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Help needed with custom GP

First of all I want to thank Don for his most recent ADE-GP tutorial. It has answered a lot of question I previously had.
Now on to my question
I am new to texture creation and PS (CS2) (can't afford the new versions) and I am trying to make a custom texture for parking signs. I need to make them with black lettering on yellow. I think I was able to make the mipmapped dxt for the Texture folder but for some reason I cannot make the 24 bit version for the Textures_dpy folder.
Also I could use some pointers on how to make a weathered texture using PS and the GP editor. I don't fully understand how adding the alpha allows for a weathered appearance. I am confused as to whether I should make a layered texture like appears in Bill Womack's excellent tutorial that uses Gmax or do something else and where do designers find the fonts for the texts? All the ones in PS don't come close to what I find in the included textures. I am running P3DV3 and ADE 171_6169_beta if that helps.
All advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys



Resource contributor
Tom, 24-bit is the standard windows bitmap configuration. What tool are you using that can generate compressed files and not 24-bit?

I'll leave it to others to suggest how best to create weathered textures, I too will be very interested in the responses.

Don thanks for your response. Please keep in in mind that I am new to this aspect of scenery design. As suggested in other posts I am using the SDK imagetool.
When I made the dxt I saved it in PS with an alpha and mipmapped it (that is how the textures in the Textures folder seemed anyway. Let me explain how I did it: In PS I took the stock gp_Signs_Yellow texture converted it to dds to able PS to load it and then inverted the alpha which seem to make my alpha-numeric letters black and a yellow background. Then I saved it as a dxt3 with mipmaps to the Textures folder. Then I removed the alpha and mipmaps and tried to save it as a 24bit bmp but the letters do not show for some reason yesterday I couldn't save as 24 bit but now I can (go figure). I may not even have correctly made my dxt Texture and I can't visualize it without the 24 bit so I can add it to the sim. Sorry if everything seems disjointed just let me know what I didn't communicate correctly.


Resource contributor
PS will generate a 24 bit texture. ImageTool probably won't. I doubt you can make a 24 bit texture from a compressed texture anyway. You would make the 24-bit version before or at the same time at the dxt.


Well my dxt didn't show up in the sim. I must not really understand how this process works. I've searched high and low on the net and there just isn't any up-to-date tutorials or posts regarding creating ground polys using PS. I guess all I can do is find the numerals somewhere make them the color I want and figure out how one adds noise and cracks etc. to the yellow base and use poly layering in ADE unless you could point me in a different direction.
Oh almost forgot. I got the latest update on ADE-GP and installed it and it wiped out my .gp bgl. I went back to the previous update and re-installed it with success. I will try again this time I will have a backup of the working files. I will let you know of the result.



Resource contributor
Tom, perhaps I'm taking you too literally, but ground polys are made in ADE. You only create a texture to be used by a ground poly with PS (or other "paint" programs).

The texture files gp_ParkingDes.bmp and gp_Signs_Yellow.bmp contains all sorts of numbers. While none may be directly useable in your application, you should examine their structure since you will need the same structure.

Re aging, cracks, etc, Bill Womack wrote a tutorial a while ago. I don't have a copy of it but, if you Google Bills name, you'll probably find it.

Hope this helps.

Don, yes you are of course correct what I am trying to do is alter or create new textures for the GP editor. I saw how the structure went but none of them have black lettering. I thought maybe if I inverted the alpha I could come out with black letters. That is what I meant when I said that I didn't really understand how PS creates the textures. Now I could start with a blank texture and make layers to created a custom poly but I obviously do not know how the alpha figures in. Which is why Bill's wonderful tutorial is basically worthless to me because he immediately starts off with a picture showing 4 plies saying that he made those in PS so I am back to square one on how to create custom textures for FS using PS. In the forums I noticed that PinkJr has created them and said he would do a tutorial but I haven't been able find one so far. I will probably just have to wade through PS for dummies to get where I want to go.
BTW I reinstalled your update and so far no problems. Thanks for your help. Like Edison said at least now I know 2000 ways how not to create a light bulb. :)


Alphas do not control the color of the final result, they control the *transparency* of that area. That's why you use a gray alpha channel in the areas you want to be "dirty", since that makes the dirt partially transparent and the paint color below will peek through the dirt. If you look at the alpha channels in those textures that Don mentions, you will see that where the alpha channel is white the area is visible in FS, but where it it black it is transparent.

Perhaps you can use the color changer tool in PS (don't know what it's called) to change the lettering to black?

As for fonts, etc., just do a web search for block fonts or similar things and you will probably find several free fonts that will work for you. Download them and then drag and drop them into the Windows/Fonts folder to add them to PS (I assume that PS can use Windows TrueType fonts).

Hope this helps,
Tom thanks for the tip. I should know that about the alpha because I use them as the textures for repaints but for some reason I guess I didn't transfer that info. So if I am tracking with this whatever the major texture is determines the color of the letters and as far as I can see the background will always be black? If I invert my colors in the alpha then I come up with an image in PS that looks like what I want but it changes when I save it as a dxt3 for the texture folder. Can I make layers and then add an alpha or do I have to just have one layer and one alpha for the dxt3.bmp? Sorry I am being so dense. Thanks.

Tom V

You can have multiple layers and an alpha channel in a PSD file if imagetool accepts that format, I don't know (some sources say it can). If not, you can save your original image in PSD format (that will save the layers) and then use Save As and change the format to something like TGA that will contain one image layer and one alpha channel. Use that copy for imagetool. Or you can create a separate image bitmap and alpha channel bitmap and combine them in imagetool (I assume, I can do that in DXTBmp, which is what I use).

Changing the alpha channel to change the colors in PS does you no good, because those colors are converted to transparency in FS. For example, Paint Shop Pro uses shades of red to indicate where and to what level is transparent due to the alpha channel. But that red is removed and transparency substituted when used in FS. You should be looking at the image WITHOUT any influence of the alpha channel and paint those colors as you like. THEN add the alpha channel to give transparency to those areas you either don't want to see at all (black) or want to be semi-transparent (shades of gray). After you add the alpha channel to the image, any extra color added by PS will not transfer to FS.

I don't understand your question "the background will always be black?". The image or the alpha channel? There are textures with black letters on yellow backgrounds, so the image backgrounds are not always black. And the only time the alpha channel is black is when you don't want that area visible in FS.

Hope this helps,
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Okay Tom maybe getting some clarity. As far as dxtbmp I understood that should be avoided because of loss of texture quality. If I understand correctly I would import the separate alpha to my base texture in dxtbmp and then save as a dxt3? In PS when I save a texture should I save it as 32 bit? My question regarding the always black had to do with the stock signs and the way they are constructed they always end up with white letters on yellow, red and black. I was able to create a texture with black on yellow lettering but they look too crisp and clean. If I add an alpha to the texture should I gray it up or what in order to dull down the letter appearance? When I do shades of gray how is that applied ?100%? opaque? transparent? with a brush? or how is the best way to do that. Otherwise I think I am starting to see it. I just wish that there was a tutorial out there to explain all this.
Thanks again

Tom V
AFAIK the best tutorial on the "artistic" part of this is by Bill Womack, and you've already read that. This is not a science but an art, and art cannot be taught by rote in a tutorial, only examples given and you are then expected to explore the various possibilities yourself, choosing what looks good to you.

For flat colors (i.e. a freshly painted yellow background) I would use a solid shade of gray in the alpha channel to tone it down (i.e. allow some of the concrete below to show through). If you are simulating a weathered sign, then you would vary the shades of gray to simulate the random erosion of the paint. In a DXT3 image the amount of transparency is proportional to the shade of gray (white = opaque, black = fully transparent). In a DXT1 image you can only have two states, opaque and transparent, so you use a 2 color alpha channel (black/white).

Some have claimed texture quality loss from DXTBmp; you can certainly see it in certain textures when converting a 24 bit image to DXT format. But I have seen Imagetool do that too (sometimes in slightly different ways) so sometimes its good to try both. But I don't find one always superior to the other.

I have no idea what format PS's 32 bit format is, so you would just have to try it. I assume that DXTBmp, at least, would just convert it to a 24 bit image upon loading. And AFAIK a 32 bit image is no better quality than a 24 bit image, it just has extra information added.
"One by one the neurons begin to fire" I realized what I thought I was trying to do was to get the numbers and the background all show up in one texture but then I saw it! The numbers are just one color you have to add the background color as a separate texture. I am testing it now. Keeping my fingers crossed. Bill's tutorial starts right off showing his 4 basic ground poly layers Noise overlay, cracks and details, runway markings and the base texture. I don't know how big his textures are and I don't know how to translate what he does in GMAX to GP-Editor. but you are right about it being an art but it is sure nice to know what canvas, paints and paintbrushes you need and how to use them.:)
These are all good tips and I think I can be creative. Thanks again for your help.
Now if I can just get my Prokey to bring up the last project worked on and figure out why I can't seem to get my exiting aircraft to stop on or before the hold short. No problem entering just exiting. I have tried multiple nodes and right now I have the hold short almost on the runway so they will stop short enough. Problems just don't seem to stop.



Resource contributor
The numbers are just one color you have to add the background color as a separate texture.
Not necessary. Draw the numbers in whatever colour you want on a background of whatever color you want. Add an alpha if you want (for other reasons). Then, let the shape of the GP "cut-out" whatever portion of the combined texture you wish.


First question: what did you mean by " (for other reasons)"?

When you say:"let the shape of the GP "cut-out" whatever portion of the combined texture you wish." you are referring to the way it appears in the editor correct?

This is what I get in the sim: Now I just need to add wear and tear to the textures.

How large a texture can be used in in ADE-GP? I have some great textures I just don't just don't know how much I need to cut down their size.
I am so sorry for being so dense in this subject. Thank you for your patience.



Resource contributor
what did you mean by " (for other reasons)"?
Aging, for example
When you say:"let the shape of the GP "cut-out" whatever portion of the combined texture you wish." you are referring to the way it appears in the editor correct?
Yes, in the GP Editor
This is what I get in the sim
No image
How large a texture can be used in in ADE-GP?
whatever size is valid for a scenery object in the version of Flightsim you are using.

Thanks Don,

Between You and Tom I think I am getting the idea. It would be nice to see exactly how Bill creates his aging process but I get that it is an art and not a science. I think if I just knew if he was using layering (and then what type transparent, opaque, or semitransparent. When he paints the aging does he use a full flow, airbrush etc etc. These are the things I really don't know about.

Unless you have any other good tips I will consider my question solved. Sorry about not attaching the file here it is. I think I am progressing well. I just need to add the worn look to my ground polys.


The tool you will use to weather your GPs will depend on the effect you want to create. That's what I mean about it being an art.

If you want to simulate an even coating of dirt or erosion you would use the airbrush tool, and apply an even coat of dirt on the main image or an even coat of gray in the alpha channel for erosion. The coverage can be varied as desired.

If you want cracks, etc. that would be done with the pencil (full flow) to create lines and gaps in the sign. Other effects can be done with other tools.

I assume there are tutorials on the web about how to use PS to simulate weathered surfaces - perhaps those can give you some ideas.
Tom as always you have great advice. I think I understand the concept but what I don't know is the procedure and I have searched and haven't found anything like what you are suggesting. Maybe not using the right question. I have the base texture and I am adding layers? If so are transparent? I stumbled on something a couple of days ago I was taking some of Don's stock textures and played around with them but I couldn't figure out how to draw on the alpha? I did a net search for the error message I received and found the quickmask command so I was sort of able to use the mask to know how to where to paint so it would be on the right position on the alpha. Then I copied the mask and pasted it on the alpha but had to invert the copy and was able to come up with some sort of of a texture. It seems like a very long drawn out process and likely there is a better way. I will try again to search the net using your recommendation.
My line looks a little more worn but definitely needs more work