I’ve seen a fair few posts, especially after the Christmas sale, about what combinations of texture/shader programs you can use. So here’s the short and simple of it, but first, a warning!
Backup your shaders, config files and textures before applying enhancements. A lot of the programs mentioned in this post allow you to do this, but check it’s done before proceeding!– CGAVIATOR
Can PTA, TomatoShade, Envshade be combined? In short… NO!
These all change various lighting, saturation, reflection, contrast settings essential to really enhance the realism of your sim. They all tweak a similar, if not the same, part of P3D… the shaders. And because of these, they cannot be combined. Note that Envdir combines Envshade with Envtex. Envtex is discussed in the Textures section below.
Reshade? Ok, yes, you can use Reshade with any of the above shader programs. That’s because it processes the image after the shader programs have done their thing. Because of this you are applying an image correction to the whole image and not, as the other programs do, to separate elements within it.
The downside to Reshade is that a) it dramatically increases the load time of your sim as well as any undocked windows, and b) at the time of writing this, it’s not v4.4 compatible.
Can REX Skyforce, Soft Clouds, ASCA, Envtex (and any other you can think of) be combined? With a bit of care… YES!
All of these programs enhance textures within the sim; be that cloud shape, sky colour or building, runway, grass appearance etc. Usually you can choose in-program which aspects get changed and because of this – for example – you can use Skyforce 3D for sky colour, ASCA for cloud shape and Envtex for runway, grass, water etc enhancements. Care must be taken to set the program not to overwrite the choices from another program.
It is of course preferable to choose one program to do it all. It’s a lot simpler to do this and often, too much choice can also be a bad thing. With newer software it’s possible for the clouds and sky colours to be altered dynamically while in the sim – dependant on weather, location and altitude. You can see in the My Software section, which programs I use and for what – but the choices and combinations are limitless. Skyforce 3D is an example of a one-stop-shop that also includes a weather engine (I am not endorsing its use, it just looks really swept up!) . It does however rely on integration with PTA for shader selection as far as I can see.
Shader = 1 at a time. Textures = mix and match to your heart’s content! Remember: back up your files before you start tinkering and make sure one program doesn’t overwrite your selections from another!
Disclaimer: I’m not promoting, or endorsed by, any of the developers. Which software you use is entirely down to you though I recommend a good amount of research first!
If you spot any inaccuracies; want to mention something I haven’t included or just wanna say ‘hi,’ then feel free to message via the Facebook forums where you see my website links posted. (Comments disabled due to spam!). Thanks