Monday, September 25, 2006

Real water is really shiny!

Still too busy to do much flying or blogging, but I just wanted to jot down a quick thought. I was running alongside a pond this morning, looking accross the water, and I realized that real water is really shiny! OK, so what? Why am I bringing this up? Well, a lot of people have claimed that the water effects in FSX are too bright and shiny. I have felt that way myself on a few occasions. But the real thing is very bright. Squint your eyes and you can see that in many situations the water is as bright as the sky.

So why are we not so convinced by the FS version, and think it is too bright? I can think of two possible reasons. The first is that we have gotten so used to darker water in FS that the new, brighter version looks too fake. Actually in any visual representation we tend to think of water as a darker blue. Ask a child to draw a sea picture, and he will likely make the sky "sky blue" and the sea something darker.

The second possibility is the old issue with the limited contrast available on the typical computer monitor. Specifically, there is not enough of a range of contrast in the darker end of the contrast curve. I think we might find shiny simulated water too distracting because of the limited depth in the dark terrain detail. I hope my explanation makes sense.

I am looking forward to getting FSX and getting accustomed to the new water paradigm.

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