Global Cloud Layer, GE4

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Global Cloud Layer, GE4 barnabu 8/8/06 4:52 AM
Global cloud layer - for Google Earth v4beta . 900KB + 2MB NL'ed texture.

This is a textured model that displays clouds above the Google Earth globe.

Edit (2006-08-10): On opening, the model loads in this near live cloud overlay by ChrisMDP. It updates every three hours.

Edit (2006-08-14): Option added to view cloud layer at a range of altitudes. from ~4kM upwards. Default 100kM.

Edit (2006-09-04): Included an option to display cloud shadows - Thanks to Canaro for this great idea.







A few problems with the model:

The geometry of the collada model doesn't exactly match that of the GE Globe. This means the distance between the surface and cloud layer varies slightly around the GE globe.

Texture darkening towards the poles, (Fixed - 2006-08-30)

Below the cloud layer, looking up, things are a little stormy . (Fixed - 2006-08-30)
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Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 Frank4 8/9/06 7:56 AM
This is a cool idea. Now, if only you could dynamically create the model based on the updated cloud image and have a network link update when the model updates...

It would be nice to show the clouds from beneath. And, the lighting problem at the poles is a bit annoying, but not a big deal. The clouds are too high of an altitude - is this because of the geometry mis-match you were mentioning? I notice that the model blocks part of the atmosphere rendering when viewing the globe (this would be reduced if you could make the cloud model fit lower (say only a few miles instead of 140+ miles above the surface).

I like the fact you can use this global cloud model and still look at the satellite/aerial photos without interference. And, it looks way cool as you zoom in and tilt the view.
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Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 barnabu 8/10/06 5:35 AM
Thanks for your comments Frank.

I've now linked the model directly to ChrisMDP's live cloud texture (hosted on this website). The model pulls in the most up to date cloud image on loading...


Actually, the main reason I exaggerated the altitude was because I thought it looked a little too much like a normal overlay otherwise. That cool parallax motion almost disappears when the clouds are at lower heights.

The individual pixels in the cloud texture effectively cover hundreds of square miles of the GE globe. So at more realistic altutudes there isn't really enough contrast with the terrain beneath for it to look like anything other than an overlay until you pop through to the other side.


But, having said that, I've tweaked the mesh a little more, and I've got it so it scales down fairly well to around a mile or two above sea kevel. Albeit, with some mountains poking through <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I'll see if I can put an option in the original placemark to view it at a range of heights - including, as you suggest, at a few miles. I think it should be possible to this by using a range of kml placemarks with different scaling factors linked to my original Collada model. I'll give it a whirl...


James
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 barnabu 8/29/06 4:21 PM
I've fixed most of the original issues with this model overlay, and replaced the placemark with this , 800kB smaller version...

Changes:

I sorted out the texture darkening problem by removing all references to 'Normals' in the Collada (.dae) file. Worth trying if you don't want GE4 to shade/darken your SketchUp models. <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

Also, removed the reverse-side colour from the spherical model mesh. This caused flickering and yet more darkening when the clouds were viewed from beneath.

and added a range of options to view the layer at different altitudes. From 4km up to an ultra-unrealistic, but kind of cool looking, IMO, 6350km <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> ....



James.
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 syzygy 8/31/06 4:36 AM
fascinating! -5*s from me-

welcome to the community!

beautiful GE views!


thank you!

keep marching on!

g
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Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 Frank4 8/31/06 5:10 AM
Excellent work barnabu! 5 globes!
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 barnabu 8/31/06 5:02 PM
Thanks Syzygy and Frank!

Syzygy - Great idea to take a snapshot view from below <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I've borrowed this idea and added a similar picture to my original post. The other pic didn't really show what the model was about.

James
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 syzygy 8/31/06 5:12 PM
your very welcome barnabu!

Quote:

I've borrowed this idea and added a similar picture to my original post.



similar??? my one is much better! you can see even the stars!
(take it easy! i am just a stupid boy and just could not resist...! )

regards,


g
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Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 barnabu 8/31/06 5:48 PM
Yes, I had difficulty finding a good spot to take the photo. I think the weather changed. <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

The weather forecast looks good for this week. Hopefully I'll be able to take a better one soon <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 syzygy 9/1/06 12:28 AM
Quote:

I had difficulty finding a good spot



nevermind! not your fault.
it is always cloudy in your country, in the Misty Albion...
g
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Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 Frank4 9/3/06 5:36 AM
Hey barnabu, I've written at story about your new 3D Global Clouds at Google Earth Blog.

Here's the story.

I kind of like the screenshot I got of Typhoon Ioke (even if it isn't realistic since the storm is 1500 km away and the clouds are at 200km above the Earth):
Re: Global Cloud Shadows Layer, GE4 Canoro 9/3/06 1:35 PM
dude, I downloaded that and it came with the original transparent global cloud map, before that, there was another version that was gray for the places that had no clouds, and white for the places that had clouds, someone find out a way to convert the grey color into transparent and now we have it in the air where it belongs, but we still have the original transparent global cloud map with us, sticked to the ground. we can convert the white of the original transparent global cloud map to black, using the same method that suplants color gray to transparent, this time white, to black. we apply a 50% transparency to the result of black and transparent cloud map, we stick the results to the ground and now we have shadows of the clouds on the ground. it makes a big difference when youre below clouds level.
(or we can just inverse the colors of the global cloud map, stick it to the ground, add a transparency level, and theres the cloud shadows!)
Re: Global Cloud Shadows Layer, GE4 syzygy 9/3/06 2:34 PM
hey!

you are right man!

seems to be a good idea!

g

barnabu!

what about make it real?
Re: Global Cloud Shadows Layer, GE4 barnabu 9/4/06 4:46 PM
Quote:
dude, I downloaded that and it came with the original transparent global cloud map, before that, there was another version that was gray for the places that had no clouds, and white for the places that had clouds, someone find out a way to convert the grey color into transparent and now we have it in the air where it belongs, but we still have the original transparent global cloud map with us, sticked to the ground. we can convert the white of the original transparent global cloud map to black, using the same method that suplants color gray to transparent, this time white, to black. we apply a 50% transparency to the result of black and transparent cloud map, we stick the results to the ground and now we have shadows of the clouds on the ground. it makes a big difference when youre below clouds level.
(or we can just inverse the colors of the global cloud map, stick it to the ground, add a transparency level, and theres the cloud shadows!)


I think this is an ingenious idea ! Cheers Canoro !

If I could, I'd give you 5 stars for your reply. <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />



....I've done exactly what you suggest (in your last sentence) , and included this as an option in the original model.

- Simply by adding a color tag to the kml for the original ground overlay - <color>ee000000</color> - which turns the cloud overlay black, but (thankfully) doesn't lose any of the PNG transparency.

The overall level of transparency can be changed using the slider.

IMO it works really well - bearing in mind the limited resolution of the overlay. It also gives more a little more definition to the clouds when viewed from above.

Thanks again.

James
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 Canoro 9/10/06 8:17 PM
thanks for taking the suggestion and youre welcome!
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 100p 9/14/06 7:06 AM
Hi.
~First of all
congrats for awesome work

but,
isn t there a way to save an archive from past cloud covers? to see how the clouds behave in the 2, 3 past days maybe, in 3 hour steps.

Tx for an excellent post anyway.
100p
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 DuncanBrinsmead 9/26/06 2:45 PM
Perhaps the new time slider could be used to control the cloud height, or the time period. One could then playback the cloud simulation.

Also couldn't a similar technique be used with a very low altitude to simulate rising ocean levels? One would not need a texture in this case, but could use the time slider to control surface elevation.

Duncan
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 barnabu 9/29/06 7:17 AM
Thanks for the comments,

Yes, I tried animating this when the new time-slider feature came out.

It works, but because each image has to be linked to a new model, the initial loading time is painfully slow. <img src="/ubb/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

With just 10 images it took several minutes before all frames were viewable. Add to that the download time, I figured most people would just give up before it loaded.

At the moment, I think it's something much better suited to a normal ground overlay. Like the Katrina animation on the dynamic layers mb.



Re rising sea levels:

Yes, it's an interesting idea. But I'm not sure whether it could currently be made to work on a global scale - the polygon approximation of my model, compared with a perfectly rounded globe, means its altitude is only accurate to within a kilometre or so.

Over a smaller area, with a much more detailed mesh, I think it could work pretty well ... bearing in mind the quality limitations of the Google Earth terrain.... especially, like you say, to simulate rising levels over time.

James
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 - Update barnabu 11/2/06 4:37 AM
In the latest version of Google Earth, released November 1st, Google added the ability to display overlays above ground level. Windows v4.0.2416. The Mac version is 4.0.2413

This now provides a far more elegant solution to displaying clouds at altitude than my Collada model: Simply add a cloud image as an overlay, and edit the altitude property.


In the attached placemark I've replaced the model elements in the original file with overlays and added altitude tags. I'll keep the original up for anyone who wants to check out the differences between the two methods.


- James
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 - Update Frank4 11/3/06 5:00 AM
James, I was wondering if you would use the new feature this way. Great idea!

I suggest setting this up with a network link so when people first load their GE client it can be turned off and the image won't load (taking up memory).

Frank
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 - Update barnabu 11/3/06 9:33 AM
Thanks Frank. Although it didn't take much effort. Much more straightforward than my original !

I've replaced the placemark with a Network Link, as you suggested.

- James
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 - Update Frank4 11/3/06 10:43 AM
James, I suggest you save the network link turned on (make sure you delete the contents (so it doesn't save the contents in the file), but leave the check mark turned on , then save the network link). That way it will load automatically the first time someone loads the attachment.
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 - Update barnabu 11/3/06 11:25 AM
Done ...

I'm seeing some weird behaviour whenever this is launched *after* a Collada model has been loaded in. Viewed at distance, the overlay appears at the far side of the GE universe rather than around the Earth.

Anyone else see the same problem ?
(unknown) 11/3/06 11:18 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 Valery35 11/8/06 1:55 PM
Great work, James!
My congratulations!

I know about your work Collada model only and make near kml.
See this post
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=676926&page=0&vc=1#Post676926

I think about 2-3 levels with colors and transpacrency.
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/download.php?Number=676926
We can create very nice pictures. Maybe you can use this ideas also.

Valery.
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Re: Global Cloud Layer, GE4 - Update-layer moves peasea79 11/29/06 11:01 AM
I found the self same thing. I'm not overly technically minded, but there's the heads up.

the layer worked beautifully before though-It's really cool.

Thanks- Paul