Texture formats overview

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Direct X Texture formats (DXTn) are licensed use of S3 Graphics Ltd S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) technology.

S3TC Format Comparison

S3TC (aka DXTn or DXTC)

DXT4/5 use an interpolated alpha scheme, they generally produce superior results for alpha (transparency) gradients than DXT2/3.
Some consider DXT5 to be the most flexible general purpose compression codec.

FOURCC FS versions Description Alpha premultiplied? Compression ratio Texture Type
DXT1 All ¹ 1-bit Alpha / Opaque N/A 8:1 Simple non-alpha
DXT2 Not supported Explicit alpha Yes 4:1 Sharp alpha
DXT3 All Explicit alpha No 4:1 Sharp alpha
DXT4 Not supported Interpolated alpha Yes 4:1 Gradient alpha
DXT5 FSX only Interpolated alpha No 4:1 Gradient alpha

Notes

  • ¹ DXT1 with an alpha may cause transparency issues in FSX SP2.
  • Mixing DXT1 & DXT3 textures may cause performance problems.
  • For any packages requiring dual FS9 & FSX compatibility, to minimize any transparency issues, recommend using DXT3 type .

Tools

Tool Description Rating Availability URL
Image Tool Official - All formats manipulation * * * * * SDK SDK
DXTBmp 16/24/32 bit and DXT Extended Bitmap Manipulation * * * * Freeware Click button at foot of page (SizeMb)
Tool Name Descriptive blurb ????? Payware Download Page (SizeMb)
ColorPix Colour grabbing tool. * * * * * Freeware Download Page (SizeMb)
  • DXTBmp - Not suitable for generating FSX DDS textures, (incompatible type output).
  • ColorPix - Useful for colour-matching when correcting overlaid transparency issues.