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Holger

some observations about photoreal and autogen

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Hi all:I completed some experiments with photoreal textures plus autogen (via Rhumba's VTP2 method) in FS2002 and FS2004 and wanted to share a few results. For those of you unfamiliar with the method I have attached an outline at the bottom of this post.1. First a comparison between FS2002 (top) and FS2004 (bottom), with an identical setup:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/38856.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/38857.jpgObviously, FS2004 does a nicer job of placing the autogen. Also notice that the river, which isn't there in FS2004, blends very poorly with the photoreal. I noticed the same thing with roads - maybe a general problem with this method?2. I didn't think about this when I color-corrected my image but the natural-looking tones it has right now don't match well with the bright greens of the FS autogen. Also, the developed areas could benefit from a flatten switch to avoid buildings wedged into hillsides.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/38858.jpg3. Originally, I had placed my 15-m satellite image with the regular resample procedure. The first thing I noticed after switching to the VTP2 method was the appearance of seams between the tiles. Here's a top-down view of them:http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/38855.jpgThese seams are not permanent, they disappear after a few seconds (and may not show up on faster systems than mine) but reappear when moving around quickly and thus are quite annoying. Interestingly, I was able to make them disappear completely when I re-activated the original ('normal') photoreal image as a layer below the VTP2 layer.When I did this, things differed between the two versions: In FS2002, autogen and roads/rivers disappeared just like they do when using the 'normal' photoreal image only. In FS2004, however, the autogen remained in place and just the rivers and roads disappeared (no big loss). In both versions, Lake Louise, which I had added as a LWM polygon in Ground2K (it doesn't exists in either FS version), turned from landable water into a hard surface (which can probably be fixed with either a water mask (alpha) in the 'normal' version or a VTP2 poly on top of the existing VTP2). http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/38859.jpgI assume that this these differences are related to the changes to layer assignments between FS2002 and FS2004 but it seems to offer a number of benefits for FS9. For example, since making custom autogen files for large areas is unpractical, I could place the photoreal slices in the traditional manner and make VTP2 polygons for forested areas only. Then I would only have to make one .agn file with 100% forest cover and copy and rename it for all tiles (still a bit of work...) Since none of the tiles outside of the VTP2 polygon(s) would show autogen, it doesn't matter whether they have the incorrect (forest) autogen assigned. And/or, I could use high-res orthophotos to make better city slices and place those on top of the satellite imagery via VTP2 including custom-made autogen.Nothing revolutionary, really, but perhaps a few more options for photoreal design.Cheers, Holger -----------Thanks to Rhumba for his method for placing custom (photoreal) textures as VTP2 polygons, specifically:1. run the source .bmp through resample.exe as usual, place them in a separate folder and make a copy of that folder (for later use with autogen annotator).2. make a copy of the source .bmp and fill it with pure white, run it through resample and place the slices in a separate folder.3. use XNview to batch-flip vertically the image slices (no need to flip the white slices).4. use Elrond's FS Texture converter v1.03 to combine the image slices and alpha (white) slices into mipped DXT1 format with alpha. 5. in Ground2K, load the source .bmp and draw a VTP2 polygon with custom texture #235 (Layer 4). Compile the *_5.bgl and place it in an add-on scenery folder6. move the DXT1.bmp files into the World/Scenery/Texture folder and fire up FS7. slew across your scenery and use Rhumba's LandCalc.exe to determine the names of the custom slices you'd like to annotate with autogen (if you only have a few slices to begin with, don't worry about this step)8. use Annotator.exe from the Autogen SDK to generate .agn files for the slices you've chosen9. place those slices into the World/Scenery/Texture folder and the autogen should show up next time you load FS

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Hello Holger,I think it all looks pretty good. Perhaps you are expecting a lot from this process, but it is only a computer game, and considering that, you have gotten outstanding results, certainly much better than the default scenery or any third party scenery available. Your scenery gives a very realistic rendition of the real thing.Just a few comments concerning your steps to making this kind of scenery, just to avoid confusion for those who might be reading: - in step 5, you obviously mean 253. This land class value represents custom textures. - you do not have to launch Flight Simulator in order to get the names of the custom textures. Ground2K indicates this information in the status bar and in the Area Properties window. Christian Fumey has made a very complete and thoughtful program, as you can see.Best regards.Luis

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Hi Luis:this is a game???? Why hasn't anyone told me this before??? ;-)Thank you very much for your kind words and - as always - sharp eye for incorrect statements. Indeed, it's texture #253, not #235! Thank you also for pointing out the display of the custom texture ID in the status bar - I can't believe I missed that - duh!You're right: without Ground2K and similar big and small utilities by dedicated people with programming skills we'd be stuck with out-of-the-box FS (which isn't half-bad to begin with). So I'd like to use this opportunity for a BIG thank-you to all active contributors to this amazing GAME!!!Cheers, Holger

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I am really ###### that so many images are gone from this and other forums. There should be a way to let the poster know that he/she needs to renew the file...SOMETHING!...is diskspace really that limited on this server?????????Chas

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