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MSFS Blender object without pbr material

Vitus

Resource contributor
Messages
1,480
Country
newzealand
No, I don't think you will get good results without using PBR.
However, there are some free tools out there that can help you create PBR textures. The simplest way might be to use Blender to bake your PBR textures. In that case, you'd utilize the shader node tree to set up a material that looks good in Blender, bake your texture maps from there and then switch to the MSFS standard material and plug in the generated maps.
 

Vitus

Resource contributor
Messages
1,480
Country
newzealand
In Blender I named that "Metallic". It's a combined map, consisting of the Ambient Occlusion map in the R channel, Roughness map in the G channel and Metallic map in the B channel.
 
Messages
255
Country
germany
What does your workflow look like for this? Curious as I am just starting out with this
It's still a lot of trial and error, but what I've done so far is :

Open the diffuse map first, click O and select your texture. Next create a height map, click on C on the height map. Play with the sliders to get a realistic impression, you can click on View Full material to see if the result is good. Sometimes you may need to invert the grayscale values by pulling the contrast slider into the negative values. Then create the normal map, to be honest I mostly leave that to the default, sometimes I select smooth to avoid too extreme height differences. The trickiest part I find the Metallic and smoothness map. For non Metallic textures like wood or bricks I tend to make it almost black with just a few lighter patches. Avoid harsh contrasts, no pure white highlights or you'll get massive unrealistic shining of your texture in those places. For metal textures play around a little, make it not too bright unless you want to achieve something like a polished chrome effect. Check if the values match the materials your texture shows realistically, for example in a rusted metal roof texture the rusty parts should be much darker than the clean metal parts for the rust will reflect light much less than the shiny metal parts. Again, maybe you need to invert the grayscale by negative contrast values.
The smoothness is the hardest part in my opinion. First, MSFS and as far as I know other sims too use roughness, not smoothness, so if you create a realistic looking smoothness map you'll need to invert the grayscale with Photoshop, gimp or whatever, or you go the opposite way and create a totally wrong smoothness map and use it as a roughness map hoping that it will look good in the sim. My understanding is that smoothness or roughness determine how "shiny" a material is, eg a pure white smoothness map (or pure black roughness) will be shiny like a mirror, while the opposite will make the material look blunt. I found this the hardest part of the process to get a realistic look because many standard textures have hard shadows or color variations that translate into abrupt changes of roughness in the material. For very "rough" materials like rock or old unpolished wood I found it best to create a generally dark, poor contrast smoothness map with only a few highlights, then save the smoothness map, load into Photoshop, invert the gray scale to create a roughness instead of smoothness map and last adjust the tone correction curve in a way that the map doesn't contain pure black or very dark Grey tones, because those would translate to very shiny parts in a roughness map. Then save the map and rename it to roughness, open it in Materialize inside the smoothness slot (leading the full material to look extremely shiny but that doesn't matter it will look right in the sim). Finally, create a ambient occlusion map from the height map, make it with subtle contrasts or it will look fake and overdone. Finally, setup their rgb channels according to MSFS standards, that is red for ambient occlusion, green for smoothness (which in fact is our roughness map but Materialize will call it smoothness no matter what) and blue for Metallic. Then click on save property map, create a new folder for the material and call the map something like texture_Metallic_RGB or _comp or whatever so you know it's a combined map with separate channels. Last, save the project to the same folder as the property map giving you all the other maps in one folder. The recommended file format is .png.
That's my work flow, others may suggest better ones but at least it gets you something halfway realistic. Always be aware that full native PBR materials will always look better than the fake ones materialize deducts from simple photo textures. Texture Haven has great PBR materials and they're all free, but they only have 200 or so. Textures.com has paid PBR materials but you can get the lowest resolution for free which is sufficient for many models. Poliigon has a few free materials, too, but most of them are obviously meant for interior design but still you may find some useful ones.

Cheers, Fabian
 
Messages
27
Country
sweden
I resd this in your document "Under the MSFS drop down tab, tick the ‘Generate/Append XML’ box, and name the XML file the same as what you are naming your object, in my case, ‘DemonstrationObject’."
I cant find the MSFS drop down tab you refere to. Can you guide me please?

Update! My misstake but easy to do. I opened the save dialog and didnt choose the msfs variant.
 
Last edited:
Messages
195
Country
us-california
It's still a lot of trial and error, but what I've done so far is :

Open the diffuse map first, click O and select your texture. Next create a height map, click on C on the height map. Play with the sliders to get a realistic impression, you can click on View Full material to see if the result is good. Sometimes you may need to invert the grayscale values by pulling the contrast slider into the negative values. Then create the normal map, to be honest I mostly leave that to the default, sometimes I select smooth to avoid too extreme height differences. The trickiest part I find the Metallic and smoothness map. For non Metallic textures like wood or bricks I tend to make it almost black with just a few lighter patches. Avoid harsh contrasts, no pure white highlights or you'll get massive unrealistic shining of your texture in those places. For metal textures play around a little, make it not too bright unless you want to achieve something like a polished chrome effect. Check if the values match the materials your texture shows realistically, for example in a rusted metal roof texture the rusty parts should be much darker than the clean metal parts for the rust will reflect light much less than the shiny metal parts. Again, maybe you need to invert the grayscale by negative contrast values.
The smoothness is the hardest part in my opinion. First, MSFS and as far as I know other sims too use roughness, not smoothness, so if you create a realistic looking smoothness map you'll need to invert the grayscale with Photoshop, gimp or whatever, or you go the opposite way and create a totally wrong smoothness map and use it as a roughness map hoping that it will look good in the sim. My understanding is that smoothness or roughness determine how "shiny" a material is, eg a pure white smoothness map (or pure black roughness) will be shiny like a mirror, while the opposite will make the material look blunt. I found this the hardest part of the process to get a realistic look because many standard textures have hard shadows or color variations that translate into abrupt changes of roughness in the material. For very "rough" materials like rock or old unpolished wood I found it best to create a generally dark, poor contrast smoothness map with only a few highlights, then save the smoothness map, load into Photoshop, invert the gray scale to create a roughness instead of smoothness map and last adjust the tone correction curve in a way that the map doesn't contain pure black or very dark Grey tones, because those would translate to very shiny parts in a roughness map. Then save the map and rename it to roughness, open it in Materialize inside the smoothness slot (leading the full material to look extremely shiny but that doesn't matter it will look right in the sim). Finally, create a ambient occlusion map from the height map, make it with subtle contrasts or it will look fake and overdone. Finally, setup their rgb channels according to MSFS standards, that is red for ambient occlusion, green for smoothness (which in fact is our roughness map but Materialize will call it smoothness no matter what) and blue for Metallic. Then click on save property map, create a new folder for the material and call the map something like texture_Metallic_RGB or _comp or whatever so you know it's a combined map with separate channels. Last, save the project to the same folder as the property map giving you all the other maps in one folder. The recommended file format is .png.
That's my work flow, others may suggest better ones but at least it gets you something halfway realistic. Always be aware that full native PBR materials will always look better than the fake ones materialize deducts from simple photo textures. Texture Haven has great PBR materials and they're all free, but they only have 200 or so. Textures.com has paid PBR materials but you can get the lowest resolution for free which is sufficient for many models. Poliigon has a few free materials, too, but most of them are obviously meant for interior design but still you may find some useful ones.

Cheers, Fabian
How do you handle an object with many textures. Say a wood and Brick house? Use the albedo texture from the uav maping stage nd build you other MPs from that?
 
Messages
27
Country
sweden
It's still a lot of trial and error, but what I've done so far is :

Open the diffuse map first, click O and select your texture. Next create a height map, click on C on the height map. Play with the sliders to get a realistic impression, you can click on View Full material to see if the result is good. Sometimes you may need to invert the grayscale values by pulling the contrast slider into the negative values. Then create the normal map, to be honest I mostly leave that to the default, sometimes I select smooth to avoid too extreme height differences. The trickiest part I find the Metallic and smoothness map. For non Metallic textures like wood or bricks I tend to make it almost black with just a few lighter patches. Avoid harsh contrasts, no pure white highlights or you'll get massive unrealistic shining of your texture in those places. For metal textures play around a little, make it not too bright unless you want to achieve something like a polished chrome effect. Check if the values match the materials your texture shows realistically, for example in a rusted metal roof texture the rusty parts should be much darker than the clean metal parts for the rust will reflect light much less than the shiny metal parts. Again, maybe you need to invert the grayscale by negative contrast values.
The smoothness is the hardest part in my opinion. First, MSFS and as far as I know other sims too use roughness, not smoothness, so if you create a realistic looking smoothness map you'll need to invert the grayscale with Photoshop, gimp or whatever, or you go the opposite way and create a totally wrong smoothness map and use it as a roughness map hoping that it will look good in the sim. My understanding is that smoothness or roughness determine how "shiny" a material is, eg a pure white smoothness map (or pure black roughness) will be shiny like a mirror, while the opposite will make the material look blunt. I found this the hardest part of the process to get a realistic look because many standard textures have hard shadows or color variations that translate into abrupt changes of roughness in the material. For very "rough" materials like rock or old unpolished wood I found it best to create a generally dark, poor contrast smoothness map with only a few highlights, then save the smoothness map, load into Photoshop, invert the gray scale to create a roughness instead of smoothness map and last adjust the tone correction curve in a way that the map doesn't contain pure black or very dark Grey tones, because those would translate to very shiny parts in a roughness map. Then save the map and rename it to roughness, open it in Materialize inside the smoothness slot (leading the full material to look extremely shiny but that doesn't matter it will look right in the sim). Finally, create a ambient occlusion map from the height map, make it with subtle contrasts or it will look fake and overdone. Finally, setup their rgb channels according to MSFS standards, that is red for ambient occlusion, green for smoothness (which in fact is our roughness map but Materialize will call it smoothness no matter what) and blue for Metallic. Then click on save property map, create a new folder for the material and call the map something like texture_Metallic_RGB or _comp or whatever so you know it's a combined map with separate channels. Last, save the project to the same folder as the property map giving you all the other maps in one folder. The recommended file format is .png.
That's my work flow, others may suggest better ones but at least it gets you something halfway realistic. Always be aware that full native PBR materials will always look better than the fake ones materialize deducts from simple photo textures. Texture Haven has great PBR materials and they're all free, but they only have 200 or so. Textures.com has paid PBR materials but you can get the lowest resolution for free which is sufficient for many models. Poliigon has a few free materials, too, but most of them are obviously meant for interior design but still you may find some useful ones.

Cheers, Fabian
Good tutorial, but my material is still very shiny. I try to make a hangar wall with corrugated metal plates. I think it is the smoothness that I dont get right. Could you post an example of a weathered metal wall just to see the color values.
 
Messages
255
Country
germany
Good tutorial, but my material is still very shiny. I try to make a hangar wall with corrugated metal plates. I think it is the smoothness that I dont get right. Could you post an example of a weathered metal wall just to see the color values.
Is it too shiny in materialize or in Blender or the sim itself? Remember that Materialize uses smoothness instead of roughness so if you want a less reflective material you'll need to make it extremely shiny in materialize.
 

Pyscen

Resource contributor
Messages
2,813
Country
us-texas
Within Materialize,... The Smoothness map is the invert (or opposite) of Roughness, so you have to take your combined map into Photoshop/ GIMP and invert that channel or invert the values within Materialize.
 
Last edited:
Messages
204
Country
us-texas
How do you handle an object with many textures. Say a wood and Brick house? Use the albedo texture from the uav maping stage nd build you other MPs from that?

I cannot imagine too many scenarios where one object does not fit within a 4096x4096 UV, given you can have a separate UV for every Albedo / Normal / Metallic and on and on...
For performance reasons, I generally don't want a single object to take more than 2048x2048, and some things much much less than that even. In the few scenarios I did hit this, I just exported the piece as a separate object, unless I am missing some point or NOT properly avoiding some optimization issue (always possible), then to me this technique seems simpler.

For the most part, I Just make 3+ sets of UV maps and put multiple textures on them, then use Photoshop or Gimp to generate the Normal (easier), than for the others just paste the separated objects on the Albedo and paste the separated normals onto the NormalUV (allowing to share multiple objects). Blender appears to map the same UV coords for all types of textures, so say I have all 3 types for the UV maps for say 6 objects that have 20+ textures. I'll make a 4096x4096 and compress the textures, then I'll use the repeating trick (by ensuring some textures take up vertical or horizontal 100% of the pixel space of the UV, and the repeating trick allows you to get HIGH resolution with tiny texture sizes and still have a ton of space left).

If you are adding smudges or super detailing textures that are not even close to seamless, then it just takes a lot more separate UV's, but you can use this trick for smudges as well (the repeating tricks).

Edit (I realized words probably do not explain the technique much, so here is a pic in action). Here is an example of a re-paint job I did using the repeating trick of just carefully mapping UV layouts. I was using this object to try to learn texturing better in MSFS by experimentation. I did not model this, I just repainted it, hence experimenting with it. This one did end up taking an entire 4096 image for each texture map, but most of my actual buildings do not need this much space. I think my only point is, find a good object that is already textured and play around with all the maps to see what effects you can learn, that is how I learned the basics.

 
Last edited:
Messages
72
Country
unitedkingdom
I cannot imagine too many scenarios where one object does not fit within a 4096x4096 UV, given you can have a separate UV for every Albedo / Normal / Metallic and on and on...
For performance reasons, I generally don't want a single object to take more than 2048x2048, and some things much much less than that even. In the few scenarios I did hit this, I just exported the piece as a separate object, unless I am missing some point or NOT properly avoiding some optimization issue (always possible), then to me this technique seems simpler.

For the most part, I Just make 3+ sets of UV maps and put multiple textures on them, then use Photoshop or Gimp to generate the Normal (easier), than for the others just paste the separated objects on the Albedo and paste the separated normals onto the NormalUV (allowing to share multiple objects). Blender appears to map the same UV coords for all types of textures, so say I have all 3 types for the UV maps for say 6 objects that have 20+ textures. I'll make a 4096x4096 and compress the textures, then I'll use the repeating trick (by ensuring some textures take up vertical or horizontal 100% of the pixel space of the UV, and the repeating trick allows you to get HIGH resolution with tiny texture sizes and still have a ton of space left).

If you are adding smudges or super detailing textures that are not even close to seamless, then it just takes a lot more separate UV's, but you can use this trick for smudges as well (the repeating tricks).

Edit (I realized words probably do not explain the technique much, so here is a pic in action). Here is an example of a re-paint job I did using the repeating trick of just carefully mapping UV layouts. I was using this object to try to learn texturing better in MSFS by experimentation. I did not model this, I just repainted it, hence experimenting with it. This one did end up taking an entire 4096 image for each texture map, but most of my actual buildings do not need this much space. I think my only point is, find a good object that is already textured and play around with all the maps to see what effects you can learn, that is how I learned the basics.
How do you set the multiple UVs? I've tried adding a new UV node in blender, setting it to the second set of UVs and attaching it to the Metallic shader, and it seems to export (looking at the gtlf code it produces) but in FS2020 it only uses the first set of UVs.
1603765177161.png


1603765506834.png
 
Messages
195
Country
us-california
Is it too shiny in materialize or in Blender or the sim itself? Remember that Materialize uses smoothness instead of roughness so if you want a less reflective material you'll need to make it extremely shiny in materialize.
or maybe an invert node somehow..
 
Messages
195
Country
us-california
How do you set the multiple UVs? I've tried adding a new UV node in blender, setting it to the second set of UVs and attaching it to the Metallic shader, and it seems to export (looking at the gtlf code it produces) but in FS2020 it only uses the first set of UVs.
View attachment 64338

View attachment 64339
this box has no uv map, in so much as i nver really made one (it may have one from blender but i skipped that whole step) never opened the editor. Made the little model monkeyhead in a box, applied textures and then linked in MSFS exporter. exported little model and copied pbr texture maps (downloaded form inet again no "layouts") into the texture folder. start with one object, figiue out the process and then get complex
Screenshot (270).png
 
Messages
204
Country
us-texas
Not bad....

I didn't realize how old this thread was when I posted, but might have a little something to do with the fact that it's snowing in Texas in October and must have frozen my brain. Snow to the north and west, hurricane out in gulf to the SE, and fires to the north, all within just a few hundred miles, great day for a casual drive. Maybe they will all collide in the middle and 2020 finally ends as it should :)
 
Messages
72
Country
unitedkingdom
You cannot use the Nodes at all in MSFS 2020, you have to use the FS 2020 Exporter utility, on the right in the material settings, you will see a place to add separate UV's for Albedo, Normal, Metallic, etc...
Where are these UV settings? All I have in the material settings are the different texture maps, and some settings for multipliers

1603789272161.png
1603789286182.png
1603789296940.png
 
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Messages
40
Country
germany
this box has no uv map, in so much as i nver really made one (it may have one from blender but i skipped that whole step) never opened the editor. Made the little model monkeyhead in a box, applied textures and then linked in MSFS exporter. exported little model and copied pbr texture maps (downloaded form inet again no "layouts") into the texture folder. start with one object, figiue out the process and then get complex
View attachment 64347
In Blender when you ad a Mesh blender will create automatically a UVMap
 
Messages
201
Country
finland
Texture Haven has great PBR materials and they're all free, but they only have 200 or so. Textures.com has paid PBR materials but you can get the lowest resolution for free which is sufficient for many models. Poliigon has a few free materials, too, but most of them are obviously meant for interior design but still you may find some useful ones.

Another good place for free PBR textures is https://cc0textures.com/ (currently more than 1100 textures there...)
 
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