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 Forum index » Modding Central » Tiberian Sun Editing Forum » Tutorials Factory
Creating .shp cameos from a 'raw' image
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Vehicle Driver

Joined: 07 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:39 am    Post subject:  Creating .shp cameos from a 'raw' image
Subject description: (Some knowledge assumed)
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Hi there! Today I was working on a mod project for Tiberium sun and stumbled into a problem.

Tiberium Sun uses .shp files for in-game cameos, and I wanted to make a custom one.

For this I attempted to open the .shp for a Titan mech, and make a cameo of it-but the leg and turreted sections were stored in separate parts of the shp, so using the cameo generator would only produce half of the unit.

If you're reading this tutorial I'm hoping you have the same problem, or a similar one. Firstly though there are some things you'll need (But should probably have already)

-A good image editor that you're familiar with
-Tiberium Sun (the version you're modding, I recommend Rampastein's client)
-OS SHP Builder
-Your brain #Tongue

The solution, I discovered was to capture an in-game screenshot, isolate the unit and cut out the background using an image editor, resize it to the correct size, save it as a PNG, import the PNG into OS SHP Editor and then use the cameo generator (With correct palette settings!) to export the cameo as a SHP. Then, I used XCC Mixer to replace the original mmchicon.shp file in the appropriate archive, resulting in this:

(Note: This Titan SHP isn't mine! I took it from Crystallized Doom for use in a personal mod because I can't find a good enough public Titan remake. I've also seen it used in plenty of other mods but don't know of its origin, or even if they've just been stealing from CD as I have been xD The cameo background isn't mine either, it originated from a public pack of new cameos and backgrounds that I've since lost the link to) Sad

Sound complicated? Here's a breakdown.

First, I took a screenshot of a scene in-game, on a map with a fairly neutral background. If you're using a picture from say, google, or you have custom artwork, you won't have to take a screenshot obviously. But the process from here should be similar.

(Edited slightly for size reasons)

Next, using Paint Dot Net I cut out the Titan specifically using crop to selection and the magic wand, I also seperated the Titan from its shadow and stored them on seperate layers. I also cut the dimensions of the original screenshot down, 64x48 is the size that cameos need to be so doing that from the get-go will prevent loss of quality later when it NEEDS to be resized.

The result was this:

Note: You don't need to use Paint Dot Net, I suppose any image editor will suffice as long as it supports PNGs, multiple layers, and transparency. If you're competent in any mainstream editor you could do the same thing.
You also don't have to create a cameo with an in-game screenshot, if you have art or something from google you can make a cameo of it.

After doing those steps, I added a third layer below the first two with an appropriate cameo background. Then I flattened the image and saved it as a PNG. (Image should be 64 x 48 pixels)

So now I had a rough idea of what the cameo would look like: A nice PNG file which can be imported into OS SHP builder via the file/import/Image --> SHP tab.

With the import tab open, you'll want the following settings. I'm not sure they're all necessary but I had... Issues without them, and I found this specific combo to work.

With all of these settings correctly done, you're good to hit 'OK' and import your PNG file.

Once you get in the interface, go to tools/misc/Cameo Generator.

Make sure that the Game is set to TS, and that your options either resemble this or you know what you're doing.

With all that done, simply do a save as, navigate to your new cameo SHP and open the .mix archive you want to add it to using XCC Mixer, then drag and drop it in. If you followed these steps, and correctly referenced the cameo in your art.ini file, you should now be able to see it in game!

Here's an example of the treatment given to a Zone Trooper model done by Machine - excellent work by the way. It's awesome.

So, in closing, I hope someone somewhere finds this tutorial helpful. I know there are other tutorials out there on how to create cameos but none seemed to have exactly what I needed, and some were REALLY out of date.

If you have a problem with the steps described you can PM me and I'll do the best I can to help you through it.

Best regards, and happy modding!

Key Words: #Tutorials #SHPs #Cameos #TiberianSun #Firestorm #Graphics #Media #XCCUtilities #OSSHPBuilder 

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Lin Kuei Ominae

Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice tutorial with a well detailed description.

Only for the image conversion i would suggest using "Delta E CIE 2000". It's the slowest but giving best result imo and for a single tiny cameo image, the speed doesn't matter.

Another hint: if you have to create a lot of cameos this way, i would suggest creating a plain colored ground tile and create a testmap using this ground. It should make the cropping out the unit part much easier when you don't have a brown/gold unit above a brown ground, but a plain purple ground for example.
If terrain editing is not that familiar to you, you could also create a simple SHP with a big purple area. Then add to a dummy building


;add this to rules.ini [Animations] list
LoopEnd=1 ;give the SHP only a single frame
YSortAdjust=-2000   ;always draw this under units

@Banshee: can you upload the images to PPM before the external hoster deletes them and renders the tutorial useless?
SHP Artist of Twisted Insurrection:  Nod buildings

Public SHPs
X-Mech Calendar (28 Mechs for GDI and Nod)
5 GDI, 5 Nod, 1 Mutant, 1 Scrin unit, 1 GDI building

Image Shaper______TMP Shop______C&C Executable Modifier

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Supreme Banshee

Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Banshee: can you upload the images to PPM before the external hoster deletes them and renders the tutorial useless?

It's done. Smile I've also included the keywords for it Wink.

Nice tutorial, by the way.

And both Infurium and Delta E CIE 2000 provides great results. Maybe Delta E CIE 2000 is better, but I'm not sure.

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Vehicle Driver

Joined: 07 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee and LKO, thanks for the feedback and support!

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Joined: 13 Jun 2020

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, this was really helpful.
Sorry for necro-ing old post but this one was worth it if someone in 2020 still wants to get into modding cameo's are must.
Been many years since i last made tried modding in Tiberian sun.
been reading old modding guides recently, pretty frustrating to get things done properly still getting the hang of things.
All i remember was with Xcc mixer you could convert png to shp but that doesn't seem to be working any longer its all grayed out even with admin privileges.

Now i don't remember how to extract the mix files add the files and then put them all back in the mix files again.

And the whole reason i'm doing this now is because of that stupid mammoth tank, i get annoyed it doesn't have a proper icon.
so i made these, feel free to use them for anyone who ever reads this in the future.


As you can see started with in-game model, that didn't seem right, so instead i hand drew in pixels the other ones.
They are still not perfect since i think the barrels are too long so i'll probably fix it. but first i want to test them in-game see how they look.
Still need to figure those steps out next.

ingame view.

obviously some work left to be done the Nod version really looks like pink xD

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