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FSX:SE General 3ds Workflow

Discussion in 'Modeling' started by DecoFox, 13 Apr 2017.

  1. DecoFox

    DecoFox

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    Alright, I see, the problem was I'm an idiot. In my defense, it's a little odd that airwrench works backwards from a few of its parameters while developing others procedurally, but I guess it makes sense given what the program can and can't reasonably know. Got it figured out. Once I'm through with the FSX version of this I think I'll make an X-plane version as well; I'm curious to see how closely a blade element model resembles the .air I came up with, and will post results when I get to that.


    In the interest of helping out googlers from the future, my issue had to do with inadvertently forcing airwrench to create dynamics for an unreasonably slow airplane because I was under the impression that the top speed variables were procedural like the stall speed variables. They are in fact static targets that airwrench adjusts induced drag (and possibly other things) to meet.
     
  2. DecoFox

    DecoFox

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    Update: Things have been going pretty well

    [​IMG]
    My exterior animations are finally sorted out, the internal control animations are in (save a buggy throttle), and I've been playing with sound design to moderate success. Most everything I'm working on now I know how to approach, save this bit of panel work.



    [​IMG]
    Panel Bumpmaps are excessive (easy fix) but nicely lit

    [​IMG]
    Panel washes way the hell out when exposed to artificial light, including the parts that don't actually have anything bumpy painted on them (the flanking wood).

    I recall having seen this issue in other addons so I suspect it isn't completely resolvable, but I'd like to know for sure. The bump map could be scrapped without much loss if necessary, but I'd definitely rather keep a more reasonably bumpy version of it.
     
    antaris likes this.
  3. lionheart

    lionheart

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    Cool looking plane! You are really going far on this, especially on Materials.
     
  4. kalong

    kalong

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    wood texture bump map too high and rough, need to reduce.
     
  5. tgibson

    tgibson

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    That's exactly what he said in that post. :)
     
  6. DecoFox

    DecoFox

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    Thanks. In the end it's probably not to my credit, but I'm very bad at starting basic. Usually I end up throwing myself at a new skill because I want something I know I can't get unless I do it myself. Definitely not the most streamlined approach to learning things, but it's dragged me through most everything I can consider myself good or serviceable at these days.

    Kind of surreal hearing it from you. I remember flying lionheart aircraft at about ten years old; I wouldn't have dreamed of doing something like this back then. You ought to know you helped fuel another decade of sim obsession, a private license, and whatever this thing is.

    Already fixed the hideous slime wood; haven't figured my way around the wash out though. I did find that allow the fresnel ramp its diffuse check mark appears to correct the issue, but at the cost of a completely black material. The bumpmaps will light correctly that way though.
     
  7. Paul Domingue

    Paul Domingue Resource contributor

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    Have you considered baking a light map in Max? Something I've seen others do with great success and which I intend to try on my latest project.
     
  8. lionheart

    lionheart

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    I want to try that as well.

    lol... Hope they were fun planes. My teacher was Bill Lyons, and a lot of these guys. So from Bill to Bill to you....
     
  9. DecoFox

    DecoFox

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    Is the idea with baked lighting to replace the bumpmap all together and render it unnecessary? That probably would be best, but I'm not sure how I'd get it to respond to exterior lighting in a believable manner, especially since it seems like I'd need two self-illumination maps, one with the cabin light off and one with it on, which doesn't appear to be possible. Even then, I don't imagine it could be made very convincing in natural light, especially at evening and dusk.

    It also occurred to me that the better approach might be to use the baking to eliminate the artificial light rather than the bumpmap, such that turning on the light in the simulator doesn't actually do anything on the interior, and its effect is simulated by self-illumination of affected parts. That seems a lot more viable, though it would require rendering to texture for most every object on the airplane, and some way to disable the artificial cabin light on the interior. For all I know that's possible, but I haven't run into how yet.

    Either way I don't know that my texture work is really good enough to warrant the effort, but its probably at least worth figuring out.
     
  10. DecoFox

    DecoFox

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    Gauge and Panel overhaul in preparation for gauge animations, since I wasn't too thrilled with it before.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I also have versions with just the tritium and just the backlight. Not sure which of the three versions I like so far, though back-lit only is pretty classy looking. Tritium only has a bit of a 90's vaporwave feel. Needles still need textures/Tritium stripes, and presently everything not the Altimeter is an airspeed indicator, but I'll get to that.


    Any pointers on gauge setup and calibration, particularly for engine gauges? I'm not actually clear on where those parameters exist functionally either, though I'm guessing they're floating around in the config file somewhere. Airwrench doesn't seem to make mention of things like oil pressure/temperature ranges, water temp, etc.
    Is it generally better to skin an animated gauge to make sense, or calibrate a gauge to its skin? I figured the latter would be the way to go for easy trial-and-error verifiable gauges like airspeed and altitude, but I'm not really sure how to approach the process on gauges I can't pull the actual values for from the Shift-Z menu, which is part of why I've put off creating faces for the engine gauges.

    On the material side of things, I'm shooting for chrome-ish polished metal on the clusters, though it's also occurred to me to go brass like before. I have yet to produce anything that looks very good in either category since I don't totally understand how FSX handles reflectivity, though I am making some progress. I'd like to get to something similar to this
    [​IMG]
    Or, if I go brass, this
    [​IMG]
    I'm pretty sure I'd have to do some baking if I wanted cabin reflections like the chrome in the first picture, but I'm a bit skeptical of baking in an open cockpit airplane where the light doesn't always come from the same place and won't necessarily make sense. If that is indeed the case, I think reflection patterns as seen in the brass image would do for either. I've been poking around in the p-51 textures, since the effect on the bare metal liveries seems to be pretty close.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2017
  11. ErickC

    ErickC

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    How FSX handles reflections depends on material settings, but it all depends on environment maps. I don't remember the specifics, but some material settings blend the environment map into the diffuse (i.e. are additive) and others just replace it (which is how it used to work in FS8 and 9, I think). The reflection effects, to my eyes, have always seemed sort of logarithmic, that is, that going from pure white (255) to, say, 230, has a much bigger effect than going from 50 to 0 (once you get below 80 or so, it will tend to look more or less like pure environment map, in my experience). I would suggest rendering a texture that reflects a relatively minimal amount of its surroundings - enough to give an impression - for the diffuse texture, and then using a moderate amount of reflection (say, an alpha value of 128) to make it look convincing to the eye when the airplane or camera moves. Whether you want a brass look or a chrome look depends on the overall hue of the diffuse map.

    While not FSX, on a related note, later versions of P3D have real-time environment maps, which just render everything around the object. If I had a computer that was DX11-compatible, I would be using P3D and abusing the ever-living-crap out of that feature.
     
  12. DecoFox

    DecoFox

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    Thanks, I've started getting a decent brass going based on the chrome info in the documentation. Unfortunately it conflicts with itself a bit (new aircraft procedures section recommends different configuration than material editing section), but I haven't fully worked out the difference anyway.

    [​IMG]
    This is using the stock DC-3 cubemap as per the tutorial though, so my gauges reflect inexplicable terrain. I'm not entirely sure how to go about creating my own, especially since the horizontal and vertical arrangements are technically the same piece with the same mapping and textures, just rotated 90. (Hence the 90* horizon line crossing the oil and fuel gauges). I'd rather not develop separate materials for them all since I designed them from the ground up to share, and I'd prefer a distorted, featureless reflection like that seen in the clock in my last post anyway. How might I go about building an "environment" map that might offer that sort of effect? I can't get specularity to do it on its own.

    On a related note, is there anything to be done about the apparent massive overreflectivity in dark conditions? Is it just not bad in sim? I've been putting off a test export because I completely replaced all the panel models and will have to do a lot of housekeeping.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2017

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