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Fixing DDS format, quality loss

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Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby CreeperLava » 15 Jul 2015, 13:09

I am trying to fix some textures for a mod project and am seeing some weird compression problems while converting from DXT5 to DXT1. Comparison images :
Spoiler:
Basically, the bad looking image is the fixed one.
http://imgur.com/a/SHZss
http://imgur.com/a/0jVI6
The dark and pixellated stretcher is the fixed one, the bottom picture was taken with Texmod.
http://imgur.com/a/9Np3N


I tried with both autofix and DirectX Texture Tool, with the same results. The resulting images are blurry, pixelated, basically worse than the vanilla ones. In-game it even looks way darker than the original. Does any of you have a workaround or tips to convert textures without a massive quality loss ?
Btw, do you know of a good all-in-one DDS tool ? I tried gimp, DirectX texture tool. Both have flaws, I can't find a program that can do all of it without having display errors, lacking functionalities...

Apparently ME3 doesn't have any problems with DXT5 when injected through Texmod. Would it be possible to have the option to force installation in TPF/DDS Tools even if there are wrong formats ?
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby giftfish » 15 Jul 2015, 14:04

I've experienced all sorts of weird **** like that, too, Creeper. Converting can just be fucky, it seems. I also run into a lot of DDS's that Compressonator can open and the DirectX tool cannot.

GIMP's DDS plugin often has the weird alpha channel problem I asked on these forums a while back. Paint.NET is generally more reliable, but isn't as versatile. It seems that using PhotoShop is the only way to omit problems.
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby CreeperLava » 15 Jul 2015, 14:11

Will try Photoshop then, thanks !
I edited the above post just before you posted, what do you think of allowing the use of DXT5 in me3explorer ? Am I missing something or would it be entirely possible ?
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby giftfish » 15 Jul 2015, 14:22

CreeperLava wrote:Will try Photoshop then, thanks !
I edited the above post just before you posted, what do you think of allowing the use of DXT5 in me3explorer ? Am I missing something or would it be entirely possible ?

To my knowledge DXT5 just adds an alpha channel, but I can think of some situations where it could be problematic. For example, eyelash "length" is actually controlled by an opacity parameter. The more opaque you make them, the longer they appear. If you replace the eyelash DXT1 with a DXT5, it could be that the now present alpha channel will impact the changes the opacity parameter make in game. Could look better or worse, but it might be different.

Can't know unless we can try it :)
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby CreeperLava » 15 Jul 2015, 14:30

Well, I did actually try it^^. Look at the comparison screenshots, especially the third album : http://imgur.com/a/9Np3N. First picture is vanilla, second is a fixed smarteck texture, converted from DXT5 to DXT1. The third is a non-fixed texture ran from Texmod. You can see at first look that the fixed texture is just... buggy, dark and pixellated.
Whereas running a DXT5 texture through Texmod gives a much clearer result. Which leads me to believe that ME3 does support DXT5, and that we could allow it's use instead of forcing the conversion to DXT1.
The loss of alpha channels from DXT5 to DXT1 is catastrophical for most textures, as you can see in the two first comparison albums.
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby giftfish » 15 Jul 2015, 14:49

@Creeper -- Right, but not all in game textures have accompanying opacity parameters like the example that I gave.

I realize having an alpha channel is almost always better. My point was that it may not be better in all cases, since some textures have other parameters the engine uses to dictate how they are displayed. There's a chance that DXT5 could create a problem with certain textures. Anything involving skin/head/face I'd make sure to some careful testing, since all those textures are affected by a variety of "display" parameters. This is stuff I have experience with from modding Kelly's appearance.

My guess is that most textures would indeed look better as DXT5 and BW just went with DXT1 to save size for consoles.
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby CreeperLava » 15 Jul 2015, 15:03

I see, wasn't aware of these other parameters. I do hope nonetheless that using DXT5 will be offered as an option in me3explorer. If it can do harm, maybe a setting with a warning message could be enough ? Normal users would just use autofix like they always did, having no problems whatsoever with most textures, while modders and advanced users could fiddle with the textures to give an optimal experience.
I am building the mod I talked about a few weeks ago, gathering many textures. I can't release it with only DXT1, it would look bad. Pesky console peasants though^^.
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby giftfish » 15 Jul 2015, 15:28

CreeperLava wrote:Pesky console peasants though^^.

Lawl, agreed.

1. Mouse + keyboard present a finer mechanism of control and targeting.
2. Graphics have far superior capabilities on a PC.
3. PC games can be reinstalled when you upgrade your PC (i.e., console).
4. PC games can be modded (maybe),

The only reason to choose console over PC is to take advantage of the (cheap) used game market and to rent games. And, on the PC, Steam sales can sufficiently replace that, as well.
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby KFreon » 15 Jul 2015, 22:17

Wow never seen that kind of quality loss before.
Is it due to an alpha channel getting mixed down? (DXT5 -> DXT1)
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Re: Fixing DDS format, quality loss

Postby CreeperLava » 16 Jul 2015, 05:55

I can't see any other reason than the alpha channel, so yeah, that must be the cause. I think I found a solution with Photoshop and Nvidia's DDS Tools. Basically, I save the DXT5 as DXT1 without alpha (DXT1 RGB). All alpha information gets deleted. Can that be a problem ? Because other than the alpha information getting lost, PS does the job much better than autofix or DirectX Texture Tool. There are compression options, so the quality loss is minimal.
If I try to save with 1 bit alpha (DXT1 ARGB), I just get a black texture, which may be a bug on their side^^.

Edit : tested in-game, it looks good :D.
Spoiler:
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