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Nyerguds

[C&C1/RA1] Converting SHP files to/from a single big PNG containing all frames

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It is possible to convert SHP graphics as one big PNG rather than as separate frames, but XCC Mixer only offers this option for the Tiberian Sun SHP type. Also, converting it back is very unintuitive; you need to go to [Clipboard] -> [Copy] on the edited PNG, then use [Clipboard] -> [Paste as SHP (TS)], and then give the frame dimensions and the number of frames.

Using single-PNG conversion for the C&C1/RA1 type is possible, by converting to TS type, but as you can imagine, it's kinda complex. Since it's still useful in some situations, though, and since conversion between SHP types can very easily go very wrong, I made a tutorial on how exactly to pull it off.

Here are the steps to do that:

  1. Start XCC Mixer (duh :P) in Administrator mode (always :O)
  2. In the [Conversion] menu, disable ALL the options except "Split shadows".
  3. Under [View] -> [Palet], disable "Use for conversion". (This shouldn't affect it, but it seems to actually mess up the conversion, so disable it)
  4. Select the SHP file, and use ctrl+p to select its correct palette.
  5. Right click on the file, and select Copy as SHP (TS). The resulting file will seem to have twice as many frames since it split off the shadow frames. Don't mind that. (If you don't know where the file ends up... see this image)
  6. In the [Conversion] menu, disable "Split shadows", and enable "Combine shadows"
  7. Right-click on the TS SHP, and select "Copy as PNG (single)"

That's it. Now you got your frames as single PNG. If this is for conversion from RA <-> C&C1, you just need to use MS Paint or something to save that file as high-colour PNG. If this is for more serious modding, this is the part where your magic happens. Happy editing :)

Now, to convert back:

  1. In the [Conversion] menu, disable all options.
  2. If you saved in high colour, use ctrl+p to select the palette to convert to, and enable the [View] -> [Palet] -> [use for conversion] option. It's strongly advised to use the Purple Palettes when doing that.
  3. Right-click the PNG, and select  [Clipboard] -> [Copy]
  4. Right-click in the folder where you want to dump the intermediary TS SHP file, and select [Clipboard] -> [Paste as SHP (TS)], and select where you want the file, what to call it, and then give the frame number and frame dimensions of the original C&C1/RA1 SHP.
  5. In the [Conversion] menu, make sure "Split shadows" is disabled, and "Combine shadows" is enabled.
  6. Now, right-click on the TS SHP you created, and select "Copy As PNG". This will produce a normal series of SHP frames.
  7. Right-click on the first of the SHP frames, and select "Copy As SHP", and you will finally have your C&C1/RA1 type SHP back.

So as you see, it's quite some work, but in certain situations, like editing infantry, or converting normal 32- or 64-frame units between games, it definitely beats going over the unit frame by frame.

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Every time I edit SHP files I find myself looking for this topic again. I'm so glad I typed this out and posted it here, lol :P

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