Creating Color-Correct Textures

Theory

A color profile describes what the meaning of various RGB color triples mean, that is, how red is red?

It is important that the color profile you author your textures with is the same as the one X-Plane uses to show them.

The recommended color profile is sRGB, a standard color profile. You work in sRGB color space, save your files with this marked on the PNG file, and then X-Plane can adjust the color if the user’s display doesn’t match sRGB.

Steps For Correct Color

To maintain correct color, you must do three things:

  1. Author with correct color
  2. Save your work in a way that will not confuse X-Plane
  3. Set up X-Plane to correctly recreate that work

Setting up the Authoring Environment

In order to create a texture that looks right, you need to author in an environment where ‘red’ is really ‘red’. To do this, you need to:

  • Set your monitor to an sRGB color profile.
  • Set your painting program to both work and save using the sRGB color space.

Making Sure Textures Are Saved Properly

Your saved PNG files must contain either a gamma chunk that indicates a gamma of 0.45445 or an sRGB chunk or both. How you do this will depend on your painting tools, but one of these chunks must be present for X-Plane to “know” that your texture is authored in sRGB.

If you are working with DDS, use XGrinder and DDSTool – X-Plane’s handling of color correction with DDS textures is [quirky]; using XGrinder/DDSTool ensures that the DDS file is encoded with the same rules X-Plane will use to decode it.

Setting Up Correct Viewing in X-Plane

Finally, to see how the texture looks in sim, keep your monitor calibrated to sRGB and set X-Plane’s gamma setting to 2.2. This will tell X-Plane that it does not need to modify your textures, which are already in sRGB, just like your monitor.

Mac Users: if you are using a version of OS X before 10.6, your monitor’s gamma will probably be set to 1.8. In this case, you can set X-Plane’s gamma to 1.8, but setting the color profile’s gamma to 2.2 might be a more accurate way to work.

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