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David Mills

Mid-Summer Aerial Scenery is SUPPOSED to be "washed out."

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Since SU5, many have complained here that the scenery appears "washed out" in the sim.

To argue the point I wish to make, I beg your indulgence to tell a one-paragraph story that, at first, may appear unrelated to the subject but is, in reality, a very good analogy.

About three decades ago, the Vatican decided that the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel -- originally painted by Michelangelo -- desperately needed to be repaired. Centuries of dirt and deterioration had taken their toll on Michelangelo's masterwork. The Vatican assembled a world-class team of scientists and architects and artists to perform SU5 ("Sistine Update 5"). The restoration team began by meticulously removing all the accumulated layers of age and filth from centuries of neglect. What the team then observed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel shocked them. The dark, dour, subdued paintings, with which they were all familiar from childhood, suddenly looked like zany Disney cartoons. Michelangelo's paintings looked (to them) ridiculously oversaturated with color, overly bright and too full of contrast -- and no doubt disrespectful to the true intentions of Michelangelo and probably blasphemous to God Himself. Controversy stirred as to whether (1) the restoration team should apply a dark layer of varnish over the entire ceiling to, once again, return the Sistine Chapel to its "original" pre-restoration appearance, or (2) whether the modern world would simply have to recognize and accept that these bright, Disney-like colors were Michelangelo's obvious intention and that our mindset and assumptions needed to be adjusted. In the end, the restoration team left the bright colors shining through.

So here is the moral of the story: If you're flying an aircraft at high altitude in summer (as we're doing today in the sim), the ground often does look overly bright and washed out, especially in high temps and high humidity. Remember that a popular brand of sunglasses is called Aviators, because aviators in the real world often find it difficult even to look out the cockpit window due to the natural world's overbrightness, especially in these summer months. Just like the Vatican restoration team, we've gotten so used to seeing things in the old, traditional way in the sim, that we think something must be wrong when colors and brightness look different after SU5. The colors and brightness actually look more true-to-life now. It's just difficult to accept because we're used to seeing different, less realistic coloration and brightness. This episode is especially ironic when you consider that, when MSFS was first released almost a year ago, many of us -- including Rob Ainscough himself -- complained that the scenery was often "too dark." I too agreed that it was too dark. I then created a special pre-set on my display to brighten up Microsoft Flight Simulator. I've been using that pre-set for a year to goose up the brightness. Now, I need not treat the sim as needing special help, because the sim is slowly becoming more true-to-life. 

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If that's the case, then are the colors also washed out if you change the season to Spring, Autumn or Fall as well? Cause if they're all washed out then that invalidates your point.

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Today (day 4) the colors (non-hdr) appear normal with a bit of washout in the clouds that appear realistic.

I'm ok with the change from SU4 and somewhat agree with the OP.

Cheers

bs

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Posted (edited)

I agree with the OP.  But the new "brighter" outside textures now contribute to another problem combined with the way Asobo implements the "my eyes adjusting in the cockpit when looking out the window vs looking at the instrument panel".  

When I'm flying my real airplane (real-world pilot since 1972), my eyes adjust based on where my EYES are LOOKING...NOT where I position the instrument panel on a viewing screen.  In MSFS, the outside view gets even MORE washed out now when I have the instrument panel even only splitting the screen 50-50 vertically with the outside view.  Which makes it almost impossible now to see anything with reasonable contrast outside the window if I have the panel displayed high enough to see the required instruments I should be visually monitoring while flying (especially in VFR conditions).  Try panning your forward cockpit view up and down, and notice how much the outside view does get almost totally "washed out" the higher the instrument panel gets on the screen (vs how "less washed out" it gets the lower the panel is).  The problem with the way Asobo implemented THAT is that in the real world, if I just raised my EYES to look out the front window, my eyes WOULD re-adjust and the outside view would not still be "washed out".  But the only way to correct it in the sim NOW is to pan (or lower) the instrument panel back down far enough to eliminate the Asobo implemented "outside washed out even more" effect.  That is NOT how the real world works as far as your eyes adjusting to brightness/darkness differences. (Note:  Yes, I know about the supposed "eye adjustment fix" in the .cfg.opt file...change the number value to zero...but that doesn't solve the problem depending on whether you can use HDR or not).

And as the OP also stated, most real world pilots will wear sunglasses in high(er) altitude daylight conditions due to the "glare" or "out the window light intensity" in sunny conditions.  But I can't even do that (have an adjustment for it?) in the current sim. 

I applaud Asobo for trying to implement the "eye adjustment" effect, but they implemented it *ss backwards by basing it on the instrument panel position on your screen/monitor.  With the instrument panel up far enough to see the instruments, just raising my EYES to look out the window doesn't re-adjust the outside super-washed-out view now.  I have to re-pan (or lower) the panel down, and that is a PITA.  Short of using some kind of actual eye-tracking device, it is a fiasco for a regular monitor user who wants to be able to see the instrument panel AND have a reasonable view outside the cockpit window at the same time in sunny conditions.   

Edited by FalconAF
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Rick Ryan

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Posted (edited)

Another complication to all of this is that we take the masterpiece that is the human eye for granted.  Even the most intelligent modern cameras struggle to emulate the wide and logarithmic variations in brightness and colour the eye responds to quickly and relatively seamlessly.

The variation in dark and light at different times of the day and inside/outside would frequently challenge a camera.   A huge challenge for Asobo is do they emulate what the maths says will be visible (closer to what a camera would see) or try and manipulate contrast, saturation and colour to emulate the human eye.  

I suspect they try to do at least some of the latter, and its inevitable that will mean design decisions about what is "pysiologically normal".  These are likely to be risky and controversial decisions given how widely the physiology (and psychology) of our eyes vary, not to mention how widely the view inside and outside the cockpit window will vary.

If this stuff was easy, then products like Tomatoshade, Envsahde and  PTA wouldn't have been so popular and essential in the P3D world.

Edited by RobF2
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Posted (edited)

With the new(er) brighter outside textures, what is really needed now is the ability for the user to SEPARATELY change the brightness and/or contrast of BOTH the outside cockpit view AND the inside Instrument Panel view while sitting in the cockpit.  With the way it is now, your choice is basically "Do I want to be able to see the outside view OR my instruments on my monitor with reasonable brightness and contrast?" Because depending on your hardware capability (HDR or not) it can be impossible to do them both at the same time now.

I would think that in as much as the Instrument panel is "overlaid" on the outside view, a programmer should be able to allow separate brightness/contrast settings for each of them to be displayed at the same time.  Thus you could have a "toned down" outside view WITH an inside "I'm not in a dark closet" instrument panel view at the same time.  But I'm not a programmer, so.....  🤔

Edited by FalconAF
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Rick Ryan

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When I pull off the taxiway toward the gates and the terminal is washed out in bright white with no details I don’t think it’s normal. When i turned off bloom at least I could see the gates. It reminded me of walking outside after having pupils dilated at the doctors. 

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It’s only summer in HALF the world right now…. this theory does not fly with me.

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GregH

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Simmers in Australia are having a hard time with this theory.

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To make a small fortune in aviation you must start with a large fortune.

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It is not simply brightness and contrast that is the issue.  There is more to it.

HDR has an extended color gamut and a wider dynamic range of light and dark.

What we are seeing is the wide range of "Shades of White" and "Shades of Black" that show up on a HDR10 1000 nit tv or monitor are all turning into one big slab over over exposed white or a murky homogenous black on SDR screens. Both the whites and blacks are now substandard on SDR.

This is not fixable by post processing or monitor settings.

The game needs to send SDR screens a render that is optimised for the SDR gamut and dynamic range.  The way it used to in SU4.

NOTE - this change is totally unrelated to the amazing and wonderful performance improvement. It is a separate issue and seems a side effect of improving the previously sub optimal graphics on HDR screens. The fixed the issues with HDR but broke SDR while they were at it.

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I have an older Sony TV which is not HDR capable. But there is nonetheless an advanced TV-settings option to "Automatically Adjust Contrast Depending On Scene." Selecting that TV-settings option did miracles for me within the Sim. If your TV or monitor happens to have this feature -- as it probably does -- then enable it and most of your display problems will be instantly solved.

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Posted (edited)

Fun theory that somewhat resonates..

But what I'm seeing in Sim right now really doesn't resemble what I see outside in real life flying around Idaho

Edited by irrics
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Posted (edited)

I'll just add this highly (un)controlled comparison of SU4 vs SU5 appearances from external view.  SU4 vs SU5 same (really similar...but not exactly) settings, same part of the United States, similar time of day, same aircraft, etc. Overlooking the bizarro missing tail number I don't see SU5 looking worse. Color saturation is a bit different and the clouds look less defined but they are different weather conditions. I'll have to play around and find similar conditions to do a proper comparison of clouds.  To me SU5 appears far less dreary and not much different in these regarding overall quality.  Perhaps someone not quite as blind as I can enlighten me though

 

Lazily edited comparison of sorts SU4 vs SU5

Edited by badgenes

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, David Mills said:

I have an older Sony TV which is not HDR capable. But there is nonetheless an advanced TV-settings option to "Automatically Adjust Contrast Depending On Scene." Selecting that TV-settings option did miracles for me within the Sim. If your TV or monitor happens to have this feature -- as it probably does -- then enable it and most of your display problems will be instantly solved.

Well, that will just attempt to automatically lower your shadows by a either dimming technique or remapping the darker range and shadows statically. It may help as some of those dimmers also dim the overall gamma as well when you enable them (forgot to note this point).

That said, newer televisions have tone mapper technology in addition to the base HDR technology, but even tone mapping technology isn't perfect. Even if you had an HDR capable TV, the gamma is still not right in HDR in this game, I checked it a minute ago by rendering a video pattern as a Blender object and measuring it off the screen. That said, if your TV has a tone mapper + HDR (which many do), then it may re-map the values for the way MSFS is currently putting out to a quite acceptable range. Basically, a tone mapper is a quantization process, meaning let's say you have one set of numbers like this {10,20,50,100), but they now have to fit it into this smaller range of [20,50,100]. So you lose data when it remaps the tones, it's not as natural as the original intent. The tone mapper attempts to remap values, while also mixing your personal taste or user calibration with the auto-toning features. I am not sure which TV's currently have the best tone mapper, but probably most modern LG-Sony-Samung oLED have the best ones.

HDR is really messed up because a lot of the people releasing movies ran it through their own remastering tone-mappers and violated the standards (not as often now as a few years ago), but it's especially true with older HDR discs you may have bought. Even some of the Bluray players like the ones made by Panasonic have some very basic tone mapping capabilities, but nothing nearly as advanced as a modern TV which has what is called Dynamic Tone Mapping.

Edited by Alpine Scenery
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What an excellent thread  !

I will not repeat the arguments above that I mostly share. Just a short comment on the first part of David’s stimulating post.

I’ve been involved over the years in some heated discussions about the colors of ancient art including the antiquity statuary. I won’t come back to them only to say that often (not always) Time is a great artist.

For anybody interested by the complex problem of the restoration of the Vatican frescoes, there is a good summary in wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_of_the_Sistine_Chapel_frescoes

You see that not only flight simulation unleashes robust discussions.

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Dominique

Simming since 1981 -  4770k@3.7 GHz with 16 GB of RAM and a 1080 with 8 GB VRAM running a 27" @ 2560*1440 - Warthog HOTAS - MFG pedals - MFS Standard version with Steam

 

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