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A Guide to MipMapping


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Hey Guys,

I just wanted to make a simple tutorial on how to mipmap and optimize your aircraft textures,both internally and externally.

This subject has been discussed in the past,but is more or less ignored by most people.There is an assumption that we pay for the best quality scenery,aircraft etc..with an underlying assumption that the product has been thoroughly optimized.Most people find out later..that this infact is not true.In interest of keeping this topic as short as possible,I will not go into further details about this.

But why mention something if I am not going to discuss it?

Well...most developers use titles like..ultra hd and high quality and other gibberish to market their products.A simple look at the textures in these products show they are unoptimized and mostly 2k or 4k textures.

The microsoft ESP engine is inefficient at using such huge texture files,and it really wont make a difference in your sim unless you start zooming into the textures at highly unrealistic levels.

So let me preface this discussion by first saying you do not need textures above 1024x1024 resolution.At max..2048 is okay..to a certain degree.

You most certainly dont need clouds at 2k or 4k textures(ridiculous much?).

I know this sounds like a scratched record but..if you are having horrible vas problems..high res. textures are most certainly the reason.

If you can't deal with it..I am sorry this guide isn't for you.

For those of you interested in experimenting...read on,I will post all my resources at the end of this document.I highly recommend going through them at least once.I sincerely hope this helps you.

                                                                               NOTE: SAVE ALL YOUR ORIGINAL FILES BEFORE EXPERIMENTING.THIS IS THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT STEP.


NickN,toby23(the original author behind the mipmaping guide...all thanks goes to him!)

 For the description behind what is being done..i suggest you read the articles given below...this document will only cover what steps need to be carried out to properly optimize textures.

In case I feel this document needs revisions I will do so at a later date.There are many things that could be added to this document,but are beyond the scope of this particular discussion.


I am going to be using photoshop with this nvidia plugin :https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

You can use dxtbmp or the aces image tool found in the SDK for fsx and P3D.

From my experience..photoshop works the best...it is easy to use and the end result is how I want it to be. I have found the image tool to reject pmdg textures(image given below.)





Most commonly..texture files in p3d and fsx are in either dds or bmp format.DDS is preferable and is our first preference.You can convert BMP TO dds and vice versa..but I will only be dealing with DDS for now.

Okay...When you open images in photoshop(with the plugin installed) this is the message you get

NVIDIAtoolopendialogue.png  make sure your options are ticked in the same manner.Do not convert textures to 32bit unless specified(I will try to cover this later)



In the menu bar choose   Image>Image size>

resize.png make sure resample is checked.This way your resolution ratio will not change.

This is where you reach a cross roads of sorts. You can reduce the resolution and save VAS or you can use the default 2k or 4k resolutions.If you want to lower the resolution..just reduce the resolution of the width..the height will automatically reduce(with constrained proportions).

Some textures have slightly different texture resolutions for eg: 2045x4096..you can still reduce the res. to 1024 or 2048.

Images that are 1024x1024 do not need to be optimized.

note note note!!!

FSlabs have done some really smart work on the decals...i am not completely sure if reducing the resolution will cause problems( it shouldn't) .Maybe a developer can clear the air on this one.

You can either choose Bicubic(smooth gradients) or sharp(this adds a very slight outline to the text..not a big deal.I would recommend making two copies of the same texture and testing them out)

Now go to FILE>SAVE AS 

you will be greeted with the following screen

savedxt5dds.png make sure you are saving the texture in DXT5 format(same format in the photo) after selecting generate MIP maps..you can either use the setting at ALL or anywhere between 11-13.

That is basically it. 

to those who find the textures becoming too blurry..I suggest you save the textures with the sharpen soft setting.also make sure FXAA is set to off in your sim of choice.

With mip mapped textures it is better to have the anisotropic setting to either 8x or 16x. 

You will see blurries if you have saved this optimized texture file at a resolution more than the sim resolution.

That is:  if you have selected a resolution of 1024x1024 in the sim and are saving your optimized textures at 2048x2048.


if you are brave  and have enough patience to play around with amount of sharpening etc. I suggest you to do so.

I have only posted the very basics of mipmapping..there is a lot more to be covered.I will also post more examples from my own sim.

Good luck.I hope this small document helps!



FURTHER READING: http://www.simforums.com/forums/re-mipmapping-and-optimising-textures_topic54022.html





could mods please move this topic into the general discussion in the a320 forum.Very sorry.Thank you

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Lawrence Ashworth

I don't want to hijack but if you do not have access to Photoshop and just want to add mip maps you can also batch the files using the Prepar3D SDK or more importantly the file that comes with it, Imagetool.exe. For FSX users the FSX SDK can be found I think on Disc 4, simply install it somewhere and find Imagetool.exe in the Environment SDK folder.

For Prepar3D however you will need to download it :


I don't want to go into the install process as it is self-explanatory but download the V3 SDK installer and install it as usual noting the install location of the files. Imagetool.exe is located on my machine for example using the latest SDK : C:\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v3 SDK\Environment SDK

Before proceeding, make a copy of any texture files you wish to mip because if you make a mistake you will have to install them again. When you save again and change compressed formats like DDS textures there is no going back without losing a little more quality.

Now to create the batch file :

1) Open Notepad, and paste in the following :

imagetool -batch -r -dds -mip -dxt5 *.dds

2) Save the file as a .bat file by selecting File > Save as > change save as type to 'All Files' > Name it however you wish, I use batch.bat for example.

3) Now copy Imagetool.exe and your bat file into the texture folder you want to process, BEWARE - EVERY DDS file in the folder and I believe sub-folders too will be processed and mipped. Move any textures you do not want processing first to somewhere else before you run the batch file.

4) Run the .bat by double clicking the batch.bat or however you named it.

If you run into any errors it may mean that these files cannot be processed in this way and need to be done manually in Imagetool or they are not DDS DXT5 textures and should be left alone.

To do it manually, open Imagetool.exe, open your texture and select Image > Create Mip Maps and then simply save the file.

All done :)

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