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Guest Muskoka1

Gradients

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Hello all. Just getting started with SBUILDERX. Have created some photo scenery but don't know how to create the gradient that's shown in the tutorial "Make photo-real ground textures in Flight Simulator X". I have my photo image, copied and pasted as new layer, outlined the airport with selection tool, filled the airport selection with white, filled the rest of the background with black, but don't know how to create that gradient that's in the tutorial. In other words I have solid white to solid black. Have looked for a tutorial online but no luck. I'm not a graphics designer by no means and only play a little here and there but could find my way around if pushed in the right direction. I'm using Paint Shop Pro 7.04. Any help would be greatly appreciated.Glen

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Hello Glen,Congratulations on your initiation; it only gets better and easier as you go along.Using image editing programs is not difficult, although creating great works of art is! You should of course consult the Help file for the program.I don't have that program, but generally you will find a Gradient tool:Make sure that the Fore and Background colors are pure White and Black.Then, select the area where you want to have a gradient in your source image.Then, drag a line from the opaque to the transparent parts and the Gradient tool will fill in your selection. It may take a few tries before you start to get something you like, but don't worry too much since it is only an area that will blend with the underlying default ground and does not really have to be perfect.Good luck.Best regards.Luis

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Thanks Luis. I should have been a little more exact in what my problem is. I have the gradient tool and can use it fine (?), I was just wondering how you or others preform the task you stated in your reply, "Then, select the area where you want to have a gradient in your source image. Then, drag a line from the opaque to the transparent parts and the Gradient tool will fill in your selection."The outline of my airport is pretty irregular, meaning to draw something between the white center (airport) and black outer (the rest of the image) is where I'm lost with my editing skills. How are you selecting the area to have/put/fill the gradient, when it's (in my case) so irregular in shape. I was testing with just a black background and a white circle in the middle, not really getting anywhere. It looks to me in Paint Shop Pro I can only apply a gradient with the fill tool, so how would I draw something around something so irregular to fill, if that makes any sense. Thanks Glen

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Hi Glen,the way I make grayscale gradients for irregular mask areas in Photoshop is by using the feathering option -- Select > Modify > Feather -- and then flood fill with either black or white, depending on whether you've selected the mask area or its inverse. It usually takes a couple of tries to get the best gradient for the task but otherwise I find this approach quite efficient.Don't know though whether PSP has a similar function.Cheers, Holger

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Hi Holger, thanks for replying. Haven't given up yet, but would like to do better. I have switched to GIMP 2.6.4. I'm able to make a gradient with the radial shape, but the airport I'm trying to do is not circular as you can see, so the gradient is not equal. There is a square shape available, but it looks worse than the radial. As you've probably gathered by now, I don't have Photoshop, so I couldn't try as you suggested. Is there a way to put a thick border around the center white area and fill that with a gradient or some other method of having an even gradient? This is my image / airport. Thanks for any help.Glen

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Hello,In my case (Paint Shop Pro), I start with an image with the same size as the photo image. I draw a selection with the frehand tool. This selection is the border between the opaque and the transparent regions. Then I paint one of the regions with full white and the other with full black. Then I make sure that I am in "millions of colors" mode even though my image has just 2 colors. Then I create a low pass filter with a mask of 7 x 7. The filter values are as in the picture. I apply the filter 2 or 3 times to get the gradient effect.Regards,Luis

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Glen, the mask that you created will work just fine. It does not have to be perfect. Try compiling with that Blend Mask and you will see; all it does is to provide a mix of custom and default textures. Since they blend together, you do not really need something better.Best regards.Luis

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Thanks for the reply Luis and Luis, and all others for their help. I found the easiest for me was to apply a Gaussian Blur on the inverted selection (black), seems to work ok. Colour correcting the original is another story, not having much luck there yet, still experimenting, any suggestions?. Here's a pic of the Gaussian Blur...look ok? Complied and had a look in FSX, seems to blend alright, but the colour of the photo ruins the look. Thanks Glen

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Looks great, Glen. And thanks for sharing your method; it was new to me and probably to others. By the way, the GIMP has a Gradient Map option in the Colors-Map menu that might be worth examining.As for the color correction, it really depends on the source image; please show a small part of it here and surely you will get a lot of advice.I usually compile first without any correction, take a top-down shot of how it looks with the default ground, then keep that shot on the desktop for comparison while I correct the colors on the source. Most of the time with Google and Virtual Earth, it is all about adding a lot (!) of yellow, then augmenting the brightness, perhaps the saturation. Then, for the small details, selecting the forest areas and making sure that their green is about the same as that of the autogen trees so that the trees do not stand out so forcefully from altitude but blend in. And any small corrections to specific areas that may be needed.Best regards.Luis

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Thanks again Luis for the help/suggestions. Here's the airport I'm working/playing with. The image looks like it's from late summer. The one on the right is the actual photo. The airport is CYQA - Muskoka. The image is from VirtualEarth, could't find a better one. Looking at the online image, I think it's FSX itself that's was out of whack colour wise. It never looks that green, way too green, around the airport. I do have UTX and GEX with the enhanced textures which are pretty vibrant, maybe a bit too much in this case. Need to change the colours of the surrounding ground textures and leave the photo image alone (?), sounds like a lot of work. Any thoughts, suggestions?Thanks Glen

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Hello Glen, Sometimes we spend so much time in front of the monitor looking at aerial images, then adding a bit of this color and a bit of that color, that we convince ourselves that it looks realistic. It all gets confusing after a while.For me, those images still have a very visible blue tint. I added more yellow to see if it looks better, but probably I am just imagining that it is more realistic.When it comes to coloring the images, I suppose that we face a philosophical choice: make it look like the real thing or have it more or less match the surrounding default ground so that the custom textures do not stand out so glaringly. Or, you could also change the land classification around the airport if you can find something that is not so green among the default ground textures.On the other hand, I suppose that the airport does have either a wet season or a Summer when the grass grows green, and it is not difficult to create seasonal variants if that is the case:Although I am probably just fooling myself into thinking that they look realistic! :( Best regards.Luis

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Luis, thanks again. They look pretty good. I'm not getting anywhere with this colour matching / correcting. I've downloaded about 10 different tutorials for Paint Shop Pro and GIMP on how to colour correct or match, and can't get anything respectable to the surrounding area within FSX. I read one of your replies ( I think it was you ) where you suggested / mentioned a program called PureImage, tried it and couldn't get anything I liked. Photoshop has a colour match that people seem to like but purchasing that or even Elements is out of the question. The original from VE is way out of whack, Google no better. Here's a couple of photo's of what it should look like, strong green forest, with mainly burnt / dried up grass, if you want to call it grass, sand and dirt. Grass dosen't grow well on the Canadian Shield, lots of rock, soil is to sandy. Any more techniques / suggestions you can pass along, I know, keep plugging away at it, there's no magic wand.Thanks Glen

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Bingo, Glen, working with good pictures of the real thing is probably essential, and those seem very good, not too high and well-colored.It looks like the airport grounds need much more yellow and green patches with more saturation, and the forest green needs to be more saturated than the default forests as well.In the end, though, it all comes down to the point where it is just good enough after a certain amount of effort. Ground colors change with the Seasons and with atmospheric conditions. There is also a lot that has to do with individual perceptions. It is up to you to decide when you have had enough of attempting to reproduce the exact colors that seem realistic from your point of view.Best regards.Luis

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