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Chris341

Realistic Sky Textures

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No but Ive just seen them on my phone.  Looks super.

Thanks :)


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Wow looks awesome, could you make a set for X-Plane by any chance?


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Wow looks awesome, could you make a set for X-Plane by any chance?

Many thanks, Aaron. I'm doing one since at least a month. Unfortunately, RealTerraHaze doesn't allow much changes to be made as it brings a lot of "it's own" colors. I'll try to do my best and will upload it both here and the org :) 


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I see, because the default sky colors in X-Plane looks bad for me, especially at dusk/dawn... its too yellowish/orangy at sunset and too blue and purplish at sunset... Your's is just perfect and looks very realistic.


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I agree that X-Planes default sky colors are terrible at dusk/dawn.  Will be nice to see leghorn's when done.

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Hello leghorn.

I use REX Essential Plus Overdrive and REX Texture Direct for sky textures, but I used your sunset textures and they are very good.

The best sky colors I remember was in FSX Shade 1.2. You could customize every color in the spectrum from predawn1 to midnight.

Thank you for these and I'll be flying these for awhile definitely!


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Hello leghorn.

I use REX Essential Plus Overdrive and REX Texture Direct for sky textures, but I used your sunset textures and they are very good.

The best sky colors I remember was in FSX Shade 1.2. You could customize every color in the spectrum from predawn1 to midnight.

Thank you for these and I'll be flying these for awhile definitely!

Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated


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Hello, Chris! Thanks for the post. It's a great feedback for anyone who creates this kind of stuff.

 

 

Sky textures were always a problem for me too -- and I don't think I solved it with my little addon, actually. Talking about my project, specifically, I guess some words about its goal can help you understand its faults.

 

 

It's worth mentioning that I could never imagine people would actually be interested in something that I made to answer some very personal tastes. I was in the same position as you: kind of unsatisfied with sky textures out there.

 

Back then (and until now, for that matter) I was using ENB Series. It was a injector that seemed to cover what I considered to be two of the big flaws FSX had: 1. its lack of contrast. Sky is way brighter than terrain, but in vanilla FSX, we get a somewhat dull visual. 2. lack of the possibility to detail subtle color transitions in sky. (I will explain this better in a second).

 

But ENB was a solution that caused other problems. Most sky textures, being designed for vanilla FSX, don't get along well with ENB, which I was using to improve contrast in my sim. ENB uses the brightness of pixels to manage its "bloom" effect -- which just turns everything that's bright... brighter (and sometimes turns dark areas darker). Overall contrast is improved, but sunset and sunrises suffers a lot from this: the bright pixels from a sunrise / sunset texture become too bright with ENB acting; it appears that there is a nuke exploding in the horizon. :P

 

Personally, I wanted to actually see the sunset or the sunrise. So I started to design my sky textures from scratch to work with ENB series. My textures would necessarily lack some brightness because the whole set would be working with ENB, which would then give the level of brightness I was seeking. ENB was also solving that second flaw, which deserves a better explanation now.

 

To put in few words: FS9, FSX, and any sim based on this platform is severely limited in terms of sky design possibilities. This is related to a. the very size of the sky textures and b. the way the sims renders the sky.

 

As for a., we can only work in a 32x32px texture. It's actually less than this, discounting a pixel line in the textures used only for light / haze / shadow coloring information and the two bottom pixel lines, that manage color ground in the distance when your visibility isn't set to "max" (which is the case in 99,9% of flights -- any weather program will limit visibility for realism). So we have exactly 32x29px to make the whole appearence of the sky. Now, if you look at any photograph of a sunset or a sunrise, you will notice the big problem we have: there are a lot of colors in a single instant of a sunrise. We just can't replicate this in our sims working with 32x29px.

 

ENB was able to help here, too. Being an injector that works directly on the final image rendered by the sim, it can actually surpass these limits and, if well adjusted, create little color nuances that wouldn't be possible in vanilla FSX. This is exactly how my set works, when used with ENB. You can also refine the effect by taking advantage of some parameters from the sun effect -- which I did, and that's pretty much why my "Simple Sun mod" exists. :P

 

As for b., the way the sim uses the sky textures is somewhat clever, but it's also a limitation. The principle is easy: at ground level, you see one sky. At FL400, the sky is different: it has a deeper blue. I don't need to explain the reasons for this -- you guys know better than me... what you need to know is how FS9/FSX (and P3D, I guess) handles this. At ground level, they actually use just a portion of that sky texture, until the level of "blue" we normally see from ground. As you climb in the sim, the portion of the sky texture being used is increased. The sky textures are designed in a way that the blue in the texture becomes deeper in direct relation to how the sim will load them, thus creating this difference in the sky coloring between ground level and FL400. Well, it's hard to understand this by text, so I'm showing an image I did for a fellow simmer that wanted to understand why my sky textures did not have that deep blue in high altitudes.

 

 

V3kodDd.png

(Sorry for some mistakes in the text...)

 

 

To complete the difficults in doing a set of sky textures: you have to design, say, an afternoon texture with your sunset texture in mind. The sim makes an almost imperceptible transition between one texture to another, but the looks of your afternoon texture will directly affect your sunset effect.

 

 

...

 

 

So making a "realistic" set of sky textures is a job for heroes (and they exist). I wasn't able to do it using just vanilla FSX; I had to design with ENB in mind. I simply couldn't antecipate that so many people would use my set, especially without ENB. It is possible to design a good set for an injector-free sim, but to a certain point. I guess P3D changed things a bit with its HDR settings etc., but the limitations concerning the textures itself, the rendering of the sky and the overall lightning effect are still there, as far as I know. Some developers can do incredible stuff given the difficults (HDE is a good example; Navid's too). But to achieve a photographic level of realism? In this plataform, for now, I'd say it's impossible.

 

 

PS: I won't even enter the photography-to-reality-differences discussion here because if I do, I'll write a book and not a post. :P

 

 

 

Best regards,

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Gabriel J. T. Rodrigues

My mods in the library

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English isn't my native language. Sometimes, I'm going to make mistakes or sound strange and for this I'm sorry. Please feel free to correct me at anytime. Thanks for your comprehension!

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Some great info above B)


 

Personally I've yet to find better sunset/sunrise textures than Navid's in P3Dv3 and I've tried them all, payware and freeware. This gives a very natural sky colouration along with very good shadow depth, along with cloud shading and colouration etc. Some of REX4 sky textures are very good too, but you do have to pick carefully, and some benifit some changing the shadow and cloud colour tabs. I'm hoping REX's new products really nail some good sky's and shade values.

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just an FYI - if anyone is interested... what I did to learn about how FSX handled the sky texture as far as altitude is concerned (and I also made variants of this idea to learn about haze and lighting pixel effects) -- what I did was to create a set of textures that used red, green , blue and yellow alternating lines starting at the bottom row and working up to the top (just below the lighting row). you can then slew up to altitude and see that the sim doesn't compress the lower half of the sky...it simply adds a line on top of it. it would be so much better if it compressed it and Ive suggested it many times but I get nowhere.

 

Gabriel - nice explanation there. I notice you are using six lighting pixels. Im only aware of the first 5 (top left). Would you mind sharing what the sixth one does?

 

also - to see how the textures play together as time progresses, set two adjacent pixels to a red on the postdawn2 texture and then set two nearby pixels on the morning texture to blue and keep slightly shifting and changing colors and you'll notice that things aren't the way youd think. the typical pattern is morning, noon, afternoon, noon, afternoon with morning added back in at one point during the first afternoon. and 'noon' can show up at 9am in some places.(like Australia)

 

and finally - in my opinion its Lm's lighting changes that have caused these problems. in past versions I was usually able to find something stable and good but now its always changing. The only useful thing I can tell anyone is that brightness and saturation should be lowered or raised together and bloom should be increased or decreased accordingly.

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|   Dave   |    

I've been around for most of my life.

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I've always thought Gabriel's sky sets were fantastic in both FSX and FS9. Do they work in P3D also?

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But to achieve a photographic level of realism? In this plataform, for now, I'd say it's impossible.

 

Great information Gabriel ... thank you, I may just tackle this.  Your sky textures work very well at certain times of dusk/dawn, but during mid day they tend to make everything darker (ground, aircraft, etc.) ... P3D HDR system is now somewhat adjustable with two major light sources (sun and moon) -- this adds to possible permutations.

 

Time to experiment ... 

 

Cheers, Rob.

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Great information Gabriel ... thank you, I may just tackle this.  Your sky textures work very well at certain times of dusk/dawn, but during mid day they tend to make everything darker (ground, aircraft, etc.) ... P3D HDR system is now somewhat adjustable with two major light sources (sun and moon) -- this adds to possible permutations.

 

Time to experiment ... 

 

Cheers, Rob.

Answered my question I guess.

 

Can day textures simply be replaced then ?

 

Mark.

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Answered my question I guess.

 

Can day textures simply be replaced then ?

 

Mark.

 

Of course you can mix and match with other versions you need to know which ones to over write - you have to pay close attention to the names of the files - but the easy way would be only injecting a day set in rex for instance 


Rich Sennett

               

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