FS2004 Looking for advice about textures

Hello lads

Before spoiling everything and wasting time with textures, I'd like your take your consideration first. In the image below, I mapped the seat in two different ways:
  1. The seat on the left, is mapped in a single texture (1024x1024 pixels size).
  2. The one on the right, mapped within a texture in a very small area using only a solid color.
seat_sample.jpg


The image below, is the representation of the UVW work and a simple test around the seat on the left.
Leather_Test.jpg


Before adding stitches and some shades into the seat on the left, I really don't know if it is worth the effort; and most importantly, the "real estate" wasted in a single texture. The "leather" effect is very subtle and I can't appreciate the final result; only a difference in the way both seats reflect light.

On the other hand, I've watched this video and I really liked the result:


The problem with the video, is that I will need to adapt to get it into FS9. Also, the issue with additional textures as well...

Any hint to achieve a balanced result will be great!
Thank you all.
Sergio.
 
Last edited:
Sergio....ditch it. Most users won't appreciate because the typical user is busy looking through the windshield + external views.

But if you decide on doing it, just do it for the pleasure of adding to your "Master Texture Ninja portfolio. :)

jajaja

Saludos,
David
 
Hi David

You made my day! You hit the nail brother; when I fly I appreciate the VC work a lot, nevertheless what you said is true. I focus my time in the central consoles and the dashboard. I guess the modeling tricks I used, will provide the shading effect just to be barely "right" :confused:. The downside would be that no details will be displayed.

Not to mention, that I haven't found yet how to minimize the texture count when I create the backlighting effects for gauges, LCD's and "miscellaneous gizmos". I guess I will have it as I did with the Bell 429... a lot of textures or solid colors. Damn, how I hate to do the UVW mapping and create textures. This will be my 2nd formal time doing it and I can't find the sweet spot.

Thanks for the head up.
Take care bro / Cuídate hermano.
Sergio.
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
No matter how tedious and annoying creating UVW maps is, try to avoid simple, model-coded coloring as much as possible. I tend to use unicolored fields in a corners of a texture sheet for those unimportant parts, just in case someone needs a different color for them.
 
Hi Björn!

You are utterly right, I always do UVW maps for each and every single part in the model and asign an area in a texture to it. In the 429, one of many mistakes I made, was to create large UVW maps for several parts in order to have good resolution. For the same reason as you do, I also used those tiny unicolored fields for some parts.

For the exterior model, every single part in the fuselage is mapped in the same scale. This time, I am using 2 textures for the whole fuselage instead of one; accesories and external hardware are splited in 2 additional textures as well...This time, no multimaterials!!! I don't like the way Gmax handles my exported 3ds Max files. Last time, I've spent one week cleaning repeated materials with different names.

My concern is the number of textures used and a balance between good visual quality and performance; finding the sweet spot in this regard is very elusive for me. In this model, I am experimenting with "3D decals" where I feel the need for more details. Here are some examples, and the texture asigned to this material (shared by all decals used at the moment):

decal_sample_02.jpg


The area in the texture is higher when I use this trick:
decal_sample_01.jpg


And this is the texture:

407_labels_T.jpg


I did everything but the helicopter in all those decals... :D

I guess I will need to learn a few more tricks and enhance the layout in my textures. Texture count is increasing fast!

Cheers,
Sergio.
;)
 
Last edited:
Hello lads!

@ Björn:
Related to this thread, I am learning more about what factors add up more drawcalls to the model. I don't know much about it, so I looked and start reading a post made by Robert Kerr. At this point I am doing an educated guess: More textures in a model, gives more drawcalls (among other things, like animations and unused materials in a model). I will read the whole thing and take it from there.

As a side note, why on earth modeling is so adictive??? I enjoy a helluva lot more creating things than using what we design! :stirthepo :stirthepo :stirthepo

On the other hand, I had better luck creating the artwork for my gauges than textures for a model. I am kinda proud of some desings I made for George's Bell 206 and the Britten-Norman Trislander. Perhaps I will use some of them in my current project as well. :scratchch :scratchch :scratchch

206_Bendix_King_VOR-ILS-GPS_Indicator.jpg


206_Garmin_GI106A VOR-ILS-GPS_Indicator.jpg


That's how they look with all layers "on"; as you can see, they are high resolution images for a gauge! I am looking to achive the same quality in my model textures. I really can't figure out what happens in my mindset when I do the same bloody thing!!! This is really awkward, isn't it?

Thank you kindly my dear friend.
All the best,
Sergio.

P.S. Quoting a friend of mine... I will try not to ask silly questions!!!
:D :D :D
 
Last edited:

Heretic

Resource contributor
Gauge bitmaps is something that I'm usually never too keen on producing. GIMP's capabilities in terms of text and perpendicular lines along a path are way too limited and finding the right font is always a nightmare. So I've resorted to the mantra "If it can't be done in that gauge face generation tool, it isn't worth doing anyway".
 

hairyspin

Resource contributor
Ah, Bjoern, there is another bitmap editor which handles text beautifully... but I'd better not tell you anything about PS, sorry!

Sergio, mapping the exterior all to the same scale is good practice, but you can use a larger scale for parts not directly connected to it such as undercarriage or pitot tubes. In the VC I used four different scales for mapping my Tempest and should have added a fifth for placards: must be able to read placards.

BTW, you're hooked: there is no remedy.
 

euroastar350

Resource contributor
That's the main reason I decided to map all gauges onto their own sheet rather then be cluttered with other parts and making them unreadable on my Trislander. Sergio should recognize the artwork on the gauges ;)
render_040.jpg
render_042.jpg
render_063.jpg
render_064.jpg
render_067.jpg
render_070.png
render_071.png
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
Ah, Bjoern, there is another bitmap editor which handles text beautifully... but I'd better not tell you anything about PS, sorry!
Not even sure if the free CS2 works on Win 10.

But anyway, everything related to graphics is straight in the user's domain since the textures and bitmaps are easily accessible and editable.
 
So I've resorted to the mantra "If it can't be done in that gauge face generation tool, it isn't worth doing anyway".
Perhaps I should use that mantra more often :D

BTW, you're hooked: there is no remedy.
Hi Tom, that's exactly what happened to me as well; there's no way back!!! :cool:
On the other hand, thanks for the insight. I guess the only way to proceed, is to follow your own instinct and use common sense as a guidance. And yes, I did the same; when I need it.

That's the main reason I decided to map all gauges onto their own sheet rather then be cluttered with other parts and making them unreadable on my Trislander. Sergio should recognize the artwork on the gauges
And very happy to see all those beauties created by a certain brother of mine ;)
I really love your work on the Bendix Series; the right spot for everything: subtle, smooth and elegant. Darn! That's my goal with the VC textures.

George, I really must say that your creativity is unleashed this days! How on earth you manage to work in so many projects at the same time? Awesome!!!

Dear friends, thank you all for being with me each and every time I have questions.
I think that I will let things flow as they come and enjoy the ride; I hate to take our pasion for modeling too seriously.

All the best,
Sergio.
:)
 
Last edited:
Not even sure if the free CS2 works on Win 10.

But anyway, everything related to graphics is straight in the user's domain since the textures and bitmaps are easily accessible and editable.
I can confirm that CS2 does indeed work in Windows 10 x64. The only reason I keep it around is for normal map creation, because for some unknown reason my Nvidia normal map filter causes every version after CS6 to crash instantly.
 
Here are some of the rules that I follow:

1.) I map to a defined resolution. This means that I calculate the desired UVW plane size based on the desired resolution and bitmap size. My standard UVW plane size for a medium-sized airliner is now 512 inches. This yields 1/2 inch per pixel at 1024 x 1024, 1/4 inch per pixel at 2048 x 2048, and 1/8 inch per pixel at 4096 x 4096. What bitmap size I will use will depend on the level of detail in the modelled parts. I place consistency at the very top of my pyramid. There is no point in using a massive texture when the part it is mapped to looks like garbage at the distance where the difference in texture resolution becomes noticeable.

2.) Corollary to this is the fact that I map all major parts to the same resolution. Again, there is no point in having a hi-res wheel if the nacelle right next to it, also in frame, has lower-res textures and looks like garbage. I do, however, half, or even quarter, the resolution for parts visible through cockpit or cab windows and inside of gear bays or under locomotive frames. One of the things I've started to do to make it easier to build locomotive paintkits is to have the hordes of little detail parts all in one secondary texture, and the primary geometry (cab, hoods, frame) in the primary image. Not sure how practical this would be with aircraft, where I tend to group textures by area (wing detail parts in wing textures, engine detail parts in engine textures, et c.).

3.) If any sides of an object will always look the exact same, I save a bit on UV coordinates and map them to the same spot and weld. Notice the sides of your seats - will they be appreciably different? If not, you may want to consider only having one "island" for both sides and welding the UV coordinates together.

4.) The one place where I break my resolution rule is with gauge faces. I'd rather not, but gauges need to be legible and the resolution on the surrounding panels will get out of hand very quickly if you try to match. I am using 4096 x 4096 pixel textures on my current project - an SD40-2 cab - and the only way I can keep the control console from getting way out of hand is to keep the resolution down to 40 pixels per inch (102.4-inch UV plane size), The gauges are slightly higher-res because they start looking pretty bad at that resolution:

stand-17.JPG


tex1.JPG

tex2.JPG


At the higher in-cab resolution, the difference seems to be less noticeable than between parts on the exterior model. Your mileage may vary - especially since filtering can smooth out the appearance of some artwork well enough to make a resolution drop less noticeable.

5.) Consistency, consistency, consistency. Lighting and artwork style should remain fairly consistent so that the whole looks cohesive.

In your case, I would advise mapping the seats to a resolution consistent to the other parts in the cockpit, but trying the stitching and rendering some high-res textures anyway. When you reduce the size to the actual model's resolution, the results may surprise you versus something drawn at the actual resolution straight-away (this is indeed a technique that I sometimes use). Or they might not. It's a happy medium that may be worth trying.

Bjoern - there is much to be said about doing the text in GMax or 3DS and taking screen caps and using them in the textures. While not text, this is precisely how I built the loadmeter textures (bear in mind that this only produced the base colour layer, and that, as with all of my textures, much was done in the way of shading and effects achieved with masks and whatnot). As for fonts, the key words you need to know for most machinery typefaces are "Helvetica" and "Selectric."
 
Last edited:
Good afternoon friends

Mr. Cantu, indeed those are very detailed and well written rules. I really appreciate the technical explanation; I feel safe with numbers.

I certainly will experiment with this as well because in the design stage I am, every bit of information matters. Your texture work is also impresive; all those shades and highlights makes the design really shine!

Thank you kindly,
Sergio.
 
Gauge bitmaps is something that I'm usually never too keen on producing. GIMP's capabilities in terms of text and perpendicular lines along a path are way too limited and finding the right font is always a nightmare. So I've resorted to the mantra "If it can't be done in that gauge face generation tool, it isn't worth doing anyway".
Well, there's a great and afordable alternative I've recently heard about (please, don't get this as :spam:):

It look good to me already.
Sergio.
;)
 
Last edited:
Fifty five Euros. Meh.
Well, there's an a great and afordable alternative I've recently heard about (please, don't get this as :spam:):
However, 1200 vs. 55 units in any currency to rent a license for a year of a similar software (and the possibility to have more sophisticated tools in some areas) for me certainly is a no brainer. Also, if I got it right, the customers of this product are actually aquiring a lifetime licence.

Of course, freeware will always be a great choice as well.
;)
 
Last edited:
Top