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Nmn

New Weapons Tutorial!

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Hello there!

I have decided to write a tutorial on making Doom-styled weapos using Your favorite Graphics Software. There are several reason why I've decided to do this. My biggest reason is naturally my own-I'm still learning to be as best as possible in this category (Yes, I have my reasons for this, One actuallye.. err.. ;]), but also I've seen some people around the forums trying to produce some weaponry but with rather poor results (tough this is no humiliation. You're lucky You haven't seen my first weapons :), everyone needs to start somewhere..). Learning to make good weaponry (learning to produce good art in all) is no different than any other thing You can learn-anyone can learn it. You can learn to be a great illustrator just as You can learn mapping, programming, etc. One thing You need to learn tough is self-motivation. If You cannot get over Your lazyness get out, drink some coffee and come back once You will have the will to overcome Your disadvantages!
With that said I would like to present You with my tutorial on making weaponry. So far we only have 1 tutorial on this subject-by Scuba Steve, plus he has given several good pointers on the forums (including the basic info on the vanishing point technique), so I suppose additional help on this subject won't hurt anyone, more, it will be useful.
Before we begin I want also to point out that this is my first tutorial, so I'll try the best I can NOT to leave You with any question marks on whatever may cause trouble. I will provide You with good links that will surely help You in weapon art, but my focus here is on making a Weapon for Doom. Also I want to add that I am still learning, so comments or corrections are very welcommed, plus, the method I used to produce this weapon is my technique, not the Best technique. Feel free to develop Your own to produce weapons and remember-the results are what counts-not the procees of creation.
As a final note I also want to mention what tools You need:
1.Any Graphics program that supports layers-I use PSP, but feel free to use Photoshop, Open Canvas, whatever. Layers are IMO the thing any good graphics program cannot lack in. I encourage everyone to quit using MSPaint as it is absolute shit and most artists whom documents I have read share my opinion.
2.Graphics Tablet-this thing is a must for every artist. You not necessarily need it, if the mouse suits You, feel free to use it, but myself, I cannot work without a tablet.
3.Scanner-also essential for graphic artists, but not very helpful for this tutorial. If You prefer to make concept drawings on paper (like me) and scan them into the comp-go for it. I lack the scanner unfortunately :'(

Now: open Winamp, load Your fave muzak, get Your favourite drink and let's make ourselves a weapon!

In this tutorial we will create a very basic weapon with a basic name- Blaster. Before You start I reccomend making some rough concept pictures-You can lay down Your ideas on paper and store them in a visible way-it's much easier to work with concept pictures rather than what You have in Your head. Naturally the final effect can differ greatly from Your concepts-You may develop new great ideas while You work-but the basic idea should be visualized before getting down to work. Here's a rough concept pic of the weapon we're going to make:

As You see it's very basic, just a rough barrel and some details. I'm planning a much more complicated weapon for the next tutorial, but since this is the first instalment let's stick to easy stuff.
I reccomend making Your own concept pictures as it never hurts to practice drawing and having great fun doing so :)

Remember one thing-if You screw something up, do it again. Don't give up, never give up, even if Your result will be different (in the bad way) from the weapon I have made while making this tutorial. Oh, don't even think about saving Your gun in JPEG-I did only for purposes of this tutorial-JPG's are quite fast to load in browsers-and while You're making Your weapon save in PSD format (Photoshop format) as it supports layers-otherwise You will have everything merged which is not good while still making the gun.

So let's begin our work!
Open up Your fave program and make a new image sized 320x200. This is the standard resolution for Doom weapons and this size greatly helps in finding the center of the screen which is VERY important-so our weaopn is pointed front, so it's easier to aim our enemies before we get a bullet in our body. Color the background-White will ********ly Hurt Your eyes. So goes for Cyan, but I'm pretty used to it-as Doomish transparency-I recommend a low saturated tone. Some say that it's a good idea to color the background with the same colour the colour of the light in our picture will be.. but we have cyan here :b
Create a new layer and divide the screen with 2 red lines (to do this turn on the grid and grid snapping and set the grid spacing to Horizontal: 160 and vertical 100). Now draw the lines and locate the center of the screen like so:

That way we locate the center of our screen and the Vanishing Point. This is a point where all lines go to infinity and is perfect for creating depth and perspective-that's right, remember this word. Perspective is what makes You a half-pro-artist IMO, You may not know anatomy, You may not know planes and shading but if You know perspective You can draw everything correctly-this is the thing You absolutely must learn if You're planning to mess with graphics in future. I was shocked and angry at myself when I looked at my older drawings after I've studied perspective more toroughly-that they are so lame. Perspecitve is a complexed thing to study so I reccomend You read about it. Here are 2 sources to obtain Your knowledge:
http://graphicssoft.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.atpm.com%2F9.09%2Fdesign.shtml
This site has 1, 2 and 3 point perspective explained in a simple way. Great for beginners as well as veterans.
saveloomis.org
This page contains links to Andrew Loomis's books-the man who really deserves a statue-these books are no longer printed but You can obtain their contents on these sites. Reccomended for every artist out there. For this tutorial it is advised to read about Perspective and Lighting-especially the "planes" in his book: Successful Drawing.
The knowledge You will obtain, altough may seem unnecessary for just a weapons tutorial, will greatly pay off in the future if You like messing with graphics-mark my words.
After You get some knowledge on Vanishing Points make lines on the same layer (try not to make anything on the background layer) that go from the center of the screen-these lines are parallel in pespecitve and go to infinity-they are just the thing we need for adding the 3rd dimension in our drawings-remember, everything we ever draw has 3 dimensions, altough it's constructed on a flat surface it needs to be 3d really. Try to understand it.
In Weapons pointed front we're dealing with 1 point perspective-easiest.
Do it like here:

Now lower the opacity of the layer and make a new one. Name the layers in any way You want-I usually stick to random names as I check which layer is which by toggling them and seing what happens-anyway-create a box. Not a flat shape-but a real box-the King of All shapes, believe it or not, constructing a correct box on paper isn't that easy, You must know perspective. Any 3d shape can fit into a box thus we can use it as our position marker-where the weapon will be placed on the screen-and our size determiner-how large our gun is. The sizes are very important for our weapon. Look here:

As You see the weapon is pretty average in terms of size-a generic rifle. It is also positioned on the right part of the screen. I am NOT going to start discussing and arguing what placement of the weapon on the screen looks more or less doomish and what is better-centered or off-centered. I fully agree with Scuba Steve on this subject-You can put more details to angled weapons...
If You're having trouble with construction of the box try thinking of extrusion of a rectangle-draw a simple rectangle and follow the vanishing lines from the VP and extrude Your shape to make it 3d. This is a thing that really needs practice and remember-the more You practice the better You become in this stuff.
Now that we have our size and placement let's start fleshing our gun and building a 3d skeleton-this will be our guide when shading our weapon. Make a new layer and let's begin. Myself am using the Line Tool a lot here and I suggest You do the same:

You can see our gun is beginning to look like what we have on our concept pictures. Here I've angled the edges of the gun-altough the box is the King of shapes try to avoid blocky shapes-angle corners and try to create interesting shapes whenever it is possible. Don't worry about how cool it will be at the moment-worry about it being correct perspectively. Remember-if You want to add more vanishing lines switch over to Your vanishing point layer and add some-this is important and useful in this procees.

It's starting to look like a weapon. Nice. If You're having trouble in creating angled planes try to think of connecting points-draw a box, mark off 2 points on the bottom of Your box and make a corner-then extrude it to make a slanted surface. You may see that this weapon is going to have an ammo displayer on the top of it-this is obviously influenced by Doom 3's Machine Gun ;) There's nothing wrong with getting inspiration from other weapons-if You're in need of ideas go play something, or scuttle the internet for cool pictures of interesting weapons.

Keep Going. Remember that the lines we're making here (skeleton) won't be present in the final weapon, so imagine them like drawing 3d objects on Geometry Lessons at school-add the lines that won't be visible as well-this is Your guide so use everything that will help You visualize this weapon in 3d. On a side note You can see that I've added another layer with Vanishing Lines-when working on a 320x200 stuff can get pretty messy, so I've added a new layer to make it easier to see the damn lines and I've lowered the opacity of the primary ones. Simple stuff. You can also see I've added this side-thingy on the weapon's front. Mostly You should worry about the purpose of the weapon but create whatever You desire-if it just looks cool-why not?

I've enhanced the barrel because I felt it could use stuff like that to spice things up a bit. At this moment I want to make the nicest shape as I can-more slopes. Look here:

Sloped that ammo displaying thingy on top of the gun. This is a good moment to pack details into Your gun, however, if You won't add something now, You will still have a chance at the latter stage. Continue:

I've added a border on the rear chamber, ammo displayer screen and some slight perforations on the mid chamber-these are always pretty and easy. I'm pretty much satisfied with the shape-a basic weapon to suit a basic tutorial :)

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Once You have constructed Your skeleton time has come for shading. At first I reccomend You read the earlier material I've linked to-shading is a difficult task and often You will get grey-haired from thinking what value fits best into this part of the gun, etc. Again, this is something You must learn and will probably continue learning for the next couple years, yet the basic knowledge is what You need for this basic weapon. Look at this:

As You see I've added Doom's pallette as another layer to our image, shrinked it a bit. The image of the pallette is easily obtainable-open Doom2.wad with XWE, check Playpal Lump and print Your screen-cut out the pallette and You've got it. I reccomend for You to work on a 24 bit image, instead of 256 because on 8-bits You can't use layers nor line-antialiasing (read below) which I find very hard to cope with, yet the pallette will help You in choosing colours for Your weapon. You should stick, IMO, to a couple colours, usually grey for metal, khaki greens or browns for other stuff-but a lot of low-saturated colours-remember-overcoloured weapons = Bad! The pallette will also help You choose the most suitable colours, so You don't get the idea of using Sky Blues or Aquamarines in Your weapon-those who messed with Doom's pallette get the idea of what will happen to Your graphics if they contain a lot of such colours >:)
The next thing is to make a new layer BELOW Your weapon's skeleton layer-this is necessary and useful-also lower the opacity of You skeleton so You can see trough it. For clearance, lower the opacity of the Vanishing Lines, tough DON'T delete them. They are very useful trough the whole process of making the gun, so keep them visible. Put the layer colour
BELOW Your vanishing lines and Your Skeleton.

Let's add some shading: The first and most obvious thing to do is to colour Your weapon. For This use the line tool and trace the contours of Your skeleton-remember-also paint on black lines, but don't go over them! Keep them as Your guide. Look here:

You're getting the picture-I've used greys for metal and synthetic materials while khakis as decorations-the red over there is used for the ammo displayer thingy-again You can see a clear inspiration from Doom 3 ;) Zoom in to see what I meant by painting over black lines. I use the technique of marking off regions of my weapon with the line tool and then filling them with a colour-which is simple and most important-accurate and clean. Just draw Your shape, fill with colour and there ya go. Now that we have our solid color, let's start shading. As the rule of the thumb remember that in Doom weapons the light is casted from the left top corner of the screen-Scuba already mentioned this in his tutorial.

Wow! This is really starting to look like a weapon. You must rely on Your shading knowledge here and using mid-tones, highlights, humps and such. A good way to get an idea of how light is casted on weapons is by simple observation of other weapons in other games or Doom mods. You can also add Cast Shadows-make a new layer and set it's transparency to "Soft Light"-now paint some shadows using a dark value, adjust, so it creates a nice shade and merge with Your gun-hide all layers except Your shade and Your gun thus far-and merge visible. Cast shadows are very useful and make a realistic feeling-quite opposite to those shitty lo-poly model rips.
Now we'll add some anti-aliasing, which isn't that hard:

Noticed how smooth and pleasent to the eye it has become? :] In my technique I add antiliasing by making an additional line with the line tool-however, with Antialiasing tuned ON-tracing the edges of my values on my weapon-You can use whatever You want-smudge tool, soften, but I stronly advice NOT to use Blurring filters as they affect Your whole image and can often ruin it.
Now that You've reached this step You're probably surprised how the heck You've made such a weapon! It's simpler than You think-and look how enjoyable this procees is :) Now comes the fun part of adding details to our weapon:

I've added a new layer and set it to "Soft Light"-painted some white lines that form highlights on the edges of my gun, adjusted to make it look a bit better. It still needs more details IMO. Go crazy here-add as much as You can to make it look interesting. Remember that You can always add more details to Your skeleton and then mess with the shaded weapon's layer-that way You avoid making some perspective mistakes:

Wow! Look how much some slight details can do. I've added some worn out metal technique on the olive-green areas to make them appear more "used"-I've read somewhere that stuff looks more naturally if it has even a bit of dirt on it-instead being polished and synthetic-I agree that this goes double for weapons. Added the perforations on the mid chamber and sliced the front part of the barrel, plus added a cool red ammo display. Now, if someone would use this weapon for a Zdoom mod and could script a real ammo displaying numbers over there that would be serious ownage :)

We're almost done. Just some slight details and...

Yep, we're done-ofcourse this image is zoomed, the real scale is in 320x200. All it remains now is to save Your file in BMP format that is ready to be put into the wad. I've allso applied the pallette to this gun so there won't be any nasty surprises while trying to put it into our WAD. All that remains now is a spiffy muzzle flash, You can make one with ease becasue Scuba's Tutorial on this effects is quite simple.
One of the last thigns You could do is add a slight sel-out to the gun (I don't know if people might like it tough) which is an outline to Your weapon, but not black, rather darker shades of the nearest colours. This improves transparency in the game.
And we're set for release.

There You go. This tutorial should give You an edge when it comes to making new weapons from scratch. If You found this useful tell me and I'll try to prepare a next one that will involve a much more complicated (form-wise) weapon.
Have fun!
Oh, and post Your results here :)
Bye!

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OH SNAP SCUBA ARE YOU GOING TO LET THIS STAND?!

oh yeah dont forget that weapons always get stretched vertically by 20% like so

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Very nice. Or you could do it the easy way like I do, and just make it in 3d Studio.. Oh. maybe that's the hard way. :p

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Chronoteeth said:

Also, why the fuck does it censor out definatly?

Because it's definitely, maybe.

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Thanks all :D!
But I want to see Your results-remember, this tutorial was made for You, show us how are You doing.

I might make another one for more complexed weapons. Maybe something for Hands.. whoops, gotta practice those (:]

Can someone host it somewhere? Scuba?

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Linguica said:

oh yeah dont forget that weapons always get stretched vertically by 20% like so

Even in 320x200 (or same aspect ratio)?

[edit]
It's "you". "you", damnit. "you you you". Not "You". Most in english is not written with capitals.

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Linguica said:

OH SNAP SCUBA ARE YOU GOING TO LET THIS STAND?!

oh yeah dont forget that weapons always get stretched vertically by 20% like so


This is only true if you're using a resolution which isn't directly proportionate to 320x200.

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Nick makes Edge mods, Zdoomer :b
I gave permission for everyone to use these weapons, EDGE, Zdoom, Legacy, Vavoom, whatever-unite :D

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Chronoteeth said:

Wha wha wha? I neven said I only liked zdoom! I like EDGE a hell of a lot too!


EDGE is much better for weapon mods, most stuff zdoom is better, some stuff EDGE is better, but for weapon mods, as this might be, EDGE is the best(and the easiest to use).

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Darkhaven said:

This is only true if you're using a resolution which isn't directly proportionate to 320x200.

Wrong wrong wrong, how do you think 320x200 is displayed? A computer screen is 4:3 so the picture is stretched vertically to fill it.

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