One thought on alpha and HDR and aircraft:
If you need to create a final flat part of a panel out of multiple layers, some translucent, and you are using panel texture, it is better to composite the entire piece of panel in the panel texture than to layer polygons in your OBJ.
For example, consider the annunciator display on the dashboard that many airplanes have. There are two ways to build this panel:
- Model the entire thing in the panel texture. The background can be part of the panel background, and each annunciator is a generic instrument.
- Each annunciator sits on a transparent background, and the background of the annunciator panel is a separate piece of non-panel texture, on a second mesh, directly behind the first.
Choose option 1! Tom had to convert the Baron's annunciator panel from method 2 to method 1. A few reasons to prefer method 1:
- The sim does not allow for truly emissive translucent lighting in an OBJ, so the results look better if composited in the panel texture.
- You can get shadowing artifacts between the polygon layers.
- Spill lighting on the dashboard will not look quite right if there is alpha.
You won't use up that more panel texture, but you'll make your life easier. This technique wasn't totally possible before, but now with GLOBAL_cockpit_lit you can alwys have your panel handle real lighting.