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Using Tools Textures: Part 2 - A Tutorial for Counter-Strike: Source.

Using Tools Textures - Part 2

I'm going to be using the same tutorial map I created for the last texture. Simply because I've already got the main content needed for what we are going to be accomplishing here. Its another simple and easy texture to use as that is how we are progressing through this series, building up the know how on the easy ones and working our way up to the more complex and powerful ones. Covered in this tutorial: ~Toolsblocklight - Custom Shadow's for models with no info. ~Toolsblocklight - Custom Shadow's for window texture effects.

ToolsBlockLight

Now this texture does what its called. It simply blocks light, and it's main purpose is to create better shadow effects or to stop light from passing through/below something that it shouldn't be. The source engine isn't perfect after all and neither are we, so errors are bound to happen when making lighting effects. So we resort to using our set of tools and this comes up, for many simple situations you'll be able to use this in texture and effect and not even realize it at the time.

Some simple info/warnings before I start into this, and so I don't have to repeat myself a few times throughout here or answer questions later.

This brush is NOT solid, it will not effect vis leafs or show up in-game. The Texture ONLY WORKS when its been applied to the ENTIRE brush, you cannot have any other texture applied to the brush other than toolsblocklight otherwise it will be rendered in-game as a normal brush, completly visable and effecting vis leafs. For this tutorial I used a smaller light map scale to better show off the effect, so if you are wondering why yours are not as crisp as the ones in the screenshots, adjust your light map scale on the textures receiving the shadows to get what you want.

More information on light maps can be found here:
Lightmaps - What they do and How to use them

Custom Shadows

Now, when you add light to a map, naturally you also get shadows, and the contrast of light and dark in a map is very dramatic and appealing to players and cannot be discarded and left out of your map. Full bright maps are not even maps because they lack this contrasting effect. So perfecting the use of both lighting and shadows can be helped by using toolsblocklight in a few ways. So we are going to start with something related to the last tutorial. The Model Scenario Okay, so we've just spent a small amount of time getting our fire escape ladders all set up on our building. So naturally we wanted to see what it looked like in-game. And after doing a quick compile with lighting as well we notice somethings wrong. Our model is generating a giant blob for its shadow even though it is mainly made up of bars and wire, the source engine created one solid black shadow instead of a semi-grid like one as you would normally see in real life. Now this isn't entirely the engines fault. The model simply did not have a detailed collision model on it and had the few basic shapes to block movement, the engine uses the model collision frame to generate the shadow effects it casts onto world Geometry ( Correct me if I used wrong phrasing/name or am entirely wrong, I'm not a modeler :P ) You can check to see if a particular model is going to block light in the way you want by enabling Collision Models in all you camera views, the button can be found on the top panel and its the last one on the right, labeled CM. so you can see how the collision model match's the shadow given off in-game quick clearly. Now we are going to fix this problem as we want those nice looking shadows from the bars and not just a big black patch. What this involves is quite simply, recreating the models shape with the toolsblocklight texture, a lot of work for a simple shadow effect yes, but worth it. You don't have to do every single one if you don't want to, I'm going to leave the smaller braces alone since they won't make too much of a difference if they are left out. It just comes down to personal preference on how much detail you are willing to put into a single model. Before we start fixing this we need to turn off the models default lighting. So select the model you want and press ALT+ENTER or right click and go to properties. Now go down the list until you reach "Disable Shadows" , make sure you have set this to yes. Alright, onto the rebuilding, before you start, make sure the collision models button off but the "Toggle Models in 2D" button on, its the zigzag box. It will help you in copying the structure of your model. Now, we don't need to be exact with the measurements, just close. Your 2D view should look something like this: So just roughly recreating the shape of the models supports with ONLY the toolsblocklight texture I came out with a finished product that looks just like this. Now, grouping the textures into two groups, one for the ladder and one for the balcony I copied and pasted it onto the other models and then compiled the map again. Even though it was rough brushwork and things were not sized the exact as the model, they still provided more than excellent results. You can do this for any model that you are having trouble with, or think you may have trouble with when looking at its collision model wire frame. It's simple and doesn't require any hard work on your part. can even be messy brushwork, the engine doesn't mind it in this case. The Material Scenario Hopefully most of you have made a window at some point in your experience's. You've seen most of the textures while browsing and must have noticed a lot of them are not just straight up glass, but contain metal or wood supports on the texture as well. Now, while these are transparent and allow light to pass through them on most occasions, the engine isn't smart enough to grab the alpha level information from a material to use it for casting shadows as well. That addition would make life a whole lot better but until then, we'll make due with tools textures. Alright, by simply typing window into the texture browser you will see that many of them are as I've described with wooden or metal braces, now if you used this texture as a window and compiled, the end result would look like this. Now just looking at that you can see that it doesn't seem quite right, theres solid pieces there that are not blocking the light in any way. So doing the same thing as before, but with a little bit more precision here this time around due to the small size of these particular braces, place some thin 1x1 unit brush's along the vertical and horizontal braces. There is a bit of difficulty with this one as your going to be using the 3D camera as your way of setting up each brush in line with where your braces are as you cannot tell from the wire frame 2D views. This is what I ended up with in hammer view, note I did not do the outside rim of the frame, it is unnecessary as the edges of the brush's on all sides cast the shadow there anyways and why waste 4 brush's when we can use them somewhere else. Now I'm going to compile this to show off what this 10 seconds of work made possible. *three light spot entities were used to make this pattern, they were just offset from each other in a line. its just shadows but they can make all the difference in the world. You just have to use them. Contrast and Balance between light and dark can turn out amazing results. *last updated 07/31/07
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  • > **Posted by Logan Dougall** > > **Posted by Mozartkugeln** > > > There's no need to use tools/toolsblocklight to accomplish these effects. There are two very simple VRAD commands that take care of these for you (-staticproppolys and -textureshadows). > > > > More info: http://www.nodraw.net/2010/12/lighting-compile-options/ > > > Was not available till CS:S was updated, this tutorial is four+ years old :P You'll find lots of tutorials with outdated information due to engine fixes and upgrades. Ah, alright. Thanks for pointing that out! Very well written tutorial, by the way.
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    > **Posted by Mozartkugeln** > There's no need to use tools/toolsblocklight to accomplish these effects. There are two very simple VRAD commands that take care of these for you (-staticproppolys and -textureshadows). > > More info: http://www.nodraw.net/2010/12/lighting-compile-options/ Was not available till CS:S was updated, this tutorial is four+ years old :P You'll find lots of tutorials with outdated information due to engine fixes and upgrades.
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  • There's no need to use tools/toolsblocklight to accomplish these effects. There are two very simple VRAD commands that take care of these for you (-staticproppolys and -textureshadows). More info: http://www.nodraw.net/2010/12/lighting-compile-options/
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    UnderTheOak Joined 13y ago
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    Thanks a lot, this is what im looking for. Lights effects are very helpfull to do great maps. 10.
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    Notes: This is just what I needed! I rated you a 10* Could you help me with another problem? Know when a map is really dark the shadows become multicolor? how's that? why? how do I fix it? I like black shadows not some red,pink and blue shadows and could you also tell me if it is possible to make a light_spot move with another entitiy? I wanted to make those flashlights with light_spots tied to them and these flashlights tied to npcs so that when they walk around in the dark they have that flashlight tied to their helmets.
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  • HalfEvil333 avatar
    HalfEvil333 Joined 15y ago
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    Nicee Thanks a lot for writing this. I get really annoyed when things like those shadows dont act like they should.
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  • AssassinsExistence avatar
    AssassinsExistence Joined 16y ago
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    What texture did you use for the glass in the Material Scenario part? Also good tutorial, I needed to learn how to make correct shadows for a new map im making :)
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    Mantra
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    I just realized that I never got around to assessing this when it was released. Well written, some very cool tricks.
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    Mantra
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    CopiaeMortis Joined 16y ago
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    Great tutorial, very informative. quote: "Full bright maps are not even maps because they lack this contrasting effect." lol, amen brother.
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    WaterWar Joined 17y ago
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    Awesome tut! well done! Nice effect!
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    Mantra
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