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[TUTORIAL] How to make custom loading screens (and portrait icons)


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#1
OFFLINE   MMKH

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EDIT: Riot's default loading screen sizes are now 307 x 557 pixels (as of Pre-Season One)

Hi, I finally thought that I should share some of my knowledge on how I make my own custom skins and the loading screens associated with them. So here's how in a nutshell. This is assuming that you've already made a skin and now want to make it more complete by having a load screen to go with it.

You will need:

-UV Mapper Pro
-the model of the champion (converted into .obj format, I use the LoL obj converter that can be found in the starter pack)
-the skin texture (converted to .jpg)
-an image editing software (I personally use Photoshop CS5, but any version will do although this tutorial will emphasize how I do this using PS)
-a plug-in or option in the software that allows saving as .dds format (I recommend saving in Paint.net as the quality of the image seems to be better than the .dds plug-in I use for PS)

1. UV Mapper Pro:

-open UV Mapper Pro
-load the .obj model file (Ctrl + O)
-load the texture file (Ctrl + :o
-make sure the viewport with the 3D model and texture is selected, then go to View -> Smooth
-click on the first box in the Layout panel that enlarges the perspective view of the model
-using the mouse wheel to zoom-in or out, holding space while clicking to pan the camera, or simply click and drag to rotate the model, adjust the view you want, preferably making the most use of the screen space and being consistent with the current view style of the original Riot portraits
*you will need to get the biggest picture as possible, I suggest having a high display resolution on your monitor; mine is widescreen 1680 x 1050 pixels
-go to Edit -> Preferences -> Colors, select Background and change the colour of the background to one that is easily selectable and erased later in Photoshop
-press Print Screen on your keyboard

Attached File  1.jpg (132.97K)
Number of downloads: 395

The following step requires basic understanding and familiarity with Photoshop.

2. Photoshop:

-start Photoshop
-open the .dds file of the original loading screen (or the .jpg of it if you have it converted using Paint.net, but I open .dds files using the Nvidia plug-in for PS)
-copy-paste from the clipboard your screenshot of the model
-Ctrl + T to transform the layer, resizing it until it is roughly the same scale as the original
-using the Magic Wand tool, click the areas on the background of the screenshot to delete them, or use the Marquee or Lasso tool to select other unwanted parts for deletion
Attached File  2.jpg (125.18K)
Number of downloads: 389

-now that you have just the character itself in the layer, create a new layer underneath and fill it with any colour you like (i.e. a colour that complements your skin yet is subtle), to block the original layer
-create a new layer at the top, press Ctrl + A to select the whole image, go to Select -> Modify -> Border, and type in the size of the border you like (I use 40 pixels)
-fill the selection with pure black
Attached File  3.jpg (138.46K)
Number of downloads: 363

Now you should have set the grounds for a new custom loading screen. I could go on about Photoshop techniques but there would be too much material covered in one tutorial. It's up to you to play around with layers, blending modes and brushes, etc. until you get a better idea of what each function in Photoshop is for.
Attached File  4.jpg (129.59K)
Number of downloads: 419

If you are experienced in digital image editing you could do your own way from here to create a unique style. I would recommend that you try to stay consistent with Riot's other default loading screens' style though or it might not fit in with the rest.
Attached File  5.jpg (104.54K)
Number of downloads: 657

I hope you learned some basics with UV Mapper Pro and Photoshop in this tutorial and I look forward to seeing some of your custom skins AND decent loading screens for them. :P


UPDATED: July 25, 2010

How to make custom portrait icons:

Once you have your loading screen all done, making the portrait icons is very easy.

You will need:
-Paint.net
-Photoshop

1. Using default icons as references

For example, when I did portrait icons for my Boomer Gragas and Pimp Jax 2.0 skins, I first copied the default icon files into my work directory. These icons can be found in your respective champion skin folders, inside a folder called "info".

Making the square portrait:

-open up the copy of the square portrait file in Photoshop
-make sure your loading screen image is also loaded
-make a square selection using the Marquee tool (hold SHIFT and drag to get a perfect square) around the head of your character in the loading screen
-copy/paste the selection into the document with your square portrait
-re-size the new layer and move it until it fits approximately with the original
*you may need the new layer to extend slightly outside the canvas of 120 x 120 pixels
-once the composition is okay, create a new layer
-press CTRL + A to select the entire canvas size and go to Select -> Modify -> Border and choose a size that is approximately the same as the default
-fill the new selection with black
-save the document as .jpg and open it up in Paint.net
-save it as .dds using the opaque alpha setting (since there is no transparency, try to save space)

Making the circular portrait icon:

Once you have done the square icon first, the circular one is easier to do than if you tried doing this one before the square icon.

-open the default circular icon in Paint.net
-copy/paste the new square icon over it as a new layer (there should be no size problems because they are both 120 x 120 pixels)
-select the layer with the default icon, and using the Magic Wand tool, click on the transparent background outside the circle of the icon
-go back to your new layer, and press delete to get the same circular crop with a transparent background
-save it as .dds using the interpolated alpha setting (you may try opaque alpha too, but sometimes there might be some grey pixels around the circle from the selection and it might be less "pixelated" around the circle with interpolated alpha)

Once both of your icons are done, copy them into your champion folder, inside a folder named "info". Try testing it out in-game and see if you may need to make further adjustments (i.e. contrast, sharpen, rotate, etc.) to give your icons more polish.

If you have any questions, just post them in this thread and I'll address them. :)

#2
OFFLINE   BananaBoy

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Really cool tutorial but there has been one by Christopho. Nevertheless I think they add up perfectly.

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#3
OFFLINE   MMKH

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Quote

Really cool tutorial but there has been one by Christopho. Nevertheless I think they add up perfectly.


Oh I thought someone wanted me to do a tutorial on this. Oh well, this is just how I do it. :)

#4
OFFLINE   Christopho

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ROFL I'm the one who requested it XD Anyway, can you elaborate on your digital editing step? That's the step I have trouble on...
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#5
OFFLINE   MMKH

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Quote

ROFL I'm the one who requested it XD Anyway, can you elaborate on your digital editing step? That's the step I have trouble on...


What exactly do you want to know? There's a lot of Photoshop features.

I suppose I could say to use the Smudge feature to blend in the character layer so it looks more painted and less aliased, as well as using the Paintbrush to pick a colour and paint over some parts also.

For highlights, create a new layer, pick a bright colour (preferably one that corresponds to the background lighting), while Ctrl + clicking on the character layer (to get the selection around it, so that when you paint you will only paint inside the selection so it doesn't get messy around it), and paint the highlights while setting the blending mode to Color Dodge (or Screen, but you can just figure out what looks best by scrolling through them).

For backgrounds, go to Blending Options of your background colour layer, and go to Pattern Overlay. Choose a pattern you like while adjusting the blending modes there too. Or you may import an image and place it just above the background layer and set it to Overlay.

#6
OFFLINE   Christopho

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Yep, that's it :D Now just edit it into your tutorial and that's all you need to do to make it perfect :D

EDIT: Heeeey 500th post :D
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#7
OFFLINE   FerociousKitteh

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Christopho's tutorial already says this, but you might want to add that the image should be 256x384 pixels.

#8
OFFLINE   MMKH

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Quote

Christopho's tutorial already says this, but you might want to add that the image should be 256x384 pixels.


Why that dimension? The loading screen .dds files are 512x1024 pixels.

When you open the default .dds files for that champion that you are making a loading screen for, it should already be this size. So when taking a screenshot of the model in UV Mapper, it's preferable that your monitor's display resolution is bigger so you have more freedom to resize.

#9
OFFLINE   Christopho

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Huh...I think I made that tutorial when it were those dimensions...Either that or I hated the bigger ones where they overlap at the bottom :P
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#10
OFFLINE   MMKH

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Quote

Huh...I think I made that tutorial when it were those dimensions...Either that or I hated the bigger ones where they overlap at the bottom :P


That must have been the old size, before Riot changed the loading screens. What I noticed is that even with a larger size, the new ones don't appear as big in-game, and parts of the bottom are cut-off about 2/3 of the way.

#11
OFFLINE   Christopho

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Quote

parts of the bottom are cut-off about 2/3 of the way.


Ya, that was the main reason I suggested that size :D but it looked weird with all the other big loading screens ._. I think sizes doesn't matter, as long as you told them how to make loading screens :P
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#12
OFFLINE   PineApple

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I another choice you can do is use a 3d model editing program to take your picture. Since the .sco is converted into a main stream .obj most major program will support it. I use 3ds max and that does support it. You can attach a skeleton to the model and actually pose it if you wish. If you do that then it can be a little more custom of a loading screen. It's a little easier said then done, but just another option.

#13
OFFLINE   MMKH

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Quote

I another choice you can do is use a 3d model editing program to take your picture. Since the .sco is converted into a main stream .obj most major program will support it. I use 3ds max and that does support it. You can attach a skeleton to the model and actually pose it if you wish. If you do that then it can be a little more custom of a loading screen. It's a little easier said then done, but just another option.


Yeah that's also a good option. It's just that I don't have any 3D program on my PC right now, but I am familiar with Maya and it's possible to open the models with that.

#14
OFFLINE   iSpoonYou

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I can Try making a video turotail for this when i get my new mic
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#15
OFFLINE   PineApple

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I know 3dsmax also supports .obj. I'm not the best at 3d modeling either, but rigging a character that has a average human body is fairly simple though. Kat or garen would be pretty simple. Once you add in wings and stuff it gets more complex, but its still not that hard.





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