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FSX [SOLVED] FSX - (Noob) - Cockpit panel "Repaint Challenge"

Ronald

Resource contributor
Messages
967
Background on this project is to re-create an "As-real-as-it-can-be-simulated" copy of the Robin Dr400 "PH-SVT" of Vliegclub Rotterdam"
- https://www.jetphotos.com/registration/PH-SVT
1_rikoooo_fsx_robin_dr400_download.jpg

1 - As free FSX "base materials" I've chosen these fine free Rikoooo Robin download packages:
- https://www.rikoooo.com/downloads/viewdownload/51/765 - Robin DR400 for FSX
- https://www.rikoooo.com/downloads/viewdownload/51/196 - Robin R2160 for FSX

2_fsx_robin_dr400_panel_imagefile_information.jpg

2 - Both installers did their work flawlessly and I ended up with these folder structures inside

3 - I want to adjust the default 2D flightdeck (background bitmap) of the DR400 to become an (almost) exact copy the PH-SVT:

See an few examples of real-life PH-SVT flightdeck on the links below:
- https://www.airplane-pictures.net/photo/415946/ph-svt-vliegclub-rotterdam-robin-dr-400-ecoflyer/
- https://www.airplane-pictures.net/p...gclub-rotterdam-robin-dr-400-135cdi-ecoflyer/
- https://www.airplane-pictures.net/p...gclub-rotterdam-robin-dr-400-135cdi-ecoflyer/

4 - My current digital toolbox contains:
- Microsoft Windows 10 - Home Edition - PC Operating System
- Gimp - Version 2.8 ---------------------------------------------- https://www.gimp.org/
- The famous DXTBMP tool - Latest version: (V4.00.77) ------------- https://www.mwgfx.co.uk/programs/dxtbmp.htm
- XNview - for extracting up image information -------------------- https://www.xnview.com/en/
- ImageAnalyzer - for digging up more detailed image information: - https://meesoft.com/Analyzer/

5 - Up Next: Finding a good basics FSX (native) repaint tutorial:
- I've searched the FsDeveloper Wiki, but couldn't find one, which suited my needs.
- I've scraped the rest of the Internet, but I have not found one which covers the absolute (repainting noob_level) basics.

So I more or less i started to extract information from those tutorials I was able to find and got started. Here is how that process went:
- Found the R400 on Rikoooo
- Installer worked flawless and gave me this ../Simobjects/Airplanes/DR400 folder structure
3_panel_1_1024_768_8bits.jpg.. 4_panel_2_1024_768_32bits.jpg
- The /DR400 folder contains 2 /panel subfolders
-- 1st panel: 1024*768 pixels - BMP file format - 256 color panel
-- 2nd panel: 1024*768 pixels - BMP file format - 32 bits color panel

6_dxtbmp_opening_panel2.jpg

When opening panel2, (the 32-bits variant) DTXBMP kept the file in the same resolution

5_dxtbmp_opening_panel1.jpg

When opening panel1, ((the 25 color variant), DTXBMP started to spontaneously "convert" the resolution from 1028*765 into 1024*1024.
Why? I have no idea? and I was not able to find out why this keeps happening
- nor from the DXTBMP documentation that gets install on your local harddrive.
- nor from pages on the DXTBMP authors own website.


6 - MY CURRENT SITUATION:
I'm now able to import (directly or via DXTBMP export) to repaint / create multi-layered images inside Gimp.
I save the image in native Gimp format (.XCF) for later use. And this is the point where I got totally stuck :-}



To be continued in the next part below
 

Ronald

Resource contributor
Messages
967
Part (2/2)

MY QUESTIONS FOR THE DTXBMP AND GIMP USING REPAINTERS ON THE FSDEVELOPER COMMUNITY:

7_exporting_gimp_panel1.jpg..8_exporting_gimp_panel2.jpg
QUESTION 1 - "HOW CAN I GET THESE REPAINTED AND ALREADY SAVED-IN-NATIVE-GIMP-XCF-FORMAT IMAGE BACK INTO FSX"?


In order to be able to fully understand how this repaint-stuff "is working-under-the-hood" I've already mapped out the entire DXTBMP workflow (see the image below)
9_dxtbmp_under_the_hood_overview.jpg Copy.jpg



7 - What have I done already myself?
I've already used a lot! of different combinations with:
- "Gimp-to-BMP" file_format export options
- "DXTBMP-into-FSX" file_format export options

But... somewhere along both "export-pathways" (the orange arrows and lines in the image above) things keep screwing up.
And by screwing up I mean:
- a complete black panel area / entire FSX 2D full-screen cockpit view.
- distorted (vertically) smaller panel background images. (image is much smaller then the original image)
- misplaced / out of position gauges on the exact same panel.


8 - FINAL REMARKS:
NOTE1: I have started all used tools via Windows10 [Run-As-Administrator] menu-option.
I do this to avoid any type of file_access_rights / unable-to-save-my-work errors.

NOTE2: I completely shutdown and restart FSX after having tested just 1 (newly modified) panel .
I do this to avoid FSX aircraft (re-)loading issues and make sure FSX loads the replaced and modified panel-file.

NOTE3: I do not change anything inside the ../DR400/panel_name/panel.cfg file. I do not alter anything else.
I have only (backed-up and) deleted the original panel image_file.
I then replace this file with the ([n]th-version of the) exported DXTBMP image_file.

NOTE4: When putting back the original DR400 panel file, everything works fine (again).



QUESTION 2 - ON "WHAT ARE THE DIGITAL TOOLS YOU USE AND WHAT IS YOUR EXACT WORKFLOW YOU FOLLOW TO REPLAIN FSX-PANELS? (AND TEXTURES)" ?


Any (further) hints, tips and tricks to get my repainted texture back in its cockpit are very welcome at this point
 

Ronald

Resource contributor
Messages
967
A little update for the opensource loving community on my DR400 panel repainting project:
fsd1_2D_panel.jpg

1 - I've remade the entire 2D panel to match the real world "PH-SVT" from her cockpit poster and the Robin DR400 Pilot Operating Handbook.


fsd1_3D_panel_dr400.jpg

2- Currently busy, doing a rework on the Robin DR400's 3D/VC cockpit, only based on native FSX gauges and some freeware (Garmin's ) gauges.

3 - TIP: I've found a true freeware Gem along the way:
The "Gimp-to-DDS" import/export plug-in, complete with a human understandable and readable manual !

-https://code.google.com/archive/p/gimp-dds/ ----------- The Gimp to DDS plugin download location
-https://www.gimp-forum.net/attachment.php?aid=2871 - The manual.

So goodbye to the days of Aces Studio's ImageTool.exe, Just open, save (in native GIMP xcf format), edit your texture inside the Gimp and export straigth into FSX compatible DDS / DXT texture formats.
 
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