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Absolutely stunning is what comes to mind here :-) The gauges illuminate just right and there is a hint of panel in the surrounding areas which I prefer. Awesome job!Milton

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Hey Bill.Very very stunning stuff! Can't wait to try this panel out!Are the ADI and ND vectors or BMPs?

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>Absolutely stunning is what comes to mind here :-) The>gauges illuminate just right and there is a hint of panel in>the surrounding areas which I prefer. Awesome job!>>MiltonThanks for the enthusiasm! :)Unfortunately, the .jpg shows up much darker than the actual view from the sim, so a lot of the subtle 'floodlight' effect is not visible in this image.I'm experimenting with using the self-illumination mask as a source for gauge illumination as well as 'light effects,' and have been quite happy with the results so far.For example, here is the lightmask for the pilot's side...BillAVSIM Ombudsmanombudsman@avsim.comFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://mtco.com/~rsam/fartslogo.jpghttp://forums.avsim.com/user_files/3221.jpg

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>Hey Bill.>>Very very stunning stuff! Can't wait to try this panel out!>>Are the ADI and ND vectors or BMPs?All of the gauges are conventional BMP gauges. So far, Easy Gauge isn't capable of vector drawing. The gauges are custom programmed by Lonny Payne as part of a project.I'm here to discuss/share the lighting techniques though... :)BillAVSIM Ombudsman[ombudsman@avsim.com]Founder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://mtco.com/~rsam/fartslogo.jpg

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The lighting looks spot on, Bill. Very nice work. You always manage to amaze us with your great efforts.Take care,Udo.:-wave

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>>I'm here to discuss/share the lighting techniques though...>:)Ok, let's do that.How does the mask work? Are you using it as a light map for the texture used in the VC? I don't think I've seen this technique before, or at least I've never noticed it on other aircraft. Maybe I don't fly at night enough...It looks very sharp.- Martin

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Alright, Bill, I'm gonna bang on that door ;-).How does this technique differ from your previously developed method, if it does?The panel I am deisigning right now uses only vector for primary flight displays and navigational displays, so their illumination at night is pretty much automatic as far as I can see (IMAGE_USE_BRIGHT is one of the flags), but I will have some BMP-driven secondary/standby gauges, and I'd like them to look as good as yours :-).Also, Bill, if you could summarize the techniques you know of so far, and their different results, for I am a little overwhelmed by the different ways (or maybe I am confused, and there is only one :-)).

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>How does the mask work? Are you using it as a light map for>the texture used in the VC? I don't think I've seen this>technique before, or at least I've never noticed it on other>aircraft. Maybe I don't fly at night enough...>>>It looks very sharp.OK, I'm posting from my $job at the moment, so there's no access to FS2k2 or GMax at the moment... :)Basically, the "lightmask" acts exactly the same way that an "Alpha Channel Mask" works, except that it is a "stand-alone" 8 bit Indexed .BMP file that is plugged into the "Self-Illumination" slot in the GMax Material Editor. Thus, the projection panel part will have two bitmaps applied:Diffuse Texture: $whateveryoucallit.bmpSelf-Illumination: whateveryoucallit_L.bmp What is "new" this time around (answering Fabio's quesiton below) is that I decided to not simply highlight the areas where the gauges should be illuminated and leave the rest (0,0,0) black, but instead made the entire background (32,32,32) "almost black" to allow just a hint of illumination.Further, I used Adobe Photoshop's "Render Light Effects" filter to add a soft 'floodlight' to the mask to simulate an under-glareshield fluorescent light source.You can also achieve pretty much the same effect by using a background bitmap on the planar gauge surface with its' own Alpha Channel mask, but this way seems simpler and more seamless... :)Unless you are using what I call the "cookie cutter" approach to create the gauge planar surfaces (a series of small objects), you will need to apply a background image to the projection panel via a "file=" entry in the panel.cfg file. This will mask the non-transparent black that would otherwise ruin the effect you're aiming for... :(I also 'discovered' a new way to create perfectly aligned light masks this time around!1) Layout the gauges in FSPanel Studio and test until the layout is finalized.2) Make sure that the entire black "background" is displayed in FSPS' window, and snap a "picture" of the screen.3) Load the "snapshot" into your paint program and crop it to match the size of the "background," keeping the cropped size perfectly square.4) Resize the cropped image to your final dimensions (e.g., 1024x1024, etc.) and save as an RGB file (preferably a .psp or equivalent).5) Using that image of your gauges, create a new layer and add various shades of grey to highlight only those area where backlighting is appropriate (we don't want "glow in the dark bezels!" :)6) Create a new layer and move it inbetween the background and the layer created in step 5. Hide the highlighted layer temporarily.7) Set the color to (32,32,32) or thereabouts, and "paint" the entire bitmap with that color. This will provide a nice and even ambient light surface on which to create the next effects. If you do not need or want 'floodlighting', skip step #8. 8) Use the Render Light Effects filter (or equivalent) to add whatever "floodlighting" effect you might want.9) Unhide the highlighted mask and check your work. Save again in case you need to make edits later! :)10) "Flatten" the layers, and convert to an 8-bit Indexed file.11) Rotate the image 180 degrees and then "flip horizontal" (it must be upside down and backwards!) Don't ask why; it's an "FS thing!"12) Save it to your a/c's texture folder using the same name as the $panel.bmp file, e.g., panel_L.bmp and go test it in the sim.I hope that these notes will prove helpful to someone! :)BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://mtco.com/~rsam/fartslogo.jpg

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>Alright, Bill, I'm gonna bang on that door ;-).>>How does this technique differ from your previously developed>method, if it does?See my reply to Milton for details... :)>The panel I am deisigning right now uses only vector for>primary flight displays and navigational displays, so their>illumination at night is pretty much automatic as far as I can>see (IMAGE_USE_BRIGHT is one of the flags), but I will have>some BMP-driven secondary/standby gauges, and I'd like them to>look as good as yours :-).>Also, Bill, if you could summarize the techniques you know of>so far, and their different results, for I am a little>overwhelmed by the different ways (or maybe I am confused, and>there is only one :-)).OK, there are two completely separate - yet still related - considerations for gauge lighting. First, is the actual lighting of the gauge itself.For the gauges, there are two ways to provide 'lighting,' both of which may be used together to provide some cool effects!.1) no lights at all - similates the OFF condition2) use the luminosity=1 flag to provide adjustable lighting via the entry in the panel.cfg file. I use this for 'dim lighting.'3) use the bright=1 flag to illuminate the gauge elements. I use this for "hi lighing.'These will allow the gauges to 'light up' in the 2d cockpit. Unfortunately, in the 3d cockput there is no 'light source' to see the gauges internal 'lights,' so we have to provide one via the 'light mask' discussed in the message above.What is cool though, is that you can see the gauge's internal light switch from off/dim/bright in the VC, if you've programed them to have use the effect.BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://mtco.com/~rsam/fartslogo.jpg

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