Custom Skybox From Google StreetView

SMR 510RR
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Custom Skybox From Google StreetView

Postby SMR 510RR » Sat Dec 13, 2014 7:34 pm

Things you will need for the tutorial:
A brain (seriously you will)
Streetview Grabber Program http://www.purebasic.fr/english/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=50248 (you may need to disable your antivirus while downloading it, mine was going crazy but it is fine once it is downloaded)
Photoshop or another photo editing software (or not but you will really have to search streetview otherwise)
JLVs POVray Script http://forum.mxsimulator.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2868

Ok, so here are the instructions:

1.First we need to find a area in Google Streetview with acceptable quality (you can use a spherical panorama that you downloaded instead but that isn't very custom is it?). For this tutorial I am making a skybox for Arkansaw Cycle Park in Wisconsin (I didn't name it...). Unfortunately for me there is no streetview on the road the track is on so I started exploring. There are a few roads in the direct area that have streetview but the quality is junk.

Image

As you can see that will not make a nice skybox for us. I explored some more and was having some hard time so I went back to the map, zoomed out and looked for a larger city. In this case I ended up on the other side of the State but it looks similar and the quality is much better.

High Quality:
Image

Look At the Detail:
Image

Facing North Before Copying Link (whatever you want North to be):
Image

Keep in mind that you don't want a bunch of stuff (houses, trees, etc.) in the foreground because that is where our track is supposed to go. Of course you can edit it in photoshop but I recommend starting with something decent. Here we have some telephone poles to deal with and some cars but overall it is fairly nice.


2.Next step is to use the StreetView Grabber to make our spherical panorama. This is super easy, aim your streetview to where you want North to be on your track and copy the link at the top. Now open up Streetview Grabber and hit add Pano, it will ask if you want to import it from the clipboard say yes (alternatively you can say no and paste it in if you are a control freak). Turn the quality all the way up on the slider up top and hit grab at the bottom right. It will take a few minutes to get all the images from streetview and stitch them be patient with it. You should now have a spherical panorama in the output folder.

Image

3.Cleaning up/editing the spherical panorama will be our next step. Open it in PS, it will look sort of distorted but remember this is meant to be on a dome, then it will look normal. We want to get everything out of the foreground and clean up and blurry or splotchy stuff. You can of course make changes (put in a different sky all together but keep mountains, add detail, add more mountains, whatever you want) this is the real benefit of working with the spherical once we use JLVs POVray script to make the 6 Skybox images you won't be able to tell that we edited it. Once you are done editing save it, if you are using JLVs POVray script without modification you will want to save it as "spheremap.ppm". Its important to note that you can rotate the skybox by using Filters>other>offset and moving it Horizontally. Whatever is dead center will be North on track. I have not actually tried this but I believe it should work without issues.

Before Editing:
Image

After Editing:
Image

4.Use the POVray script to change our spherical image into the 6 images we need for the game.

5.Put them into your track and check out your handiwork.

Image

Image


Troubleshooting:
If you are getting a black image from StreetView Grabber then the area you have chosen does not have full zoom data in StreetView. You can try reducing the quality on the slider but I would find a better spot to start with.

If you are having trouble with the POVray stuff please post in JLVs thread, they know more about it than I do.

al167
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Re: Custom Skybox From Google StreetView

Postby al167 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:07 am

nice tutorial!

I would have like this a couple of months back. I tried a few of the other tutorials and just got distorted skies. I ended up using a program called pano2vr. you can import most types of skyboxes and spheres in there and then change the fov, which gave me the results I needed.
I used this tutorial for my mec2014 track. but im thinking pano2vr with streetview grabber might be the ultimate skybox kit!

SMR 510RR
Posts: 2478
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:36 am
Team: Privateer

Re: Custom Skybox From Google StreetView

Postby SMR 510RR » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:12 pm

Thanks man!

I was using HDRShop in the beginning, it is pay software like pano2vr but someone mentioned to me that JLV had a script that already did the conversion. HDR Shop had a free v1 that I found but all the downloads have since dried up. Since I know most people here will not pay for software and I do not want to make a tutorial that requires it or encourages torrenting I figured I would use our fearless leaders script.

Once you set it up its quite simple to use and it will work perfectly with the streetview grabber output to create a completely seamless skybox for MXS. Since the skies in streetview are usually the worst part I do think using a nice sky from somewhere like http://noemotionhdrs.net/index.html (they just released 150 free hdri skies) is the way to go. With some PS experience it would even be possible to change the ground to night time and use a evening or night HDRI for the sky. To set it up all you really need to do is point it to the correct location of your POVray, mine was in a completely different spot and if you want change the input file type to png.

If you want to check out the sky I made during the tutorial you can DL it here: http://www.mediafire.com/download/c3rxtq7kcrshtgn/sky.zip

You can of course continue to use a modified version of this tutorial, the important part was the streetview grabber stuff. The other nice thing about JLVs script is that it automatically names the 6 skybox images so that is nice.


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