As mentioned in Post 107, the one thing I particularly dislike SHADE for FSX is that all its available Presets will significantly dim the brightness of all scenes in FSX, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.
Although users can modify the Preset values via the program’s graphical user interface (Shade_gui.exe), the effects of changes are not intuitive and the results are to some extent depending on a time-consuming trial-and-error process.
Indeed, there’s not much one can do to speed up the process of getting an ideal result from color and shadow changes. But for the “too dark” issue, followings are what I did for a quick fix, from which I further finetune the color and shadow of shade for my own preferences.
According to the program’s manual, each day in FSX is divided into 14 subsections — called Time of Day or TOD in short by the developers.
Through the use of a Preset that contains specific Light, Shadows, and Fog values corresponding to these 14 TODs, SHADE replaces FSX’s original sky textures with values of these Presets to achieve different sky color and shadow effects that blend with fixed ambient lights.
So, if we exclude Pre-Dawn 1 and Midnight (the first and the last items) from the subsection list, the remaining 12 TODs each roughly occupies a time-slot of about 1 hour.
Of course, it should be noted that this is just a rough estimation since the length of daytime varies in different seasons and latitudes, even in FSX.
Therefore, with the 1-hour time-slot concept in mind, the “too dark” issue of a TOD section could be quickly “brightened up” by replacing the TOD with a “brighter” time-slot.
Moreover, instead of making this TOD replacement through the program’s graphical user interface, it is also much easier to make such quick changes directly to the targeted Preset file.
The following steps describe how I made the Marks Final.SLP Preset brighter in the early morning and in the late afternoon.
- The image on the right shows the original content of the Marks Final.SLP coming with version 1.01. There are 14 sections in total listing specific values of Light, Shadows and Fog for the different Time of Day (click image to see the full list).
- In order to brighten up the Pre-Dawn 1 to Post-Dawn 2 TODs, I chopped the original Pre-Dawn 1 and moved Pre-Dawn 2 to Post-Dawn 2 one slot ahead. Also, I duplicated the Morning TOD to Post-Dawn 2.
- Similar copies and moves were made to the afternoon sections.
- Once the modifications were re-numbered, the Preset was then saved with a different name.
Now, the early morning and late afternoon scenes are better lit with this modified Preset.
Even though I may further finetune this new Preset for a better result, so far I am quite happy with the effect from this quick fix.