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Thread: How to create photoreal scenery for FSX

  1. Default

    Thank you jyd.
    I really don't want to skype, usually I don't have time for it. And I'm in Europe, so it would be difficult to find a time which is suitable for both of us. Seems easier to me here.

    So first you download different seasons for the same map in SBX? This way I save them into several BMP files which I compile into one BGL in the end? I'll try to play with it next time I'm at my computer.

    When I make the night map and save it as "xxxxx_N.bmp", I compile this together with the daytime map into one BGL with resample.exe?

    Thank you if you provide some short answers. I use GIMP by the way.

  2. #422


    labrat- I do get the same discussion about Skype. Future reference- You can use or not use Skype. It is free. no camera needed just microphone. can turn shut it down when not needed.
    I've had Skype for years.... no problem whatsoever. Europe? No problem Here's why:

    I have Skype friends in Scotland, England, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and guess what!! Thailand also!!

    since I am retired I can talk with them when THEY are available.

    Anyway- keep all that in mind to consider at another time as you see fit.


    Now - back to business.
    No you do not download different seasons. You will use only your summer download and will use that. Other than that, yes, you will compile your seasons as you said, but you make your own seasons.

    Here are the correct tags to use:

    Summer is- su

    spring is- sp

    autumn is fa

    winter is wi

    hard winter is hw

    night is N

    water mask is W

    Gimp is fine.

    You always start with your bmp you downloaded from satellite. You do Not change the file name of that, but for each season you will add the appropriate tag as I posted above. thus...... example- LXxxxxxxxxxxx34567_N.bmp, or LXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx34567_hw.bmp, etc. THEN save or export from Gimp.

    All this will save to your work folder in SBX. Next you will right click the edge of your map in SBX and choose properties. Now- see the tab called seasons? click that. going to choose night? choose night and you are taken to work folder and you choose the bmp with _N. If you don't see anything go bottom right and choose 'all files'.... sometimes SBX is too dumb to realize yo u have bmps there! hahaha. More later.

  3. #423


    Night version:
    You really should get a screenshot of your airfield at night so you have a reference what default night looks like at your airfield. (i.e. how dark is it? what color are the lights in the surrounding area?
    open your bmp with your gimp. Make a layer (some guys make two- one yellow)... one you can call 'dark' or 'night' or whatever.

    using your layer slider on 'dark' layer, slide it over until it gets really dark but you can still see roads and such on your bmp.

    Now get your paint brush adjust hardness to maybe 30 or so (you want it to have fuzzy edges), and opacity to about 15. (yep - that isn't much but gives you more control)

    Brush size ... make it a little bigger than an intersection of two roads. (you can adjust all these as you see fit).

    Now click once to drop a splotch of yellow right in an intersection... doesn't look bright enough? in the same place click a few more times until it is bright yellow to your liking.... too bright? hit undo a couple of times to back off the times you clicked. You can also make your brush smaller and more hardness and more opacity and click once in the center to make it look like that is where a light bulb is!!! The point is... you fuss with it as you see fit and have fun doing it.

    When done run your slider back to where you can BARELY see any objects (roads etc) in the bmp. Compare to your picture of your airfield at night to get how dark the area is at night and how bright the lights are I default and what color (usually yellowish - orange.)

    Now merge your layers and SAVE AS OR EXPORT ( I think that is what Gimp says), BUT DO NOT CHANGE THE NAME BUT ADD THE _N TO IT.

    This should save to your SBX work folder.

    Now refer to the above instructions in my previous post. Then compile your photoreal. Rename your photo and put it in your active scenery and go see.

    both post took about 45 minutes of typing and thinking - so as not to give erroneous instructions.... would have taken about 10 minutes on Skype.

    I'll bet your night map looks great!

    BTW- tired of clicking 2,000 times just to get to SBX's work folder? Create a shortcut for that work folder and put it on desktop somewhere.

    I have a folder that has a bunch of "tools" I use for designing. The less time I spend trying to navigate all over my machine to get somewhere -the more time I have designing!

    Let me know how things work out for you.

    Have any default ground sticking out beyond your photo at the seashore? I have an easy trick for that.

    Last edited by jyd; 10-20-2017 at 11:26 PM.

  4. #424


    My offer extends to anyone here for help, Skype, etc. Love doing this on Skype so much easier. This helps others when I the past so many have helped me. what goes around comes around. Bob (JYD)

  5. #425


    raziz- that is the usual problem with google dll. tough to find the current one. Once you do it is fine - for a couple of months - then it changes and you go though all this again.

    I use VE also. funny color now and then? You can get that from any satellite image.

    Get Metrix at so easy to use. free. at the end of one year it turns off. just go there again after DEC 31 and get another... always free. Joshua Rubin says so.

    it is only for 32 bit paint programs. will not work on 64's. Gimp not sure either way.

    Take a screenshot of your area and use that as a template for colors you want. or if there is good color in your map you can use it right there as well. You will be surprised at how well you will be able to change the colors in many areas to "clean up" the funny color in your map sometimes kinda purple (if it happened) and make it really tough for anyone to tell where your photoreal leaves off and default begins!!! Bob

  6. #426


    yes- looks good. But follow my instructions and you can change that funny color to the surrounding area. Also - that looks like a square.

    Take your bmp to your paint program and color everything white you want the user to see and everything black you DON'T want your user to see ( i.e. default) Then take your smear or smudge brush and smudge the sharp line between your black and white... use a large brush... hardness about 46 and opacity about the same.

    When done save as a TIFF file (TIF) and leave the file name the same but tag it with _B

    This is what is called a blend mask. You will be ecstatic at your results. Bob

  7. Default

    Wow, thank you so much. Sorry for not replying, I was away for the weekend.

    Now it's quite clear to me. One more thing. Maybe I just did not read your tutorial carefully, but you didn't mention how to make the different seasons.
    I guess then for winter I should whiten the downloaded satellite image, right?

  8. #428


    Raziz- That is the usual problem - tough to find the latest google dll. Often when I find one it is not the latest.... and so on... anyway we finally find one but it has the same problems as the others, then a few months later it doesn't work anymore!!

    VE is decent, but as with others sometimes you get that purple-ish gray tint.

    I use Metrix for that. Now- I am not sure if it will work in GIMP. Metrix is a 32 bit thing and will work only in 32 bit paint programs.

    Even though GIMP comes in versions of 32 bit I am still not sure if it will work in GIMP 32, but you can try.

    download from the link I sent above unzip and follow instructions. Then take that plug in and put it in your Gimp plug ins (if you are using GIMP).

    it is so very easy to use!!!

    To make sure the color in my photoreal matches the default surround area, I take a screenshot of the default area and us that in the same paint area as my bmp.

    This way I can grab the wanted color and put it in the bmp where I want.

    Results: very difficult to tell where your photoreal ends and default begins!!! Bob

  9. #429


    The best way to do seasons is:

    take a screen shot of spring, fall, winter, and / or hard winter. (I usually do fall and hard winter only unless there is a drastic difference in the others in the area in question).

    I then bring my original bmp satellite into my paint program along with the seasonal screenshot I made as a reference. (ALWAYS start off with your original bmp!!! and when done tag it with the seasonal tag I sent)

    I then have a reference as to what that season looks like in THAT area!! Then try to match colors as to what you see in the seasonal screenshot.

    This is where Metrix again comes into play (yes you can perhaps do all this with the tools within GIMP or other paint programs, Metrix is so easy to use and does such a good job).

    For hard winter I would suggest using a slightly off white color (so yo do not get red splotches) as to match your default snow, but adjust the opacity of your brush so your 'snow' does not blot out objects in your bmp. (have to play with this a bit).

    Next - try drawing a select-line precisely around roads and then choose in your effects I think - or adjustment of colors- a sepia tone. This colors roads with a slight brown look as if the road were plowed and left a bit muddy. <--- nice winter road effect.
    That is tedious work but fun and rewarding.

    SO- Each season is done by you manually.

  10. Default

    Thank you so much, I'll try my best according to your tips.
    I'll let you know how it went with my scenery.

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