Dirty Windscreens

Dirty Windscreens

Postby Carinthia » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:37 am

Good day,

I have a very old loco model which has yet to be surpassed by anything current (in my opinion) but the one thing that makes it a drag to use is that it has a simulated dirty windscreen - so much so that the view is poor even using bright, sunny, weather settings.

I am with Trainsimdev owing to my interests in route building and have never entered the world of reskinning locomotives and rolling stock. I have a feeling this locomotive problem probably has something to do with alpha layers - uncharted territory for me!

Could some kind soul point me at a suitable tutorial or even give me a potted guide of what I need to do?

Many thanks in advance.

John
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby eyore » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:47 pm

Phil

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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby ukrichb » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:00 pm

If you can’t figure it out, shoot me a PM and I can have a look at the image files and modify them for you...
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby Carinthia » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:07 am

Thanks, both, for your replies.

I must admit I am struggling with this dark science - half of me wants to learn how to do this whilst the other half is teeling me "eek!". I have meddled with Flight Simulator graphics for many years but this seems a whole different ball game.

I have found the *.TgPcDx and located file names like:
Interior.TgPcDx
Glass_nm.TgPcDx
Glass_nmc.TgPcDx

I have a feeling it is the files named glass I should focus on as I can see the shape of the windscreen there. Why two files?

I can convert them to DDS files with RWtools and using DXTbmp can load them into a graphics editor, or extract the Alpha channel into that editor. The alpha has (by the look of it) the criss-cross lines that I think I am seeing here - a fully zoomed forward view from the cab (on a sunny day!).
Image1.jpg
Image1.jpg (8.87 KiB) Viewed 1524 times

So what I seek to do is to both remove those lines and remove the general dullness of the view.

If I am nearly there a little guidance would be appreciated but if I am miles away I will cave in and take up ukrichb's kind offer.

Thoughts?

John
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby Carinthia » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:37 am

Solved!

But I cheated. I looked at the file structure of a more recent version of the same loco that I don't use (because it doesn't suit my "era") and found the file structure looked identical. I copied the two "glass" files across and bingo - I can see where I am going now.

I would have preferred to have done this the "professional" way but for now all is well. I am probably too old to learn new tricks anyway, it is difficult enought remembering the old ones!

If I had done this in the first place I needn't have wasted anybody's time. Apologies for that, but thanks again.

Best regards,

John
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby ukrichb » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:24 pm

Congratulations. If you loaded the file into photoshop (with the nvidia plug in to read .dds files) you could look at the alpha layer and delete those dots, re-saving the file as a .dds file in the original location.
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby ukrichb » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:33 pm

I had the same problem with the graphics of train simulator and invested a lot of time reading what I could about how graphics worked. If you are going to modify content with any regularity, it’s helpful to do that reading.

I decided to make a route that nobody was going to ever make (Wombourn branch in Wolverhampton). As you can probably read, there are many ways of making content for TS. So you just have to decide what programs you are going to use and make sure you understand the path that you have to navigate getting content into TS2020 using the programs you have picked.

For example, in my case I decided to use Autodesk’s 3DS for graphics and photoshop for textures. So using those two programs, with the TS2019 plugin in 3DS and the nvidia plugin for photoshop, know how to get something from 3DS into TS2020 using the blueprint editor. Knowing that helps understand how the program actually handles content and helps understand how you need to modify files.

For all images that use glass, for example, the texture file contains a regular image and an alpha channel. The alpha channel is black and white. Think of the alpha as a stencil, where black means transparent and white means opaque. By changing the alpha channel you can make the object completely see through or completely opaque, by making it black or white, respectively. I imagine your alpha channel was covered in white dots, no? So the remedy is to delete them in the alpha channel....
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby Carinthia » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:31 pm

Thanks for your advice and for the kind words.

Curiously enough, I think I was very nearly there but I must have missed one small stage along the way. After Phil's posting I looked at 3DS but was shied away by the US$1,545 per year price! A slight overkill for what is hopefully a one-off job.

I mentioned earlier that I am comfortable with editing MS Flight Simulator graphics and it seems the tools I use for that also work with TS. After convering to DDS I can open them in in a little programme called DXTBmp which will then send either the main texture or the Alpha to your chosen graphics software (mine is PaintShop Pro), let you edit it and save it. You then re-import the texture to DXTBmp etc etc. I have had success with this in the past making minor texture corrections but haven't played with Alpha layers. I extracted the alpha layer OK but suspect my experiments at making it plain black failed somewhere along the line during the saving/converting chain. So near but so far!

I was guessing that as in Flight Simulator that, pure black would give a windscreen that appeared to have no glass at all and was intending to then further experiment with shades of grey to get the right effect. Is that how it works in TS? Or is it more complex than that?

Best regards,

John
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby SteveP_trains » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:31 pm

Hi
You can edit the file in question by using RW_Tools to convert the TgPcDx file to DDS and then edit the file in Paint.Net which happily reads DDS files and allows you to split out the Alpha layer if you download the AlphaMask plugin.
I use this process all the time and is quite simple to use.

Good news is all these are Free tools :)
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Re: Dirty Windscreens

Postby ukrichb » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:08 pm

For future reference for one off jobs, you can download it for 30 days. I use a monthly license and cancel it when I am not building anything...
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