Shoving that Envelope

If there’s one thing I try to acomplish with Beyond the Tree, it’s experimenting with where boundaries lie – both with presentation and with graphical delivery. While the former is limited to the shape and placement of panes ( / boxes) within a given page ( / episode), the latter spans both things like shadow layers, highlight layers and whatnot in Paint Shop Pro as well as improving the models available in 3D Studio with better posability, more expressive facial morphs, better lighting conditions and overall just making characters more able to interact with their environment.

Screenshots can only go so far and there’s limits to what sort of models modelviewer can and cannot export for use. I’ve been looking around with it since the general idea is that the more things I render in 3D studio, the more unified the result will look. The problem is that modelviewer can’t – not for me at the least – export things that go too far from characters and into world segments. So obviously, I’m stuck.

Or perhaps not.

After a good bit of googling on the particular file format in question, ignoring all the various tidbits of information that had more to do with exploits and altering the game than making use of its resources for artwork I stumbled upon something that could take the actual models describing elements of the world and turn them into something 3D studio could understand. Now just a quick render of what it gives me directly is hardly awe-inspiring, so to paraphraze Raziel: “with a bit of will, that too can change.”

While textures are aligned properly (for which I’m very grateful – I abhor having to align textures), the output doesn’t quite know which texture goes where without proper guidance, which isn’t so much a difficult process as it is a time-consuming one. I don’t yet know the limits of what exactly I can and cannot export this way, and the time factor involved in prepping something for use is – so far – rather limiting; at this point in time it’s not going to end up something commonplace to instantly replace any and all screenshot use. But, in certain cases and situations or perhaps even one day.. who knows?


2 Responses to “Shoving that Envelope”

  1. July 21, 2008 at 12:21

    You can certainly export entire landscapes, but the process is full of spiders.

  2. 2 Nhani
    July 21, 2008 at 12:43

    I had to go by some WMO to MaxScript application for it. Not sure how extensive bits of model I can extract by it (instances and buildings, obviously. No idea about the world environment beyond that so far).

    Right now it’s a little too much work to do it regularely, but it’s something to be experimenting with!

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