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How can anti-aliasing be turned off? (Real Studio games Mailinglist archive)

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How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Heinz J. Gattringer
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Seth Duke
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Asher Dunn
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   John Balestrieri
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Joseph J. Strout
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Phil M
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Heinz J.Gattringer
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   John Balestrieri
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Joseph J. Strout
  Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?   -   Phil M

How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 01:22 (Thu, 27 Jan 2005 19:22:06 -0500)
From: Heinz J. Gattringer
Hello,

I have reached a point in my RTS-project where most of the basic
functionality is working satisfactorly. So now I want to get some
'real' looking sprites into the mix (instead of working with generic
placeholders). Since the whole thing works in top-down view, for every
sprite I need 32 images which complete the animation of a 360 deg
rotation.

I use a simple drawing program to create the basic, upright image of
the sprites. Then I use a small app which I programmed in REALbasic
itself which takes the sprite-image and produces the 31 other rotation
images. This program actually works quite well and I get better (and
fully automated) results than for example when using a 'light' version
of Photoshop I have laying around.

The problem is, my small REALbasic app which rotates images always
makes use of antialiasing automatically and this creates a problem. It
inserts almost white (but actually not RGB 255,255,255) pixels all
over, and these pixels then show up against my none white background in
the game. I need to remove these pixels manually and this can be quite
a hassle with complex images. (By the way, Photoshop also does this
anti-aliasing stunt). In my small sprite rotating app I use Object2Ds,
load the intended image as a PixelMapShape and use its Rotation method
to rotate the image. But as of yet, I have not discovered how to force
my app not to do anti-aliasing in the process.

Thanks for any idea.

Heinz Jose

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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 01:55 (Thu, 27 Jan 2005 19:55:09 -0500)
From: Seth Duke
When working with the spritesurface, I have found that for _best_ results, I
take make generated rotation images and open them all in photoshop and
hand-fix the odd spots due to anti-alising. Its not automated, but at least
in the end you have something that looks the way you want it too.

If your using RB3d you could just apply a mask to your sprites instead.

-Seth

On 1/27/05 7:22 PM, "Heinz J. Gattringer" <<email address removed>> wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I have reached a point in my RTS-project where most of the basic
> functionality is working satisfactorly. So now I want to get some
> 'real' looking sprites into the mix (instead of working with generic
> placeholders). Since the whole thing works in top-down view, for every
> sprite I need 32 images which complete the animation of a 360 deg
> rotation.
>
> I use a simple drawing program to create the basic, upright image of
> the sprites. Then I use a small app which I programmed in REALbasic
> itself which takes the sprite-image and produces the 31 other rotation
> images. This program actually works quite well and I get better (and
> fully automated) results than for example when using a 'light' version
> of Photoshop I have laying around.
>
> The problem is, my small REALbasic app which rotates images always
> makes use of antialiasing automatically and this creates a problem. It
> inserts almost white (but actually not RGB 255,255,255) pixels all
> over, and these pixels then show up against my none white background in
> the game. I need to remove these pixels manually and this can be quite
> a hassle with complex images. (By the way, Photoshop also does this
> anti-aliasing stunt). In my small sprite rotating app I use Object2Ds,
> load the intended image as a PixelMapShape and use its Rotation method
> to rotate the image. But as of yet, I have not discovered how to force
> my app not to do anti-aliasing in the process.
>
> Thanks for any idea.
>
> Heinz Jose
>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 02:17 (Thu, 27 Jan 2005 20:17:08 -0500)
From: Asher Dunn

On Jan 27, 2005, at 7:22 PM, Heinz J. Gattringer wrote:

> The problem is, my small REALbasic app which rotates images always
> makes use of antialiasing automatically and this creates a problem. It
> inserts almost white (but actually not RGB 255,255,255) pixels all
> over, and these pixels then show up against my none white background
> in the game. I need to remove these pixels manually and this can be
> quite a hassle with complex images. (By the way, Photoshop also does
> this anti-aliasing stunt). In my small sprite rotating app I use
> Object2Ds, load the intended image as a PixelMapShape and use its
> Rotation method to rotate the image. But as of yet, I have not
> discovered how to force my app not to do anti-aliasing in the process.

I presume you are using graphics objects in your RB app. Try setting
the relevant graphics objects' useOldRenderer property to true, or run
it on Windows (hehe).

Asher Dunn
--------------------------------------------------------
President and Head Developer of Fireye Software
<http://www.fireyesoftware.com/>
Make PDFs from your RB app
<http://www.fireyesoftware.com/code/pdfclasses/>
AIM and Yahoo: fireye7517
REALbasic 5.5.3 Mac OS X 10.3.7

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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 06:04 (Fri, 28 Jan 2005 00:04:56 -0500)
From: John Balestrieri
Here is what you can do:

composite your original image against a distinct color (magenta, say)
then create your image rotations. then, go back over the rotated images
and find the pixels that are 'tainted' with this distinct color, and
subtract that color from them. Leave the pixels without this distinct
background pixel alone. also, set the pixels of the pure background
color to white (for rb sprite masking).

If your sprites have a lot of color in them and you can't find a
distinct enough background color, you might have to do the above for
each of the rgb chanels in your original image, composting a grey image
(representing a single channel) against a color. This method will allow
you to find the background pixels exactly and filter them out.

You could also use my SuperSpriteSurface:

http://www.tinrocket.com/content/superspritesurface/index.html

Which would not force you to create pre-rotated sprites, it does sprite
rotation on the fly & supports up to 8 bit sprite masks.

John

On Jan 27, 2005, at 7:22 PM, Heinz J. Gattringer wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I have reached a point in my RTS-project where most of the basic
> functionality is working satisfactorly. So now I want to get some
> 'real' looking sprites into the mix (instead of working with generic
> placeholders). Since the whole thing works in top-down view, for every
> sprite I need 32 images which complete the animation of a 360 deg
> rotation.
>
> I use a simple drawing program to create the basic, upright image of
> the sprites. Then I use a small app which I programmed in REALbasic
> itself which takes the sprite-image and produces the 31 other rotation
> images. This program actually works quite well and I get better (and
> fully automated) results than for example when using a 'light' version
> of Photoshop I have laying around.
>
> The problem is, my small REALbasic app which rotates images always
> makes use of antialiasing automatically and this creates a problem. It
> inserts almost white (but actually not RGB 255,255,255) pixels all
> over, and these pixels then show up against my none white background
> in the game. I need to remove these pixels manually and this can be
> quite a hassle with complex images. (By the way, Photoshop also does
> this anti-aliasing stunt). In my small sprite rotating app I use
> Object2Ds, load the intended image as a PixelMapShape and use its
> Rotation method to rotate the image. But as of yet, I have not
> discovered how to force my app not to do anti-aliasing in the process.
>
> Thanks for any idea.
>
> Heinz Jose
>
> _______________________________________________
> Unsubscribe or switch delivery mode:
> <http://www.realsoftware.com/support/listmanager/>
> Search the archives of this list here:
> <http://support.realsoftware.com/listarchives/lists.html>

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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 15:58 (Fri, 28 Jan 2005 08:58:10 -0600)
From: Joseph J. Strout
At 7:22 PM -0500 1/27/05, Heinz J. Gattringer wrote:

>I use a simple drawing program to create the basic, upright image of
>the sprites. Then I use a small app which I programmed in REALbasic
>itself which takes the sprite-image and produces the 31 other
>rotation images. This program actually works quite well and I get
>better (and fully automated) results than for example when using a
>'light' version of Photoshop I have laying around.

Cool application -- one of the real benefits of using RB is that you
can bang out little tools for yourself like this very easily. I have
a lot of these lying around myself.

>The problem is, my small REALbasic app which rotates images always
>makes use of antialiasing automatically and this creates a problem.

It's not antialiasing; it's blending, which is a necessary part of
rotating a pixel image -- at least, necessary if you don't want the
result to look like utter junk.

>In my small sprite rotating app I use Object2Ds, load the intended
>image as a PixelMapShape and use its Rotation method to rotate the
>image.

Yow! That's cool, but it's a bit of killing a fly with a
sledgehammer. I'd recommend simply using a PixmapShape instead
(create the PixmapShape out of your original image, assign to its
Rotation property, and then just g.DrawObject it).

But either way, there are two issues you need to solve:

1. Blending of the background color into the edge pixels of your
rotated shape. There isn't really much you can do about this; each
pixel in the rotated image comes from at least four pixels in the
original image, and SOME color has to be picked for the ones that
were part of the background in the original. So, you have basically
two options:

(1a) Draw your original (non-rotated) sprite on a neutral color, one
that will blend in as much as possible with the typical background
they'll be on top of in your game. For example, in Blasteroids, I
drew my sprites against a black background, since they'd be flying
against a dark starfield, and you never notice a little bit of black
creeping into some of the edge pixels.

(1b) Draw your sprites with a black outline, cartoon style more than
photorealistic style. This is what they did in Warcraft: the sprites
are actually rendered 3D models, but then artists when in and drew
lines on top of each rendering to make them clearer. As a player, I
find this very nice in an RTS game (compare how clear Warcraft is to,
say, Myth). If you do this, then just draw your unrotated sprite
against a black background, and the edge pixels will come out
perfectly fine.

2. Determining where the sprite leaves off and the background begins
on your rotated sprite. For this, make your rotation tool a little
fancier: start by making a mask, i.e., an image that is black where
your sprite pixels are, and white where the background is. In other
words, make a copy of your image, zip through its RGBSurface, and
replace any pixel that isn't &cFFFFFF with &c000000. Then, rotate
this black and white mask. Finally, zip through the rotated mask and
your rotated image, and anywhere the mask is "mostly white," set the
corresponding pixel in your image to fully white. You can play
around with how white should count as mostly white in the mask, but
pixel.red > 128 is a reasonable place to start.

Of course, you could also just use the Rb3DSpace directly in your
game, which would give you 8-bit masks and avoid the need for
rotating your graphics at all.

Cheers,
- Joe

Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 17:14 (Fri, 28 Jan 2005 08:14:03 -0800)
From: Phil M
On Jan 28, 2005, at 6:58 AM, Joseph J. Strout wrote:

>> I use a simple drawing program to create the basic, upright image of
>> the sprites. Then I use a small app which I programmed in REALbasic
>> itself which takes the sprite-image and produces the 31 other
>> rotation images. This program actually works quite well and I get
>> better (and fully automated) results than for example when using a
>> 'light' version of Photoshop I have laying around.
>
> Cool application -- one of the real benefits of using RB is that you
> can bang out little tools for yourself like this very easily. I have
> a lot of these lying around myself.

I have thought of automating something like this when the user first
runs the game. So the first run would "unpack" or pre-render all of
the images, but still keeps the download size small.

This technique can especially be used in complex background tiles. 32
different base background tiles with 64 alpha channels to blend two
base background tiles would produce up to 65536 unique combinations.

> 2. Determining where the sprite leaves off and the background begins
> on your rotated sprite. For this, make your rotation tool a little
> fancier: start by making a mask, i.e., an image that is black where
> your sprite pixels are, and white where the background is. In other
> words, make a copy of your image, zip through its RGBSurface, and
> replace any pixel that isn't &cFFFFFF with &c000000. Then, rotate
> this black and white mask. Finally, zip through the rotated mask and
> your rotated image, and anywhere the mask is "mostly white," set the
> corresponding pixel in your image to fully white. You can play around
> with how white should count as mostly white in the mask, but pixel.red
> > 128 is a reasonable place to start.

This is the approach that I would take, but I would take it one step
further and upsample the image before you rotate it. So if your sprite
is 32 x 32 pixels, create a new image which is 64 x 64 and loop through
each pixel in the source and apply it to 4 pixels in the destination.
(This technique is called Nearest Neighbor). Then rotate that image
and downsample it reversing the process by averaging 4 pixels and
applying it to the single pixel in the source. You would do the same
for the Mask as well.

Why? You get smoother blends consistent across all platforms.

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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 28.01.05 23:36 (Fri, 28 Jan 2005 17:36:17 -0500)
From: Heinz J.Gattringer
Thanks a lot guys for all the interesting responses. They added up to
something like a crash-course in sprite animation and the provided info
is much more than I could have hoped for. Some comments:

On Jan 28, 2005, at 1:00 PM,
<email address removed> wrote:

> If your using RB3d you could just apply a mask to your sprites instead.
>
> -Seth
>

RB3d eh? Well, I just might.

> I presume you are using graphics objects in your RB app. Try setting
> the relevant graphics objects' useOldRenderer property to true, or run
> it on Windows (hehe).
>
> Asher Dunn

I tried doing useOldRenderer=true, but the antialiasing persisted.
Maybe I put it in the wrong spot?
Can't do Windows at the moment with my app (unless I cheat RealSoftware
out of the upgraded registration by rotating my sprites in less than
what, 5 minutes?). Or maybe using any Windows drawing program manually.
Hmmm, how about compiling for Mac OS 9 and rotating the sprites there?
Will try.

> You could also use my SuperSpriteSurface:
>
> http://www.tinrocket.com/content/superspritesurface/index.html
>
> Which would not force you to create pre-rotated sprites, it does sprite
> rotation on the fly & supports up to 8 bit sprite masks.
>
> John

Actually came across SuperSpriteSurface while investigating other
stuff. Looks interesting, specially because it seems to make use of
garphics card acceleration hardware for SpriteSurface rendering. Yet
two things made me bypass it:

1-The actual fun of programming is solving stuff yourself, bit by bit.
Since one of my main objectives with this project is to actually learn
stuff, I am a bit reluctant to use prefabricated solutions.
2- I am programming on a rather low-end machine and my target is
low-end compatibility. So "on the fly" rendering of repetitive images
sounds like a big chunk of processor power is needed. (I might be
wrong, but I assume SuperSpriteSurface would push me above my intended
target system). The game can have up to 50 sprites on screen at a time
(most needed for animation), so I'm afraid doing "on the fly stuff"
would bog down the processor.

> It's not antialiasing; it's blending, which is a necessary part of
> rotating a pixel image -- at least, necessary if you don't want the
> result to look like utter junk.

Blending? Something like a fruit-juice mixer? Just kidding. Though I
don't know the exact definition of it, I thing I got a pretty good idea
of what you mean by it. Your main point: Unavoidable? O.k., point
taken.

> (1a) Draw your original (non-rotated) sprite on a neutral color, one
> that will blend in as much as possible with the typical background
> they'll be on top of in your game. For example, in Blasteroids, I
> drew my sprites against a black background, since they'd be flying
> against a dark starfield, and you never notice a little bit of black
> creeping into some of the edge pixels.

Great tip. Coincidentally, the main background in my game is rather
monochrome. Think this will help a lot.

>
> (1b) Draw your sprites with a black outline, cartoon style more than
> photorealistic style. This is what they did in Warcraft: the sprites
> are actually rendered 3D models, but then artists when in and drew
> lines on top of each rendering to make them clearer. As a player, I
> find this very nice in an RTS game (compare how clear Warcraft is to,
> say, Myth). If you do this, then just draw your unrotated sprite
> against a black background, and the edge pixels will come out
> perfectly fine.

I am not attempting anything fancy or ultra-realisitic. Just trying to
get rid of the whitish 'blended' in sprites where there should be
transparent white pixels.

> 2. Determining where the sprite leaves off and the background begins
> on your rotated sprite. For this, make your rotation tool a little
> fancier: start by making a mask, i.e., an image that is black where
> your sprite pixels are, and white where the background is. In other
> words, make a copy of your image, zip through its RGBSurface, and
> replace any pixel that isn't &cFFFFFF with &c000000. Then, rotate
> this black and white mask. Finally, zip through the rotated mask and
> your rotated image, and anywhere the mask is "mostly white," set the
> corresponding pixel in your image to fully white. You can play
> around with how white should count as mostly white in the mask, but
> pixel.red > 128 is a reasonable place to start.

I believe this might give me exactly the results I want. Thanks a lot.
Will implement it.

> Of course, you could also just use the Rb3DSpace directly in your
> game, which would give you 8-bit masks and avoid the need for
> rotating your graphics at all.
> Cheers,
> - Joe

Rb3DSpace again eh? It's starting to grow on me, but I am a bit
hesitant since, as mentioned, this is my first somewhat larger game
project, still learning and I haven't programmed a single line of code
in Rb3D yet. But perhaps the decisive question for me to actually try
Rb3D would be a performance related one:
On a 400 MHz G3 Powerbook, 100 MHz Bus Speed, with an 8 MB Rage Video
Card would Rb3D work faster for simple animations than the
Spritesurface? (I would be content to have the camera move only in 2
dimensions, like a simple scroll). I suspect not, but since Rb3D does
make use of graphics hardware acceleration and Spritesurface does not,
it might be just as fast.

> I have thought of automating something like this when the user first
> runs the game. So the first run would "unpack" or pre-render all of
> the images, but still keeps the download size small.
>
> This technique can especially be used in complex background tiles. 32
> different base background tiles with 64 alpha channels to blend two
> base background tiles would produce up to 65536 unique combinations.

I don't expect my app to end up being very 'heavy' regarding
download-size. (Not sure if it will even get to be download-worthy).

But very interesting idea. My game does use 'prefabricated' background
tiles and although I wasn't giving much thought to them and was content
to have rather bland ones, just to try this interesting idea I might
devote more attention to them. But you shot a bit over my head:
Alpha Channels? What are alpha channels Buanna? How do I get them or
create them? And blend them?

> This is the approach that I would take, but I would take it one step
> further and upsample the image before you rotate it. So if your sprite
> is 32 x 32 pixels, create a new image which is 64 x 64 and loop through
> each pixel in the source and apply it to 4 pixels in the destination.
> (This technique is called Nearest Neighbor). Then rotate that image
> and downsample it reversing the process by averaging 4 pixels and
> applying it to the single pixel in the source. You would do the same
> for the Mask as well.
>
> Why? You get smoother blends consistent across all platforms.

Again, you are a bit out of my league here. Just trying to get some
"crappy" looking automatically generated sprites to look passable. But
hey, if everything works as good as I hope, I might get to the point
were I would like to upgrade the looks to something more eye pleasing
(like when everything is actually finished). But first I am trying to
learn to walk.

Thank you all very much again. Regards.
Heinz Jose

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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 29.01.05 05:39 (Fri, 28 Jan 2005 23:39:32 -0500)
From: John Balestrieri

On Jan 28, 2005, at 5:36 PM, Heinz J.Gattringer wrote:

> Actually came across SuperSpriteSurface while investigating other
> stuff. Looks interesting, specially because it seems to make use of
> garphics card acceleration hardware for SpriteSurface rendering. Yet
> two things made me bypass it:
>
> 1-The actual fun of programming is solving stuff yourself, bit by bit.
> Since one of my main objectives with this project is to actually learn
> stuff, I am a bit reluctant to use prefabricated solutions.

I understand this...

> 2- I am programming on a rather low-end machine and my target is
> low-end compatibility. So "on the fly" rendering of repetitive images
> sounds like a big chunk of processor power is needed. (I might be
> wrong, but I assume SuperSpriteSurface would push me above my intended
> target system). The game can have up to 50 sprites on screen at a time
> (most needed for animation), so I'm afraid doing "on the fly stuff"
> would bog down the processor.

It's all handled by the graphics card, and does not tax the processor.
You can download the SSS demo and it contains demos that show hundreds
of sprites which even works well on early imacs (Indigo for instance).

John

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Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 29.01.05 19:42 (Sat, 29 Jan 2005 12:42:24 -0600)
From: Joseph J. Strout
At 5:36 PM -0500 1/28/05, Heinz J.Gattringer wrote:

>I tried doing useOldRenderer=true, but the antialiasing persisted.
>Maybe I put it in the wrong spot?

No, UseOldRenderer has nothing to do with this.

>>(1b) Draw your sprites with a black outline, cartoon style more than
>>photorealistic style.
>
>I am not attempting anything fancy or ultra-realisitic. Just trying
>to get rid of the whitish 'blended' in sprites where there should be
>transparent white pixels.

Then this is probably the best solution for you.

>Rb3DSpace again eh? It's starting to grow on me, but I am a bit
>hesitant since, as mentioned, this is my first somewhat larger game
>project, still learning and I haven't programmed a single line of
>code in Rb3D yet.

I'm confused -- you said you were using Object3D to rotate the
pictures, right? You can't do that without using an Rb3DSpace.

But anyway, what you want is issue 1.1 of RB Developer. You can get
that on CD-ROM along with the other whole first year at
<http://www.rbdeveloper.com/>. Look for the article "Three Ways to
Animate" by yours truly.

>On a 400 MHz G3 Powerbook, 100 MHz Bus Speed, with an 8 MB Rage
>Video Card would Rb3D work faster for simple animations than the
>Spritesurface?

It's not a simple question; it depends critically on the details of
what you're doing.

Best,
- Joe

Re: How can anti-aliasing be turned off?
Date: 30.01.05 00:40 (Sat, 29 Jan 2005 15:40:04 -0800)
From: Phil M
On Jan 28, 2005, at 2:36 PM, Heinz J.Gattringer wrote:

> But you shot a bit over my head: Alpha Channels? What are alpha
> channels Buanna? How do I get them or create them? And blend them?

You already use them -- the REALbasic equivalent is the Mask property.
I just refer to them as Alpha channels because of my background and
habit.

So to what I was referring to...

Say you have a Grass Texture and a Dirt Texture. Your goal for this
section of your game world is to make a dirt road through a grass
meadow. So you have several different Mask pictures which draw a
choppy looking edge in various directions. About half of these Mask
images are solid black and the other half solid white... but the edge
between the two colors is choppy like you would expect a dirt road to
be.

You create a new picture and draw the Grass tile. Then you apply the
Mask to the Dirt tile and draw that over the Grass. The result is that
you have a nice road tile for your game.

But what if you want to change the seasons of your game, and now the
meadow is full of flowers, burned by a forest fire or in late winter
with patches of snow. You would be able to have a *lot* more variation
in your game than you might had you prerendered all of the graphics.

It doesn't stop there. The same road Mask could be used between
Sand/Mud and a river bank, a swamp bank, the ocean, lava, acid, and so
on.

You can also apply similar techniques to spaceships, characters,
buildings and more

Spaceships: adding a sensor array, weapons, escape pods, shields,
decals/logos, scorch marks -- all to make a generic ship unique.

For characters: apply the armor that the character is wearing (leather,
chain, plate), various helmets, color of clothes, skin color and
appearance, shoes, extra arms, weapons and the list can go on and on...

The bigger the game, the more useful this technique would be. And for
tiles, this technique would work for sprite or 3D based games.

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