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scott967

Satellite background.

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I've spent a couple of weeks doing my local airport. I've got everything built from scratch and hand textured. It is time to do the photo background texture in order to finish this up. I have made a big jpeg of the airport using google earth. The problem is that I want the image to follow the outline of the airport perimeter. All of the programs I have found seem to just do square areas. The perimeter is not square. How do I get the satellite texture to be in an irregular shape(not square) to match the perimeter of the airport? Also, what is the easiest program to do this with?I am using FS2004, not FSX. It seems Sbuilder would screw up my afcad2 visuals. Is there something better?CH

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SBuilder should be able to produces a textured Polygon in FS9. This should not mess up any AFCAD information. There are some tutorials on my site www.scruffyduckscenery.co.uk on using SBuilder and AFCAD. One of them certainly deals with textured polygons.

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There is also the possibiity to use sbuilder to create a photo terrain, and you can use an alpha channel in your images to have it show where you want it to. But IIRC this might require some processing in imagetool to get the file format correct. one advantage is you can get a "fade out" rather than a hard edge, like is done with the blend channel in FSX resample.scott s..

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Hi guys. I've been trying this the past few days for a scenery in FS9. Got myself some textured models exported from Blender, MDL exporter works fine. Problem is the airport I'm modelling is near some docks and the default base textures in FS are so blurred, no matter what you do with the airport that default texture is just going to ruin it. In any other game I'd model the paved dock/apron/car park area in Blender and just align the whole thing on the existing terrain but I guess there's a reason why this approach wouldn't work in FS.I read through the "Google Eath and photo scenery" thread, at the end Luis says SbuilderX can grab the image tiles from Google and import them to FSX, he says it should also work for FS9 if you save the image and configure it manually. Alas, I downloaded everything the other night and installed SbuilderX, it crashes because I've not got FSX installed, get a crash box where it can't copy over the textures :(Still a lot to learn, still trying to work out how to use the exclude boxes to mask the default autogen and delete all the 1000+ stock models leaving just the modded stuff once I import the BGLs into ScenegenX :)Regards, Bruce.

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Terrain in FS9 is limited to a max resolution of 4.8m/pixel. From what I've seen, the approach used to get around this is to either use the pre-FS9 method of creating textured ground scenery, or GMAX using the FS2k2 gamepack which allows some tweaking of ground level scenery (I think this is needed for shadows, etc). I don't know if there is some way to get Blender to work for this. Recommend going to fsdeveloper.com scenery forums.scott s..

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>I read through the "Google Eath and photo scenery" thread, at>the end Luis says SbuilderX can grab the image tiles from>Google and import them to FSX, he says it should also work for>FS9 if you save the image and configure it manually. Alas, I>downloaded everything the other night and installed SbuilderX,>it crashes because I've not got FSX installed, get a crash box>where it can't copy over the textures :(Hi Bruce,If you create the folders where FSX places the SDK tools (resample, shp2vec, imagetool, ...) and if you place inside dummy files with the right names, SBuilderX will pass the installation process. Of course that you will not be able to generate BGL files (as you need the referred to tools) but you will be able to get the background pictures.If you want to give it a try check my forum (ptsim dot com) and search for the word REGISTRY to get threads that explain what SBuilderX expects to find in your disk when it starts.Kind Regards,Luis

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Okay, I've got the image in there and correctly scaled/aligned. Is there any way to keep the image from covering up the default runways/taxiways, etc? The signs are all there, but no ground features. I have a bad feeling this is unavoidable, but I just wanted to see if anyone knew a way around it.CH

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Hi Luis, sorry for late reply.I'll check your forum for that, would be great to be able to get the tiles...I only need a square mile or so at the moment for the airport base and surrounding roads.The upgrade to FSX will come but stuck with good old FS9 for the moment :-)Cheers, Bruce.

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I suspect this is all to do with altitide setting. You need to get the altitude of the ground polygon just below that of the airport.

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So what about the runways, aprons, etc. Is there not a way to get them to show up without having to mask the runways, aprons in the image.CH

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FS2004. It seems the satellite image sits on top of the default taxiways and runways. The only way I see around it is to create an alpha mask where the runways and taxiways are. In the old days you could use layers to address this, but I've been out of the loop for so long, I don't really know the newer techniques. The last airport I made prior to this was FS2002. If I could just get this part right, I'd be done.CH

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What altitude setting do you have for the satellite image compared to the airport reference altitude?

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Let's see if I can explain it. I made a huge image from a bunch of Google Earth images put together by hand (pain in the you know what).I then erased the boundary line that I wanted to keep for the perimeter. I couldn't figure out how to do this in SBuilder so I placed it using the old FS Architect photo grid tool. I set the altitude 963.9 ft under the airports altitude of 964ft. It is too low and doesn't show up. If I place it at the same altitude, the runways and taxiways don't show up.To work around it, I masked out the runways and taxiways. They show up now, but alignment is nearly impossible. Even using AFX that lets me see what is going on "LIVE", it just doesn't work out too well. I guess my question should have been whether or not there is still a way to assign the photo poly lower than the default runway and taxiways by using some type of layering.. I have been unable to figure this out. Thanks for all of your replies so far.CH

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Carl,By default the Afcad layer is always the lowest, therefore anything you create eg photoground polygon etc will cover up the afcad stuff so therefore you lose all your nice afcad generated lighting which is a pain. I have encountered this with my scenery and had to make all the lights in Gmax - took weeks. The ground was done using the old FS2002 layered ground poly method described over on fsdeveloper.com. I don't think you can cut or mask the afcad layer with alpha blending so it shows up. I have been wanting to know how the likes of flytampa (Boston for example) do it. They use Gmax ground polygons, tweaked and alpha'd up at the edges to blend away to the surrounding scenery and ocean. But I wonder how they make their lights. They do a "splash" polygons to simulate the light spill on the ground and halo around the bulb, the actual light polygon must come from Gmax though. Same with their shadows, look carefully under the baggage trolleys, little Gmax poly shadows - very clever kids at Fly tampa. Sorry I am rambling now.

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Yes, it seems the payware folks have mastered this stuff pretty good. From what I've read, GMax can do a ton of cool stuff, but the learning curve is absurd to me, so I stick with FSDS3. Actually, AC3D beats them both inmho, but getting those models to FS with all of the textures intact is over my head. I never have understood why Microsoft hasn't made an add-on to do scenery with. One program to do it all from the ground up. After all, who knows the ins and outs better than them? I bet that it would sell better than the "Acceleration" pack. MS just misses the bus in so many ways when it comes to making money. Meanwhile Flight1 and the likes are raking it in. We need a tool for this and a tool for that, etc. CH

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I think maybe the core issue is this: In FS9, you can create photo terrain. This replaces landclass and works just like it -- AFCAD visual scenery will be drawn over the photo. The second method, is to create vector polygon using custom texture, in this case photo. Again, this works at the terrain (landclass) level and AFCAD visuals are OK with it. The third method is to use assembled bglc commands to create ground scenery objects (ground polys with photo texture). This has the advantage of not being limited by the 4.8m terrain texture resolution. However, these objects will cause AFCAD visual scenery not to show. This has a good side effect, in that FS2k2 airports can be used in FS9 without scenery conflict from AFCAD visual scenery -- AFCAD provides the "invisible" plumbing. The forth method is to create ground scenery objects in GMAX or other 3d object designer. For ground-level scenery, using GMAX with the FS2k2 gamepack can result in ground polys which IIUC work about the same as BGLC ones (not being a GMAX user, I can't say for sure).I think most detailed airports that use high resolution photos as the airport base, also use custom runway/taxiway/aprons rather than creating "cutouts" to let AFCAD visual scenery show through, though cutouts would probably work as well. You might also need to model lighting / PAPIs as well, or create holes for them (never investigated this myself).scott s..

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Now i am getting somewhere. How do you do #1 and #2, what programs? Obviously, the latest version of FS Architect uses #3 and I really don't want that hassle, I don't have the time necessary to work around the AFCAD visual issues.CH

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Method #1 can be done manually, using the sdk resample tool (see example on creating custom terrain for Niagra Falls in the sdk). There are a couple tools available, one I have checked out in the past is TerraBuilder Lite. Mainly what the program does is help to get the photo properly sized.Method #2 can be done with Sbuilder 2.05, where it is called VTP Photo. Note that SBuilder can also do Method #3, which is called "high resolution photo" in SBuilder.a possible downside of Method #2, is that you have to place all the completed photo tile bmp files in the scenery/world/texture folder, which can create difficulties in deleting the right ones later if you want to remove the scenery.scott s..

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