ARK: Survival Evolved

ARK: Survival Evolved

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Convert Images <-> ARK .pnt files with ARKpnt Editor
By DRAGNET and 1 collaborators
Guide on how to convert ARK pnt files to images and vice versa
 
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Version 1.10 now with color cost calculator!
NOTE: Dye calculation was removed in version 1.11 since it can't be calculated accurately anymore because the pixels per dye amount is not the same for all objects
Download ARKpnt Editor
ARKpnt Editor works with Windows XP/Vista and 7-10, you need .net Framework 3.5

Download ARKpnt Editor Version 1.11 here (updated Nov 17, 2015 with new templates):
http://www.voicemacro.net/ARKpnt_Editor/ARKPntEditor_1.11.zip

Changelog: http://steamcommunity.com/app/346110/discussions/0/517141882717250576/

Please read the Guide!

Extract the ZIP file to a folder (e.g. make a folder "ARKpnt Editor" on your Desktop)

The ZIP file contains the executable program "ARKpntEditor.exe" and 3 folders "Samples", "Templates" and "Palettes"

In the Samples folder you have some sample .pnt files and the ARK logo image used in the Screenshot

In the Templates folder you will find many templates some provided by myself and many more by contributors

The Palettes folder contains palettes files containing the 25 ARK colors ready to use or import in your favorite Imaging Software
Video Tutorials
Tutorial by Mennace

German tutorial from Olli for painting on players:
Loading and displaying a .pnt file
Click on "Load ARKpnt file" to load your saved image

Your saved files from ARK are located in this structure (your "SteamLibrary" folder location may vary):

Note: The "MyPaintings" folder itself is only existing either if you create it manually, or saved a .pnt file in ARK beforehand!

If you don't manually added extra space for your Steam files, your save files should be here:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings\

If you are using additional space to store your ARK Game files, look here:
X:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings

You can adjust the Aspect Ratio by double-clicking in the image or clicking on the "Aspect: ..." Button and change Zoom with the + / - Buttons (only for display, will not change image)
Creating a template file
In ARK you can paint on many Objects (Players, Dinos, Signs, Structures...), every Object has it's own size properties and shapes

When you paint in ARK (not matter how it looks inGame) the resulting image is squeezed and warped into a 128x128, 256x256 or 512x512 pixel square image, along with the name of the Object you paint on (e.g. "MySign_Sign_Large_Metal_C.pnt" for a Metal Billboard you named "MySign" while saving), there is also a 20 byte identification code at the beginning of the file, each different for every Object

Note: Player avatars have the highest resolution with 512x512 pixels

Because of that you are required to either select one of the provided templates by clicking on "Select a template...", or create and save a new "template" .pnt file within ARK of the Object you want to work with (you only need to paint 1 pixel to unlock the "Save Paint" button)

Before you save the template file in ARK, you might also want to paint some guide lines around the area you want to have the image in, otherwise your Object can get painted in areas you don't want



This is what a Sabertooth template looks like (thanks to dyonisth):


Save your template file as .PNG Image ("Save as Image") for Editing in your favorite Imaging Software
Convert image to .pnt file
For basic sketchy images with only 2-5 colors ARKpnt Editor can import and automatically convert your images (they only need to be 128x128, 256x256 or 512x512 pixel in size, matching the template you have selected or loaded)

To get the best results with more complex images (pictures), read the next chapters

Click on "Load Image" to import a image, if you want to reduce and match the colors to the 25 color palette of ARK, select "Yes"
Install custom ARK palette in your Imaging Software
Install ARK pnt palette in Gimp:

Copy the file "ARK.gpl" from the "Palettes" folder (included in the ARKpnt Editor ZIP file) to your Gimp palettes folder C:/Users/YourName/.gimp-2.8/palettes/


Install ARK pnt palette in Photoshop:
(Note, you're only required to do this if you plan to draw your own custom images from scratch, this isn't required to change an existing image to the Ark dye palette. That process is explained later in this guide.)
1) Copy the file "ArkPNT.aco" from the "Palettes" folder (included in the ARKpnt Editor Zip file to your desktop.
2) Open Photoshop, and ensure your swatch window is visible


3)Click the menu arrow in the top right of the swatch window and select "Replace Swatches..."


4) Locate the ArkPNT.aco file (folder "Palettes/Photoshop/ArkPNT.aco") and select it

You should now have the color palette for the Ark dyes in your swatch window.
(Note, you can also save the swatches to the Photoshop swatch folder, and they will show up in default swatch list)
Prepare a new Image with Gimp/PS and convert it to ARK .pnt file
Note: If you haven't already created the template file and installed the palette, please read this section first before you continue here...

Step 1: Load your image
Load your Image

Step 2: Reduce Image size
Adjust size to exactly 128x128, 256x256 or 512x512 pixel - depending on the template size you created from the Object, mask areas you want to have transparent (no color applied) and clear them

Important: e.g. on a Metal Billboard, the aspect Ratio is 2:1, that means your image is going to be double width ingame, you might want to resize your image accordingly

Step 3: Reduce image colors to 25 custom ARK colors

In Gimp, use menu "Image" -> "Mode" -> "Indexed..."

Now choose your custom palette "ARK" and apply your favorite dither method (experiment!)


In Photoshop use menu "Image" -> "Mode" -> "Indexed Color..."
Choose "Custom" from the "Palette" drop down menu then click the "Load" button, locate your ArkPNT.aco file and select it. Again, you will need to experiment with the dither method (none usally works well).



Setp 4: Save the image and load it in ARKpnt Editor
Now save your Image (save as PNG to prevent altering of colors!) and go to ARKpnt Editor

Note: before you can load your Image in ARKpnt Editor you have to load a ARK .pnt file (call it a "template" file) of the Object you want to paint in order to get the correct parameters for the object!

Click on "Load Image" and select "no" if you are asked about reducing the colors (no need since you already reduced the colors and have the correct palette)

Step 5: Save your new image as ARK pnt file

Click on "Save as ARK .pnt file"

ARK .pnt files are in the "MyPaintings" directory:
(your "SteamLibrary" folder location may vary)

Note: The "MyPaintings" folder itself is only existing either if you create it manually, or saved a .pnt file in ARK beforehand!

If you don't manually added extra space for your Steam files, your save files should be here:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings\

If you are using additional space to store your ARK Game files, look here:
X:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings\

Hint: Reload the .pnt file to preview it and make sure there is everything ok with it, as ARKpnt Editor is encoding the colors again while saving, if you have done everything right the Image should look as you expected, otherwise you have to make sure the image has the correct palette, and is saved in a format that is not changing colors

Important Note: you have to use the correct names relating to the various Objects in order to be able to load the files in ARK e.g. for a "Metall Billboard" the name of your file has to look like this: "NameYouCanChoose_Sign_Large_Metal_C.pnt" (NameYouCanChoose has a limit of 15 chars when saving ingame!)
Limitations, known issues
ARKpnt Editor related
  • Copy/Paste from clipboard from other applications and back will destroy transparency, save and load the image instead

ARK related
  • Resolutions of the paints are not variable, they have limited fixed size (512x512, 256x256 or 128x128) depending on the object - unless the devs decide to change that we can do nothing about it.
  • Colors appear more or less transparent in-Game, flags/sails are especially undistinctive, unfortunately ARK does not give us any control about this (yet)
  • Depending what source picture you have it usually requires some work in your imaging software to get the best results with the 25 colors available
    Try adjusting the colors/brightness/contrast etc., or replace colors before or after conversion
ARK pnt editors from other Authors:
(Leave me a comment if you find more!)

Online converters:

http://www.ark-survival.net/en/image-to-board-sign-pnt-converter/

Standalone Applications (Windows):

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=518906272
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219 Comments
LegoDan2002 Jan 24 @ 6:57pm 
For me it's steam/steamapps/common/ark/shootergame/saved/mypaintings
Rose Jan 8 @ 6:19pm 
Anyone know if there is a template for the bodies? i dont reallly wanna fight with it in game so im hoping that there is >.<
DRAGNET  [author] Jan 5 @ 5:00pm 
@ThePurpleKrow: Indeed, the image you have here is probably the best "worst case example", images with dark colors in general do not translate well, photos do not look good

Pictogramm or cartoon style images work well, with thick lines and bright colors and lots of contrast

Also try making the bird brighter against the black background
ThePurpleKrow Jan 5 @ 12:57pm 
@DRAGNET This is with Floyd-Steinberg w/reduced color-bleeding, somewhat better, still not what I want. Are there just some images that dont translate good into ARK?

https://www.facebook.com/thepurplekrow/photos/a.1113647222001387.1073741830.962846053748172/1113804681985641/?type=3&theater
DRAGNET  [author] Jan 5 @ 8:43am 
@ThePurpleKrow: Read step 3 of the section "Prepare a new Image with Gimp/PS and convert it to ARK .pnt file" of this Guide, also the section above on how to import the ARK palette in gimp,

Play with the different dithering techiques to get the best results depending on the image (I recommend floyd-steinberg with recuced color-bleeding for this image)
ThePurpleKrow Jan 5 @ 8:20am 
@DRAGNET How do I do that? I literally downloaded Gimp a couple hours ago, lol, sorry.
Blanker Jan 5 @ 7:35am 
@ThePurpleKrow - The image looks too highres maybe? and maybe too many colours? did you use the pallet?
DRAGNET  [author] Jan 5 @ 6:50am 
@ThePurpleKrow: Looks like the image has no color dithering...

Try converting the image (in Gimp) with floyd-steinberg dithering (with reduced color bleed), apply the ARK palette and your image should look much better in ARK

Your image should look something like this before you convert it in ARKpnt Editor:
http://s1.bild.me/bilder/030315/7817286PurpleBird.png
ThePurpleKrow Jan 5 @ 6:26am 
My first image I did looks like crap compared to the original pic, what's the reason for that? Did I do something wrong? I followed Mennace's video exactly.

https://www.facebook.com/thepurplekrow/photos/a.1113647222001387.1073741830.962846053748172/1113647212001388/?type=3&theater
Blanker Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:49pm 
Wicked, I'll check it out.