Now that the issues are settled and I'm back on campus for the start of the semester, I'll resume putting up lessons. I hope you've been getting used to Cinema 4D's controls!5. Basic Scene Correction
The first step in fixing a scene is making sure you have everything in it. As I said before, many objects off-camera will not be included in the scene because of how the Nintendo 64 works. Carefully examine your newly ripped scene
to see what is missing, because it is very rare that you will capture the entire room you want, complete with interactive objects. The procedure for collecting the rest of the scene is pretty simple. With the original scene open, go back to the emulator and move from your initial ripping location. Keep checking back with your rip as you scout the room for the missing objects
and try to fit as many of them in your view as possible. It is always wise to check your rip while moving around, because while some things are obvious when they're missing (hole in the floor, or important object), often times small details will be missing as well
, and these are the things that you will most likely pass over without noticing. When you have a good amount of the missing objects (or all of them if possible), create another rip of the scene
. Open it and rescale it
to match the original scene. A shortcut that I find helps me here is N~E~S
, which will quickly light up and center the scene for you. (Remember that using N~E will not light up the final rendered scene, just the editor's view.) With the Live Selection Tool
(the cursor), select the objects you need in either the viewer or object list. Because of how the VRML format works, there will be a separate object for each texture and for each separate moving part. Like many programs, you can hold Shift
to select/deselect multiple objects. (In the viewer, shift lets you select multiple objects, ctrl deselects them. In the object list, shift can select a range and ctrl can select/deselect individual objects.) With the desired objects selected, Copy and Paste them (the standard ctrl+C and ctrl+V
) into the original scene. You do not have to worry about selecting the materials, because relevant materials are automatically added with the model
. Often, a texture will be used that wasn't included in the original scene. Cinema 4D will warn you of missing image files each time you render, so I suggest testing it out (ctrl+R
) every time you add objects to a scene. If you get this error message, look for the texture in the VRML folder and paste it into your scene's folder. You will notice that the newly added objects are located outside of the NemuObject container. This is usually fine unless you intend on altering the whole scene by moving/rotating the container. Simply drag and drop the objects over the name of the object to put it in its hierarchy
. Keep in mind that any object can have parent and children objects, not just containers. I'll describe uses for this in another lesson. Check the scene multiple times until you're sure you have everything in the room. Once you're done collecting everything, you can begin fixing the appearance.
The first thing you'll do to the scene is check out the materials
, located in the list at the bottom of the workspace. There will be at least one material for each texture in the scene, plus duplicates and solid colors. They are arranged in the reverse order of the Objects list, with the top-left material being the one used by the lowest object on the list. Newly added materials are inserted at the top. Keep these in mind when searching through the list for a specific material. If you have an object selected, you may notice that some materials have a white box around them. The white boxes indicate all materials associated with the selected object(s)
. You can select materials by clicking them just like objects. Materials selected will have white names and will display their attributes on the right. The reason they are called "Materials" instead of "Textures" is because materials can posses a great range of properties and not just a single texture. These properties are divided up into Channels
, which can be enabled/disabled in the Basic channel, which is part of every material. Two other channels used by every material are Illumination, which we won't worry about, and Assign, which shows a list of every object that makes use of that specific material. The only channels we'll be dealing with are Color
, and Transparency
. I could explain what the other channels are used for, but it's easier if you just play around with them to find out by yourself. Anyway, let's take a look at an average material's Color channel...
Along the top are tabs for each of the enabled channels. By default, Color is the only channel active for Nemu-made materials. Tabs are generally viewed one at time, but you can view multiple channels at the same time by right clicking the tab
. The channels will stack up on top of each other in the same order as the tabs, allowing you to scroll between them. Just below the tabs is the material preview
, a sphere by default. From this preview, which is displayed at the top regardless of which tab is selected, you can rotate the material (drag around with right click) or change the display shape. The first field in the actual Color channel is, believe it or not, Color
. Not every material will have a texture assigned to them, but every material will have a color. You're given RGB sliders, but you can also manually enter numbers or click the color box to choose a color with the System color picker. Below the color field is the Brightness, which determines how bright the selected color is. Leave this at 100%, and make sure it is set to 100% for every new material you create. Below that is the texture, which is pretty straight forward. Clicking the arrow next to the filename brings up a list of options, such as Copy/Paste Channel, as well as a good amount of effects/shaders. Below the filename bar are the texture preview and the filter controls. The default is MIP
, which is somewhat similar to N64's filter, but not close enough. It typically causes problems around edges and is best turned off. Below the texture field is Mix Mode
, which controls how the texture is blended with the chosen color. Normal
is the default, and simply covers up the image over the color. Don't worry about Add or Subtract, as it's most likely you won't need them. Multiply
is the option you'll be choosing most, as it combines the image and the color together. This is how you'll be imitating vertex shading in your scenes. Mix Strength is another field you'll be leaving at 100% for everything.
Each time you start a new scene, you'll be going through each material one at a time to see how it is used. But first, you have to change the default settings that get in your way. Select all the materials with ctrl+A
(make sure your cursor is over the material box, or you'll select all objects instead) and choose the Color channel in the Attributes panel if you haven't already. You will notice that it says "Material (# Elements) [_,_,_,_...]" above the tab, indicating how many materials you currently have selected, and fields with different values will say "<<Multiple Values>>"
. Click the filter type and change it to None
, disabling the default blur for every material. If the field isn't showing up, this is because the topmost material has no texture. Deselecting it will let you change the field. With the filter off, it's time to deal with the spheres. Sure, they look nice, but they completely distort the image and make it hard to tell similar images apart. With all materials still selected, right click the material preview sphere and choose Plane from the list
. This will make all the materials change to a flat square facing the camera, exactly what you need for working with texture images. Now, it is possible to change the default from a sphere, but I advise against this. Keeping the default as sphere will let you keep track of which materials you haven't dealt with yet when it comes to adding new models to the scene. You are welcome to choose other shapes besides Plane (even Sphere if you want) as long as the shape is meaningful to you and doesn't hinder your ability to recognize it. I sometimes use cube myself for materials that are blocky. With these new display settings chosen, it's time to go through each material one by one.
What you'll be looking for as you go through the materials are whether or not the material has a color and whether or not the texture has a special alpha image
. And by color, I mean anything other than white, which Nemu gives as 254,254,254. The farther the color is from white, the more vertex shading the object has. A scene file will normally come with multiple materials using the same texture but different colors. Whenever you find a non-white color in a material, change the Mix Type to Multiply
and see how it affects the scene. It could be subtle or drastic, useful or just wrong. I'll talk about advanced coloring tricks in a new lesson, so for now, leave the mix type on Multiply and move on to the next material.
Working with Alpha is a bit tricky and takes a little more effort. Depending on the game, you will either have a lot of alpha channels to work with or almost none. Paper Mario has alpha channels with almost every texture. In this case, you'll be looking for alpha channels that are anything but a solid black square
. Sometimes it will be obvious, other times it will not. Let's say you've found a texture that you know to have a unique alpha channel, like any of Paper Mario's character sprites. To apply the alpha channel, start by going to the material's Basic channel and activating the Alpha Channel
. Switch to the Alpha tab to see the options you're given. You'll notice a texture field and some check boxes. Load the alpha image into the texture field
by either clicking the empty filename bar or the "..." button next to it. You should probably pick the Thumbnail view while browsing for the file so that you know which one to pick. When the file is chosen, the alpha channel is applied and... what's this? It's cutting out the character and showing the blank space around it? That's right. The alpha channels generated by Lemmy's plugin are inverted when compared to the system C4D uses (black for solid versus white for solid). Luckily, there's an option for that, so check the Invert option
to set it right. Keep in mind that you won't have to do this for grayscale images or alpha channels obtained through Project 64. But, before you go on to the next material, take a look at the texture. Like with the color channel, the default texture filter is MIP
. Be sure to change it to None
before you move on.
I think this lesson has dragged on enough for one day, so I'll just cover one more thing. Not every model that comes in the scene will be important to you. Often times, you will have to delete floating 3D HUD elements that are getting in your way. And, depending on the game you're working on, you may or may not want to delete the main character's model (or the enemies present). Leaving the main character in is a good way to establish the scale of the level, but scale can also be established through the other characters and objects present in the room. If you do decide to delete objects, their materials will be left behind in the Material list. You can get rid of unused materials by right clicking any of the materials and selecting Remove Unused Materials
. Similarly, you can remove materials with identical parameters (often a side effect of pasting in new models to the scene) by choosing Remove Duplicate Materials
. It will look through all the active fields and combine the materials that are exact matches (Name field ignored). Using these frequently will keep you from wasting effort on materials that don't show up onscreen. You can manually delete these textures, but it is very tedious and error-prone. When manually deleting duplicate textures, you will also have to assign the correct matching texture to take it's place on the model.
That's all for now! I should mention that the steps mentioned above aren't set in stone. You can do them in any order you choose. There's nothing wrong with fixing up the existing scene before looking for missing elements. Pick a flow that works for you, and feel free to change it on a whim. For the next lesson, we'll be looking at tiling and handling special textures.