Recently, I installed a pre-release copy of STK 11.3. The first thing I noticed, in the 3D Graphics window, was a thin white halo around the Earth. That’s our new Atmosphere feature. It’s paired with another new feature, Fog. Fog is a little harder to notice until you position the camera close to the horizon. What’s not hard to notice is the new Sun. It’s slightly larger and brighter than previous versions of STK due to its wider halo and uniform color. It’s also round. Previously in STK, a large field of view would distort the Sun if it got close to a corner. Maybe this is what happens when you take too many math courses.
It used to be that visual enhancements, in the 3D Graphics window, were limited to lighting adjustments and the addition of cloud layers, specular highlight, or nightlights through Globe Manager. You can still do all that. With lighting optimized and a cloud layer added, this is what it looks like near the Grand Canyon:
But with Atmosphere and Fog, it looks like this:
Both of these features are on by default, but we know we can’t please everybody. So, for those of you who don’t need or don’t want the Earth to look amazingly cool, the Show Atmosphere feature can be toggled on or off with a single checkbox at the top of the 3D Graphics/Celestial tab, shown below. Below that is the Fog Density slider. Here you can tone down the intensity of the fog, or turn it off entirely. The Sun, however, will always be round. You can’t change that.
Now that’s all pretty neat, but we didn’t stop there. On the 3D Graphics/Advanced tab we’ve added Color Control. Here you can adjust the Brightness, Contrast and Gamma of your 3D Graphics window as it is being rendered. The image above is from a 3D Graphics window with no color correction. The image below has had its brightness and contrast increased.
See the difference? These are just a few of the awesome things coming out with STK 11.3. Be sure to check in and download it later this month after it’s released to take advantage of these new features!