Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

cmpbellsjc

Beginning 1st project, but some questions with

Recommended Posts

Hi guys. I have finally taken the plunge and installed the SDK with updates, ADE w/updates, and the latestest version of SbuilerX. I have read and used the tutorial by Luis F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

My head hurts from all the questions. But the avatar makes it worth it... :( Welcome to the world of scenery design. Go run to the market and buy some aspirin. The tutorials by Luis Feliz-Tirado are a great start and I commend you for reviewing at them.Now for the techno-babble, which should start to make sense somewhere down the line. Get the best resolution you can get, as file size can be dealt with in other ways, such as compression, which SBX always has at 100% vs. a better setting of 90 to 95%. All the source material can be used to create one BGL file, it's all in the .INF file details. Multi source can become a single BGL file, if necessary.Boundaries? There's this nice little thing called a blendmask, which tells FSX what to show and what to hide. It all evolves around shades of gray and a seperate texture file from the source. Were you thinking of a night texture? That's a seperate file, but I'm getting ahead of myself. And what about seasonal variations?ADE? Nice tool and should work well with matching up the photo work. But there will be a lot of trial and error involved. Not the fault of ADE, just the nature of the FSX beast.TBH, in about a week you might have a nice layout for KFLL. I remember the area well, as it contained a "sleeping spot" for me right under the approach area. Getting it in and blending it well is the major effort. Just take small steps to get there, too many want to run right away and end up stumbling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must say that I have some questions myself. - Why are you only making custom textures in parts, instead of selecting the entire area of the airport and its immediate surroundings as SBuilderX allows?It would be much simpler for you overall, and you could avoid making multiple bgl files.However, on to answers for your questions:1. To cut out the area of the airport that you desire, use a Blend Mask. This is covered in the tutorial with great detail. Take your image and make a Blend Mask where pure white (Red, Green, Blue=255,255,255) covers the part that should be opaque and display, whereas pure black covers the transparent areas. Use shades of gray to indicate partial transparency so that the custom textures blend gradually with the default ground textures. Please read the tutorial concerning the use of a Blend Mask with a Null Value; this is very important in order to avoid unwanted orange spots.2. You should most definitely apply color corrections to your image before compiling. This is an essential step that even some commercial developers seem to neglect. This is also covered in the tutorial.3. From what I have found, zoom level 17 is about equal to 1 meter per pixel, the resolution of default ground textures. The maximum resolution possible in FS X is indicated in the first line of the tutorial.4. It does not matter in the least if custom textures overlap, particularly if they are the same image, but why make textures like that? It is better to use a single image that covers all the desired area.5. It makes no differerence at all where you place any bgl files, apart from issues regarding priorities which do not apply in this case.Best regards.Luis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I must say that I have some questions myself. - Why are you only making custom textures in parts, instead of selecting the entire area of the airport and its immediate surroundings as SBuilderX allows?It would be much simpler for you overall, and you could avoid making multiple bgl files.However, on to answers for your questions:1. To cut out the area of the airport that you desire, use a Blend Mask. This is covered in the tutorial with great detail. Take your image and make a Blend Mask where pure white (Red, Green, Blue=255,255,255) covers the part that should be opaque and display, whereas pure black covers the transparent areas. Use shades of gray to indicate partial transparency so that the custom textures blend gradually with the default ground textures. Please read the tutorial concerning the use of a Blend Mask with a Null Value; this is very important in order to avoid unwanted orange spots.2. You should most definitely apply color corrections to your image before compiling. This is an essential step that even some commercial developers seem to neglect. This is also covered in the tutorial.3. From what I have found, zoom level 17 is about equal to 1 meter per pixel, the resolution of default ground textures. The maximum resolution possible in FS X is indicated in the first line of the tutorial.4. It does not matter in the least if custom textures overlap, particularly if they are the same image, but why make textures like that? It is better to use a single image that covers all the desired area.5. It makes no differerence at all where you place any bgl files, apart from issues regarding priorities which do not apply in this case.Best regards.Luis
Thanks Luis and Lance for the replies. I know this will be simple once I get the hang of it, but even with the excelent tutorial I am still struggling. Last night I was viewing the area from show background at the 18 zoom level, then using add map from back ground and making the tiles from that. I had not even done 1/2 the airport and had about 30 bmp files. I tried compiling it to test in FSX and had 30 bgl's for 1/2 the airport. It looked good but a lot of work for a small section, about 2 hours to capture 1/2 the airport gounds.After reading your posts when I got home tonight I tried something different. I went to the area I want to work on and zoomed out to about 15 to show the entire airport, then selected add map from background and drew a rectangle around the area I wanted then clicked on the buttom for 18 zoom level. It did some of the airport. but left some white rectangles where it didn't fill in. So I deleted that map and tried again making smaller squares. This is what I am getting so far. test.jpgFor what ever reason the first big tile on the top left filled in completely, but the tile to the right and tile on the bottom have small white spots missing. Perhaps I need to make more small tiles? I don't understand. It's like the server doesn't want to download the whole thing.Luis, the reason I want to just do the airport inside the freeway boarders is that I want to use GEX on the surrounding area. I have the MegaSceneryEarth area for the rest of the Ft. Lauderdale, but as we know it is full of clouds. Maybe after I can figure out how to at least do the airport, then I will expand to the rest of the area on the outside, but at the rate it is taking me just to do just the inside of the airport this may take me 20 hours to capture all the tiles for this small an area.I am a pretty smart and bright person, but for what ever reason I am having a hard time with this. Not to even mention doing the next step with the blend mask. I dont even know what tool you use to draw the area that I want to hide. I guess I will ask that question once I get all the tiles.Any feed back or suggestions on getting all my tile would be greatly appreciated.Regards - Sean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Within the View menu of SBX turn on the QMID grid, probably about level 16 or 17. What this will do is give you some guidance as you scroll the workspace to capture the many images that you'll need. SBX will only construct the "Map" from the tiles you've already downloaded to your system. That's why you're getting the blank white areas in the Map, because you haven't yet manuvered to that area at level 18. So a lot of time is just spent scrolling back and forth, up and down and that's where the QMID grid can be of assistance.You scroll all the area at level 18 to download the tiles, but you can scroll back to level 14 or 15 to construct the different Maps. Trying to make Maps while still in level 18 will cause a lot of files. There's no big problem if you end up with 6 or 10 MAPS from SBX. If anything, it will make blendmasking a little easier than working with some huge file. You'll also find that there is a limit as to how big you can make the Maps in SBX. When you get to the screen where you draw the area try to keep your boundary area to something reasonable, like 40x40 tiles. You'll get a nasty popup about too big of an area for the memory.As you grab your Maps it's not necessary to try and follow along the boundary of I-95, which is running NW to SE. The blendmask will give you the control over what's displayed and what's omitted in FSX.I'll repeat something I wrote in another forum, Don't overthink it. Once you get one part done you'll find the rest just gets so much easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Lance for the info on panning and preloading. I finally got the whole airport on 1 map :( test-1.jpgAfter I colored corrected I compiled it and tested in FSX. Looks good, even without trimming out the freeway. The bgl is 23116kb, is that too big for one bgl? It seeems like it worked ok in FSX, but that seems like a huge file. If I want to try at a lower compression, do I have to change it in the ini file then grab a new map, or can I use the exisiting map and recompile after changing the ini and get a lower size. I was thinking about trying the setting of 85 for compression.The next question I have is when doing the mask, where is the tool to draw the outline. In the tutorial he is using a thing called tmfviewer. I cant find this tool in the SbuilderX. Even after reading the tutorial like 10 times I don't see the part where he explains how to outline the area you want to create a mask for. The tutorial is very good, but it seems like it skips some of the steps in the bottom example where the St. Bart scenery is created. I am really unsure about how to proceed at this point. Especiallt the inf file mods. I guess what I need to do is make another bmp using the same map and add _LM to the end of the file name the do the inf mods and recompile. I will give this a shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK. I think I got it. I made the night texture and saved it with the same name but with _LM at the end, added it to the work folder, went into Sbuilder and opened the project, went to the screen where the season and night boxes are, updated the night box with the new file and compiled the new bgl. Off to SX to test it. Hopefully it works, then I will just need to do the masking part. Glad this area doesn't need water masks, lol, or I would really be up a creek without a paddel at this point. Will let you know if the night textures work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok the night scenery textures worked. testnight.jpgTested in FSX and day and night and all is well. I am so happy to finally getting the hang of this thanks to you guys helping me. I cant believe it's taken me 2 days to figure out how to make these texture but I feel good now that I finally got the hang of it. I wish I hadn't wasted 4 hours yesterday, when it only took me like 1/2 hour to do it today.Now, could you guys give me some tips on how you draw the outline to make the masks? This seems like the final step that I cant seem to get. I understand the principle, but dont know what the actual tool you use to draw with.Thanks again guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok the night scenery textures worked. testnight.jpgTested in FSX and day and night and all is well. I am so happy to finally getting the hang of this thanks to you guys helping me. I cant believe it's taken me 2 days to figure out how to make these texture but I feel good now that I finally got the hang of it. I wish I hadn't wasted 4 hours yesterday, when it only took me like 1/2 hour to do it today.Now, could you guys give me some tips on how you draw the outline to make the masks? This seems like the final step that I cant seem to get. I understand the principle, but dont know what the actual tool you use to draw with.Thanks again guys.
Looks like you are making good progress. To create the blending, I use the freeware program GIMP 2.4. It is like Photoshop in many ways. I load my image and then make a copy of it set as a second layer, on top of the original. I then use any of the selelction tools to define the area I want to keep. There are somoe different ways to automate it, but I typically use the bezier path tool to create a path around my photo, then create a selection from the path, and then fill with black. You don't have to do the whole photo at once, you can work your way around. If you use freeways as a boundary, you can follow those. I would set my selection on the outside edge of the freeway. Once you have the black area set up, you can then set everything else on the layer to white. By using 2 layers, I always have access to the original photo and I can adjust the transparency of the top (B/W) layer if I need to reference the original photo (maybe I have a pond I want to show for example). Now on the border between white and black, I might put in some gray. You need to experiment with how much gray lets the right amount of the landclass and vector terrain to show through. for example, you might paint some gray over the freeways, to let UTX road show though if you are using UTX. GIMP has a gradient tool which can make a uniform change from black to white, or you can experiment with the burn and dodge tool. When I think I am done, I save the file in GIMP native xcf format (preserves all my data) so I can go back and edit. Then I convert the format to grayscale, turn off the bottom layer to ensure only the blend layer is visible, and save as tiff or bmp. I usually create my own multisource inf with the blend as one source with the channel_blendmask in my day and night image set to point to it.scott s..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Scott for the info. I am finally getting the hang of this is it is beginning to get quite easy. I am actually enjoying this so much that I have decided to not just do the whole inside of the airport like I had originally decided, but am doing the whole area of Ft. Lauderdale, and maybe more to Miami. After doing the color corrections it looks so good in FSX that it just blows away the same scenery I had bought for MegaSceneryEarth. I would say that I may even rival or exceed the look that their other product MegaSceneryX provided. Now that I am doing a bigger area I am going to have tp blend mask the water rather than water mask since I am not going to use the photo water textures.The only thin I am really going to have to fiddle with a little more is the night textures. I have improved them since the screen shot I posted above, but there is still room for improvement in that area. The day color corrections I have done so far with InfranView look pretty great just by modifing the brightness, contrast, green, and saturation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites