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      Please help us for July   06/30/2017

      This month we're hoping for a little bit of a boost this month or next, in addition to covering the regular bills, we could benefit from some hardware upgrades. STEX Collector's Set gifts can now be sent to you via digital download as well as regular mail if you wish! Every donation dollar goes toward keeping Simtropolis online and humming along. Your contribution counts! Hardware Upgrades As our website community software improves with more and more features, and as we bolt on additional features such as chat, the increased load to handle all these new toys is taking the server a bit to task. You may have noticed that we'd been forced to temporarily disable the chat as we worked out allocating resources for more optimal performance. Following this, we've applied a number of 'soft' changes such as caching options and experimented with server configurations (nginx as proxy, for example), so the hardware aspect is also an area we'd like to focus on. The last time we upgraded hardware was back in 2012, prior to the release of SC13. Your contribution means a lot! Your donation will go toward helping us to 1.) migrate to a newer server or 2.) at least get some ram/cpu/storage updates and any other infrastructure hardware or services. Donate and Get a Gift or Donate Any Amount Thanks so much! - Dirktator & The Admins
  • Nightlighting Windows in Gmax


    Recommended skill level: A basic knowledge of Gmax.

    First we need a model to light up. I already have one ready, but this process can be used on any model you like. Here is an example:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut1.jpg" alt="" />

    As you can see, we have a box, with two floors and four windows.. the two from the left side have frames, but the right ones don't.. why? well,

    Step number one on lightning is how you texture your windows!!

    For the left windows, we are gonna use a transparent glass texture.. like this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut2.jpg" alt="" />

    After applied we should get something like this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut3.jpg" alt="Posted Image" class="bbc_img">

    How will the others be textured?

    with a special texture.. both transparent and opaque.. like this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut4.jpg" alt="" />

    As you can see on the material navigator, we have for the new material navigator two different maps, a diffuse color and an opacity map.. this last map will tell where you will see the texture, where you will not see, and where you sill see it, while able to see through it, in this order, where the map is white, black and gray.. the final result can be seen at the viewport.

    After both textures are applied lets see how it looks..

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut6.jpg" alt="" />

    Both windows are a bit dark.. that's because the background can be seen through, so we have to change that too.

    We will do that by creating two rectangles (the same number of floors) and extrude them by 0.0m.. so we get flat planes which we put on the beginning of each floor like this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut6.jpg" alt="" />

    Now let's do a preview:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut7.jpg" alt="" />

    Don't know what was better.. the dark or the pink.

    The second step is to texture the floors.

    So we are going to select the pink planes and texture them.. with what? Well, the best textures are more yellow, but also have all kind of colors on it.. shall have shapes on it too. Having things that you should see on the building you are making is also good.

    This is the one I'm using:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut8.jpg" alt="Posted Image" class="bbc_img">

    So, when you do a new preview again we should get this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut9.jpg" alt="Posted Image" class="bbc_img">

    Now they are much better. It looks like the house has life.

    Final step on lightning is the actual lights!

    Now we are going to compare the standard night maps used by many with the method we are using from the beginning.

    First select both glass planes and change them names to: nite_window or something alike.. This will enable the night maps to these planes. After this, create a omni light, and add some color to it, I usually make them like this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut10.jpg" alt="" />

    And change its name to nitelite_1 for instance. copy it as much times as much windows you want to light up. place them centered with the window and put them ~1.5m away from them, next to the ceiling. Through trial and error you will be able to adjust the multiplier to best results, and then you should get something like this:

    <img src="http://www.simtropolis.com/library/Omnibus/NightLight/tut11.jpg" alt="" />

    As you can see, there are some differences.. My method brings a bit more life to the building.

    Kart_Hadasht and Geoman Lin like this

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