Paint Kit
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Thread: Paint Kit

  1. #1

    Paint Kit

    Greetings Gentlemen.

    I am finally getting to the point where I sometimes want more than one paint scheme done for a project.
    I keep seeing the subject of "Paint Kits" mentioned.
    What exactly is a Paint Kit and how does one go about using it?

    Please keep things simple.
    I am fairly computer literate, but my idea of painting tools are GIMP and MS Paint.

    Thanks in Advance.
    - Ivan.

  2. #2
    Senior Administrator Willy's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
    West Tennessee, near KTGC
    How well are you versed in layers? When I do a paint kit, I start with a background (a set of textures for what you're painting works great). This will be my bottom layer. Everything else is going to be built up on that. If you have the wire mesh texture mapping that works very well too as you can see exactly where the paint should be.

    On the next layer up, I put my metal textures as everything else goes on top of that. The next layer would be the paint scheme I'm doing for that particular aircraft. Then panel lines, followed by rivets. Any weathering, dirt, etc goes on top of everything else. Keep in mind that this is a simple description, as I sometimes end up with a lot more layers than that. Insignia, nose art, aircraft stencils, all that good stuff will go on top of the paint, but under the lines and rivets.

    But basically, that's what a paint kit is. A pre-set up set of layers that will allow you to do a set of textures with a minimal amount of fuss as all the heavy lifting is already done. I'm working on a new one at the moment for Milton's Beech 18 Amphib. The one I did for the AlphaSim F-80 FSX redux has about 50 layers as I've included a lot of squadron markings so all I have to do with it is add nose art and numbers.

    So many aeroplanes needing paint, so little time to do it.

  3. #3
    Hi Willy,

    I am glad you responded because I know you were also working with the original Combat Flight Simulator so you would understand the limitations I am working with.

    I actually am fairly familiar with using layers at least in GIMP though I can't claim to have ever done anything fancy.

    The first time I tried the layer approach was with my P-40C AVG / British paint scheme.
    With my earlier paint schemes of just a single topside colour, things were pretty easy, but with this one, the panel line would need to match the underlying paint colour, so I decided to try something different.

    First, I will describe my approach and then the problems that I was running into.

    The Bottom Layer was the Camouflage Colours with insignia, squadron markings, etc.
    (I should have split this up into multiple layers as you just described, but I was lazy and wanted some instant gratification.)
    The next layer was the panel line and rivet detail.
    It was Black lines and dots on a White background with White selected as full transparent via Alpha and the entire layer set at about 30% or 40% transparent. (I basically varied it until I got it where I wanted.)

    Now you will probably remember that CFS textures are a 256 colour palette but that would not work with transparencies, so I had to convert everything to RGB to make it work.

    Next layer was things like Landing Gear, Control Surface Hinges, Marker Lights and such.
    This was done on a White background with White as transparent and the entire layer set as 100% opaque so it would cover anything that was underneath.

    At this point, I converted back to the standard CFS / FS5 palette and life got interesting. Some of the details outright disappeared and some of the paint appeared "blotchy".
    At this point, I had to go back and do a lot of manual corrections which basically lost a lot of the effect of the layer approach....
    So all I really ended up with was the location of the panel lines via layers.......

    That was the first problem.

    The second problem was a lot more serious and I am trying a different approach with my current paint project here:

    The problem is that it is very difficult to match a complicated camouflage pattern or even a simple emblem over several assemblies so that they flow without obvious breaks in the emblem.

    It would be nice to be able to take a nice profile image and convert it into a set of texture files without a lot of manual editing.
    I do have "an approach" to this, but it involves doing a fair amount of calculation to figure out the mapping of each piece of the aeroplane to the profile image.

    So here are the big questions:
    How do you handle this kind of situation of matching textures and shading across different pieces of the aeroplane?
    Does a Paint Kit address this kind of issue and if so, what is the common format for a paint kit so that others can use it?

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ki61_244Red.jpg   Ki61_244Blue.jpg  

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