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Photo-real ground textures in gmax for fs2004

Hello SimDesigners,

I'm currently working on designing a new airport in Gmax. I've gone through tens of spreads in here and haven't found a clear answer on how to actually make photo-real ground textures in gmax for fs2004. I managed to get a fair result using SBuilder, but the problem was that SBuilder creates "separated" tiles (you get to see a little space between each and every photo-tile!

My desperate question is: how do you place a high-resolution aerial image as a background for an airport in Gmax? Shall I cut them into tiles (1024x1024) in photoshop? How do I determine how many tiles my plain in Gmax should have in order to have sufficiently good resolution? How do I perfectly align and scale the plain in Gmax in order to get the a perfect match with the airport's FS size and position?


My second desperate question is: When you design aprons, do you create a single texture that contains both Apron-surface and Taxi-way marks? Or you just place two plains on top of each other?

I have all the tools needed. All I'm missing is your appreciated help!!
 
Hello SimDesigners,

I'm currently working on designing a new airport in Gmax. I've gone through tens of spreads in here and haven't found a clear answer on how to actually make photo-real ground textures in gmax for fs2004. I managed to get a fair result using SBuilder, but the problem was that SBuilder creates "separated" tiles (you get to see a little space between each and every photo-tile!

My desperate question is: how do you place a high-resolution aerial image as a background for an airport in Gmax? Shall I cut them into tiles (1024x1024) in photoshop? How do I determine how many tiles my plain in Gmax should have in order to have sufficiently good resolution? How do I perfectly align and scale the plain in Gmax in order to get the a perfect match with the airport's FS size and position?


My second desperate question is: When you design aprons, do you create a single texture that contains both Apron-surface and Taxi-way marks? Or you just place two plains on top of each other?

I have all the tools needed. All I'm missing is your appreciated help!!
All your answers can be found in the wiki.
 
All your answers can be found in the wiki.
Many Thanks, Skydvdan1, for your prompt reply.

However, I haven't found any topic in the wiki that answers my questions. I know that this topic has been discussed many many times before, but I just need a clear image on how actually it is done. I feel like I'm at a dead-end and I can't continue my work!
 
An alternative is to check this tutorials section http://www.scenery.org/tutorials.htm There are a lot of items on GMax there
Thanks, scruffyduck.

Believe me, I searched for a week already, and I know what's in scenery.org, but unfortunately, nothing specific.

Here's what I'm doing:

I'm designing a complete scenery for Yerevan Zvartnots airport (UGEE) located in the Republic of Armenia. I'm using an aerial image that is 10240px by 3072px extracted from Google earth. I have modified it, recolored it, sliced it into tiles of 1024x1024 pixels. saved each tile as 24-bit .bmp file with each file having its separate alpha channel.

First, I tried using SBuilder to create the photo-real tiles, but the problem is that I get "separated tiles" (you get to see a tiny little space between each tile in FS), but the problem is that I also need to create aprons, therefore I need to use Gmax as an all-in-one design package.

Therefore, I created a plane in Gmax (I cannot figure out the real size I should follow. I only measured it with the google earth pro ruler tool), devided the plane to 10x3 sigments and then detached every one into a separate poly. I managed to create the sliced-materials with alpha and place them for each poly correspondingly.

What I need to know is: What's next? Shall I put it at level x=0, y=0, z=0, link it to a dummy and then apply Maxscript to it (object or plane, no crash) and then export it? how do I make sure that I'm doing the right thing??

Please help
 

scruffyduck

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
Sorry I am not a GMax expert. For the SBuilder problem the best place to ask is probably the forum at www.ptsim.com or alternatively the guys at http://www.scenery.org/tutorials.htm are very knowledgeable in using this tool. Also I wonder why you would need to use GMax since I believe it is possible to build the airport infrastructure for a photo real airport using AFCAD2. This would create things like aprons, parking and taxiways.
 
Sorry I am not a GMax expert. For the SBuilder problem the best place to ask is probably the forum at www.ptsim.com or alternatively the guys at http://www.scenery.org/tutorials.htm are very knowledgeable in using this tool. Also I wonder why you would need to use GMax since I believe it is possible to build the airport infrastructure for a photo real airport using AFCAD2. This would create things like aprons, parking and taxiways.
Well, because I want to have realistic taxi-way signs and parkings. I would like to create them myself to make look like the real ones. I managed to "sink" my afcad below the flatten layer, and now I'm doing the entire airport from scratch.
 
Hi Hamad ( is this your surname? )

I guess you are on the right way. One hint referring to the mentioned spaces between the tiles: you will have to do a little extra work:

You sliced the original photo into tiles with a size of 1024x1024 pxl. The problem is that the grafic engine "refuses" to draw the last pixel row at the edges (obviously). So the ground shines through at these areas. There are some ways to get rid of this effect. Personally I prefer to do the folling:

* in your graphics program copy each tiled photo into a new picture, but make sure that the size is bigger than 1024x1024 pxl (e.g. 1036x1036)- after inserting the copy you will recognize that you have a canvas around the photo ( this is ok)
* make a new layer and fill this layer with a colour very similar to the overall tinge of the photo
* make an alpha-channel wherever necessary - at the edges where the visual parts of the photo-tiles will have to be annexed file the canvas with white
* now resize the new picture to 1024x1024 pxl

* in GMAX make a squared plane for the first photo
* assign the photo to a material (for each tile one with the referring photo)
* with the wrap-modifier attach each material to the tile - it is now very important to carefully adjust the coordinates in the UVW-mapping according to the texture (obviously the values will not be 0 or 1; the correct value will have to be defined by try and error)
* you now can clone this plane as often as the number of photo-slices - just change the material assignments (the coordinates will stay the same for each plane)
* now attach all tiles with the appropriate materials to the overall picture
* now move the overall picture exactly to a reference point (e.g. the middle of the runway); if you have the reference-point of the runway (e.g. from AFCAD) you may use these coordinates for the 0/0/0 point for the tiles

As far as the export is concerned: use fs2002 gamepack and mdl-commander (there you will have to check to keep the files during compilation - you will have to manually tweak the asm-file to assign the proper level as described in the wiki). Use the coordinates to allocate the ground tiles corresponding to the investigated reference point (see above).

cu
 
Hi Hamad ( is this your surname? )

I guess you are on the right way. One hint referring to the mentioned spaces between the tiles: you will have to do a little extra work:

You sliced the original photo into tiles with a size of 1024x1024 pxl. The problem is that the grafic engine "refuses" to draw the last pixel row at the edges (obviously). So the ground shines through at these areas. There are some ways to get rid of this effect. Personally I prefer to do the folling:

* in your graphics program copy each tiled photo into a new picture, but make sure that the size is bigger than 1024x1024 pxl (e.g. 1036x1036)- after inserting the copy you will recognize that you have a canvas around the photo ( this is ok)
* make a new layer and fill this layer with a colour very similar to the overall tinge of the photo
* make an alpha-channel wherever necessary - at the edges where the visual parts of the photo-tiles will have to be annexed file the canvas with white
* now resize the new picture to 1024x1024 pxl

* in GMAX make a squared plane for the first photo
* assign the photo to a material (for each tile one with the referring photo)
* with the wrap-modifier attach each material to the tile - it is now very important to carefully adjust the coordinates in the UVW-mapping according to the texture (obviously the values will not be 0 or 1; the correct value will have to be defined by try and error)
* you now can clone this plane as often as the number of photo-slices - just change the material assignments (the coordinates will stay the same for each plane)
* now attach all tiles with the appropriate materials to the overall picture
* now move the overall picture exactly to a reference point (e.g. the middle of the runway); if you have the reference-point of the runway (e.g. from AFCAD) you may use these coordinates for the 0/0/0 point for the tiles

As far as the export is concerned: use fs2002 gamepack and mdl-commander (there you will have to check to keep the files during compilation - you will have to manually tweak the asm-file to assign the proper level as described in the wiki). Use the coordinates to allocate the ground tiles corresponding to the investigated reference point (see above).

cu
Thanks, Gianni.

I actually figured out a better way (I guess) and it worked just like a charm. I created a plane in Gmax, divided into 30 sigments, ditached each one of them into a separate polygon, created new materials from the sliced aerial image and applied it to the polygons correspondingly. Then I exported it to FS and the result was AMAZING (with a little tweaking of the .asm file, the aerial ground of the airport was crisp and clear. It lookes so good that I don't feel like adding buildings and terminals to it :).

I'm currently working on the aprons of UGEE. the only thing left to figure out is how exactly shall I place the taxiway lines and markings? Shall I create "tiles" that cover the entire airport? Or maybe I should create "vectorized" lines that I may later on fill with textures??

Your help is appreciated, anyone.

BTW, my name is Leo :)
 
Thanks, Gianni.

the only thing left to figure out is how exactly shall I place the taxiway lines and markings? Shall I create "tiles" that cover the entire airport? Or maybe I should create "vectorized" lines that I may later on fill with textures??
Hi Leo !

I suggest you to mix between polygons and loft things to draw the taxiways, the appron, the yellow lines etc.
 
Hi Leo !

I suggest you to mix between polygons and loft things to draw the taxiways, the appron, the yellow lines etc.
Hi SelfRuling :)

Thanks. This is exactly what I'm doing. I'm creating the taxiways using the loft method, while Parkings and Ground Marking are being built using simple planes that are slightly raised above zero-level.
 
Yes you're on your way now.

I usually export my photo layer polys as a low layer (say 8)

Then Freeze the photo layer in Gmax and I trace my taxiway/runway poly outlines and build up and export the second layer (12) containing all these "hard" surfaces.

Then on that I make a layer of lofted taxi lines and runway lines - Layer 16

Then on that I make another layer of polys for dirts, stains smudges, cracks, runway skid marks etc. - Layer 20.

I have them all in the same Gmax model, just each layer offset by Y=100, 200 etc to the (0,0) and I select and move each one separately back to 0,0 to export.

You shouldn't need to "slightly raise" anything with the FS2002 wiki method.
 
I have them all in the same Gmax model, just each layer offset by Y=100, 200 etc to the (0,0) and I select and move each one separately back to 0,0 to export.
Hi,

Is there any quicker method to do like this ?
I mean if it's possible to let the polys (in Gmax) above the ground ? And during the export, all the element will be at 0 level ?

Sorry for the pattern of my sentence, I hope you understood
 
I have found that unless you use the FS2002 gamepack, when you look at the ground polys from even a moderate distance off the ground they start z-fighing with the ground. On the ground they can look OK, but get to a few hundred meters and they start 'flickering' (probably because from 500ft, 1cm is effectively nothing and so the GP is drawn at 0m (???)). If you use the FS2002 gamepack, you don't have to raise the GP off the ground.

cheers

bungo
 
Hi Everybody,

I actually raise the planes with a very small percentage, say around 0.001m for every collection (aprons, taxiway lines, crack & dirt pads) and the result is very good in fs9, as I they look as if they were on 0-level.

Check out the snapshots of my progress so far. This is the airport scenery I'm designing for UGEE-Zvartonts Intl., Armenia. I so far from being done (I think it'll take a month, at least, to finish). Thanks to the help I got from FSDeveloper community, I feel as if I am on the right track.

A couple of issues remain unclear to me, like how shall I create the runway and taxiway lights, approach lights and seasonal textures. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Looks really good!

Are you saying you raise the ground polygons in GMax by 0.001m? I should think it is better to export each layer separately, and combine them into one .ASM file - should prove less problematic in the long run.

You should check the Wiki on how to combine files, and alter for seasonal variations! :)
 
Very nice results.

I have achieved the same results by having all the layers at 0m, without raising anything.

If you tweak the .asm files correctly, FS will determine the order by the layer number you assign.

Runway and taxi lights will need to be hand made now in GMAX, as AFCAD lighting unfortunately doesn't show through FS2002 ground poly work. I managed streamline this method by making a .mdl file for each colour light, then using a mass arrangment program like SceneGenX that takes .mdl objects and arranges them in lines to suit your taxiways. Approach lights I did the same way. It takes a long time to do though, this is the most time consuming part.
 
Hi Everybody,

mythandoryx;

Actually you and me working about the same project, but when i seen yours, i don't want anymore this project, and i don't have always time to do it too.

İ've the UGEE (Zvartnots-Yerevan) airport materials so when you need any pictures, details etc. i can always help you. My mail adress is here arno_aksu@yahoo.com

Here's my project:)

 
Hi Everybody,

mythandoryx;

Actually you and me working about the same project, but when i seen yours, i don't want anymore this project, and i don't have always time to do it too.

İ've the UGEE (Zvartnots-Yerevan) airport materials so when you need any pictures, details etc. i can always help you. My mail adress is here arno_aksu@yahoo.com
Dear Arno,

Many thanks for your email.

Trust me, I had no idea someone else was working on this scenery. Otherwise, I wouldn't have even started :) I've seen your progress and quite frankly, I am way ahead of you. My scenery is almost 90% complete. Still missing the administrative cargo & navigational buildings (all buildings except Terminal 1 & 2, which are complete). My problem is that I'M EXTREMELY SHORT ON RESOURCES. I need images, maps & materials for the other terminals so that I would have an idea about what I have to design :) If you will be able to provide me with the necessary maps for UGEE buildings I would really appreciate it, and your name will definitely be in the authors list. If your answer is yes, please email them to me at:

loai.hamad@gmail.com

or

i@loaihamad.co.cc

Believe me, I need those ASAP. As my launch date is next Thursday.

Your help is deeply appreciated.

PS: I have no idea how on earth am I gonna do the approach lights and taxiway lights. If you have any idea, please let me know.

Yours,

Leo
 
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