Right now I’ve been trying to make some more of the pigmentation maps for the critter avatar, and in particular I want to make one for the splotchy coloration (which would also be possibly useful for calico and blue giraffe). But hand-drawing this on a disjoint surface is pretty obnoxious.
It would probably make a lot more sense to just do all of the color schemes as indirect lookups on a “swatch” texture. The math is a lot simpler, it would allow other things like baking gradients in easily, and would also give a lot more flexibility when it comes to various interactions; for example, I’d be able to encode arbitrarily many skin colors into things, which would allow for argyle and such as well. Plus it would give me even more color slots to work with, so I could also have separate colors for the lips, tongue, nose, and inside of the mouth (which are currently stuck using the same color).
Also, doing that would only require two of the channels in the pigment map, which would free up the other two channels for the occlusion and subsurface maps, which would make everything way more efficient overall.
Yeah, I like this idea.
So, today I had a great idea for making a custom shader for my VRChat avatar which would make it much easier for me to generate color schemes for my avatar. I called the technique a “Pigment Map,” for lack of a better term; basically I used the four channels of a texture as fuzzy “bits” in a palette lookup, and set things up cleverly so that I could modulate between a bunch of different colors based on surface pigmentation and indirect lookup thereof. The idea is that I wouldn’t need to bake out a bunch of textures for, say, red-and-black plaid, purple plaid, green plaid, etc., and could just have mappings for high-level colorations like plaid, stripes, splotches, and so on. Y'know, as one does.
Because of the cryptocurrency market crash, GPUs have really come down in price. They probably have a further ways to go but I decided that I’d waited long enough to finally upgrade my GTX 1050Ti, and picked up a supposedly-barely-used refurbished eVGA RTX 2080Ti Black Edition off eBay. The seller claimed it was bought from eVGA’s refurb department and used for only two weeks in a gaming rig. I’m not sure sure I believe that, but I figured it was a worthwhile risk to take. The total cost was $550 after tax and shipping, which happened to be almost exactly what I’d earned by participating in the itch.io queer games bundle, so that worked out nicely.