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Mediterranean materials project

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Mediterranean materials project

Postby ludomotico » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:25 pm

During the last weeks, I was working on the Mediterranean materials. I'd like to know your opinion before requesting the merge in FGDATA,

This is the current state of the Mediterranean Europe materials. Specifically, this is the "Penedes" region with plenty of vineyard in real life. The crops look "too American" IMHO. I live here.

Image

This is my proposal. Even if the fields are classified as "vineyard" in CORINE, I know that people also have other crops. Then, to provide some variety, olive fields and vineyards are managed using the same material.

Image

I think they look nice from close-up views. I took the photos for the olive trees some weeks ago.

Image

I also changed many other materials: industrial areas, towns, evergreen forests, shrubs, rice fields, dirty runways... Most materials are changed. This is the state of my proposal for the rice fields in "Delta de l'Ebre", and the dirty runway on LECN

Image

Image

In addition, I tried to meld Europe and Southern-Europe regions as seamlessly as possible. To the left, Spain with my proposal for southern_europe.xml. To the right, France using current europe.xml

Image

If you like to test these materials:

- download https://drive.google.com/open?id=1fJu92 ... wvzFoCgQ8g
- extract in FGDATA (in shouldn't overwrite any existing file)
- edit FGDATA/Materials/regions/materials.xml and change "southern_europe" with "my_southern_europe"

I've specially tested the materials around my area: LERS, LEBL (Reus, Barcelona); LE01, LECD, LECN (GA airports, LECD is near the border with France)
Last edited by ludomotico on Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby ludomotico » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:43 pm

Another examples:

Before and after of industrial and port areas:

Image

Image

Before and after of close final on LE01:

Image

Image
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby legoboyvdlp » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:03 pm

Could the trees maybe be made narrower / taller? At present they look very short and wide - maybe due to not having anti aliasing though?

Otherwise, very nice work :)
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Alant » Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:23 am

Could you make a patch available? I am in central Portugal.
Even in the Iberian Peninsula there are very varied visible differences when looking at a particular Corine landclass.
In my area of Portugal we have small mixed vineyard and olive areas. In the Douro valley the vineyards are terraced and follow the ground contours, In Spain vineyards are usually much larger, and in some areas the vines are grown as bushes and not trained in lines, cordon style. So I am not sure how far we can go with this.
I have no first hand knowledge of S. France, Italy or Greece.
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Thorsten » Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:34 am

Just a few quick comments:

* generally I would suggest to provide real aerial imagery for comparison and reference.

For instance, just visually I like

Image

better than

Image

because the first scene looks visually more homogeneous (the second one has the obvious problem that bare earth is reddish in some landclasses and ochre in others - that's one of the big 'no' points I've figured out over the years).

* the change of the industry seems to visually brighten them - but are they? Usually these areas are concrete/tarmac covered, that would be pretty dark in reality - and a dust overlay is usually provided by the shader, not the base landclass

* It's of course easy to make a texture set fit to one particular region - but often you screw up other regions by the same process, or if you make many small definitions, you create too many visually very prominent boundaries. Did you check for that as well?

If you plan to apply the changes to 'all Mediterranean', they're almost certainly wrong in many places (I've looked a lot at France and Greece since I know these areas myself)

* with regard to the agriculture

Then, to provide some variety, olive fields and vineyards are managed using the same material.


I don't think we can do that - we have very nice ways of arranging vineywars in rows, but we can't switch the tree type within the landclass - so you always get mixes of olive trees and vines - do they occur in reality? Generally my feeling is that problems that are in the input data (a patch of land doesn't have the proper landclass assigned) are hard to fix after the fact.

Again, a fix might work for one region, but I don't think France has any mixture of olive trees and vines

* and finally - does it still work reasonably well if you switch all shaders off? For the time being, there are people who use Rembrandt (or Classic) as renderers, and they too deserve a more or less working result


Finally - let's be wary of an editing battle in which people edit the visuals of the Mediterranean back and forth between how it looks in 'their' region of interest, trying to make it closer to a specific patch of land. I know there has been quite some investment in time and effort to create the existing scheme, and I've found it reasonably balanced over a number of test regions (not perfect everywhere of course).
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby vnts » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:17 am

ludomotico wrote in Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:25 pm:I think they look nice from close-up views. I took the photos for the olive trees some weeks ago.

Instantstreetview overhead: https://imgur.com/a/b8ysQsE
Looks like a very nice part of the world : )

For terrain textures I think(?) Flightgear goes with textures with trees/crops, any grooves along ground (img , img), and any other structures in plantations. Crop row/groove directions in textures won't match trees without crop directions being ported from plantation shader, but it may(?) not be too noticeable like with existing effects. AIUI this is so that people don't get desert like terrain without greenery when they have vegetation density turned down, or LoD: rough turned down, or just fly at a higher altitude than LoD:rough settings. It also avoids a desert like terrain suddenly changing to being covered with vegetation when trees pop up. As I understand it, it's not possible to switch ground textures via a uniform once a vegetation finished loading without c++ support.

Noticed there are perfectly rectangular water reservoirs near Reus: img , img.
I took the photos for the olive trees some weeks ago.

There may be other crops in commons.wikimedia.org (CC4 search w 20-500 results at a time) under a GPL compatible license for FGData(?) like CC 4.0 or CC0. A crop against a non-green background may be harder to find.
Then, to provide some variety, olive fields and vineyards are managed using the same material.

I don't think the tree/plantation effects support it, but I recall(?) seeing that terrain multiple textures or texture sets can be specified in material definitions. FG c++ code will then choose one at random(?) for each continous area adding to variety. I recall seeing from back when I glanced through the materials while looking up effects for a very unrelated shader experiment. I'm not sure if it's operational, but this might help for visually different field variants, for different crop types or farm styles, in the same landcover type.

It may(?) also help at the boundaries of regional definitions so smaller regions that are visually different can be defined with a transition regional definition that has texture sets from both - so the transition region will have a patchwork of both. It might look fine if soils don't contrast much, or maybe it needs soil colours changed to an intermediate value. It might use up more GPU memory for the scene and/or be slower.

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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby ludomotico » Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:41 pm

First of all, thank you very much for your feedback! I'll try to respond to your comments after the introduction.

A short introduction for those not aware of how the scenery works:

- The scenery tools use data from OpenStreetMaps, Vmap0 or CORINE to divide the land in landclasses according to its use: Forest, Sand, Rock, PortArea, IrrCrops, Vineyard... These landclasses are immutable, unless you create your own custom scenery with specialized tools.
- The configuration files in FlightGear map landclasses to materials (or "textures", if you prefer this term). Different landclasses can be and usually are mapped to the same material. For example, the default configuration maps IrrCrop, Orchard, Olives, Vineyard and Rice landclasses all to the same material and there is no distinction between them. Changing materials to match your needs or preferences is very easy and fun.

I have not changed the landclasses provided by the official scenery v2.0. I have only changed, for the southern-europe region, (1) the materials and (2) the map between landclasses and materials. Roughly speaking: Atlantic Islands, Iberia, Italy, the Balkans, Greece. This is a huge area with completely different terrain. Creating materials to suit all the lands in this area is not possible. Even in a small subarea such as the Canary Islands, each island has a completely different landscape. I'm aware of this issue.

(side note: terrain on the Atlantic Islands of Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands is so different to the continental Europe that I think these areas shouldn't be included in southern-europe.xml. I have not changed that, though)

Back to your comments!

Could the trees maybe be made narrower / taller? At present they look very short and wide - maybe due to not having anti aliasing though?


Yes, they can. But I tried to get a compromise between tree size, density, looks and FPS. Trees are a bit wider than normal to compensate a tree density low enough to not have any impact on my specific system (Nvidia 1050, steady 60FPS using the UFO) A bit higher tree density and the FPS number goes down in my system. The average height of the trees is the height of a productive olive tree (4 meters), and the tree effect creates a variety in height of 50% (i.e, from 2 to 6 meters).

Compare the trees sizes with the buildings in the first post, and I believe these numbers are a good compromise without departing too much from reality. Of course, it is only my opinion.

Could you make a patch available? I am in central Portugal. Even in the Iberian Peninsula there are very varied visible differences when looking at a particular Corine landclass. In my area of Portugal we have small mixed vineyard and olive areas. In the Douro valley the vineyards are terraced and follow the ground contours


I know! I'm lucky enough to have visited many times Porto and the surrounding area. Terraces are also in many parts of Spain. For example, these are the terraces in Priorat, another wine area in the mountains not far away from my home.

Image

Terraces are supported in my materials (the slope effect), but we don't have elevation data detailed enough to include terraces in scenery 2.0, unfortunately.

Also, check the comment to Throsten a bit later about sub-areas.

the first scene looks visually more homogeneous (the second one has the obvious problem that bare earth is reddish in some landclasses and ochre in others - that's one of the big 'no' points I've figured out over the years).


Yes, I agree. I created a irrcrop-europe-south.png based on irrcrop-europe.png. It is a bit drier and "browner" than the original, but I was not confident enough to dry the image more. The image on the border between France and Spain shows the differences between these two crop textures.

I'll try to tweak these colors for a better match, probably reducing the amount of brown in the vineyard areas.

the change of the industry seems to visually brighten them - but are they?


The original industry used the default industry texture. This one (with additional overlay textures):

Image

I sincerely believe this texture is too dark for any city out of Gotham and always troubled me.

I made a choice between the Californian and Middle east industrial textures. I used Middle east just because, but I think any of them are better matches than the default texture. I also created a industry-middle-east.mask.png for trees and buildings. (well, the Middle east texture has probably more sand than our industrial areas, but it doesn't trouble me as much as the original dark industry)

About the texture on the port area, I'm using california-port.png because this is exactly how our ports look like. I believe there is not a relief-light map for california-port, and the illumination is probably not the best at dawn due to this. I guess the current California region has the same issue.

It's of course easy to make a texture set fit to one particular region - but often you screw up other regions by the same process, or if you make many small definitions, you create too many visually very prominent boundaries. Did you check for that as well?


I'm aware of the dilemma: matching exactly my area won't match any other region in Southern Europe. I can always create a smaller area with higher priority than souther-europe (spain-east-coast?). What do you recommend?

In any case, current Southern Europe crops look similar to how I'd imagine US crops, but they are similar (but drier) to crops in Northern Europe. I have only shown vineyards because they are a cool feature, but most fields are just Irrigated Crops.

For example, this over-saturated image is what Google Maps thinks you can see just departing from LERS in real life (according to the state of the fields, probably January). LERS was my home airport, I have departed many times from that airport as a pilot.

Image

This is the current souther-europe.xml from roughly the same spot (notice the road and industry area). There are large squared fields even up the hills like a chess board.

Image

This is my proposal. Much smaller, chaotic fields. The industrial areas, if anything, are still too dark. I could make the fields drier, but then they won't match other parts in the global area.

Image

There are other much smaller tweaks that I believe can be included in current southern_european even if the main changes are not accepted: mix forest definitely shouldn't use tropical trees; a different approach to dirty runways to make them blend better with the regional airport grass (which i have not changed)

I really think my proposal matches better a generic Mediterranean country than the current southern-europe.xml

If you plan to apply the changes to 'all Mediterranean', they're almost certainly wrong in many places


Yes, I know. Anyway, I sincerely believe my proposal is a better match not only for my specific region, but as a generic area in Southern Europe.

In any case, do you prefer submitting the region as another, more specific region? Not yet, I'll wait for more feedback and make the already suggested changes.

we have very nice ways of arranging vineyards in rows, but we can't switch the tree type within the landclass - so you always get mixes of olive trees and vines - do they occur in reality? Generally my feeling is that problems that are in the input data (a patch of land doesn't have the proper landclass assigned) are hard to fix after the fact.


Also vnts also comments similarly:

I don't think the tree/plantation effects support it


I'm sorry, my bad, I see I couldn't explain myself.

There are already separated landclasses for vineyards and olive fields in CORINE. I mapped both landclasses to the same material.

- Current southern-europe maps IrrCrop, Orchard, Olives, Vineyard and Rice landclasses all to the same material (the chess board)
- My proposal defines 3 separated materials: (1) IrrCrop and Orchard (the majority of the fields); (2) Olives and Vineyard (present only in some specific regions); (3) Rice (even more rare). An example of rice fields was in the first post.

I'm not asking how to separate olive trees and vineyards, because I mixed them on purpose to provide some (arguably) pleasant variety. I was just describing my images. Yes, they are also mixed in real life. Probably not as mixed as the results suggest, but fairly enough.

Variation of tree shapes was only to overcome a limitation of the plantation effect: plantation rows always go from south to north. Coding an effect in OpenGL is far beyond my skills at the moment. Is it possible to create rows of trees in random directions, grouped as a patchwork? Even if it is as a chessboard, with some patches going south-north and others east-west. I know it is not possible right now, I'm just suggesting a possible improvement of the plantation effect for the consideration of any coder and I'm sure it won't be trivial. Something like this:

Image

By the way, you can see different tree types in this image, and all this area is classified as "vineyards" in CORINE.

does it still work reasonably well if you switch all shaders off?


Very good point (as were the others, of course). I'll check.

Thank you very much for your feedback!
Last edited by ludomotico on Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:13 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby ludomotico » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:57 am

BTW, I'm not aware of any way to distribute custom materials as an "add-on", as it is possible with a custom scenario. As far as I know, you must overwrite the files in the global FGDATA. Am I right?

That could be another option, in case it is not a good idea to change the default materials.
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby vnts » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:04 pm

Had a quick look, it does look great at close ranges:

Image
Mediterranean terrain has bird flocks defined:
Image

More screenshots: https://imgur.com/a/XUI5zcw

Overall there isn't too many areas with reddish soil. I checked in vicinity of airports. It seems a lot of it is already sandy/while to better blend in with existing textures (or is it because it's dusty)? There are bland patches where crop fields are.

If the soil in a large area of spain is reddish/brownish as instantstreetview suggests img , maybe existing textures that are used in the update for that area could be made reddish/brown to match the soil in the new textures&land in the patch. I'm not sure about transitions to the normal southern europe regional definitions, but if there is a forest, sea or mountains separating the boundary it may not look bad. The other option is to adjust soil to match lighter soil in existing textures. GIMPs colours>map>rotate colors tool may help map sandy hues to a brown/reddish.

This is an example of what I mean when crops have not loaded (or are too small to be seen in this case). There terrain looks bare: https://i.imgur.com/gYmWPNC.png , https://i.imgur.com/gANFUZT.png

More generally speaking if a texture doesn't have detail or structure at large scales it looks like an untextured surface from far away. Applies to terrain and everything else. If there's lot of detail at small scales the pattern averages and you get the average colour. It's visible at taxiway surfaces, there is a high resolution texture which looks grey and untextured from far away. By contrast the runway has detail on large scales.

If the ground texture for crop fields included the crops, grooves, paths, water reservoirs, and crop field boundaries it will look fine from far away as that adds large scale detail/structure like in the photo you posted: img. The agriculture effect will randomly rotate it. Close up the 3d crop rows won't match the rows in the texture, but it probably won't look too bad.
ludomotico wrote in Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:41 pm:Variation of tree shapes was only to overcome a limitation of the plantation effect: plantation rows always go from south to north. Coding an effect in OpenGL is far beyond my skills at the moment. Is it possible to create rows of trees in random directions, grouped as a patchwork? Even if it is as a chessboard, with some patches going south-north and others east-west. I know it is not possible right now, I'm just suggesting a possible improvement of the plantation effect for the consideration of any coder and I'm sure it won't be trivial. Something like this:


You should maybe bring it up on the effects and shader forum as there's a lot of different topics here.

It should be conceptually possible. The plantation effect was designed for large trees which are two square bill-boards: img1. Viewed from overhead they look like a thin cross: img2. Crops like vines, or hedges along roads, might benefit from a box type shape that can morph into differently shaped crops.

To get generated field boundaries, crop row spacing, and crop row directions in textures to match 3d vegetation might be very complex/hard and need a new vegetation code/effect/shaders(?). Maybe(?) it could be done with the existing vegetation placement masks with an additional mask that encodes crop row directions in 2 channels.
ludomotico wrote in Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:41 pm:This is my proposal. Much smaller, chaotic fields. ..

It may(?) be possible to do textures and matching 3d crops placement shaders with random chaotic crop fields, but might be a lot harder: procedurally texture fields using random domains like is done to get trees of different sizes in forests. Each random domain would have different crop spacing and directions, if possible. Then a lot of crops at the smallest grid spacing could be spawned and snapped to a grid in the crop vertex shaders with directions&spacing for that random domain. Trees that aren't needed at the boundaries of fields, or in between grid points could be rejected in the fragment shader (or shrunk to a point, or placed below ground). It should be possible extend random domains to choose crops for different fields, different field style to suit crops, or fields in different states.
ludomotico wrote in Tue Mar 24, 2020 11:41 pm:Terraces are also in many parts of Spain. For example, these are the terraces in Priorat, another wine area in the mountains not far away from my home.
Terraces are supported in my materials (the slope effect), but we don't have elevation data detailed enough to include terraces in scenery 2.0, unfortunately.

With a procedural field, or vegetation masks, it may(?) be possible to extend the effect/shader to add a normal map or create normals procedurally to fake terraces, or grooves like crop row furrows.

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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Thorsten » Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:54 pm

Variation of tree shapes was only to overcome a limitation of the plantation effect: plantation rows always go from south to north. Coding an effect in OpenGL is far beyond my skills at the moment. Is it possible to create rows of trees in random directions, grouped as a patchwork?


It'd be fairly easy to do if we had done this shader-side, but as it stands the decision was to make it C++ side, so you'd have to patch the core. :D

***

With regard to addon, no, it has to be in FGData, there's no way to ship materials as extra package

***

Okay, just a few more short responses:

* I agree that the US-type irrigation is not really representing the Mediterranean - the distribution of your fields looks better - so let's go with that. But - it looks in many places too green, so really try to get consistent looks of exposed Earth (we should have nice reddish agriculture and village textures for Madagascar - Iron Oxide is fairly common, and I've had to create many reddish texture schemes so far.

vnts's first close-up shot shows the issue in a nutshell - reddish brown ground of the olive trees, different hued brownish grass, and close to the forest a much more green type of grass - I'd spend some time working on such issues, it's worth it

* Industry - generally I'm fine with the brighter version, again you could try to cite the ground color in a few patches where raw earth shows, that'd certainly help a lot with blending

* vegetation patterns - the whole scheme is actually pretty neat - you can make a main declaration of materials and override it for specific regions and landclasses (pretty much like Hawaii does where Oahu gets a more detailed version) - so you can leave most materials generic Mediterranean, but just specify how Olive fields or Vineyards look different in Portugal and France - and that'd be my preferred way of handling this [1].

* I'm not sure what else you'd want to switch out - I'm not opposing changes, but they should be argued to be improvements rather than just different (which I believe you've convincingly done for the above :) )


[1] This has to be rather clear-structured though - by mis-using the feature you can create a holy mess where no one can ever again fiigure out what definition overrides what and where and what you have to edit to make progress
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Michat » Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:16 am

I've edited the chaotic industrial texture removing dark pixels..

https://www.photobox.co.uk/my/photo?album_id=5836260555&photo_id=502810503821


EDIT. New working link https://serving.photos.photobox.com/4219455490367a2b4aabc5f3ff911bd93811f4aa8d25482f083c917a8df00011f4d64dda.jpg

EDIT. Forget previous broken links.

Image
FG's original industrial.png 599.8 kB

Image
Basic edition 634 kB PNG

Image
634 kB PNG Optimizer filter

Image
652.2 kB PNG Optimizer filter + Anialiasing

Image
150.2 kB JPG Optimizer filter + Anialiasing


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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Catalanoic » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:03 am

these new mediterranean landscapes look more like reality in my opinion, and in some parts of france too, the same with german hops in Bavaria, so I think the Ludomotico's work looks definitely better than these actual *American-ish fields. Caotic mixed with vineyards are very present on these landscapes, you may will better appreciate it low flying or even driving the followme car
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Thorsten » Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:17 am

Yeah, I think we agree on the US-style field boundaries (although irrigated agriculture in e.g. Israel has similar patterns, so they're not wrong everywhere...)
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby ludomotico » Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:36 pm

Israel is not covered by southern_europe.xml

This is a map with the subregions covered by current southern_europe.xml. The projection is not fixed on the latitude axis and it is not accurate for latitudes, but it should be accurate for longitudes (I have double checked and the projection is right, the Atlantic coast of Spain and Central Italy are not covered by southern_europe). As you know, in my opinion, the Atlantic Islands shouldn't be covered by southern_europe since their terrain is very different to continental Europe, but I've not changed that.

Image

BTW, I'm still addressing your concerns, but real life gets sometimes in the way!
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Re: Mediterranean materials project

Postby Michat » Wed May 13, 2020 3:48 am

I have updated the broken links above to the industrial texture editions.

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