Reflective Shine vs Sheen
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Thread: Reflective Shine vs Sheen

  1. #1

    Reflective Shine vs Sheen

    These two are not interchangeable and maybe slightly misinterpreted at times. With that out of the way, is it possible to achieve a reflective shine on a surface when the diffuse alpha is not present in the model and all you have are the bumps and specs? Just to be very specific, reflective shine is basically the ability to see my reflection in the surface. Sheen, on the other hand is what I see right now using just bumps and specs. . .a soft luster that picks up the light as you move around the surface. . .no reflection.
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  2. #2
    In my very humble opinion, this is not really possible with FSX. If you have an alpha you can get something out of a painted surface but to get a proper gloss finish you need P3Dv4.4+ and PBR. However, if the alpha is not active you could use MCX to make it so and, again from my limited experience a good alpha and spec will get you a very nice metal finish, as good as PBR (again only my humble opinion). Spec on it's own,if pale enough, will give a nice sheen to metal but looks odd on paint. I strongly recommend you try MCX to activate the alpha; quite easy to do.

    Best of luck

    DaveQ
    'Always do sober what you say you'll do when you're drunk. It'll teach you to keep you mouth shut' - Ernest Hemingway

  3. #3
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Falcon the only method I know that will do this in the absence of a good alpha is to place a copy of the Global Env Chrome Texture file into the relevant texture file for the aircraft. Difficult to tone down but if you then change the alpha tweak it back a bit it is a neat and effective method, I picked this up somewhere in the developer world some time ago.

    Here are two shots showing you what happens, this is JBKs Sandringham, the aircraft was painted and hence never shiny aluminium (like all flying boats) but the putting the Global Env Chrome into it and then tweaking the alpha produced a passable effect. Not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for but it was the only way I could get this to happen.


    This is just using Global Env Chrome



    This is just using Global Env Chrome with the alpha tweaked ( a bit of trial and error to get it right)



    I was fascinated how effective this was even though you would think it should happen using global textures, but it does not but for some reason it does this if you copy it into the aircraft texture folder. Thanks to some kind soul at FS Developer for the tip.

  4. #4
    It's not possible Falcon. The Global method applies the Globalenvironment map to the entire texture. Including parts that you don't want to have reflection. Like panel lines. Or dirt. You need the alpha and the model itself to be set correctly. Specular controls the detail in the light bloom and the bloom itself. The model definies the Specular strength or size of the bloom, and the spec.file will determine how much of that is visible based on the white to black in the texture. It's opposite of alpha in that white areas are "light" and black is none specular. Pure white usually results in to high contrast. Pure black is no light dispersion. Which is also wrong for surface areas. However not for intake areas where you don't want highlights.

    DaveQ is right though, you.cant really get a good gloss paint look in FSX compared to PBR. However there are some.methods to getting the paint to look pretty good and not look like a colored metal. I can share those if you wish. But a prerequisite is that the model is set to use the inverse of the Diffuse Alpha channel as the reflection generating texture.
    Commercial AS/MEL & Instrument
    Certified Airplane Nut

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 000rick000 View Post
    It's not possible Falcon. The Global method applies the Globalenvironment map to the entire texture. Including parts that you don't want to have reflection. Like panel lines. Or dirt. You need the alpha and the model itself to be set correctly. Specular controls the detail in the light bloom and the bloom itself. The model definies the Specular strength or size of the bloom, and the spec.file will determine how much of that is visible based on the white to black in the texture. It's opposite of alpha in that white areas are "light" and black is none specular. Pure white usually results in to high contrast. Pure black is no light dispersion. Which is also wrong for surface areas. However not for intake areas where you don't want highlights.

    DaveQ is right though, you.cant really get a good gloss paint look in FSX compared to PBR. However there are some.methods to getting the paint to look pretty good and not look like a colored metal. I can share those if you wish. But a prerequisite is that the model is set to use the inverse of the Diffuse Alpha channel as the reflection generating texture.
    And more to the point of your question... The model surfaces need to be set up appropriately ahead of time when they are created. You can't just change the grey value of the alpha channel to get what you want. Rick understands the details much more than I, but there are many options of surface types that can be set up in FSX using the combination of Alpha channels, specular maps, and bump maps and assigning how the Globalenvmap.bmp works depending on how you set up the model when the model is created.

    But, to add some hope, I do believe you can use ModelConverterX to change and modify these assignments, which is what I think many of the people doing "FSX Native" conversions are doing (or they are modifying the GMax models directly).

    If you're willing to dive in and learn a lot, I'd head over to the https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/ website where there are multiple forums discussing the details of these subjects.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveQ View Post
    In my very humble opinion, this is not really possible with FSX. If you have an alpha you can get something out of a painted surface but to get a proper gloss finish you need P3Dv4.4+ and PBR.
    Actually I've been applying a nice "high gloss" shine to FSX paint jobs for years with a very simple alpha

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveQ View Post
    I strongly recommend you try MCX to activate the alpha; quite easy to do.
    Can you elaborate? It's only quite easy if you know what you're doing.

    Thanks for your response
    USAF Retired, 301st Fighter Wing, Carswell AFB, Texas
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 000rick000 View Post
    . . . . .DaveQ is right though, you cant really get a good gloss paint look in FSX compared to PBR. . . . .
    Invariably I always discover that I should have added much more specific info when asking a question as wide ranging as this. Soooooo, right off the top P3D_V4+/PBR not at all interested. I am a livery artist in the very basic of terms. I am working on a model that was converted to native FSX. . .I don't do metal at all, strictly paint on all surfaces, I do my own panel lines and rivets with both looking very 3-dimensional when complete (no bumps, no specs unless I have no choice). I add a very nice high gloss using a simple alpha and I go fly.

    I was told by someone who PM'd the developer that the alpha is not turned on in this model. . .hence my simple question. . .can I get what I want with only specs and bumps. . .it seems the simple answer is no. I thank everyone for their responses and all very good information for others who may have had the same or a similar question in mind at one time or another.
    USAF Retired, 301st Fighter Wing, Carswell AFB, Texas
    My SOH Uploads: http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforum...erid=83&sort=d

    Current System Specs:
    X-Plane 11.26 and FSX/Accel | Windows10 64bit
    Motherboard: MSI760GM-E51(MS-7596)
    CPU: 3.9GHz AMD FX-4300 Quad-Core | RAM: 16GB DDR3 1333
    GPU: NVidia GTX 970 (4GB GDDR5)

  8. #8
    Falcon,

    If you want the Alpha Turned on.....and I don't understand why they wouldn't have done it???? It wouldn't do anything and if left pure white wouldn't even be active.....I'm sure there's someone here would gladly do the conversion for you! adding alpha is the easiest thing probably to do in MCX. I'd do it for you but I no longer have my FSX stuff installed including the SDK....But merely a matter of ensuring that each external texture gets the tagged with Reflection uses the INVERSE DIFFUSE ALPHA with an Alpha setting = 1 for all external parts. Good luck.

    Can you do it without. You could try to get away with it using the Specular. But if you don't do that either, then you're out of luck....
    Commercial AS/MEL & Instrument
    Certified Airplane Nut

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