Last Change -- 19th November 2015, updated all dinosaur templates to work with the Fur Change. You can Donate[www.paypal.com] with paypal if you really like the program. Current donations: £49.98 :) -- Thank you Erin, Jerry, Pablo, Kara and Jennifer <3
How To Use
Load an image in the program (For dinosaurs you need to prepare an image, for flat surfaces you can use any picture you want. But I do reccomend using the right aspect ratio for what you are painting on , e.g. 2:1 for billboard, 1:1 for the new painting canvas, tall images for flags, etc)
Select the object you want the paint for (Billboard, Flag, Small Sign, Dino, Painting canvas, Human) -- For options that aren't listed use Flag ,Billboard or Dino.
Adjust image to make it look nicer
Remove Backround (If not png to begin with),
You can also Open Pnt files to save to PNG's for further editing (Just click open and select pnt from the filetype dropdown menu, open your file, press save and choose png from the drop down)
Adjust image to make it look nicer: There are a few options for adjusting the image. You should have a play with different "dither" values and modes to see what is best for your image. For cartoon images you can get away with having it set to 0 and sometimes get better results. Photographs on the other hand tend to need higher values. I find the first Dither mode tends to be best but somtimes the other two can work out better. The "YUV / RGB" button changes the colour space from.. .well YUV to RGB. Basicly with this all you need to know is, click it on and off and see which version of the picture you like most (I find the nicer one differs file to file).
Limit Colour Pallete further
Ticking and Unticking colours in the bottom right will add/remove these dyes from the pallete. Example, Black and white only:
Background Removal: Left clicking on areas of the image in the "Image preview" to the left, the pixels are made fully transparent. Works a bit like the magic wand tool in photoshop. Set the tolerance and click on unwanted pixels
Before Clicking White Space:
Saving: For now you have to navigate to your steam\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings directory. If you can't see a MyPaintings folder you can either make the folder yourself or save a painting in the game so that it makes the directory. I reccommend making a shortcut to this folder somewhere nicer (e.g. desktop)
The file name has to be in the form paintingname_objectname, if you want to use multiple images with the same name you need a number at the end for each file, e.g. name_Sign_Large_Metal_C name_Sign_Large_Metal_C_1 name_Sign_Large_Metal_C_2
Example names: Wooden Billboard -- (Name)_Sign_Large_Wood_C Metal Billboard -- (Name)_Sign_Large_Metal_C Single Flag -- (Name)_Flag_SM_Single_C Multi Panel Flag -- (Name)_Flag_SM_C Wall Canvas -- (Name)_Sign_PaintingCanvas_C
If you are painting for Multiple painting canvas you should not add _Sign_PaintingCanvas_C to your file name like you usually would
You can use the png template names as a reference when saving. Alternatively you can paint a single pixel on a Dino/Billboard/Flag/Whatever and save it in game as "MyPainting" and overwrite the new file MyPainting_Otherstuff_C.pnt when saving in my program to assure the name is correct. My files when I was making lots of metal billboard paintings :) Screenshot of my Pnt converter Program, converterted with my Pnt converter program :p
If you want to add an image to a dino using Paint .Net you can follow these steps:
Open the Dino template
If the dino in the template looks a little "squashed" you can
Goto "Image" at the top by file, edit, view, etc. And click resize
Untick maintain aspect ratio and increase the width (e.g. for a bronto I had to double the width to get the template looking about right.
Paste in the image and place it where you want on the dino
Turn off the template in the bottom right (Or recolour it if you want to make the rest of the dino painted a certain colour)
Save this image and use my program to convert to pnt for loading in Ark.
I'd recomend only changing the first part of the name, e.g. Argent_Argent_Character_BP_C could be saved as MyArgentPaint_Argent_Character_BP_C. This way when you save in my program the name should already be correct.
You can also follow these steps for adding images to flags / billboards etc if you want to better line up your images.
Dino's and Humans
In order to make suitable paints for dinosaurs/humans you need to have some practice making / editing images. (Please see "Edited Template Examples" for examples of the kind of pictures you need to make). Photoshop is probabily the ultimate tool, but if you are unfamiliar with photoshop simpler tools such as Paint . Net are pretty good -- can be downloaded here http://www.dotpdn.com/downloads/pdn.html .
Currently the ark Pnt file uses 256x256 resolutions for Dino's and 512x512 for player characters. The templates show what a fully painted Dino ends up like in the paint file. Since all the paint files use 256x256 resolution for dinos and dino's generally arn't square, I'd recommend resizing the template so that the Dino isn't "squashed" to help prevent any unwanted stretching. If you are using photoshop one "advanced" tip would be to change the pixel aspect ratio instead of resizing the template.
Once you've made an image you like, load it in my program and save the pnt in your steam\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings folder with the appropriate name. I've named all of the png templates with the names you should call your pnt files e.g. name_Argent_Character_BP_C To make life easier it is best to just save your edited template only adjusting the first feild before the _ in the file name, e.g. Argent_Argent_Character_BP_C may be saved as MyArgentPaintingName_Argent_Character_BP_C. This way when you load your picture in my program for converting to an Ark PNT you'll already have the correct file name when saving.
If there is a template missing you can make your own (See Making your own templates in the guide.)
Edited Template Examples
Here are some examples of edited templates I have made using photoshop. If you want to make your own I'd reccomend Gimp as a free alternative to photoshop
Template Usage (Right side without template showing is what you would load in program) In photoshop I worked with the template image as the bottom layer and added and rescaled images to parts of the character I wanted. E.g. Hearts that go around the diamond doodad we have on our left arms. Then removed the template for the version of the image to load in the program
Note: For big dinosaurs 256x256 resolution is very low, so it's hard to get any real detail on them. I'd reccomend just going for interesting colour patterns Example Trex skin by me Yankee Doodle Dodo by TheJollyLlama875: Green Lantern Mammoth by Triplesteel
American Argent by me
Paint file for T-rex Link[www.dropbox.com] Paint file T-Rex after limiting colours Link[www.dropbox.com] Paint file for Dodo Link[www.dropbox.com] Green Lantern Mammoth Link American argent Link[www.dropbox.com] (Updated for Fur Update, could still do with a little bit of tweaking, but mostly good)
For people who just want to use the example skins and havn't read the rest of the guide :) Paint files can be added straight in steam\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Saved\MyPaintings :).
Making your own templates
If there is a template missing (If a new dino is added and I've not gotten around to adding the template -- Last Dino templates added were for the penguin and updating all animals with fur). You can make your own by painting on a dino / object in game, save it in game and load the pnt file in my program. After this you can save it is a png. When painting the dino / object you can either paint the whole thing or perhaps just a rectangle where you plan on adding an image.
Example: 1. I fully painted an argent in game and saved it in game with the name "argent" 2. I loaded the pnt file with my program ( argent_Argent_Character.... pnt) 3. Pressed Save 4. Used the dropdown to save as PNG in my desired location.
1. "Loading painting in game failed/freezes, how can I fix this" This is a problem that occurs for some players when loading any painting (not just those from my Program). Allot of people on the forums and reddit have told me that standing as close to the painting as you can before loading helps to fix this and if it is a dino to whistle it to follow. I've not tried it myself though, since for me when loading paintings the game is a little bit laggy but always finishes.
2. "I cannot see my saved painting in game" If you have saved a file but cannot see it listed in game then the name you called your file isn't quite right. The object_name for your file has to be correct, e.g. girlPower_PlayerPawnTest_Female_C.pnt , will be visible with the name "GirlPower" when loading from a female character in game. The easiest way to get the file names is to save a painting in game, even if it is just of a single dot on a dino/sign/billboard, and then replace that painting when you save a file on my program. Alternatively if you've downloaded my program with templates, all of the templates are saved with the correct file names so you can use those as reference.
3. "I cannot find my Ark painting/install If you are having trouble finding your Ark install directory you can bring up steam, find "Ark: Survival Evolved" , Right click properties, at the top in the bar there is "Local files", then a button for "Browse local files". From here you can find the paintings folder inside -- Shootergame, Saved, MyPaintings, if there is no "MyPaintings" folder you can either make one or save a painting in game after using the paintbrush so that the game makes one for you.
4. "Will you be making a release for MAC OS" Currently there are no plans for making a mac os version. All of my current code for the UI and loading / saving paintings uses windows classes. So porting the program is almost the same as re-writing allot of it.
5. "Your program crashes when I do X" Then don't do X! ... just kidding, please report anything in the comment section of this guide and I'll try to make a fix whenever needed.
6. "Can I use this on multiplayer" Yes, you can use my program to make paints for loading into any multiplayer servers.
7. Dyes do not show up very well on my dino / character. Dyes right now are a little bit too transparent, dyes will show up allot better on darker dino's / player models. In ARK Digest 27 Q&A somone asked “Will the black and white dyes get updated to appear more visible when painting dinos and people?” , with the responce "Yup! We’re working on it ;)". So fingers crossed dyes will look allot nicer in a later patch :D
Also, if your pc is good enough you can use my program / photoshop with ark loaded. Going into single player and using the commands -- "Giveitemnum 38" to give yourself a paintbrush, "give colours 20" to give yourself 20 of every dye, then occassionally testing your warpaint while making it helps a bunch.
Coming Soon Improving colour reduction algorithm, goal being to be on par with photoshop.
Current Version 0.17 06/01/2016 Added Multi-Canvas option for more easily making/saving images comprised of multiple canvases. http://imgur.com/a/qCJzF
Usage: Open an image, on the save dropdown menu select Multi-Canvas, change the values in the bottom left for how many canvas you want your picture to be made of in the x & y, press process image if you want a preview and save as any name you want. The saved files will be outputted as name0-0, name1-0, name2-0, where the first number is the x position of the canvas and the second is the y position, with 0-0 being the top left canvas.
Added Check all and Uncheck all buttons for dye colours. Saves some time if you only want your picture to use a few dyes, so you can uncheck all and select the few you want.
Version 0.16 Added templates for war map and pumpkin along with changing the save option dropdown names to include these and what their resolutions are e.g. "Human" is now called "Human & WarMap (512x512px)".
19th November 2015, updated all dinosaur templates to work with the Fur Change and added Penguin template
Added Donate[www.paypal.com] link onto the guide for anyone who really like the program :D
Updated american argent skin for Fur Update, could still do with a little bit of tweaking, but mostly good.
Version 0.15 Added ability to load Ark Pnt files and to save as PNG. The save dialog box now defaults to the name of the file you have opened. Useful for when the image you have loaded already has the correct name i.e. When you make a dinosaur skin from a template and save it with the original template name.
Vesion: 0.14 , Last change -- Edited colour code for "Royalty" to better match ark colours. Paintings will not mistake blue for royalty (see below examples)