RealTexture Library
Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I need the RealTexture Library?
When will the library be available as a product?
What types of patterns will be in the library?
What are the scale factors of the patterns?
What are the pattern sizes?
What is the pattern storage format?
Where can I obtain sample patterns?
How were the patterns derived?
Do the patterns tile seamlessly?
Do the patterns look realistic?
Why match real-world colors?
Suppose a customer wants colorful high-contrast, not real world, patterns?
What parameters are available to key pattern retrieval and guide usage?
How much will the library cost?
Is there technical support for the Real Texture Library?


 

 

 

Why would I need the RealTexture Library?

If you seek to create realistic 3-D environments, than you must cover every part of your environment's geometry with a realistic image. If your virtual worlds require outdoor realism, and you need a full array of quality, photo-realistc texture patterns than you may need this product.

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When will the library be available as a product?

The library of over 1300 texture patterns is now available. The release is on CD-ROM in versions compatible with PC, Sun, and SGI platforms. The images are viewable on Macintosh computers, but the retrieval software will not work on the Macintosh platform.

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What types of patterns will be in the library?

In general, the patterns are designed to be those which are useful in simulators for infantry, driver training, armored vehicles, helicopters, and fixed wing aircraft. The emphasis is on terrain and the natural environment, but there are also building materials, roads, camouflage patterns, smoke, and explosions. Few patterns, if any, are of the type used in graphics arts; there are no abstract patterns and no jelly beans in this library. You can always: View Sample Patterns or View Adobe Acrobat catalogue to find out.

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What are the scale factors of the patterns?

Scale factors are different depending on the subject and intended use. Relatively few patterns for high altitude flight simulation have texels as large as square 30 feet. Typical patterns for armored vehicles and helicopter simulations have texels about 1 to 2 feet square. For infantry or driver training, a texel size of 2 or 3 inches is typical. Finally, there are some microtexture patterns with texels an inch or below.

Texel size refers to what one pixel of the texture pattern (texel) represents in the real world. The texel size break down is roughly as follows:

              Texel Size Range (inches)           # of Patterns

                 0.001 -    0.1                          396  

                 0.1   -    0.5                          730

                 0.5   -    1.0                          594

                 1.0   -   10.0                          344

                10.0   -   20.0                           93 

                20.0   -  100.0                          105 

               100.0   -  900.0                           14

               900.0 +                                    31 



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What are the pattern sizes?

Most patterns have a high resolution version with 512 x 512 texels. We provide versions for every lower resolution, i.e., 256 x 256, 128 x 128, down to 1 x 1. For some patterns, the highest resolution is 256 x 256. A few patterns are not square, but the dimensions are always a power of two.

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What is the pattern storage format?

The format on the CD-ROM will be TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) with LZW compression. Software will be provided to download the patterns in a variety of formats, including SIF (Simulator Interchange Format) and SGI (.rgb) formats. Compression achieved by LZW is about 3:1 and decompression is lossless (ie no data loss).

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Can I obtain sample patterns?

Yes, View Sample Patterns , or View Adobe Acrobat catalogue.

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How were the patterns derived?

Nearly all of the patterns where derived from color aerial photography. We looked at various synthesis methods, including many commercial texture generating programs. We found that in all but a very few cases synthetic patterns of real-world object do not look as good as photo-derived patterns. The few exceptions include clouds, which can be synthesized realistically. The tools used to build the library are available as a separate product.

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Do the patterns tile seamlessly?

Yes, all the patterns tile seamlessly. Special software was written to help achieve seamless tiling. See a demo of the tools. Also, any of the sample images can be downloaded and tiled in Adobe Photoshop or any standard imaging package. (To download an image use your browser's cut and paste option)

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Do the patterns look realistic?

The patterns look realistic in that they are (1) derived from photographs, and (2) color corrected to match colors of the real world. However, tiling a pattern to repeat endlessly looks more or less realistic depending upon the type of pattern and the database.

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Why match real-world colors?

Game designers, or other virtual environment builders, can gain by correcting the luminance and chrominance (color) of their images. Ideally, if two distinct texture patterns from different source photos of the same subject were placed side by side in a virtual world, they should look very similar color-wise. Pine trees made from one photograph should look like pine trees made from another photograph. This becomes important when building a texture library. Each pattern in the library should have colors which fall into consistent ranges for similar things. Large discontinuities in lightness or color amongst vegetation are noticeable in virtual space and detract from the experience.

In a military simulation, if a terrain texture pattern has too little contrast, targets are too easy to detect. If a terrain texture pattern has too much contrast, then targets are too difficult to detect. Matching real world colors and contrasts helps ensure fair and accurate simulations in standalone or networked environments. In addition, having a consistent library ensures that a simulation will be free of artifacts due to inconsistant source colors. Of course, the graphics engine and display must preserve the color fidelity represented in the patterns.

Suppose a customer wants colorful high-contrast, not real world, patterns?

It is easy to increase the brightness and contrast of our texture patterns using Photoshop or other standard imaging applications. Patterns shipped with bright, saturated colors afford the customer less detail to work with. Once colors become saturated, the image loses detail which can never be recovered. Rather than make assumptions about how the customer will want to increase the brightness and intensity of the images, we provide a consistent set of patterns with no saturated colors, and let the customer make the adjustments desired. In this way, the customer has greater control over the color range.

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What parameters are available to key pattern retrieval and guide usage?

Keyword searches are available. For automatic generation, every pattern is coded to Interim Terrain Data (ITD) feature type classification. ITD files are produced by the Defense Mapping Agency and can be used to construct simulator databases. There is not nearly as much coverage with ITD as there is with the established DFAD products, but DFAD has only a few types of feature data compared to the many types in the library.

To further assist automated usage, patterns are described by scale, subject keywords, predominant color, time-of-day, time-of-year (for foliage changes), direction of features (for patterns like row crops, roads, railroad tracks), and direction of shadows.

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How much will the library cost?

The price is $2395 for unlimited use at one site. Individual patterns can be purchased for $25 each. The final release is now available. Pricing and Ordering Information

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Is there technical support for the Real Texture Library?

Yes. See the technical support page, or email CGSD's RealTexture Support.

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