Camera Angles for Shape Viewer

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  • This is a set of .s files that I created to load into Shape Viewer along with an MSTS model to create sprites for a Locomotion vehicle. Each .s file represents each of the camera angles used for each sprite. The extra camera angles for narrow guage are not included at this time but will be added at a later date.

    These came about after DJC told me that he used Shape Viewer to make some of his steam engines. I tried it and it would have taken forever to get the angles right each time to create sprites. And msts2lomo doesn't do steam engines. So I made a cross using 2 planes. I textured them using each files corresponding number and colored each end differently to know which end is in front. The yellow should be in front of the red. You also get sprites made at a very high resolution which is decided by you and by using these, you can load an .eng file that has a freight anim where you can't with msts2locomotion. For the Y offset, I didn't do anything for that but might can figure out something later. You could hold the ctrl key and move the model up and down in Shape Viewer. Or move the shape up in the .s file or the height can be adjusted using the X & Y offsets in the .xml of the vehicle.

    Now find a good location to extract these to that will be easily available thru Shape Viewer.
    The latest version of Shape Viewer made by Paul "Decapod" Gausden can be gotten from here; msts.steam4me.net/utilities/shape_viewer.html


    This is how to use them;

    The very first thing to do is to set the Camera Projection to Orthogonal Projection. Go to Tools, and select Orthogonal Projection or hit CTRL+P.

    Second, open the MSTS model in Shape Viewer. Then Maximize Shape Viewer. It is important to maximize the window so the model is in the exact same position every time you use this or when you need to restart Shape Viewer because you moved the model other than just rotating it. If you hold down the CTRL key and move the model at all, the center will not be correct and you will need to restart Shape Viewer to get the model back to the same exact center point.

    Next set the Viewing Distance. I have a wide monitor and use 18.0m. This number will vary from monitor to monitor. I tried it higher but when I squared the image, the engine was cut off on the ends in sprites 008 & 040 as well as the rest. So you might want to check these 2 sprites before you get too far even if you don't have a wide monitor as well. Remeber what distance you use for future reference or if you need to restart Shape Viewer while in the process of creating sprites.

    Image 1

    Now either go to File, Open Second Shape or hit F3 to load the first file - 000.s.


    Image 2

    After the file is loaded, just hit OK. You don't want to change any of these sliders unless you moved the shape in the .s file and this is what 000.s looks like.

    Image 3

    Now rotate the models to get to the first camera angle. The yellow needs to be in front of the red.

    Rotate them until the cross is as thin as you can get it like in Image 4. You can also view everything in line mode by hitting BACKSPACE to line up the camera angle. Image 5. Hit BACKSPACE again to go back to the regular view.

    Set the lighting to how you want it. You'll also want to adjust the lighting for the different camera angles so there is no dark side. What I did so far was go up or down 1:00 each time I loaded another .s file but only after the light started getting dark on the model. Just hit in the slider to do it.
    You'll have to experiment here to your liking.

    Image 4

    Image 5

    Now remove the second shape by going to File, Remove Last Shape or hit CTRL+R.

    Image 6

    Then setup the Screenshot folder by going to Tools, Set Screenshot Folder or hit CTRL+F.
    Choose a File name for your screenshots and hit Open to close the window.

    Image 7

    Now you're ready to start creating the sprites.
    Hit the Screenshot button to creat the first sprite.

    Image 8

    To create the sprites for steam engines with animated wheels and rods, Instead of hitting the screenshot button, go to Tools, 8 Frame Animated Screenshot or hit CTRL+F12. When I use CTRL+F12, Shape Viewer goes haywire and I have to restart it so I do it from the Tools menu.

    Image 9

    This will give you 8 images but you only need 4 of them. Save the first screenshot, then delete every other one. I found it easier and less of a chance to screw this part up by waiting til I got the first 64 camera angles done before I deleted them.


    Once the first sprite or set of sprites ares made, hit F3 to load the next Camera Angle file. Continue on the same way for each file until you reach file 064.s.

    For steam engines, only do the even numbered angles until number 064.s. Steamers only use 32 angles from 0 to 63.

    When you do the 064.s camera angle, you will not be able to rotate the shape to get the cross up & down and side to side perpendicular to the window. Just rotate them the same as before, they'll just be on different angles like in the next image.

    Image 10

    Shape Viewer can not rotate the model up & down from the side view. So the sprites created will need to be rotated in your graphics program. I've done them all and put the angles in a text file named Rotate Angles.txt which is included. I've also include a Photoshop action to rotate these sprite. Load the sprite into Photoshop and when you use the action, you just type the angle value into the box at the top, Red Circle, for each sprite and then hit the Check mark, Yellow Arrow to complete the rotation. The box that the red arrow points to is the box that allows you to be able to fill in the angle before it moves on to the next command. The action is set to save and close the image so I don't have to do it manually for each image. If you want to check the file before closing it, you can change it so it doesn't close the image by unchacking the box next to the Close command which the Blue arrow is pointing to.

    Image 11

    Depending on your monitor and how you line up the Camera Angles in Shape Viewer, the values I have for each angle might differ slightly from what you do so you might need to adjust these some. I think the values I came up with should work for most of you but if you need to adjust them, the next image shows how I came up with each angle value. I first put the background over the vehicle and moved it down to where the 2 lines crosed each other. I then put it behind the vehicle before I rotated it. Place your mouse outside the box to rotate the layer with your mouse, Red Circle. Once you get it close, put your cursor in the box at the top, Blue Circle, and use your mouse wheel to get a finer adjustment.

    Image 12

    For each Camera Angle you have to rotate, just look up the number in the included text file and use the values for the corresponding Camera Angle. For steam engines, you would use the same angle on the 4 sprites from that Camera Angle.


    And that is how to use these Camera Angles that I've created. There are various ways to shrink down the sprites to the proper size. You could use K.Y. Chung's action to do this. If his is used, the image should be 1920 x 980 or 980 x 980. I've tried his action on these and they do work but the vehicle looks wider than it should be. I haven't messed with it much to come up with a better action yet but will post it if I do. If anyone else can make an even better action for this, I would appreciate it if that person posted it for everyone else to use.

    Please feel free to comment on these whether you like the idea or not or to tell your use of these. I think I made the use of Shape Viewer to create vehicles easier by using the files I created. The images created from using this method are of a much higher resolution and therfore can create a better looking vehicle because of them and an .eng file with a freight anim can be used. Even tho shape Viewer doesn't create screenshots using anti-alias just like msts2locomotion, the higher resolution is an added plus. And now steam engines can be created without too much trouble. This is not a fast operation like msts2locomption, but because of the higher resolution, I think it was worth taking the time in creating all these files for this. I hope someone will find these useful and post about what they did with them.

    I've done a default msts steam engine named scotsman to test this out. I kept the light at 12:00 & 0N to see how it looked. The model doesn't have any shine to it except for the coal in the tender so it looks a lil dull but it was only for testing. The engine is in a folder called Scotsman.
    Enjoy...

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