Brightness in the Flightdeck: What are your settings and tweaks?

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I'm having a hard time trying to find a good balance between the brightness in the flightdeck and the visuals outside of the plane.


This is what mine currently looks like:




Not realyl how the real 747s colours look inside.


And even worse on the outside:



But so far I couldn't find any better PTA setting and/or HDR setting as all seem to make the 747's flight deck a black cove... any opinions?

What are your PTA/HDR settings and could you add a screenshots showing what your 747 looks like with it?

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A big part of the problem - apart from the fact that lots of people talk a load of claptrap about High Dyamic Range images, because they don't actually know what their purpose is - is that a moving HDR image is often not going to be suitable for creating a well balanced scene from an aesthetic standpoint. To understand why that is so, it helps to understand what HDR actually is..


An HDR image is intended to allow a single image or picture to achieve levels of luminosity and contrast similar to what a human can perceive when he or she looks at the various elements in a scene, and in particular, a scene with varying degrees of luminosity, which can then be evened out in order to allow areas of extreme brightness or extreme darkness to be seen on the image in a more balanced fashion. The problem with that however, is that we are not like the Terminator, zooming in on an image and holding it steady as we take a 'photograph' of it; the human eye does not behave like that at all. Instead, the human eye does something known as 'saccades', i.e. it flicks around rapidly, taking in various areas of a scene in a rapid sequence, as it does this, the brain continuously combines all of these 'snapshots' and from that, we perceive what is around us with something that is adjusted to allow us to see as much of what we are observing at a well balanced level of luminosity. But even the human eye can occasionally find that difficult, for example, if you come out of a dark building into bright sunlight, you will initially find the concrete pavement to be very bright indeed until your eyes adjust to looking at it. But the fact that your eye can do that, is basically what HDR is trying to achieve.


So when we look at an area with large differences in luminosity and varying contrast, i.e. through the window of an airliner to the bright sky outside, but also observing the interior which is in shadow, our pupil dilates to adjust the aperture of our eye so that we can receive a suitable amount of light to be able to resolve each rapid 'snapshot' we are taking in. Thus when we take an HDR shot with a suitably capable camera, what we actually need to do, is take several exposures at different settings, either at the same time, or in very rapid succession, and then merge those together, cherry picking various areas of each exposure to utilise the best part of each of them. Not something that can be done with a single exposure, unless you dodge and burn it in a darkroom (or Photoshop).


Now of course a brain and an eye can do that brilliantly thanks to thousands and thousands of years of evolution, but even with the ability to take several exposures at once, it's not something which can be done perfectly by a computer or video card, because neither of those pieces of equipment has the ability to perceive what is or is not the useful and pertinent data in those combined images in the manner that a human can. The best such equipment can do, is to try and go for a programmed preset, and that preset might be great for one thing we're looking at, but not for another, because all a computer knows, is that it's loading areas of light and dark pixels, it doesn't know what those pixels actually are a depiction of, nor which are the important ones, you need a brain to determine that.


So when people bang on about how HDR is brilliant and how nothing can compare to it visually, they're usually talking bollocks, because to get a really good HDR image, you have to tweek several exposures manually in order to select the best levels for all of the bits you want to be seen in your final image.


So in other words, an HDR image is usually about ensuring that there are no really dark bits on it, in order that detail which would normally be unseen on a single exposure image, will be seen (i.e. a single image replication of the perception a human applies to what he or she is observing). The top and bottom of that is that it means HDR is good for ensuring you can see as much as possible in the scene, but it will likely not be as aesthetically pleasing as a single exposure with a suitably 'artistic' choice of aperture setting.


When you understand all that about HDR, it will probably help you to choose a setting which best suits what you are trying to achieve.

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I use PTA 2.1 with thopat config. While the cockpit gets dark, it sometimes becomes too dark and the outside looks like a badly taken photograph (too dark/bland). I think PTA is a good compromise but there are always areas that will suffer. It can be winter season, nights, dusk/dawn. I know many uses different configs tailored to nightflying, flying ovet urban areas etc. Will try to post pictures from my computer later tonight (its far from perfect)


Edit: PTA 2.10 with Thopat 1.5. Sky colors from ENVTEX (continental theme)


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I was not happy with THOPAT so i start experiment with my own settings.

From PTA i use

-no popcorn modification

-reduce cloud brightness

-reduce top layer cirrus brightness

-rayleigh effect

-alternate tonemap adj

-contrast tuning ( 0.8 )

-custom post processing ( vibrance 0.3, only day time use )

-scene tone adj ( red1.10 / green1.10 / blue1.00 - want to have a bit yellowish atmosphere like in sunny day )

-turn off HDR luminance


P3D - brightness 0.9 / bloom 1.10 / saturation 1.00


This preset gives vivid sunny day colours, which i like. 


Problem with those visuals is that everyone has different taste and use different TV/monitor, so final effects may vary from desired.

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I never use HDR because it really can mess with colors and give a washed out look to the cockpit. I also do not use any so called texture improvement programs such as PTA and think P3D looks fine without them. 

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For my taste P3D original colors are blunt and washed out.

PTA is great tool that u can customize P3D without fps penalty.

HDR on or off - personal taste, i think PTA can improve visuals in both options.

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