xBR Textures

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Flippant Sol
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I've been going through my Marathon stuff and I've found my old batch image manipulation programs, namely the xBR-capable Hawkynt scaler. I ran some tests through with ShapeFusion bitmaps and I've decided that I can come up with a new workflow and make more xBR textures for Aleph One.

My new workflow looks like this: the textures have to be converted from BMP to DDS, from DDS to PNG, and then reformatted in PNG using BIMP and then ran through the algorithm, and then converted into DDS again (can we get TGA support?). Once I have the DDSes, I can write the scripts then package the plugins.

I'm having trouble with deciding what I should work on first. I want to go back and do M1 stuff, but I'd have to go back and do it all again anyways when I figure out how to generate glow and bump mapping for everything in M1 (Did Ares Ex Machina ever explain his work?). But I also have bigger ambitions for M1.

I want to do Minf first because it would kill two birds or more and I could bask in the original monster and weapon designs and better color palettes from Bungie and not Freeverse. One day I might even do third party stuff. Damn, I'm too ambitious.

I gotta go back and fix my M1 Monsters and M1 weapons stuff. Make it spotless, split off the projectiles. Then Minf.
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Blastfrog
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There's one major problem with trying to upscale the original assets: dithering. Either you're going to have to use a de-dithering program (which the results honestly don't look good from what I've seen) or carefully blend by hand.

You're probably just better off editing the XBLA textures to look closer to the original Bungie set.
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Flippant Sol
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Blastfrog wrote:There's one major problem with trying to upscale the original assets: dithering. Either you're going to have to use a de-dithering program (which the results honestly don't look good from what I've seen) or carefully blend by hand.

You're probably just better off editing the XBLA textures to look closer to the original Bungie set.
Unlike Doom, they are not digitized versions of clay models. They are just pixelated versions of 2D stylized drawings. This is why I think I like the look of xBR so much on Marathon's sprites, but find it horrendous on Doom's.
The benefit of upscaling is that pixelation is completely gone, the sharpness is very close if not exact to the original, and you get increased resolution at various distances. I think the dithering issue is solved in some instances when in motion.
But as you say, there are drawbacks. The upscaler is interpreting what it is upscaling and making an estimation based on what it sees. Naturally, there might be a few details lost in translation (but some are revealed, too). For instance, xBR does not play nice with text or textures that get really close to the camera. I'll have to be super careful with Weapons in Hand.
The less bitmap by bitmap work I have to do, the better. I'm fine with going in later and touching up the dithering, but like I said, I want to be super careful because the point is to make the sprites less like pixelated things and more like their original drawings.
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treellama
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Why so many conversions? DDS should really only be necessary at the end for Aleph One.
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Flippant Sol
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treellama wrote:Why so many conversions? DDS should really only be necessary at the end for Aleph One.
In Aorta, you can't use the export options menu for batch when in png mode, and the png output still has blue in the transparent pixels, but when I test the DDS output with the Fast Halo Removal on, the blue in the transparent pixels is gone. I need Halo Removal or else the scaler will try to mix the edges in with the transparent colors and that results in blue ringing.
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treellama
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Oh boy you're still using Aorta!

Maybe these would be easier to automate: https://github.com/castano/nvidia-texture-tools
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The Man
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treellama wrote:Oh boy you're still using Aorta!
So was I, until just now! Thanks for the link.

For the record, I would be very interested in seeing these results. I’ve already upscaled a lot of the Tempus and Rubicon textures for Chronicles and WMAiD using Photoshop’s “Preserve Details 2.0” algorithm, plus a bunch of other fancy filters, but I suspect there are already better algorithms for upscaling images. I’d be interested to see what others could come up with using more sophisticated algorithms. And of course, seeing more faithful HD renditions of the monsters, weapons, and scenery objects (and textures, although Tim, Freeverse, and Goran did mostly great work for M1, M2, and M∞ respectively) would be lovely.

My vote would go towards monsters being the #1 priority, for whatever that’s worth, and I’d say start with M2/, since that’s what people play most often. For textures from third-party scenarios, the highest priority should possibly actually be Phoenix, since it doesn’t have any HD textures at all. Pfh’Joueur and Evil also lack them, but people don’t play them as often (also, Evil’s textures are mostly just reused from with a few modifications and additions). However, that said, Tempus and Rubicon only have 256x256 textures, and having good-quality ≥512x512 replacements would certainly be nice! (My stance is that anything above 512x512 is overkill for anyone who’s not running a 4K machine, but if someone can make 1024x1024 versions without trouble, I won’t tell them not to bother.)
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Flippant Sol
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Is there a way I can deal with color banding through software, or does it have to be fixed by hand?
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