Impossible Fashion

Friday, January 01, 2016 10:13 AM

Impossible Fashion
There might be times when you wish you could preview a very specific hairstyle, armor skin, outfit, or any combination of customizable features not available to your character, for one reason or another (roleplaying, suggestions/complaints to ArenaNet's designers, etc.), and there's no way to do so in-game. Fortunately, thanks to the magic of image editing software, you can preview whatever you want on any character you want, if you can get screenshots of all the things you want to preview (on different characters). For example, I really liked the look of one of the exclusive hairstyles for male Asura, released on December 15th, but there's no way to preview it on a female Asura character in the game, no matter what you try.

So, I decided to do a little bit of image editing and overlaid a screenshot of the exclusive hairstyle in question over another 'base' screenshot of my character to see what it'd look like if it was possible to have that hairstyle on that character.

Basic Steps –
  1. Character with current hairstyle, without any modifications
  2. Screenshot of the (exclusive Asura male) hairstyle I want to preview, on a male Asura character
  3. Screenshot of the Self-Style Hair Kit preview panel with my character's hair 'removed' (bald option chosen). This is the 'base' screenshot to work on top of.
  4. Edited screenshot of the Self-Style Hair Kit preview panel; the hairstyle is 'extracted' from the second screenshots as two layers ('Front' and 'Back'), then pasted on top of screenshot 3 and cleaned up.

Each image-editing software program is different, but essentially, what you want to do is have a 'base screenshot' to work on top of. Bring whatever it is you want to preview into the initial 'base screenshot' file as a separate layer (or layers), then try to match up constant elements (ex: text on a preview panel) as closely to one another as possible. Remove everything surrounding the object you want to preview, then stretch and distort the object as needed to fit, and trim away any parts that don't look right and fit with the base screenshot. Then modify the finished layers (color correction, adjusting contrast, etc.) – of both base and extracted preview objects to your content.

The screenshots you take of the item(s) and character also matter. It's helpful to grab screenshots of your character that match as closely as possible to the initial screenshot you intend to use as the base image (head angle/tilt, facial expression, and/or pose), so that things are easier to match up. The idle animations for characters on preview panels seem to be on approximately three-second cycles, so pay attention to when the character reaches the specific angle or pose your base screenshot was taken at; that's when you take your next screenshot(s).

Below are some other examples of screenshot edits of gender-swapped hairstyles, combinations of armor skins/outfits, and gender-specific skins unavailable for certain races, all looks literally impossible to get in-game.  However, screenshot edits like these can be useful as roleplaying references, suggestions to the design team, etc.

So, now that you've got some basic information on making screenshot edits, go forth and cobble together any items or looks you can imagine or want to your heart's content. Have fun!

Modified: 01-03-2016 11:02

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