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Guest Mathias

Gmax Specularity SNAFU

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I've been trying to set specularity on materials with diffuse maps for hours now, and I'm about ready to start looking for the shotgun:(What happens is no matter what value (1-999) I give specularity, I always end up with the same result - a high-contrast, over-stated shine that looks like vinyl. What I'm trying to achieve is an overall subtle specularity with no particular 'focus' This is easily achieved until a bitmap is applied to the diffuse channel. BTW, this is for a military paint scheme, so it needs to be subtle. I

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Jon,What sim are you building for? Middleman and mdlcommander are not needed for FS2004!Lou

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>I have middleman and mdl commander, with "specularity fix">applied, but I still get the same result no matter what I do.First, the "specularity fix" is not required any longer if you are using the FS9 MakeMDL.exe to compile your models.I won't go as far as Lou, who asserts that MM and MC are no longer required at all, as they still offer a nicer and more efficient interface to the options of MakeMDL... ;)It is critical to understand the difference betweek "dynamic shine" and "specular highlighting." The former is achieved via the alpha channel of the base texture, and is akin to using hi-gloss wax on the surface.The latter is achived via the Specular Level and Color appied to the model's various parts in the Material Editor.Further, it is critical to understand that the effect of Specular Level in FS9 is exactly bass-ackwards from the effect seen in GMax! In GMax, small values produce a "tight band" of specularity. In FS9, the same level will produce a "whitewash" effect, which essentially washes out the background texture, and is quite blinding!I've found through experimentation that I need as much as two times the value of specular level in FS9 as I did in FS8, in some cases needing as much as 160 to obtain a nice, tight, narrow band of specularity!Also critical to success is to set the Specular Color to a rather dark value, in some instances nearly black! The Specular Color is additive to the base texture, meaning that a "white" Specular Color is often way too bright!I would suggest for your project a Specular Level of aroung 150 to start, using a Specular Color of around (20,20,20) as a starting point.

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Thanks very much, Bill. I'll give it a shot. I agree that middleman, mdl commander are still very useful.I was under the impression that that alpha channel in the base texture was soley for controlling environment mapping, or "faux reflectivity". Is that what you're refering to as "dynamic shine"? I has always heard that term used to reference the specularity. Although I'm mainly concerned with specular highlighting, I noticed that using an image with an alpha channel does not seem to require the _R 'extention' to work as stated in the SDK. It seemed to make no difference if the texture names had _R appended, I'd still get environment mapping if there was any alpha in the base texture.But getting back to specularity, I'll try your suggestion of lowering the specular color values and increasing the spec value over 100.Thanks again to both of you, and I'll post the results..--Jon

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>I was under the impression that that alpha channel in the base>texture was soley for controlling environment mapping, or>"faux reflectivity". Is that what you're refering to as>"dynamic shine"? I has always heard that term used to>reference the specularity.I may have inverted the "daffynition" of "dynamic shine" with "reflectivity," but at least you understood me... ;)You are quite correct, the only requirements for an alpha channel to work is its presence, along with the same texture name having been loaded in the Specular Color slot in the Material Editor.If the texture name has a _t suffix and no entry in the Specular Color slot, the alpha will be used as transparency instead of reflectivity.

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Bill, it worked like a charm - can't thank you enough. Now all I need to do is figure out the relationship between the specular value and the color value.You probably also figured out that I was talking about the _t suffix when I said _r (I had reflectivity on my mind:).Understood regarding the alpha as well.Thanks,--Jon

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okay Bill , you got me all confused here :-lolisn't dynamic shine same as specularity?

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>okay Bill , you got me all confused here :-lol>>isn't dynamic shine same as specularity?I've always thought so! I remember when FS2002 was first released and everyone was so excited to discover "dynamic shine" (specularity), which made its first appearance in FS2k2."Someone" coined the term because the "shine" (specular reflection) "moves" across surfaces as one pans around in Spot View, as opposed to "reflectivity," which remains consistently "shiny."OTOH, I can see how some might consider "reflectivity" to be "dynamic," since if you zoom in close enough, you can see the "reflection" "moving..." ;)

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There's something else going on that seems strange... When an alpha is applied to the base texture, it seems to prevent normal filtering of the base texture. I'm not talking about mip-maps (I haven't been creating them). The normal texture filtering stops and you see lots of aliasing when you zoom out. When the alpha is removed the texture is properly filtered again. Any ideas what's going on with that?--Jon

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I've been fiddling with this for a while and discovered that no matter what specular power values or glossiness values I used, the aircraft's contrast increased or decreased, but the shine's strength remained the same as before - and it was way too strong and very irritating!After much fiddling I discovered that the simple fact is that FS2004 treats it completely different than in FS2002 where the power of the shine was controlled by specular power. Here's how it works:1.) Specular power controls contrast between light and shadow - nothing more. The higher the value, the more contrast, and the darker the shadows will be.2.) Glossiness works the exact same, higher values focus the shine more.3.) The power of the shine itself is controlled by the specular colour. The darker the colour, the weaker the shine.

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The difference between FS2004 and 2002 concerning shine or however else you want to call it is probably also the reason for the lost shine in FS2004 on the chrome propeller spinners of "my" (actually designed by Anthony Konstantinids who has sadly disappeared...) upcoming gmax version of a special Dornier 128-6, please see attachments for comparison. I still don't have a clue however if I can fix this problem just via a repaint of the textures and/or their ALPHA channel, because I sadly do not have the gmax source code. If any knowledgeable repainter might be able to help I would greatly appreciate it - I myself still have no clue about aircraft painting in the modern FS versions because I am more into the gauge programming and air file tweaking business nowadays!FS2002 :-) http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/120013.jpgFS2004 :( http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/120014.jpg

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