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Sprite DLight - Instant normal maps for 2D graphics

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Hey everyone,
 
I would like to introduce the tool for game developers I am currently running a pretty successful Kickstarter for (funded within 17 hours, now more than 500% funded, all stretch goals smashed):
Sprite DLight on Kickstarter

The tool generates bumpy normal maps for dynamic lighting effects in games, based only on already existing 2D sprites.

Sprite_DLight_Infograph_Kickstarter.png      Sprite_DLight_Normals_Comparison.png
 
A quick comparison of normal maps generated by common tools/plugins to those of Sprite DLight:
 
1: Original "Sprite DLight Title Art", ©2014 by the amazing artist AlbertoV from DYA Games
2: Normal map created by the GIMP plugin (same as PS plugin)
3: Normal map created by a common normal map generator with the original sprite used as height map, followed by shape enhancement
4: Normal map created by Sprite DLight in one click

3. is the best result you can achieve with current automatic normal map generators combined with clever techniques, although the result is still pretty poor, it's more of a bevel effect, which is randomly concave or convex, particularly at the edges of the shape.
 

In the "Updates" section, there is already a pretty straightforward guide for the technical integration with Unity, including a step-by-step video.

48be0a43ed0948f98fdabd2c250a0798_large%5Sprite_DLight_Ghost_Pizza.gif
"Ghost Pizza", ©2010-2014 AlbertoV (DYA Games), normal map generated by Sprite DLight, dynamic lighting preview recorded in the Sprite Lamp shader
 

There is less than a week left to get in on the beta and to get the tool at the Kickstarter backer price.

I would love to get some feedback on this, and I can't wait to see your 2D games with dynamic lighting!

Edited by Deeee

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I was showing this to some people in the chatroom when your kickstarter went up! Looks good :)

If you haven't seen it already, there's another tool called "sprite lamp" that was also successfully crowdfunded, but yours has a much simpler workflow; Sprite Lamp requires you to draw each sprite as least two times, each using a different lighting direction, and then generates normals based on those example lighting profiles.

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Thank you smile.png

Yes, I know Sprite Lamp, I have backed it, and I think it is very cool, just like its creator, who did a lot of awesome work and prepared the ground for 2D normal mapping integration with various engines (which is something Sprite DLight users will also benefit from).
Both tools just serve different purposes. With Sprite Lamp, you have more artistic control and you can achieve a better quality if you take the time to paint everything nicely.
Sprite DLight is targeted to projects with larger numbers of sprites, where you just don't have the time to draw everything by hand.
Think of animated characters. You would just process the sprite sheet in one click, resulting in quick normal maps that are all calculated with the same settings.

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@TooLz: As long as there is no demo available to play with, you can send me some of your sprites and I can see what the tool produces for them.

@augus1990: Yes, Ethanon Engine is a great piece of software and it was one of the first engines to implement this technique. I love it!

A small update on the Kickstarter campaign:
We have just reached the second stretch goal. That means Sprite DLight will also be available for Mac.
This is a screenshot of the first Mac test build:

 

Sprite_DLight_Mac.png

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Happy Thanksgiving!
There is a new feature as a gift to all supporters: an animated dynamic lighting preview for sprite sheets. 
Click the image for the full update, including a video clip showing the new feature!
 
[url=https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2dee/sprite-dlight-instant-normal-maps-for-2d-graphics/posts/1064477]Sprite_DLight_Thanksgiving_Preview.gif[/url]
"Selen Run Animation", ©2014 Lunar Ray Games, animated dynamic lighting preview of the sprite sheet in Sprite DLight
Edited by Deeee

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Hodgman, actually the (monochromatic) specularity factor, based on the specularity map, is added to the ambient light (of customizable colors and intensities) at this time.
This is probably not how it should be done, I will look into a proper implementation.

Servant of the Lord, congratulations on that, and thanks for backing smile.png

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A short update:

The third stretch goal has been hit today and the project exceeded 400% funding.

The new feature allows you to re-render sprites for different environments or day and night cycles, based on the generated normal map.
This enables users of game engines that do not support shaders to customize the lighting of characters and objects, resulting in an atmospheric integration.
 
4fc3cedff676dde42a2d4fe933e7f6db_large.g
"Super Aged Warriors Alpha 2 HD Turbo Special", ©2014 AlbertoV (DYA Games), re-rendered for different environments with the normal map and lighting of Sprite DLight 
 
Four ambient light colors and a directional light can be applied, and users of the Pro version will be able to use this with batch-processing.
The diffuse light is reduced to its directional component, allowing for consistent re-lighting of sprite sheets.
 
5cbe36179020298c69f78583f8a408f3_large.g
"Wolf where?", ©2014 Kevin Chaloux, re-rendered for different environments with the normal map and lighting of Sprite DLight

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The final week of the Kickstarter campaign is running and the final stretch goal is smashed:
 

c6ab624cdc91b5d83c92751547069f09_large.p

 

I am currently redesigning the UI, the flat buttons are gone, there's some shiny new orbs for the map generation tabs:
 

Sprite_DLight_UI_Render.png

 

Any feedback is welcome.

 

There's 6 days left to grab the tool at the Kickstarter backer price and to jump in for the beta.

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The clock is ticking... 
26 hours left to grab the tool at the Kickstarter backer price and to jump in for the beta.
 
93de999f27770b425f1e5fc867c309ec_large.g
[i]"Skull Plant", ©2013 [url=http://kaiseto.deviantart.com]Kevin Chaloux[/url], normal map and dynamic lighting preview of Sprite DLight[/i]

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