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Next-generation scenery generating?

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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby statto » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:08 am

Microsoft's product looks great, I'm interested to see how it performs, what subscription service it requires and how it serves up the scenery.

Let's take a look at something slightly more practical: Comparing the photo here viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36145#p354466 to a Google Satellite of the area.

What we really need to focus on is the small details. Often landing on runways has felt a bit weird in FG because the runways have been scaled to feel much bigger or smaller than in real life.

The cliffs in the Wollongong shot are a little too dramatic, but other than that, the representation's sensible. What we really need is for someone to take the next step into texture blending with land cover transitions and higher definition textures. If we can make something look good on the ground, it will still look good at altitude. It will be hard work, but I think it's definitely possible, but we need to be focused on draping things over the triangulated mesh as opposed to burning the triangulated mesh into the ground.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby bugman » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:14 am

bugman wrote in Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:23 pm:I would have liked to have seen this integrated...


Note that, despite this, I would not have personally used photoscenery.

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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby Thorsten » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:36 am

What we really need is for someone to take the next step into texture blending with land cover transitions and higher definition textures.


Well, the technology is there (and has been there for a long time) - there's just no scenery providing landclass data encoded as raster image yet.

If we can make something look good on the ground, it will still look good at altitude.


Actually not - these are two separate problems. Tiling for instance is hardly ever problem at low altitude, but can be devastating at high altitude. Small-scale overlays make a lot of visual difference at low altitude but are negligible at high altitude.

So you really need to take care of low and high altitude visuals separately.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby wlbragg » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:24 pm

Microsoft's product looks great, I'm interested to see how it performs, what subscription service it requires and how it serves up the scenery.

That was my very first concern when I saw the video and learned about the techniques deployed to achieve it.

I still think machine learning and pattern recognition of satellite imagery could help us with our scenery, especially if we're intent on global scenery accuracy, to see the world mostly as it really is. If I have a choice, at minimum, I want accurate landcover, roads and building footprints in my scenery. That is what adds the "wow" factor for me. As wonderful or cool as modern game scenery can be, artistically speaking, for a flight sim, for me, it requires accuracy as well.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby frtps » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:15 am

statto wrote in Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:08 am:
Let's take a look at something slightly more practical: Comparing the photo here viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36145#p354466 to a Google Satellite of the area.

The cliffs in the Wollongong shot are a little too dramatic, but other than that, the representation's sensible.


I'll take sensible (and anyone with a CC-BY photo of the Illawarra escarpment on a cloudy day). As statto might be implying, cliffs, being vertical surfaces, are not captured at all well in satellite shots. Here is one of those Wollongong cliffs in Google maps. I wouldn't fancy trying to realistically render the cliffs based only on that shot and a DEM.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby statto » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:23 am

Can you please take your flight model bickering to another thread?
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby bugman » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:51 pm

A number of posts were split off to the new topic Fundamental FDM design problems.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby V12 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:15 am

helijah :

I tested photoscenery in FSX via TileProxy. It is simple service for download satelite images and use them as texture for terrain mesh. It is very nice, but only in specific situation because TileProxy doesn't modify that images for example different seasons, no snow, no color shift in autumn etc. Next drawback - in FSX with TP user lost autogen objects - buildings, trees, water bodies, rivers, roads etc. Generally, TP is not usable for low level flying. For pilots flying almost over FL180 is good, except seasonal colors or snow effects. Photoscenery without additive techniques is not enough for good visuals in the sim. If someone can merge photoscenery with some landclasses - for example forests, water bodies and add OSM buildings or some kind of autogen buildings, effect is far better. Even better is shader support for seasonal color modifications and snow cover simulation.

Conclusion :
Plain photoscenery can deliver very nice visuals like this one :

Image
Source - YT video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX-i5nAqaK4. Evening I will add my screenshots.

Compare it with ORBX Global texture replacement :
Image

or FGFS terrasync scenery :
Image

... but it is not universal and almighty solution.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby Thorsten » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:06 am

Grand Canyon actually looks like the third picture in reality - nothing like the first, and the second misses the characteristic horizontal rock strata.

So there's that.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby V12 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:07 pm

Sure ?

Image

Or try this link : https://www.google.com/maps/search/gran ... m2!2m1!6e1

No matter, photoscenery without additional image processing is not enough.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby Thorsten » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:58 pm

Sure


Yes, absolutely sure. I've been hiking down there a number of years ago and have plenty of photographs I've taken myself. The image you posted has color balance issues.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby V12 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:02 pm

OK, possible, but in that case all Grand Canyon google imaginery has this issue.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby Thorsten » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:15 pm

OK, possible, but in that case all Grand Canyon google imaginery has this issue.


Yes - it has similar issues in other parts of the world just as well.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby Johan G » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:54 pm

V12 wrote in Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:15 am:[...] It is very nice, but only in specific situation because TileProxy doesn't modify that images for example different seasons, no snow, no color shift in autumn etc. Next drawback - in FSX with TP user lost autogen objects - buildings, trees, water bodies, rivers, roads etc. Generally, TP is not usable for low level flying. For pilots flying almost over FL180 is good, except seasonal colors or snow effects.

That is the biggest drawbacks with photoscenery. The ideal would be to have terrain photographed in overcast weather in all of the seasons, but unfortunately aerial surveying flights are roughly are done somewhere in the 2500-10000 ft altitude range,[1] in clear weather and either in summer or in early spring.[2] Flying below the cloud base would typically result in higher ground resolution than needed, more expensive flight time to cover the same area, and last but not least, photos with lower contrast and without shadows that would be much more difficult to interpret and use for photogrammetric mapping.

Thorsten wrote in Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:58 pm:The image you posted has color balance issues.

V12 wrote in Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:02 pm:OK, possible, but in that case all Grand Canyon google imaginery has this issue.

That is unfortunately not unlikely for the areas only represented by satellite photos, and probably some of the higher altitude photos from aircraft. There is a lot of haze through the atmosphere that the producer of the finished orthophotos maybe or maybe not have tried to compensate for. It is likely that the photos originally was stronger on the blue side of the spectrum and weaker on red red side and probably a bit washed out otherwise.

Looking at Category:Grand Canyon on Mediawiki Commons you get more vibrant reddish colors. For example like below (trying to not pick a high contrast or sunset photo):
Image
Grand Canyon - panoramio (11)
Werner Petermann (We… [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

___
[1] Depending on the use and needed ground resolution.
[2] Between snow has melted and foliation (at least in Scandinavia). Up until a few years ago, before airborne laser scanning was more widely used, that was the only way to get photographs suitable for photogrammetrically determining the elevation models required to orthographically rectify the imagery so it would be useful for mapping purposes. If they could not distinguish details on the ground they could not determine the elevation.
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Re: Next-generation scenery generating?

Postby statto » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:02 am

Eh. FlightGear scenery isn't good enough. It gets the rock strata right, but the river's neither accurate nor wide enough (most of the base of the Grand Canyon is just the river), and it doesn't blend well with the surrounding textures, and there's no shadows in that image (though could be a time of day/perspective thing.)

Accurate data should be available from OSM, but we really need some sort of land cover blending/transition if we're going to get things right. Unfortunately, that's beyond my abilities as a programmer at the moment.
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