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Photoreal Scenery from Single Images

gadgets

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I recently began updating my CYYJ to include the new taxiway and expanded main terminal apron and to use photoreal images in place of the existing rather-bare vehicle parking lots (GP parking lines on asphalt with a few scattered vehicle models). Since I had two sources of suitable orthophotos, I thought the latter process would be easy. I was wrong!

My first approach was to use custom GPs to place extended bitmap format images appropriately masked with an alpha channel. While that meant I was constrained to binary-multiple-sized images with a limit of 1024 for FS9, custom GP's did seem to "do the trick" - until I "discovered" GPs suppress autogen and could only be used in flattened areas. (Please don't remind me I developed ADE-GP; I'm already suitably embarrassed.) While I could "live" with the autogen suppression in parking lots, my initial success with GPs had prompted me also to use photoreal imagery in other areas to "real-up" my airport, areas that were not flat and that couldn't be flattened. I then turned to sBuilderX's Map function. While I was eventually successful in creating a map for one of the parking lots, the process was very tedious and the slightest mis-step necessitated going back to "Square 1". Since I planned to create more than a dozen images, that wasn't a process I wanted to endure. Then I turned to the Internet. There were innumerable items covering the creation of photoreal terrain using tile servers, but precious few dealing with single images. However, one "pointed" me to the Terrain SDK and, in particular, resample.exe. The multitude of parameters for resample.exe and the apparent complexity of the SDK example was an initial "turn-off". But then I realized I needed only a small portion of resample.exe's capability and that mechanical generation of the .INF file should be simple. A day later I had a working tool.

Given the results I am achieving (I'm not done yet) , it occurred to me that others could probably make use of this capability, i.e., virtually single-click creation of custom terrain (once the images - of any size - and masks where necessary have been created and the NW and SE corner geographic positions identified). So I spent a little time over the past couple of days "removing the warts" and creating a basic user manual.

Earlier today I posted "Image2PhotoReal" to my website http://stuff4fs.com. It's available from the Developer Utilities menu. (If you've visited the site recently, you may have to clear your cache to see it in the menu.) If you do download and install it, be aware you'll have to copy resample.exe from any Terrain SDK into your Image2PhotoReal folder. (Microsoft's and LM's EULAs prevent me from including it in the Image2PhotoReal archive.)

Comments/suggestions appreciated.
 

tgibson

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Interesting. Since I've never used photo scenery before, what are the limitations? Does it suppress autogen? Do you need to provide your own? Does the ADE airport lie on top of this?
 

gadgets

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ca-britishcolumbia
Photoscenery is custom terrain. In the case of single-image photoscenery, it can be visualized as a mesh-adhering custom ground poly that displays below airport ground-based elements (i.e., runways, taxiways, aprons) . Unfortunately, it does suppress autogen in unmasked areas. The "jury is still out" as to whether or not autogen shows through in all masked areas or if its selective.
 

gadgets

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The "jury has ruled". Autogen is NOT suppressed in masked areas of this photo-scenery. The problem I was having was due to a change I recently made for test purposed and neglected to undo.

The posted version of Image2PhotoReal has been updated. Anyone who installed the initially-posted version should download and install Image2PhotoRealo 1.0.0.1, now available from http://stuff4fs.com - Developer Utilities menu.
 

tgibson

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So you could use it as a ground polygon underneath runways and taxiways, just like many people have asked for. Instead of creating the shape of the polygon in Blender or other 3D program, you create the shape by drawing the mask to that same shape. Interesting indeed.

And you are saying that unlike ground polygons, they do not suppress autogen in the areas outside the visible polygon itself? Ground polygons often suppress autogen for a significant distance beyond them. That would be a great help.
 

gadgets

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That's what I am saying.

As for custom ground polys, it's the bounding box that suppresses autogen, not just the visible portion. For example, if you plot a runway center or edge line that runs continuously for, say, 1000', depending on the runway heading, autogen would be suppressed over an area of up to 500,000 sq.ft. (That's what the Auto-Group Size is meant to control; it breaks up long lines to limit the size of the bounding boxes.)

But, there's another issue that I suspect comes into play with both GPs and custom terrain generated by Image2PhotoReal. It's been my experience that autogen is not usually generated right to the edge of landclass. Using a treed landclass as an example, the "trees" are often (I haven't checked them all) set back some distance from the landclass boundary. So, on small or narrow areas, there is less autogen than you'd hope for.
 
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