What is involved in developing flight simulators? On a plane the safety of all passengers is in the hands of the pilot. To develop the necessary skills pilots use flight simulators before flying with passengers. The machine moves, feels and visually displays images which would be experienced by pilots on a real plane. A graphic designer takes photos from around the airport and uses aerial images to add to the computer model so the images displayed from the cockpit windows of the simulator are as realistic as possible. Pilots have to fly at night as well as during the day, so we also see how the night images are created. Viewers are given the chance to watch a short daytime sequence and imagine what they would see at night in terms of lights.

First broadcast:
12 October 2007

This clip gives an insight into the creation of realistic 3D graphics and could be related to other simulators, games design of the creation of visual effects. Consider the techniques described, both the research and creation of the virtual environment and its lighting.
Students could then carry out their own computer generated modelling of a space or object, which they then present in different lighting conditions. This could then be presented as an animation.