Sky Writer 0.4 beta

Started by wallworm, January 19, 2012, 01:40:42 PM

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I have a Beta of Sky Writer 1.0 for anyone who wants to test it. (That is now included in the WWMT download--but still read on...)

Previously, Sky Writer has not actually exported true HDR skies because it was saving all files as TGAs... and even the 32bit TGA exporter isn't saving actual HDR bitmaps.

To get the skies into true HDR, you have to send PFM bitmaps to VTEX. Unfortunately, 3ds Max does not save PFM files. But Max will export other HDR formats... so I have built a new way for the tool to work.

Installing the Beta

  • Download the latest version of Wall Worm Model Tools
  • Install WWMT

Here is the Beta 0.4+ workflow:

  • Create a Sky Writer Helper
  • Give a sky name
  • Set Various Parameters (gamma)
  • If you want true HDR, check the PFM button
  • Click the Render button
  • After the render is done, click the Open folder
  • Open the EXR* files that are saved alongside the TGA files in Photoshop
  • In Photoshop... Flip the image Vertically
  • In Photoshop, save the file as a PFM file
  • Back in Sky Writer (in Max) click the Compile button
  • After the compile is done... open the VMT for each HDR sky texture and delete the first $basetexture line if you want to have the LDR fallback that is listed in the second $basetexture line; if you do not want to use the LDR fallback, remove the second $basetexture line.
  • Test the sky in a map

*OpenEXR (.EXR) files are only supported in MAXScript in 3ds Max 2011+. If you are using an older version of Max, the exporter will try to create a DDS file (another HDR Format). Unfortunately, DDS formats cannot be controlled by MAXScript... so to make the correct settings, you may need to create manual DDS presets by saving a DDS file in Max prior to rendering your sky. (The same may also be true of some OpenEXR properties--the EXR type and format cannot be controlled by MAXScript... so if the EXR files are not working as expected in your version of Max... save an EXR file to create a new default with the type as Full Float and a format of RGB--since you do not want any alpha in the sky.)

If you want to test this version, simply contact me. Please provide your feedback in using this beta.

Other notes... in the current beta, I've activated the Half-Height Sides button. That button will add a command into the VMT to scale the texture... but you will need to crop and recompile the VTF manually after Sky Writer has made the VTFs since VTEX won't allow the compilation of non-square sky textures. If you do not do that, your sides will be stretched horribly when using that option.


These steps are no longer valid. As of version 0.6 and later of Sky Writer, PFM files are natively exported. You do not need to edit the VMT.

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