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Altering the sky colors

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Had Flight School for a few days now and thought it was time to have a play with the sky colors that came with the sim (sky_noon_0 ~9.bmp)

 

Fist off the bat, if anyone from Dovetail has a problem with this, I'll stop posting modifications. It's your software and I will respect your decision.

 

The sky colors shown here aren't actually from Dovetail, I built them from scratch. The pictures are showing version 10 (it's a lengthy process).

Everyone's views on these are likely to vary, some might think they're ok, some will want kill them with hammers. The main thing I wanted to achieve was to make the sky and clouds brighter than the distant ground. A bonus is the lighter sky adds more light into the ground which should please some people, you can also make out more tones in the trees.

 

It's only when you start digging into this you appreciate how much work the guys at Dovetail have put in, it's clearly been a HUGE effort. Just changing the smallest details in the sky colors can have a massive effect on the look of the sim, both in the sky, the clouds, the scattering effect and even the ground. Trying to balance all this out for a consistent look has to be a nightmare (I've only done it for one time of day and it's only successful on a sky with very little cloud cover - see below).

 

Hat's off to Dovetail :Party:

 

There are a few problems that I can't solve, the fixes may be in Dovetails hands...

 

1) The purple look that can show in the sky, it's not created by the sky colors, something else is at play.

2) The white clouds will pop into dark brown clouds if you get too close. It seems to be the closest cloud batch, maybe within a few hundred meters.

3) Depending on the weather setting, the clouds can blend to brown off into the distance and destroy the effect. This also isn't affected by the sky graphics.

4) The high cirrus clouds are not affected by the sky graphics and often appear a darker grey.

5) Fog looks OK until you fly over it, then it goes bonkers.

 

Without further ado...

(*.cfg has been changed, LOD upped to 5.5, widescreen set to 1, that's it for visuals).

 

EDIT - Pictures are flying over the English Lake District.

EDIT 2 - I don't think I can release my graphics without the OK from Dovetail, I'll gladly do it, we just need their permission.

 

Clipboard-4.jpg

 

Clipboard-3.jpg

 

Clipboard-2.jpg

 

Clipboard-1.jpg

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wow that looks nice thanks for posting this ....

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I've also played around with the sky textures to very little success.  I think the root of the problem with the sky, haze, and clouds is that the Bloom Effect is way overdone and it appears to be impossible to turn it off.  If you set it to 0 in the fsc.cfg, it just turns itself back on when the sim is restarted.

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I don't mind the bloom, a lot of the blown out clouds are an HDR effect. With the sky colours above, looking at the clouds from different angles gives different effects, the same way it would with auto exposure on a camera.

It makes the sky and scenery feel alive. I like it.

 

rtodepart -

wow that looks nice thanks for posting this ....

 

You're welcome :smile:

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I think that is a vast improvement already! If DTG welcomes 3rd party freeware input, then Flight School will be a fine addition to the MS-based flightsims!

 

After all, FSX and P3D are as good as they are due to 3rd party developers too!

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I don't mind the bloom, a lot of the blown out clouds are an HDR effect.

 

Yes, you may be right.  Either way, there's no way to turn that off either as far as I can tell.  Personally I intensely dislike it (the overexposure... not your changes to the sky).

 

If you're just sharing textures, I don't see how DT could have a problem with it... they all originate from FSX anyway and have been distributed countless times in the past.  I think a lot of folks would be interested in trying them out.  Could you share some screenshots of what your sky does for the city textures?

 

Thanks.

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Thanks for the comments guys, I'm going to look into the night / dawn / dusk textures this weekend, we'll see how that works out.

 

MadDog -

If you're just sharing textures, I don't see how DT could have a problem with it... they all originate from FSX anyway and have been distributed countless times in the past.

 

It's in their user license, it says you can make modifications, so long as they give the ok and you don't use their name (ie, approved by etc). Martin said it was the same as their train sim license, so fingers crossed they haven't changed it. :smile:

 

Here some shots over London at various altitudes...

 

London-5.jpg

 

London-4.jpg

 

London-3.jpg

 

London-2.jpg

 

London-1.jpg

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Thanks for the shots.  The city textures do indeed appear to be a little less "contrasty".  It's too bad the Brits decided to pave over the Thames though  :wink: .

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I think the sky looks better in your shot. 

But the major issue is the haze. 

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And that weird lavender sky tint.

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Fighting a losing battle guys.

 

 

It seems there are three areas that affect sky colour.

 

1) The sky colour graphics [textures - pre dawn, dawn, morning, noon etc]

 

2) The HLSL code

 

3) Core code?

 

Sky colours from graphics are a relatively easy fix but they only affect daylight. They have little to no effect on the weird dawn dusk yellow, the purple tints or the pitch black night.

They also don't affect nearby clouds which always appear a dark brown.

 

The HLSL contributes a lot. It can change sky tones for brighter clouds etc without needing to change the sky graphics. Weirdly though, it also doesn't seem to affect the close up brown pop in clouds.

 

The biggest problem seems to be in the core code. I'm guessing 'core code' as I haven't found anything else (as yet) that can do what it does (see the problem list in the first post).

 

I suppose we'll have to wait and see whether Dovetail change the code to allow the sim's look to be altered purely by the sky graphics and the HLSL which I suspect is the way forward.

For the main Flight Sim it will have to change or they'll be cutting out companies such as REX, but, I'm also hoping these changes may be incorporated for Flight School.

 

We'll see.

 

Brent.

 

Edit - I'll leave you with four more pics, this time of Chile. Note the ground is lighter than the sky as the ground is covered in snow - valid. :smile:

 

Chili-1.jpg

 

Chili-2.jpg

 

Chili-3.jpg

 

Chili-4.jpg

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Couple from the Alps for MadDog...

 

Alps-2.jpg

 

Alps-1.jpg

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Good improvement. Any change in dusk / dawn look?

 

Next job - enlarge that pipsqueak sun!

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Heimi -

You guys don`t like sky colors? I don`t like the scenery...

 

The closer you get to the equator, the brighter the sim lighting gets. It's even worse if you modify the sky graphics.

On the scenery front, I went to Bermuda the other day, not what I was expecting. I suppose Orbx didn't cover the globe equally.

 

scotchegg -

Good improvement. Any change in dusk / dawn look?

 

Thank you Sir.

I had a quick experiment with dawn and dusk but dropped it due the sims night override. I'll give it another look tomorrow, see exactly what kind of effects can be achieved.

The night as a whole is a bit damaged. HDR aliasing is all over the place, the sky and ground are generally ultra black, no shades allowed and if you zoom in on the street light the graphics all look posterised. I get the feeling this part wasn't complete on release. Just my opinion though.

 

scotchegg -

Next job - enlarge that pipsqueak sun!

 

Easy :smile:

 

In the main directory there's a 'suneffect.cfg'. Just change the 'SunSize=' to what ever you fancy. I changed it to 2072 to make it the same size as the moon. I suspect the other graphics in there could be scaled up too. :smile:

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Alright, had another look at dawn / dusk

 

I wrote a routine that would take the first image in any group (sky_predawn1_0, sky_predawn2_0.bmp etc) and copy and rename it 9 times each. While this isn't how it should be done (there are variations within each group I think for altitude?) it served its purpose. By modifying only the first image in each set and letting the program handle the renaming, it went quite a bit faster.

 

You can get rid of the yellow sunrise / sunset graphics.

I thought at one point that 'sunglow.bmp' might have been the reason for the purple overtones across the sky, sadly it isn't solely responsible.

 

 

At present I'm thinking they could change all of this in short order and I'll be wasting my time.

I think I'm probably going to leave it at this stage. If Dovetail don't improve the graphics then maybe return to it at a later date.

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Go to KLAS at daytime in summer.  :shok:

 

Now change it to night.  :shok:

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bthiago -

WOW amazing pics

 

:smile:

 

Dovetail have a major expo coming up soon and they said they have a couple of updates due.

I might be adding 1+1 and getting 3 but I'm keeping my fingers crossed they have a graphics update for the big show. :smile:

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Have you given up on trying to improve the sky/haze graphics? They have released 6 updates with no improvements in that category at all.

 

I especially would like to increase the visibility; that alone would "push back" the haze factor, and vastly improve the sky appearance. I haven't had any luck finding any settings that could be adjusted though. :(

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Have you given up on trying to improve the sky/haze graphics? They have released 6 updates with no improvements in that category at all.

 

That's my #1 complaint as well and I finally got round to nagging DTG via their facebook page. We'll see.

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That's my #1 complaint as well and I finally got round to nagging DTG via their facebook page. We'll see.

 

There was a post at the Orbx site where JV said they had also discussed it with DTG, and that it was apparently a deliberate artistic decision on DTG's part. 

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There was a post at the Orbx site where JV said they had also discussed it with DTG, and that it was apparently a deliberate artistic decision on DTG's part. 

 

Well, it sure looks like someone's artistic decision to favor some idea of a painterly palette over what natural sky and cloud colors look like.

 

But I still can't understand it, and here's why. This same company makes a popular train sim where the sky color and clouds look realistic. Why would they make completely different "artistic decisions" about a flight sim than they would for their train sim? Isn't a blue sky a blue sky? 

 

Well, I guess we'll know soon enough if this is carrying forward into the DTG flight sim or not.

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I'm wondering if the switch to the pbr rendering system is not flattering to current textures.

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