Ultra High Resolution Photo Real Scenery in Prepar3D
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Thread: Ultra High Resolution Photo Real Scenery in Prepar3D

  1. #1

    Ultra High Resolution Photo Real Scenery in Prepar3D

    With all of the conversation focusing on the upcoming release of Microsoft Flight in 2020, I thought I would shed some light on what can be done with ultra high resolution photo real scenery and hand annotated autogen in FSX/Prepar3D. If Microsoft Flight will be using Google satellite geo-data, the resolution will be lower than what is shown in this video. While I think that the new offering from MS will be spectacular and great to fly, I know that a higher level of rendering resolution is easily achievable in P3Dv4 64bit, which is a much more flexible platform, and 3rd party friendly.

    The departure is out of KMMH Mammoth Yosemite, one of my WIP scenery projects and explores the back country terrain between Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite, focusing on the San Joaquin river valley and the high country near the Minarets. The video below was originally shot in Prepar3Dv2.5, but illustrates how effectively an ultra realistic environment can be achieved in later versions as well. When we realize that Prepar3Dv5 will most likely offer a new and comprehensive PBR rendering engine, it is noteworthy that height mapping may be made available for aircraft and scenery design. Observe the texture of the granite surfaces and boulders in the video and realize that all of that detail will be renderable in full 3D, at high resolution. The custom autogen in this scenery was my own technology that dramatically improved performance in FSX and P3D. Take note of the softness and natural appearance of the trees and brush.

    Also a heads up for the community, I have created a new YouTube account and will be adding video focusing on aircraft and scenery development, techniques and tutorials for those interested.

    Jump to minute 5:55 for the pretty bits and music.
    Last edited by gman5250; June 14th, 2019 at 16:19.
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  2. #2
    Charter Member 2015 delta_lima's Avatar
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    Really impressive. Thanks for sharing, Gordon.

    Out of the myriad improvements I've seen from my FSX to P3DV4 transition (and I knew this going in) is the quality of textures and terrain quality is still not massively impressive. Granted, if it was, would my machine be able to take advantage of it? Likely not, but I do think there's lot of room for improvement at the core of the simulator's scenery rendering engine.

    Interestingly enough, I'd say more progress has been made over the last decade in my other sim interest (Orbiter) than the progress we've seen over that same period in the FSX/SE/P3D family. Granted, graphics were better to begin with in the latter than the former a decade ago, but my point is it seems we've hit a bit of a wall with these sims, where other sims (and from my knowledge of XP11) have made increases.

    So all that to say, it's exciting to see our sim making some progress on scenery provisioning front.

    dl

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by delta_lima View Post
    Really impressive. Thanks for sharing, Gordon.

    Out of the myriad improvements I've seen from my FSX to P3DV4 transition (and I knew this going in) is the quality of textures and terrain quality is still not massively impressive. Granted, if it was, would my machine be able to take advantage of it? Likely not, but I do think there's lot of room for improvement at the core of the simulator's scenery rendering engine.

    Interestingly enough, I'd say more progress has been made over the last decade in my other sim interest (Orbiter) than the progress we've seen over that same period in the FSX/SE/P3D family. Granted, graphics were better to begin with in the latter than the former a decade ago, but my point is it seems we've hit a bit of a wall with these sims, where other sims (and from my knowledge of XP11) have made increases.

    So all that to say, it's exciting to see our sim making some progress on scenery provisioning front.

    dl
    Thanks dl,

    One of the frustrating aspects of developing scenery specifically has been the limitations of the antiquated FSX and P3D platform. The resources and tools are readily available for a developer to create hyper detailed landscapes, but the simulator buckled under the load. If LM moves into a new engine in V5 or later iterations we may see those limitations removed. If we can access height mapping it would dramatically improve the appearance of photo real scenery. Ultra high resolution geo data is already available as well as high def mesh. If we add LIDAR imaging we can really go to another level. What has been lacking is an engine that will interpret all of this data.

    Will LM be inclined to outgun MS or possibly go beyond a Google Earth sim? Not sure my friend, but things are looking up.
    Last edited by gman5250; June 14th, 2019 at 18:55.
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  4. #4
    Hi Gordon,

    Many thanks for the excellent video! 👍 I'll be subscribing to your YouTube channel 😉

    I was wondering what your definitions of "height mapping" and "LiDAR imaging" are?

    Thanks again

    Andy


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  5. #5
    That movie is indeed magnificent! And thanks for informing us about your new youtube channel.

    I think the future of flightsim is indeed looking great: we have P3Dv5 and the new M$ Flightsim to look forward to!

    Cheers,

    Priller

  6. #6
    Charter Member 2015 delta_lima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airtrooper View Post
    Hi Gordon,

    Many thanks for the excellent video!  I'll be subscribing to your YouTube channel 

    I was wondering what your definitions of "height mapping" and "LiDAR imaging" are?

    Thanks again

    Andy


    LIDAR or LiDAR = Light Detection And Ranging. A method of collecting geospatial data from overflight (in the case of earth surface terrain). Basically using laser pulses, you get a 3D “imprint”. Of terrain or anything else that obstructs the path of the laser.

    Ever see those funny desktop toys where a cradle holds hundred of perpendicular metal pins, and you press your hand into it and you leave a handprint?

    http://www.bitsandpiecescanada.ca/pr...oaAvUbEALw_wcB

    In LIDAR, the pins are the lasers, the hand is the earth, and the imprint is a digital map/model.

    Hope that helps.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Airtrooper View Post
    I was wondering what your definitions of "height mapping" and "LiDAR imaging" are?
    As dl pointed out, LiDAR can develop a 3D model. The amazing thing is that the data is so precise it can even interpret objects as small as leaves on trees. Theoretically, it would be possible to generate super accurate autogen and geomesh using LiDAR alone. We're not there yet, but learning the technology and exploring potential techniques is part of my study.

    Height mapping is do-able now and is used in many computer games already. If and when LM integrate full PBR capability we may see those options become available in P3D. Height mapping is similar to bump mapping, but uses white to black w/gray scale to determine the height of an object. White is the highest value with black being the lowest. The gray scale determines the variations in between. Height mapping can be used to develop geodata into hills and mountain ranges, but it can also be used to develop subtle terrain features like rocks and boulders, which means we could theoretically enhance photo real scenery like that shown in the video to render the physical features of stone, gravel etc. in the simulator. Height mapping could also be used on aircraft models to develop details like stretched fabric panels over wing ribs or fuselage formers/stringers without the resource intensive process of building the mesh to create those details.
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  8. #8
    Thanks both, but I think you might have misunderstood the question. The question wasn't "what does the acronym LiDAR stand for"*... the question was what is your definition of "LiDAR imaging"? Are we talking BIL/Geiger/Single-Photon? The same applies to "height mapping"... are you talking topographic models (2.5D), mesh (3D) or even points clouds? I'm not trying to be Dr Pedantic here, just seeking clarification on the terms you're using in this fascinating topic. You could say I'm seeking to ensure we're using the same ToR... or on-the-same-page, so to speak


    *My line of work is airborne and terrestrial laser scanning, i.e. ALS & TLS, analogue, analytical and digital photogrammetry (esp. aerial survey), topographic survey, satellite imaging, GIS and 3D modelling... not boasting, just for context in the light (pun!) of this discussion!


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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Airtrooper View Post
    My line of work is airborne and terrestrial laser scanning, i.e. ALS & TLS, analogue, analytical and digital photogrammetry (esp. aerial survey), topographic survey, satellite imaging, GIS and 3D modelling... not boasting, just for context in the light (pun!) of this discussion!
    When ever someone uses the word pedantic, my mind automatically replays that classic "pedantic one" scene from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.

    Thanks for clarifying your inquiry and expertise. As far as the sim goes, I'm sitting back and observing how and where LM may introduce these technologies and hoping to be modestly equipped to explore any SDK that may accompany a sim capable of rendering new data sources. I'm still in the freshman stage with LiDAR and a couple of dozen other mind numbing arenas i.e. PBR, Ray Tracing and the like. Trying to cram all of that data into my rather abused cranium, and refine any useful techniques keeps me busy enough.

    As we may move forward into these areas I'll be more than happy to accept input from those who specialize in these sciences.

    Your comments are very much appreciated sir.
    He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
    Thomas Jefferson

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