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Bill Womack

Photos for Building Textures

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Designers,I'm seeking some advice. While I am not totally ready to jump right in and go crazy with object/building design, I am getting ready. My question today revolves around obtaining custom textures for buildings.Can any designer provide some advice on taking photographs for building textures? Is it best to photograph under sunlight, clouds, certain times of day? Is there any size cutoff you'd expect to take multiple photos and stitch them together? How best can one take photos of a long building (such as a terminal) and get good results once stitched or tiled together on the model?Any advice on gaining physical (& LEGAL!) access to an airport to obtain the photographs? Thanks,-Greg

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hi Greg, I'll jump on a couple of your questions. Images depends on what you are going for in the scenery. If professional looking FBOs/hangers, I would go with midday and as less shadows as possible, if houses or rustic buildings, then you have 2 options depending on your sim. FS9 doesn't do self shadowing like FSX, so shadows on the textures work well. You can always add them as well in a paint program. I try to keep all I need for the building on a single texture sheet, helps with loading in the sim.As for sizes, I tend to go with a 1024 or larger original (better clarity when designing) and them after finishing the object, reducing it to 512 DXT/DDS for the sim.As for tiling, I am not a fan of it because most times you can see that it is tiled. I'd rather stitch it together on the texture than tile in the design programAs for airport access, I suggest clearing thru the airport management (in person) if possible.Hope that helps.Regards, MichaelKDFW

Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe nForce4 SLI-x16 / AMD

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Hi,Some other things to think about. For the photos just take them in the highest resolution you can get, that gives you best results in the end. For the texture you probably have to reduce the size again, but that does not matter.Also be sure to take the photos when standing in front of the building. Often when you ask people to make a photo for you, you get them with all kind of perspective in them, which makes it harder to process them.Then when making the texture I usually prefer to choose which resolution I want to use on the object (say X pixels per meter). Then I will create all the pieces of texture for the object at that resolution. Having parts of an object with very different resolution can give a very bad look.Then when all the pieces are made, you need to arange them on the texture sheet. I prefer to use 1024x1024 there. Just try to put as much as you can on one sheet. Less texture sheets means less drawcalls and that is best for the performance in the end.Tiling can sometimes be useful, I used it once at a big airport terminal. But than I tiled a big texture (2048x256) so that you could not see the repetition too much.For the legal part. On big airports I think it is difficult to get in, you would have to find somebody that works there probably and is allowed to make you the photos. For smaller airports I have had good success by just contacting the general manager. Usually they are quick happy to help you.Hope this helps,

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Another thing you might want to consider is the internet - if you have photoshop or PSP then there are a lot of useful photos on the web that you can work from. I generally start by getting the dimensions of the building from above using google maps. Then draw some elevations in something like coreldraw, map out the rough locations of windows, doors etc. Do this for each wall that the building has, and then in photoshop, combine samples of brick, glass, tile etc that you find on the web. It takes a bit of practice and patience but it works!

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Synthesising textures is a great skill. You'll never get a photo of every wall or every little piece of the building. At some point you'll need to guess-timate a few details in. So the copy/paste is going to get some use. ImageAlignPro is a vital Photoshop plugin too.Some of the stock texture libraries on the web like CGTextures are superb for finding that little detail. Also use Google Images, Flickr etc. Other people's holiday snaps can be your goldmine for that rare airside shot. Also, Airliners.net is not only good for aircraft photos :-)

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1. Take photos with the highest resolution as possible.2. DO NOT USE Wide angle. You would have too much work and it would not look good trying to straighten those Wide angle shots3. IF you have to stand too close to a building (some times you can't help it) and the entire building facade would not fit into a single frame (No WIDE ANGLE please), take halfs. ie. divide up the facade into two and stand in the left front and take a non wide angle shot and then move to the right side...standing the same distance from the front to take the second shot. You can stitch these two together. Overlapping shots are good since you can use that for stitching them up. IF its a long hangar...yeah..divide it up even further.4.If there is a pilot shot in an airport...go talk to the owner of the Pilotshop and tell him what yuu are doing and get his/her help. You may even want to call the Airport manager well in advance and ask him for guidence how you should go about and the best time etc.5. And I pefer taking pictures on a sunday. I actually like taking pictures around mornings (building facing east) and evening (for building facing west. These would give you shadows..which many people don't like. But I actually prefer these shadows since they seem to give depth to the buildings. Ofcourse this would conflict with FSX shadowing..so I may be in the minority.6. Take multiple shots of the same building ...you never know which ones come out good that you can use.7. Take lots and lots of perspective shots. Including small stuffs. Fence, trash cans, road signs, sign boards, In fact, take good closeup shots of sign. You would find plenty of these sign boards...trust me. If you take a shot of a hangar. take the shot of any and all sign boards there separately. Assuming, this is a digital camera, move them to a Laptop, and continue. Do not be stingy with number of photos. 8. Be prepared to make more than one visit if need be.Manny

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Bring along a screenshot of the generic bulding, and a screenshot of a partially completed custom work of yours.I get an escort now just for the asking because the airport manager here was electrified at the contrast.Mention that any existing air taxi and shuttle services will get free national exposure. That helps.

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>2. DO NOT USE Wide angle. You would have too much work and it>would not look good trying to straighten those Wide angle>shots>Some really good tips here Manny. However I wouldn't want to work without a good wide angle lens. Most airports have restricted access, whether because of security, or simply because you can't get back far enough without bumping into a wall.First I use PTLens to get rid of the wide-angle distortion, then ImageAlignPRO to straighten the image. Probably about 20% of my images go through PTLens, and about 80% need ImageAlignPRO.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/193668.jpgGodzone Virtual Flight, for 'Real New Zealand' sceneryhttp://www.windowlight.co.nz

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The "warp" tool in Photoshop CS2 is a flexible solution for correcting some lens distortion as well. I've only recently discovered it, but it's been very helpful in squaring up photos.

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