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Starting with FS scenery design.. How to create realistic sceneries?

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Hi all, I'm planning to start working on creating some sceneries (not just airports but also cities). I'm new to this and how do professionals like Aerosoft create their nice looking sceneries? How should I start off? 


I have experience in 3D modelling so I hope that helps. Thanks!

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You should familarize yourself with the SDK docs, especially the Environment Kit, Terrain SDK, Autogen SDK, BGL Compiler and Modeling SDK. Sign up at and have a look at the scenery design forums, tools and tutorials that are available there.


For airports you might want to get Airport Design Editor and build some basic AFCADs first, then start getting into custom ground textures and building models.


For surrounding terrain try some photo-scenery tutorials. There are some in the AVSIM library and and other sites. Also look for tutorials on YouTube. Just keep in mind that photo scenery is a slippery slope, you have to deal with color matching, blend and water masks, night and seasonal variations etc. If you want buildings and trees you have to learn about autogen annotation and also how to place 3D objects if you are building custom models. Some good tools to look at are SbuilderX, ModelConverterX and Instant Scenery (the latter is a payware but pretty good and most think it's worth the money).


Knowing a little about GIS tools, projections and how to get data from sources like USGS can be helpful. I like to install the packages from OSGeo4W, especially QGIS and GDAL.


For 3D there are gamepacks for 3ds Max if you can afford it. FSX has a gamepack for Gmax but Gmax is getting dodgy trying to run it on Windows10. There's also a toolkit for Blender available at fsdeveloper. You can also use sketchup and then use ModelConverterX to export models to the sim.


Finally, FSX doesn't have good night lighting. Trying to build night lighting at airports is a big pain. Hopefully P3D and DTG will start to add better light models and rendering.

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