One of the (many) problems I came across when I decided to overhaul the NPC houses in Daggerfall Unity for my houses2homes mod, was the lack of variety in the paintings you can place on the walls of the buildings. There is basically six. Six different paintings that hang in the countless houses within an estimated 15,000 hamlets, towns and cities in the game.
After I’d revamped a few homes they started to wear on me. I looked into modelling new ones with Blender, paintings being probably the easiest objects you can create in 3D; they are basically a flat plane with a texture on one side. This is good because I’d never used Blender before and it’s frankly overwhelming.
The one other roadblock I had was that I didn’t have any paintings to use. I didn’t want to use random art from a Google image search, or go through the rights rigmarole of seeing if anyone I knew wanted to have their art included. I can’t draw a stick-man reliably so I can’t do it myself. Thankfully the modern era delivered a solution. AI art. Personally, I’m not really comfortable with AI art, or AI enhanced art. I know artists and it feels like stabbing their industry in the back, but it’s the lesser of two evils, I guess.
Not having a lot of experience using AI generated art I looked at a few sources and settled on Dream by Wombo. It gave me the best results and had an Android app so I could use it on my tablet while waiting for my daughter to finish her music class. I used some family photos as a base with some appropriate descriptive terms and the spectral, mystical and fantasy presets to get the pictures I wanted, or at least was reasonably satisfied with glancing at out of the corner of my eye as I walk past looking for that ogre that Uthywyr Hawkhouse sent me to deal with in his brother’s house.
After applying some wood frames that I sourced from PNGWing to the first few in GIMP on my desktop, I discovered the HD Photo Frames app that I could use to add them with more ease on the tablet, thus maximising my time being forced to listen to the painful torture of innocent ukuleles and accordions.
I still needed to load the resulting images at home in GIMP to scale it to a reasonable size, add a subtle canvas effect filter and added depth shadows with a minor vignette effect to the image surface within the frame and then apply Daggerfall’s colour palette while converting to an indexed mode to be exported as PNG. Then they were pixelized to fit vanilla Daggerfall’s style. The originals would still be used for an HD compatibility pack for use with the likes of the D.R.E.A.M. mod.
I then imported the images as planes into Blender, corrected the coordinates so they stood vertically, applied the rotations and saved them into directories named after the asset ID. e.g.
I then discovered that it doesn’t seem to load the applied texture in the Unity editor or game. Whether this is something I’ve done wrong or a limit of Daggerfall Unity, I don’t know. However saving the png image in the folder with the .blend file seems to fix the issue.
Mods/New Paintings/Models/79010/79010.blend Mods/New Paintings/Models/79010/79010.png
All the paintings are approximately the same size, but can be scaled in Unity for taste.
The results of my image mangling are in the gallery below. I may add or replace images over time, but for the moment it certainly brings some artistic variety to the Iliac Bay.
I’m loosely toying with the idea of experimenting more with Blender and seeing if I can’t make some other art forms such as small statuettes, commemorative plates, garish urns and bisected farm animals in glass boxes…