Painting FSX planes
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Thread: Painting FSX planes

  1. #1
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    Painting FSX planes

    Ok, trying to paint an FSX plane, the Aerosoft DHC-6 Twin Otter, to be specific. I’ve painted FS9 planes before, so I know the basic steps, but this is my first foray into FSX painting, and the old steps aren’t working.
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    Here’s what I’m doing:
    <o></o>
    1. Adjust Photoshop files as desired.
    2. Select All, copy-merged, flip image vertically, Save as 32-bit BMP file.
    3. Open BMP with DXTBmp, import alpha channel, save as DDS 888-8 32 bit.
    4. Save new DDS files to texture folder in FSX.
    <o></o>
    So now I'm done right? But FSX crashes when I select my new plane from the list of planes. Right at the point that FSX would show the rotating plane that you have selected to fly, but before you select “Fly Now.”
    <o></o>
    The FSX SDK does not appear to address painting, and the awesome CA Classics painting tutorial is still about FS9. I suspect I’m missing a crucial and probably simple step in the process…
    <o></o>
    Thanks in advance!
    <o></o>
    - Paul

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  2. #2
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    Hmm, I just found the "flip image" options in DXTBmp... I'm guessing I was supposed to do the "flipping" there, and not in Photoshop. Off to try...
    - Paul

    MB: GIGABYTE GA-X299 UD4 PRO ATX
    CPU: Intel(R) Core™ Processor i9-10900X Ten-Core 3.7GHz
    MEM: 32GB (8GBx4) DDR4/3000MHz Quad Channel
    GPU: GeForce(R) RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB GDDR6
    OS: Win 10 Pro 64bit

  3. #3
    The flipping thing is relative. If you're working form an existing texture.. i.e. opened a DDS file with DXTBmp.. it's already "flipped". So if you intend to save to DDS with ImageTool (highly recomended).. you have to UN-flip it first.. because ImageTool flips as you save to DDS. If you are working with a raw, paint-kit.. chances are it is NOT already flipped.

    Here's how I do it from an existing DDS texture:

    Open with DXTBmp.. send to editor from there.. edit as desired.. save the 'norm'.. 'reload after edit' into DXTBmp. Send the alpha to the editor if need be.. save and reload from within DXTBmp.. Flip BOTH the image and alpha in DXTBmp, and save as an extended, DXT5 image (use a different name for the bmp). Open the DXT5 bmp with ImageTool, and save as a properly named DDS file.

    Now of course a repaint is a long, sometimes several day (week) process.. so you won't simply 'send to editor' and 'reload'.. I'm just showing the logical steps that ensure probelm-free painting.

    Now.. the flipping logic would not cause the crashing.. I suspect it's a file format thing.

    Also.. make sure you use different file names for the DXT5 step. FSX is supposed to look for DDS files first, but I've seen problems when there are extended (XXXXX.bmp) files in there with XXXXX.dds files (same name).

  4. #4
    I do the flipping in DXTbmp (if necessary), and save as DXT5 dds.
    Apart from that, I can't see anything wrong.
    Are you trying bare metal? otherwise the alpha can be just a white square.
    Do you have the right size of the textures? it should be 1024 x 1024, (or 2048) anything else will crash FSX.
    You can find most of my repaints in the library here on the outhouse

  5. #5
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    Well, using ImageTool to save the BMP to DDS seems to have done the trick.

    I'm working from the paint kit provided by Aerosoft. So I saved the PSD files as 32 bit BMPs, then I was using DXTBmp (version 4.00.82) to save them to DDS format. There is a newer version out there, might it be needed for FSX? Have to check that out.

    Anyhow, when I used ImageTool to save to DDS instead of DXTBmp, the plane loads without crashing FSX.

    Thanks, all!
    - Paul

    MB: GIGABYTE GA-X299 UD4 PRO ATX
    CPU: Intel(R) Core™ Processor i9-10900X Ten-Core 3.7GHz
    MEM: 32GB (8GBx4) DDR4/3000MHz Quad Channel
    GPU: GeForce(R) RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB GDDR6
    OS: Win 10 Pro 64bit

  6. #6
    Yeah.. I've had enough mixed results saving to DDS with DXTBmp, that I just don't try it any longer. ImageTool only, for FSX/DDS.

  7. #7
    Use DDS DXT5 format - you'll find the memory saving considerable and you'll not see any difference.
    Greetings from Chris Brisland a.k.a. "Eagleskinner" a.k.a. "Dances with brushes" a.k.a. "Old One-Eye". I've not come unravelled yet and I am painting again.

    My paints can now be found on my website

  8. #8
    Nvidia offers a free DDS plugin for Photoshop. Eliminates the need for DXTBMP completely. I always add the alpha channel to paintkit PSD, so when I'm doing the flattening and flipping, alpha channel remains untouched in the final DDS.


    http://developer.nvidia.com/object/p...s_plugins.html

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by CBris View Post
    Use DDS DXT5 format - you'll find the memory saving considerable and you'll not see any difference.
    Why did MSFS got to DDS ?

    I was taught that it's more efficient at rendering.. AND saves the "flip" step.

  10. #10
    DXTbmp flips the images automatically in the latest version.

    or...

    Simply open any of the textures that come with the model and simply take note of the orientation. Of course, FSX also accepts other bitmaps but DDS DXT5 is the best choice with alphas.
    Greetings from Chris Brisland a.k.a. "Eagleskinner" a.k.a. "Dances with brushes" a.k.a. "Old One-Eye". I've not come unravelled yet and I am painting again.

    My paints can now be found on my website

  11. #11
    EgoR64
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    I'm trying to do a quick Paint for my Air Services in Air Hauler(by The way Very addicting) - Two Kodiaks, 208, C130, DC-3, Lear-45 so far, LOL - Though I'm - 5-mil in the hole)

    I cannot afford Photoshop, so I'm using Free 2.6 Gimp, with DDS Plugin -
    I have FS Repaint V2, I use it to change up the Colors a Little, nothing Fancy, and place the Decals on there which you can flip easily, I do my little paint job and pull it into Gimp to change the Hue or whatever, then Save it as DDS and pull it into the Image Tool, Save it as DX5 and invert the Alpha Channel, My problem is I do not know how to adjust the Alpha, tomuch Alpha looks Wierd -




  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by CBris View Post
    DXTbmp flips the images automatically in the latest version.

    or...

    Simply open any of the textures that come with the model and simply take note of the orientation. Of course, FSX also accepts other bitmaps but DDS DXT5 is the best choice with alphas.
    I understand the flipping logic.. Normally oriented bitmaps need to be flipped on a software level, before rendering. When FSX sees a DDS file, it knows that it can skip that step. So a DXT5 file is at a disadvantage from the start.. not to mention that DDS compression/decompression is more efficient.

    Why use DXT5 when a simple ImageTool conversion creates DDS ?

  13. #13
    Ego.. Gimp is fine.. but save as regular bitmap from there. There's nothing gained (prob something lost) compressing it at that point.

    Use DXTBmp as a conduit for adding the alpha channel.. and save as DXT5.. THEN use Imagetool to convert the DXT5 into a DDS.

  14. #14
    EgoR64
    Guest
    :ernae: Very Cool, Thanks Brett !! Will Give that A try !!

    :ernae:

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Brett_Henderson View Post
    I understand the flipping logic.. Normally oriented bitmaps need to be flipped on a software level, before rendering. When FSX sees a DDS file, it knows that it can skip that step. So a DXT5 file is at a disadvantage from the start.. not to mention that DDS compression/decompression is more efficient.

    Why use DXT5 when a simple ImageTool conversion creates DDS ?
    If you open default FSX planes in DXTbmp and look at the top left hand corner you will see:



    DDS and DXT5. Get my drift?
    Greetings from Chris Brisland a.k.a. "Eagleskinner" a.k.a. "Dances with brushes" a.k.a. "Old One-Eye". I've not come unravelled yet and I am painting again.

    My paints can now be found on my website

  16. #16
    Incidentally - GIMP is just as good as Photoshop. The only negative side of this open source program is the lack of 'official' support.

    If I'd had GIMP 15 years ago I'd never have invested in Corel. GIMP is a damn good piece of software.
    Greetings from Chris Brisland a.k.a. "Eagleskinner" a.k.a. "Dances with brushes" a.k.a. "Old One-Eye". I've not come unravelled yet and I am painting again.

    My paints can now be found on my website

  17. #17
    DDS and DXT5. Get my drift?<!-- / message -->
    No.. LOL :isadizzy: that just confuses me...

    Are DDS and DXT5 one in the same ? the only difference being that one is flipped ? and FSX knows this because of the DDS extension ?

  18. #18
    Or does that mean that the DDS file was created FROM a DXT5 (which is what I've been saying is the best way to do it) ?

  19. #19
    DXT is compression format, DDS is fileformat. DXT5 is the best quality compression. You can do uncompressed 32bit DDS files if you want. So if it reads DDS DXT5, it means it's DDS file which is compressed using DTX5 algorithm.

  20. #20
    DDS files can use a number of different compression schemes, including DXT1, DXT3, or DXT5. Just because it's DDS doesn't mean it's a particular compression. I think that's what Chris was trying to say.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by bushpilot View Post
    DXT is compression format, DDS is fileformat. DXT5 is the best quality compression. You can do uncompressed 32bit DDS files if you want.

    That makes sense.. I just dug up the textures from my C177RG.

    I used DXT3 for those... I opened one with ImageTool, and save it as a DDS..

    Then opened THAT with DXTBmp, and saw that it was "DDS DXT3"..

    OK then,, understanding that DXT5 is the best compression, and DDS is "only" a file format.. why even bother with DDS ?

  22. #22
    Well beats me, probably DDS offers better frames over BMP. My knowledge on the issue end right there LOL.

    Choices are:

    32bit BMP

    DXT compressed BMP

    32bit DDS

    DXT compressed DDS

  23. #23
    There's gotta be something more to the DDS step. As noted earlier.. the poster's problem was solved when he used ImageTool, instead of DXTBmp for the DDS conversion (and why I wouldn't do any compression/conversion at an editor via plug-in).

  24. #24
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    I could never get DXTBmp.exe to compile my DDS textures right. Then nVidia came out with the famous Photoshop tools that can create DDS and bump maps.

    If you do not have Photoshop, then the newest version of FSX ImageTool can do what you need, and it has autoflip in it when compiling to DDS format.

    On formats; You can use only 2 for planes; DXT5 and 888-8. If another works (for planes), I do not know about it. DXT3 doesnt work, (in DDS format).

    Regular format.....DDS-DXT5
    High Rez.............DDS-888-8 (32bit)

    High Rez takes alot of memory, so some are making the files double size (2048 instead of 1024 in pixels, square size), and keeping them in DXT5 format/resolution. Does the same as 888-8 with 1024 size, but DXT5 is 'faster' for the computer.

    Thus.....

    Regular textures with no details should be 1024 size, DDS-DXT-5 format.

    High detail texture sheets.... Double size at DDS-DXT-5 or normal size 1024 with DDS-888-8 32Bit high rez.

    With Photoshop, you can assign DDS textures to always be opened by Photoshop, so you can go straight into a model folder in FSX and start opening them directly with Photoshop (if it has the nVidia tools in it). Really awesome. Just flip them over to work on them rightside up, then flip vertically again when done, save as DDS.

    Now.... If (if) you have a super computer, and you love massive detail, you can go quad size (4096) and save as DXT-888-8 high rez DDS format, and you will have amazing detail. But no one paints in 4096 (that I know of.. Chris might though. He is really into high details). So if the work isnt in 4096, its not worth it. If it is though, its well worth it. But you need the PSD files (layered originals) to burn the DDS from. Bloating up a 2048 to 4096 will 'not' create new detail, so you're best off keeping it at its present detail level as you will not improve it.


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  25. #25
    Thanks, I've learned a lot here.
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