Several Questions about Making Changes to Ground Markings Using Sketchup and MCX

Hi, Arno,

I was told that you could probably answer some of my questions regarding using the MCX Correctly when Making changes to ground textures, or ground markings. What I mean by ground markings is the gate locations that is painted on the ramp, for example, C32. I've been working on this project for some time now and every time I get one thing solved, I have another, most likely because I'm not doing things right and don't have a full understanding of how it should be done, starting from the beginning all the way to the end. As far as I know, I should be able to succeed with this project using Sketchup and MCX. I have learned quite a bit. I know there are videos out there that go into some of these things, and I have viewed them, but they do not go into the things I'm trying to do here.

The project I'm working on is the FSDT KDFW and I'm trying to make corrects to the ground markings that were never correct from the beginning. From what I understand now, the entire airport ground uses an .mdl file with textures mapped over them. At first, I did not understand how those textures were mapped over the model, and how they assign a certain letter or number to a specific location, and how they get it to attach to the model using a texture file with letters and numbers on it. I won't go into that part of it so let me just start from the beginning using MCX and Sketchup.

First, I imported the original model into MCX. Using the Material Editor, I export it as a tiff file to a folder. Then I export the model as a collada, or dae file to the same folder. I then launch Sketchup and import that model, along with the textures. After hiding a few layers so that I could see the letters and numbers, I make the changes to the correct gate number for that location. Then I un-hide the layers and export the changes.

1. Now, here's what I'm unsure of when I import into MCX. When I import the mdl as a collada file, the model is now transparent, or blue, as I can see right through it. Why is it transparent and doesn't look like the original, even though the textures were also imported?

Import of model from Sketchup.jpg


Is it supposed to be transparent or do I need to make it opaque using the Material editor before compiling it? I've done it bother ways, and the problem I run into is that the ground markings are no longer visible when I set the model to opaque in the Material Editor. If I leave it transparent, the ground markings are present. Now let me say that even though the ground is transparent in MCX, it is not transparent in the sim. The entire airport ground is opaque and renders. However, should my model be opaque and show just like the original?

2. I figured I need to go into the Material Properties and set all of the values for each texture to match that of the original. But the thing I've noticed is that, for example, some of the values are set to 255, 255, 255 for the specular color in the original model, but when I set it to the same, I get a very bright hot spot, which I kind of figured would happen. So, I set the values back to what they were. It could be something else I might not have done correctly. So, my question is, should my values match those in the original?

3. When I zoom out in the sim, the area where I've been working is brighter than the rest of the airport. What is causing this?:


KDFW Ground Map.jpg



As you can see, you can see the outline of the model.


4. I don't know if this plays a part in any of the issue but I am getting error warnings when I export the model in MCX:

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning: Degenerate poly detected in file (C:\Users\Kenneth\Desktop\Temp\tmpCA1A.x) mesh (Part14)

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning : Face vertex 0 x=527.7874 y=295.6311 z=0.02501

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning : Face vertex 1 x=527.8687 y=277.0406 z=0.02501

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning : Face vertex 2 x=527.7061 y=314.2216 z=0.02501

This tells me that I did something wrong.


Ken.
 
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arno

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Hi Ken,

I think the main issue you have is the when you export to DAE you loose all FS specific material settings.

I think the transparancy is due to the alpha being used for specular or precipitation. But when you import the DAE MCX doesn't know that and uses it for transparency.

But would it not be easier to just make a new model for the things you want to change instead of trying to modify the work of others?
 

arno

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You might also be able to copy all material settings over if you make a template of the original settings and apply that again after importing the DAE file.
 
Hi Arno:

With regard to Ken's most recent prior thread on this topic, could you please clarify whether / how MCX may be able to help reduce the work-flow required to create and restore such Material Templates in MCX Material Editor, when many textures are mapped onto a 3D model:



Many thanks in advance for your advisement on this process in MCX, that may benefit from some further explanation. :)

GaryGB
 
4. I don't know if this plays a part in any of the issue but I am getting error warnings when I export the model in MCX:

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning: Degenerate poly detected in file (C:\Users\Kenneth\Desktop\Temp\tmpCA1A.x) mesh (Part14)

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning : Face vertex 0 x=527.7874 y=295.6311 z=0.02501

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning : Face vertex 1 x=527.8687 y=277.0406 z=0.02501

8:04 PM XtoMDL Warning warning : Face vertex 2 x=527.7061 y=314.2216 z=0.02501

This tells me that I did something wrong.
This happens if part of the normals of the polygons and vertices are turned inside out and mixed with a three-dimensional model. Most often this happens due to the collapse of the vertices during the transformation of thin parts and inverted axes. Sometimes it’s easier to create a new part in 3D MAX than edit it.
 
But would it not be easier to just make a new model for the things you want to change instead of trying to modify the work of others?
Because making a new model would require a lot more work and time to start from scratch and would not look near as good as the one I'm trying to work on now. All I need to do is to correct the ground markings from the original, and at the same time, I'm getting some experience and better understanding about MCX. I'm just not sure yet just how to use that template, and that is one of the things I did not do. But after importing the model back into MCX, I did transfer the values from the original to mine. I thought that was all I needed to do. Thanks for your advisement.

Ken.
 
This happens if part of the normals of the polygons and vertices are turned inside out and mixed with a three-dimensional model. Most often this happens due to the collapse of the vertices during the transformation of thin parts and inverted axes. Sometimes it’s easier to create a new part in 3D MAX than edit it.
I don't have 3D Max but I do have G Max and Blender. I have some knowledge in using them but I would need more knowledge or tutorials that explains this in detail. I'm not just sure what you mean by creating a new part. How would I go about creating that new part, and are you referring to the part I'm working on?

Ken.
 
Hi Ken:

You should not incur this anomaly if you follow all procedures for configuring MCX and Sketchup 'Options' already discussed in this thread: ;)

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/things-that-ive-noticed-when-i-export-an-object-into-sketchup.446569/

I have followed the procedures for configuring MCX. Regarding Sketchup, you mentioned when I import a dae file to disable, or uncheck 'Merge Coplanar Faces' in the Options dialog. I'm not sure if that's correct. If I disable that, that separates the boxes and faces into 2 halves, and I cannot edit the entire face or box when editing the numbers. What I mean is that when I change the C32 to C39 in the box, I'm not able to move, or position the entire number. It divides the number 2 into two sections because of the triangle it makes. It appears to me that this should be checked. When working with the layers, it also separates the layers into 2 pieces. Unchecking this would entirely change everything.

Ken.
 
https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/several-questions-about-making-changes-to-ground-markings-using-sketchup-and-mcx.446617/post-835085

I have followed the procedures for configuring MCX. Regarding Sketchup, you mentioned when I import a dae file to disable, or uncheck 'Merge Coplanar Faces' in the Options dialog. I'm not sure if that's correct. If I disable that, that separates the boxes and faces into 2 halves, and I cannot edit the entire face or box when editing the numbers. What I mean is that when I change the C32 to C39 in the box, I'm not able to move, or position the entire number. It divides the number 2 into two sections because of the triangle it makes. It appears to me that this should be checked. When working with the layers, it also separates the layers into 2 pieces. Unchecking this would entirely change everything.

Ken.
Hi Ken:

Indeed, the above result with a default *.DAE import (in both Sketchup-8 and Sketchup 2017) ...is a consequence of:

Sketchup Menu > File > Import > Collada Files (*.DAE) > [Options...] button > Un-check "Merge Coplanar Faces".


I suggested testing Sketchup *.DAE file import, by disabling / unchecking 'Merge Coplanar Faces' in [Options...] dialog, to assist in determining whether any transparent superimposed Faces / Layers may otherwise be lost during Sketchup import.

[EDITED]

If you have determined that any original FSDT SimObject transparent Faces / Layers superimposed over the ground markings sub-objects / ModelParts are NOT lost during Sketchup import of the KDFW_sett07_sf.mdl - derived 3D model exported by MCX, then certainly you may wish to test en-abling / checking 'Merge Coplanar Faces' in [Options...].

[END_EDIT]


Alternatively, you can also test what your results will be when you manually delete the diagonal line on the Faces for (only) the ground marking sub-objects / ModelParts, so they are (1) Face each when you edit them, (and leave the rest of the 3D model intact).

GaryGB
 
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Hi Ken:

Indeed, the above result with a default *.DAE import (in both Sketchup-8 and Sketchup 2017) ...is a consequence of:

Sketchup Menu > File > Import > Collada Files (*.DAE) > [Options...] button > Un-check "Merge Coplanar Faces".


I suggested testing Sketchup *.DAE file import, by disabling / unchecking 'Merge Coplanar Faces' in [Options...] dialog, to assist in determining whether any transparent superimposed Faces / Layers may otherwise be lost during Sketchup import.
Hi Gary,
I guess I should have already mentioned this but yes, I've already tested with the 'Merge Coplanar Faces' unchecked. It did not make any difference. Another thing I forgot to mention is that under Options in MCX, and selecting 'Object Model Settings,' setting 'Collapse Model Parts' to False has not made any difference regarding how the textures are exported or imported. I still get only 17 textures, no matter which one is selected. I've already tested the settings you posted and has not made any difference.

[EDITED]

If you have determined that any original FSDT SimObject transparent Faces / Layers superimposed over the ground markings sub-objects / ModelParts are NOT lost during Sketchup import of the KDFW_sett07_sf.mdl - derived 3D model exported by MCX, then certainly you may wish to test en-abling / checking 'Merge Coplanar Faces' in [Options...].. [END_EDIT]
Well, let me put it this way. When I export the model and textures to a folder, and they all go to the same folder from MCX, all 27 textures are in that folder, and with their correct names. So, I assume by this that no textures have ben lost when exported from MCX. It's when I export the dae file from Sketchup is when that are only 17 textures. Tom did say that Sketchup would combine the same material into a single part, if 'Collapse Model Parts' is set to True under the Options in MCX. I've set this to False and it still does the same thing. The other thing I've noticed is that the textures do not have the same original file names, and Sketchup assigns them generic 'auto' file name. I could be wrong but here's what I think is happening. When I'm looking at the original textures in MCX Material Editor, there are 3 files with the same name kdfw_23, 3 files with the same name kdfw_24, 5 files with the same file name kdfw_32, and 3 files with the same name kdfw_33, and each of these file names have the same image. kdfw_23 all have the same image. kdfw_24 all have the same image, and the same applies to 32 and 33. But here's the thing, and you've probably noticed it. What I'm thinking is that Skechup is combining those with the same file names. Each of these layers, stacked up on top of the others all have a different material editor value, and since it looks like that is the case, there is no way to individually apply the settings to each one if Sketchup combines them together. I'm not sure if I'm correct but that's just my thought. But anyway, I have tested regarding those setting in the Options and they have not made any difference.

I've watched Arno's video on the Material Editor Template, and watched it several times. To me, this video is for those that already have some thorough knowledge in the Material Editor Template and already understand it's workings. I have some idea but I still do not fully understand it.

Ken.
 
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Hi Ken:

I plan to do some further testing and verification of what Options settings may have an impact on the mapped texture Materials count exported by MCX versus after import / export by Sketchup, and when subsequently re-imported by MCX.


FYI: Since we are working with a multi-level 3D model and not a G-Poly (although the base / lowest portion of that 3D model is intended to 'function' and be displayed as a G-Poly), we cannot import it into MCX via the MCX G-Poly Wizard, and must ensure that no mapped texture Faces are lost or merged with other adjacent Faces.

BTW: Although Sketchup can inherently distinguish and work with layers that are 1/200th of an inch thickness as 'thin' Faces when in the manual modeling / editing process within the work-space, most plugin Ruby scripts (...including those used for default import / export features ? :scratchch ) may fail to distinguish and work with layers that are less than 1/2 of a Millimeter thickness; so we must be certain no step in the import / export / re-import process causes mapped texture Faces to be merged with other adjacent Faces or otherwise 'lost'.

GaryGB
 
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Hi Arno,

I want to know specifically. When I import the dae into MCX, after editing from Sketchup, does the model supposed to show up opaque after its loaded? Or does it show up transparent and it becomes opaque after applying the textures using the Material Editor? And did you specify in your reply above as to what is causing the blooming effect from the top down view in flight simulator, after compiling the model from MCX? It looks like you replied in reference to the transparent dae but nothing as to what was causing the blooming effect. I still do not have a clear understanding of what's going on and exactly how to use the template mentioned here. I've tried several things but not sure if I'm correct, and I have viewed your video.

Ken.
 
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Hi Gary,

In MCX, did you say that I need to make a template for each of the textures and use them to export to Sketchup for editing? Or do I create the templates after importing from Sketchup?

Ken.
 
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arno

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Hi Ken,

I want to know specifically. When I import the dae into MCX, after editing from Sketchup, does the model supposed to show up opaque after its loaded? Or does it show up transparent and it becomes opaque after applying the textures using the Material Editor? And did you specify in your reply above as to what is causing the blooming effect from the top down view in flight simulator, after compiling the model from MCX? It looks like you replied in reference to the transparent dae but nothing as to what was causing the blooming effect. I still do not have a clear understanding of what's going on and exactly how to use the template mentioned here. I've tried several things but not sure if I'm correct, and I have viewed your video.
It depends on your textures. If your texture has an alpha channel, MCX will always assume that it should be used for transparency. So in that case it will show up as transparent. Even though the alpha channel might also be used for specular effects. So in that case you first need to restore the correct material settings for the model to render correctly again. If the texture has no alpha channel, it will show as opaque.

I think the blooming effect is also caused by having different material settings. What I would do is make a material template of the original settings (just add all attributes of the material to the template). Then after you import the DAE apply that template to the material again, so that everything is set the same.
 
Hi Gary,

In MCX, did you say that I need to make a template for each of the textures and use them to export to Sketchup for editing? Or do I create the templates after importing from Sketchup?

Ken.

Hi Ken:

Please review the prior info cited and linked above, quoted below for your better recollection:



Hi Ken:

As alluded to above:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/things-that-ive-noticed-when-i-export-an-object-into-sketchup.446569/post-834829

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/things-that-ive-noticed-when-i-export-an-object-into-sketchup.446569/post-834851


...AFAIK, to accurately reproduce the original "un-edited" FS run time display of FSDT KDFW_sett07_sf.mdl after editing the ground markings, you must:

* First create a MCX Material Editor Material Template for each mapped texture

* Export that 3D model from MCX as a Collada *.DAE

*
Edit the ground markings in Sketchup

* Export from Sketchup as a Collada *.DAE

* Re-import that Collada *.DAE into MCX

* Restore the MCX Material Editor Material Template for each mapped texture


FYI: Due to a lack of MCX documentation and/or syntax differences in MCX > Options parameter value names from the Kronos Group Collada *.DAE specification terminology, as well my own limited available time for testing, I am not yet certain as to whether you may retain further fidelity of the original FSDT KDFW_sett07_sf.mdl after editing in Sketchup, via toggling of 'granularity' settings for MCX' Collada *.DAE 3D model import, by configuring this parameter value to:

MCX > Options > Importer Settings > DAEReader > Object Per Node > (True)


I have some other time-urgent priorities I must attend to, and may not have an opportunity to further reply until later Saturday or Sunday this weekend.

GaryGB
 
Hi Arno,

Thanks for your reply above. I've noticed that the Material Editor allows for removing textures but there is no Add button to add, for example, edited textures. Is it possible that you could add this feature to MCX? I believe it would make things easier if it had this feature where I can add textures to the Properties in the Material Editor.

Also, I wanted to be sure I'm doing this correctly. The file I'm working on is an .mdl file, not a bgl. So, when I export the model back to flight simulator, I export it as an .mdl file, just like the original. I was wondering if this file is supposed to be converted to a bgl file using the Library Maker before placing it in the sim, and this is the reason why I'm having that gostly image, or whatever you call it, in the top down view. I assume that MCX .mdl files can be used for this purpose.

Ken.
 

arno

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If you want to add a texture you can just type the name in the correct texture attribute in the material settings. Or you can use the ... button to get a dialog to select it.

If you want to place an object in the scenery you would have to convert it to a BGL in general to give it the placement. But since you can see your modified object in the sim, it doesn't seem you have problems with this.
 
If you want to add a texture you can just type the name in the correct texture attribute in the material settings. Or you can use the ... button to get a dialog to select it.
I do not understand where you're referring to. Where is the "material settings, and where is the texture attribute"? And what button are you referring to get a dialog to select it? If you're referring to the material editor, I do not see anywhere I can type in the name of my texture nor to add it to the model. Can you be more specific?

Ken.
 

arno

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Hi,

It's the material editor indeed. If you scroll down the textures section of the setting you can just enter the name of any additional texture you want. In the screenshot below I typed a new texture for the bump map.

1579283883317.png
 
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