
:wrock:
DARoot

[What?? You expected Swedish Readhead nude dancing girls, perhaps? ... Wrong side of the Forum, Bro...]
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