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TrueEarth GB - one man's view


Ariel
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When TE GB South first appeared some time ago I bought it.  At the time I had a previous version of P3D and earlier hardware.  On my first flight I looked around at my local Hampshire countryside and immediately thought "ouch - those colours don't look right".  However, more immediately important was the horrendous load time it caused on my older system, so I uninstalled it and quite happily stuck with the EU series England, Scotland Wales etc.

 

Recently, now with P3D4.5 running on better hardware,  I re-installed the updated TE GB South, and after a first flight bought GB Central and ditched my EU England and Wales.  The lure of looking at the real world proved too great to go back to the EU versions (good 'though they were).  However, I still find that I still really don't like the colour of the countryside, it just doesn't look realistic.  The reason is simple.  The base photographic land image has been processed with a noticeable yellow colour cast, which turns green fields into an unnatural shade of yellow-green.  (Autogen - trees and buildings - isn't affected by this, of course).  The yellow cast can be seen on things like major roads, which should be close to a grey shade, but are often a pale yellowy-green shade.  As  an amateur photographer with a lot of experience optimizing the RGB colour balance of photographs, I recognize poor colour balancing and it jars a bit.  I don't see the effect anywhere near as much in the publicity screen shots, by the way.

 

I know this is just a personal thing, or could be blamed on my hardware, but I'm certain I'm right, and it seems such a pity in such an otherwise great product.  Strangely enough, whilst I was exploring the northern edge of the GB Central I chanced upon a place where the colour balance seems to have been been got right, or at least much better.  For some reason, North of the Solway Firth, running adjacent to the edge of the GB Central scenery, there is a narrow half mile strip of photographic land with what I think is a better more natural-looking colour balance.  Here you can see the contrast with the yellow-cast scenery to the South that I'm moaning about (ignore the EU Scotland north of the boundary).  See here (I hope):-

 

https://imgur.com/thtFHaP

 

https://imgur.com/PfdUxqP

 

It's only because I'm a fan of Orbx that I mention all this.  I think that the TE GB scenery is a great project, and it just hurts me a bit that it's not a brilliant project.  That yellow- green grass effect really gets to me!

 

Ariel

 

 

 

 

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Source data is the issue.
This is not the first time that colour cast, colour saturation, or indeed anything to do with the base imagery has been commented upon.

Here are just a couple of threads on the issue:
 

 

https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/550009-Orbx-trueearth-great-britain-south-released-for-prepar3d-v4/?do=findComment&comment=3987663


 

It appears that in order to get the majority of the imagery to replicate England's green and pleasant land, the developers had to apply some hefty colour correction which gives some roads an unnatural green tinge and a lots of fields a more yellow tinge, while trying to maintain a balance that works across multiple areas.

 

It's not right, but it's believable and something that we have already accepted / begrudgingly acknowledged as the march by the development team to catch-up with the American TE regions already released for XP continues.

 

If it really is a problem that you can no longer bear, then perhaps taking a look at the shader programs and finding a preset that somewhat counteracts the colour imbalances might be worthwhile for you.
 

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The imagery we had licensed to use was very very patchy and full of seams and season/colour changes, and it took a huge effort to clean up and remove/blend all the seams. The cost of getting everything blended to look the same colour is that it can produce oddities that you describe above. We had to get winter areas blended with autumn and summer areas to blend together without the user noticing the changes. The provider couldn't capture large areas at once because of crowded airspace, British weather, etc.

 

It's no surprise that some areas look more pleasing than others, it's generally the mid-summer areas taken in clear/sunny weather that look the nicest. But it's Britain,  good weather doesn't come often, so it took years for them to capture imagery which has been taken at all times of the year. 

 

 

 

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I had a worse problem going when flying from Scotland to Southern England in January when I only had TE-GBS installed along with my older England and Scotland packages.  the distinct line where the snow ended and summer colours started were jarring and at the time I though only one season of textures was reason by itself to not use the product.  Since we are now heading into summer and since the performance of V5 is so much better I am re-installing TE but will probably remove it again in the fall.

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I don't think color cast is only a problem for True Earth. I, at times, use MegaScenery V3. I am a retired real world pilot and have lots of time looking down at the ground while flying. MegaScenery V3 is often off color for me. I see differences when crossing state borders. The color cast of one state will be different from another. Then Orbx area and global products, as good as they are, aren't real world. So it is a trade off. In areas I know I prefer the photoscenery. If it is an area I am not familiar with, Orbx gives me a very realistic experience.

 

By the same token, flying simulated aircraft, no matter has well done, isn't the same as flying real aircraft. It all comes down to the product's ability to suspend your disbelief that you are just simulating. I know I have had times of daja vue when it felt like I was back in the cockpit.

 

John

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I think that Orbx have done a great job with the colours of TrueEarth GB (I use the P3D v4 version). Based on the over abundance of horrible red and purple colours in numerous locations when using the PlayHorizon scenery, I am very happy that this has been corrected. I would rather see an over abundance of green and yellow than red or purple!! I have been flying around the TrueEarth GB scenery for a few weeks now, and I have yet to spot an area that looks "dodgy". There were so many areas that I hated looking at in its predecessor that I deliberately avoided flying anywhere near them. Now I can fly anywhere that I want :)

Edited by Christopher Low
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