"Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

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"Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:37 pm

Hello everyone.

I spent the last two days experimenting with the Source SDK tools to achieve what is commonly called a "Sin City" or "Noir" effect.

Being able to play a game with the stark black and white artstyle and storytelling the graphic novels are known for has been a dream for many years (yes, I know about Mad World).

The first result was a test of the $lightwarp shader function to give a cell-shaded look. As you can see in the picture below, the effeect ist suboptimal for brushes because of the stepped shadows source creates. Stencil shadows as seen in Doom 3 would be better here. The shader might work for models, though. Also, it is very hard to get the lighting to work right.

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The following picture shows a test for spot lighting. Doesn't look good, does it? The main problem is that depending on where you set the threshold in the black-white sub-texture, a surface either receives too much or not enough light.

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Lastly, a rather normal conversion to grey tones. I desatureated all textures in the scene except for the blood. This looks pretty good, but is in effect not that different from the normal game art.

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That being said, I'll probably tinker with the setting a bit fruther and see if I can optimize the results.

Maybe there's someone out there who likes Sin City as much as I do and is interested in experimenting, or who might even start a full-blown mod project for HL2.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Naticus on Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:41 pm

I love film noir and really love Sin City! Robert Rodriquez is nearing completion on the script for Sin City 2!!!

For what you have in mind, the texture set would be critically important. Each texture would need to have really high contrast so the black and white pop. The scene you've laid out is a great start but I think you need to do much more than desaturation. I am interested in experimenting with you to get the Sin City look you are going for. I'll mess around with some textures this afternoon.

As far as a full blown mod project? Maybe... If a test scene comes out looking good then I would be more than willing to help with a project like that!
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby RefaelBA on Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:49 pm

A long time ago I stumbled into what I thought was a bug... The result was a great starting point for a film-noir setting.
Too bad only one image survived from that time, because the other one was cooler, and I don't have it handy.

old thread

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Image
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Naticus on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:11 pm

That is cool looking Refael! It comes really close to the sin city feel. Do you remember how you created that effect?

I was reading about the shaders and there is a vmt parameter that might come in handy: $lightwarptexture
https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/$lightwarptexture
The last part of this section talks about a posterized warp texture that can be used for the "line art" style. I'll try to find a tutorial or something that explains how to utilize it.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:38 pm

RefaelBA wrote:A long time ago I stumbled into what I thought was a bug... The result was a great starting point for a film-noir setting.
Too bad only one image survived from that time, because the other one was cooler, and I don't have it handy.

old thread

Image


I saw that picture and it originally got me started in giving it a try a few days ago. The effect does look interesting, although I suspect it to be fairly uncontrollable ;)

Naticus wrote:I was reading about the shaders and there is a vmt parameter that might come in handy: $lightwarptexture
https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wik ... arptexture
The last part of this section talks about a posterized warp texture that can be used for the "line art" style. I'll try to find a tutorial or something that explains how to utilize it.


As I wrote in my starting post, I actually used the $lightwarp parameter for the first effect :)

Any1 have any idea if the engine changes in Episode 2 allow for better lighting (i.e. getting rid of those "steps" in the shadows)? I read that advanced dynamic shadows etc. were introduced with that episode.

That pure black and white style would really be something I'd like to achieve, but I really don't know if it's possible with the Source engine. For the first example, I just changed some random brick texture so it is purely black and white, and added the $lightwarp parameter to see how it would look.

My game editing goes back to at least 1998 when Half-Life came out, but I never did much with the Source SDK, luckily I still had the skills to use Hammer. So the next logical step for me, after perfecting the art style, would be to to change the textures for models and see how that looks, with rounded surfaces and such.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Naticus on Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:54 pm

Cherno, I'm retarded and didn't realize you already tried the $lightwarp shader. Did you just add this as a parameter to the vmt? What did you use for the lightwarp texture? The example from the dev wiki shows only white and black on the lightwarp strip. I wonder if you included some shades of gray if that might help ease the transition so that the effect isn't so harsh.

I would like to hear more about how you implemented the lightwarp shader.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:44 pm

New test scene. It's the same one as above, but with different textures, this time with an inverted b&w effect for an overall darker look.

Image

The bloodstain has also been made flat red, although I don't know why it is still translucent, the alpha map is all black around the texture. Any way, looks good.

About the $lightwarp parameter: Yes, it has just been added to the vmt as shown in the valve developer wiki. The lightmap itself is the picture from that wiki page, although I modified mine so that only the first 15% of the strip are black, the rest is white. There is no shading involved. Shading would surely help with the stepped shadows, but doesn't fit in with the overall style. Also, Source automatically adds a slight amount of shading wether you like it or not ;)
You just need to experiment a bit when using the lightmap, changing the amount of black in it until you get a satisfactory result.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:30 pm

I'm currently experimenting with the parameters of a normal point light (the one in the corner of that tunnel).

Image

I want the lighted areas to join neatly at the corners. How to do this in theory? make the entity emit a constant sphere of light, let's say full brightness for 100 units, then apruptly fall to 0 after that. It should work with the various parameters available to a light entity, but for some reason, it just doesn't work. What I can say thus far, after many tries:

hard falloff and maximum distance don't do anything, no matter what value they have.
the constant, linear and quadratic parameters are pretty weird to work with, and they can behave very strange, so I just don't use them. From what I understand, they have been replaced by the 50% and 0% falloff values anyway.

What you can see in this scene is a point light that has it's brightness set to 200 (maximum), while 0 and 50 percent falloff is both at 70. You'd think that this should give a nice constant glow, but apparently source thinks otherwise.
Last edited by Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Armageddon on Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:32 pm

Wow, that's Source? Or is it the Doom 3 scene.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:38 pm

It's the Source engine.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Naticus on Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:41 pm

Wow... that is looking great! Are you using the $lightwraptexture parameter for your more recent screens?
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:56 pm

Yes, I do. I explain a bit more about it in the posts above.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:51 pm

In the coming days I will experiment with the env_projectedtexture entity and see how it works in this particular setting.
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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Gary on Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:00 pm

Image

An overly bright(intensity of a million) env_projectedtexture. I'm posting this because it kinda gives an effect that I thought you might like. Projectedtextures have an advantage of lighting per-pixel, even ones that don't cast shadows.
Have a question related to modding or something I posted? Something that needs staff attention? PM me or message me on Steam(link below)

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Re: "Sin City" / "Noir" artstyle or mod

Postby Cherno on Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:40 am

Very nice. This is HDR-rendered, right? And is the texture that gets projected just white?

I just noticed you posted a fixed version for the env_pt entity. Where do I have to put the directory created after unRARing? Is it safe to overwrite older files?
Last edited by Cherno on Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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