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jbl89

New tool: ZT Studio

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A new build has just been released.

 

- there's a major performance boost in a frequently used slow method to determine which part of an image is relevant (= crop all border parts which are fully transparent until we're left with what I refer to as the 'defining rectangle').

- it should fix a regression in opening a couple of graphic files in a row

 

 

 

Build 2017.06.03 looks like this. I thought it was time to add a screenshot so people just following this thread can see how it's progressed.

ZTStudio_v20170603.png

 

Edited by jbl89

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Released a minor update today which addresses an issue with recoloring.

 

Just tried to recreate the graphics for my two snowy fences from way back, took less than 5 mins to do so, and only 1 .pal file per fence :)
Reading the how-to below will take as long as actually doing this.

 

Used settings in ZT Studio:

- tab Palette: make sure to check if ZT Studio is forced to add duplicate colors

- tab Writing PNG Graphics: keep canvas size (this will spare you from rotation/offset fixing)

 

How-to?

1. have the rockwall and rockwin graphics ready

2. open ZT Studio, open rockwall. Save color palette to .PNG file.
3. open GIMP (or any other graphic editor), recolor bright white (used color curve tool)
4. in ZT Studio, right click the color palette in the main window and choose 'replace with PNG palette'

5. right click and save the .pal file as rockwall.pal (so overwrite original).
Same steps for rockwin.


One thing left to do: rename. This used to involve hex editors and stuff.

1. Batch convert ZT1 to .PNG graphics

2. Rename folder 'rockwall' to for instance 'srckwall', 'rockwin' to 'srckwin'

3. Within that folder, don't forget to rename 'rockwall.pal' (=shared color palette) to 'srckwall.pal', 'rockwin.pal' to 'srckwin.pal'

4. Batch convert .PNG to ZT1 graphics

 

You can't simply recolor the icon, so that's one thing you'll have to take care of yourself.

 

Where's ZT Studio more efficient than other tools?

- perfect recoloring; no new .pal files per animation per view; also no need to recolor every single frame yourself
- easily renamed graphics: no hex editing, no weird random combination which says nothing about what you just created
 

 

What you still need to do?
- create proper icon
- do the configuration yourself (but in this instance, APE is useless as well, ZOOT was also graphics only)

 

Edited by jbl89

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I'm trying to open a palette file, and it shows me a little sub-window for palettes, but I can't figure out how to save it for editing. A little box offers to replace the colors. This is for a recolor of the ingame T. Rex. Trying to push through that gives me a warning the index is out of range. Not going to lie, feeling pretty dumb - graphics has never been my forte in editing either game.

 

Everything else sounds pretty straightforward?

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It's only the palette on the right side of the main window which offers some of the extra features for now.


This guide should help you. It's easier starting off by opening an animation from the original T-Rex so it loads the palette on the right side.
There, you can export/recolor/reimport by right clicking

https://github.com/jbostoen/ZTStudio/wiki/How-to-easily-recolor-an-official-animal-or-object

 

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On 9/6/2017 at 11:07 AM, jbl89 said:

It's only the palette on the right side of the main window which offers some of the extra features for now.


This guide should help you. It's easier starting off by opening an animation from the original T-Rex so it loads the palette on the right side.
There, you can export/recolor/reimport by right clicking

https://github.com/jbostoen/ZTStudio/wiki/How-to-easily-recolor-an-official-animal-or-object

 

I think I figured out the problem a little better. You were right, of course, but then I realized I had misunderstood the 'Root' folder and changed it to the intended project folder for what I was working on at that moment.

 

Nonetheless, the application seems to insist it's looking for trex/trex.pal for the palette, but as the codename has already been altered, it should be looking in 'F7E772A3' instead of 'trex'. After changing the folder name, viola, everything worked fine and now I can finally edit the palette to my heart's content. Certainly need to get the hang of working with an actual palette file but it's still eons better than the old icon switcheroo method.

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Start from the original animal, not from what APE generated (I'm assuming you're doing that since you refer to F7E772A3 ).

In your case:

Prepare
- always copy the original files (for example, all files from T-Rex), keep the naming first.
- now you have for instance c:\temp\animals\trex (or something like that), which contains all original .pal files and icons and animations
 

 

Recolor
- open any animation now from trex
- on the right side of the main window, right click the color palette, choose to export it (to .PNG for instance)
- recolor the palette in any program you'd like

- very important step: go to Settings -> Palette tab -> make sure ZT Studio is forced to add all colors (even duplicates)
- on the right side of the main window, right click the color palette and choose import from PNG
- see if your T-rex looks nice enough or repeat the recolor-steps.

Bonus tip: make sure real/complete black stays black (= shadow for the animal)

 

Rename (to unique name)
- use ZT Studio to convert all files from ZT1 to .PNG (batch conversion)
- now rename your folder and trex.pal to for example mytrex and mytrex.pal
- use ZT Studio to convert all files from .PNG to ZT1 (batch conversion)


Why? This allows you to not have single .pal-files for each single view in each single animation (= the crappy APE way)
But, why? Having one color palette allows you to simply recolor this; and all animations will be recolored at once.

 

What's left?
In most (all?) cases, icons and plaques use a separate color palette file. Adjust that graphic manually, recoloring is a bad idea here because these color palettes also contain the background of the icon.

 

Configuration
Again, I never use APE because it generates utter crap. I always start from the original .AI-file from the animal.
But if you really want to, I think it's safe now to use APE to adjust those settings, as long as you don't do any more graphic manipulations.

 

 

Edited by jbl89

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Start from the original animal, not from what APE generated (I'm assuming you're doing that since you refer to F7E772A3 ).

Not technically. The code is from APE, but I appropriated it for the new project. I originally made the Rex from APE a few years ago and ran into problems over the process of fine-tuning it. I decided to start from scratch, but reused the old APE-generated name. Coding from an AI file will take a little getting to used to but I've done worse with less preparation. This is my first ZT Studio / AI to UCA project, so the tips are still appreciated. (The idea of coming up with a more normal codename actually never occurred to me.)

 

I made a library for the original animal files recently to facilitate this,  but copied them into the new projects folders before I opened anything in ZT Studio, not after as I should have. Things to note for the future.

 

Thanks again!

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When I designed things myself ages ago, I abandoned APE as soon as ZOOT was released.
And even before ZOOT was released, I made it a  habit to copy the configuration from an existing animal.
As long as you kept the animations the same as those for the original animal (something 90% of the designers did), you only had to change some settings.
There were also less things corrupted and the structure was way easier to dig into.


So I'm used to a completely different work flow from way back.
Feel free to ask if anything's not clear. I also updated the Wiki page on GitHub. 
Some things I just do but forget to mention or write up.

 

And with Vondell's Red Panda, I also just tackled the animations from scratch.

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