Aluminium Textures - Have I got this right
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Thread: Aluminium Textures - Have I got this right

  1. #1
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Aluminium Textures - Have I got this right

    I have a number of models that were port overs to FSX, so they were basically designed pre FSX and even though updated for FSX remain essentially FS9 or MS 2004 constructions. I am doing a number of repaints but areas of the aircraft in all the original flying ones were a shiny aluminium, the best I have seen so far is a sort of bluish-grey shine that is sort of metallic but not really. (For example The Milton Schupe Havoc and the marvellous aluminium textures done by Roger)

    In most older aircraft all over paints were rare and shiny aluminium was generally the go. As I am no expert this is what I worked out so far.

    1. Unless specular and bump maps were included when the model was originally constructed you cannot add them later on. This seems to be the main and only way to get those great shiny aluminium textures one sees on a lot of models.
    2. Fresnell Ramp cannot be applied to non FSX models to help with reflectivity on curves.

    therefore

    3. The primary means of producing an aluminium look was a base grey texture and then changing the alpha channel.
    4. The additional shine or metal look was provided by the GlobalEnv_AC_Chrome.bmp or dds texture in the main sim texture folder.

    There is a view that:

    5. You can add the GlobalEnv_AC_Chrome Texture to the relevant aircraft folder and it may or may not help with metal shine - jury seems out on this one.

    AND/OR

    6. It may be possible to rework the base texture using layers but use a bitmap that already is a good replication of aluminium for the base textures, then work up from that with alpha.

    I have been researching this for weeks and it seems to me that is where it is at for non FSX models.

    Anybody able to confirm I have it right and this is basically the issue with non FSX models?

  2. #2
    BF,

    What I have seen in converting FS9 aircraft to FSX, which I usually do without a texture artist involved, is that the bottoms of the fuselage, wings, and tails are overly reflective. This is easily fixed by changing those bottom areas in the alpha channel to a lighter shade, near 255 white. Or sometimes, the overall alpha channel can be lightened or darkened to balance the affect.

    Some of the best bare metal I have seen for FS9 that also showed up very well unmodified in FSX was by Nigel Richards. Take a look at the Harpoon bare metal as an example.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ms-2018-mar-1-004.jpg   HOMEUNIT-2015-jun-24-025.jpg   HOMEUNIT-2015-jun-24-022.jpg   ms-2018-mar-2-006.jpg   HOMEUNIT-2015-jun-17-003.jpg  
    Milton Shupe
    FS9/FSX Modeler Hack

    Video Tutorials - Gmax for Beginners My Uploads on SOH

  3. #3
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Milton. I will have a look at the textures in detail later on see what was done.

    I did try putting a copy of the GlobalEnvmap texture into the aircraft texture folder and surprise surprise it does actually give a quick and effective way of making metal look like metal with some panel line improvements here and there it would be quite passable. The down side there is a bit more moving reflectivity on the whole outside aircraft and when the prop is stopped it become veryshiny now not matt black. Interesting outcome, I say it does work and does not carry over to other textures on the same model or globally. Worth remembering.



    This is a shot of the cowls from the cockpit with the only change being the GlobalENVmap file added to the texture file. Interesting a little work on panel lines, rivets etc would do wonders as well.

  4. #4
    BF,

    I responded again with explanation last night but the server backup killed the submission. I was able to get a screenshot of most of what I typed (attached).

    Specular values in FS9/8 were set in the model material/texture settings.

    (The rest of the response is attached).

    With that said, I agree that your screenshots show a very high reflectiveness, too high. Simply increasing the alpha channel values (en mass or by affecting parts of the paint) toward 255 is needed. Usually around 220-240 values get you where you need to be.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ms-2019-jan-19-001.jpg  
    Milton Shupe
    FS9/FSX Modeler Hack

    Video Tutorials - Gmax for Beginners My Uploads on SOH

  5. #5
    My answer would be yes and no. (Helpful....!) Although all that Milton has said is of course of FS9 models ported to FSX, some of us have spent time using ModelConverterX to convert FS9 models to FSX-native. As part of that process it's possible to introduce both bump and specular files to create FSX-standard metallic textures quite readily. Lazarus, hschuit and others have both devoted a great deal of time and energy to this kind of work.

    This is an early version of the SoH A-26B converted, with bumps and specs. Hopefully this one will ​soon see the light of day...!


    Alphasim's F-101A converted by hschuit.


    ...and A2A's bubble-top P-47


    CS TF-104G



    It all takes time to master but, if the commercial or freeware models aren't out there, it can be done.

    DaveQ
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails TF-104G 3.jpg   CF-104D 640 3.jpg   P-47D Jeanie 2.jpg   F-101C 1.jpg   A-26B-15-DL.jpg  
    'Always do sober what you say you'll do when you're drunk. It'll teach you to keep you mouth shut' - Ernest Hemingway

  6. #6
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Thanks Milton and DaveQ. I had a go at the panel lines, rivets etc last night on the above aircraft and quite passable at a distance but not so good close close up. Not sure I can get things down below a pixel for a rivet head and I noted clever shading is usually the way it is done but sure is painful, rivet by rivet. A bump map of course would fix it but alas not on this era of beasty. I will spend the day with the alpha settings and see what is best or can be achieved, as I work using Paint.net it is not as well equipped as PhotoShop for this level of work but not bad, like all of them you spend half your time getting the hang of the paint program.

    The model texture mapping is the thing but in this case and a lot of others I continue to work on this a Jens Christensen masterpiece one of his many Short Flying Boats and hence I persevere as they are unlikely to be done in FSX or P3D any time soon if at all. Jens however was a crafty bugger and very economical with his texturing and texture mapping which is probably how he managed to turn out so many amazing aeroplanes BUT that simplicity is a major issue with repaints because you think right I will just change this small bit of texture here and that will do it and then you look at the outcome and it has change a whole lot of other textures around the model as well usually ones you did not want to have changed.

    Once I get this sorted to a reasonable level I have a whole bunch of paints in the queue for the C Class or S23's (Basically all of them by name) and the Sandringhams. The Solents are fine some minor changes only and the Hythe has been converted into a passable Sunderland Mk V. Good colour photos are the hard part (rare to non existent), some operators painted the whole aircraft some the hull and fin only and left the wings and engine nacelles as aluminium. Then again Shorts also used a peculiar silver-white anti-corrosive paint on their flying boats so they looked metallic but were basically a matt silver white. Corrosion was especially ferocious on all flying boats which is why most of them ended up with an all over paint job not for looks but to stop the hull and wings falling apart.

    DaveQ take on board your suggestions and ideas about conversion. JBK already did a sort of conversion to FSX but did not do any remapping of the textures. Not sure his models can be pulled apart and redone as native FSX if they can somebody with high level modelling skills would need to do it, beyond me at the moment.

    Input advice and replies are very much appreciated, thank you.

  7. #7
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Milton thanks for the above advice. I substituted the Chrome env texture for the bigger global env texture and adjusted the alpha channel down. I think this ok now.

    Before:



    After:



    Next question any way to get rid of these exhaust flare light artifacts?



  8. #8
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    This is a reworked alpha , chrome and this is a base texture for this aircraft. Seems ok to me - any opinions?


  9. #9
    Interesting! As a child I remember seeing these lined up in Southampton water, having been recently withdrawn. As best I recall (after 60-odd summers!) they were painted overall aluminium and very dull!

    DaveQ
    'Always do sober what you say you'll do when you're drunk. It'll teach you to keep you mouth shut' - Ernest Hemingway

  10. #10
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    Dave Q, we had more fortune hear in the antipodes because Ansett used them right up to 1981 to service Lord Howe Island and the RNZAF used the Sunderlands up until 1966. So lots of memories (yeah 50 plus as well) of Sandringhams and Sunderlands. Never saw the British ones but all the local boats were painted all over. It was a strange aluminium or light white grey paint that Shorts used and many people over the years thought it was a metal finish but it wasn't. I was only bothering with this one because Qantas used Sandringhams up until 1955 and for some peculiar reason had the engine cowls and wings unpainted normal aluminium - I also read they complained about the corrosion problems - not surprised. They got them on the cheap (ex BOAC) so probably did not want to spend the money on painting them.

    This is the finished product - not a masterpiece but fit for purpose.





    Flying boats at night - yep they (Qantas and TEAL) actually did a lot of night flying, take offs and landings on water at night.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BendyFlyer View Post

    Flying boats at night - yep they (Qantas and TEAL) actually did a lot of night flying, take offs and landings on water at night.
    Well at least they didn't have a runway to miss!

    Seriously, this is a challenge now.....!

    DaveQ
    'Always do sober what you say you'll do when you're drunk. It'll teach you to keep you mouth shut' - Ernest Hemingway

  12. #12
    Flying boats and seaplanes would not survive the salt water unless completely painted. Even then, corrosion would be a constant threat inside and out, requiring constant maintenance effort. Bare aluminum and salt water don't play well together!

  13. #13
    SOH-CM-2017 BendyFlyer's Avatar
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    LLanning08 - yep dont I know it. I spent years of my life as a maritime patrol pilot over the oceans, and the obligatory bird bath or fresh water wash on return or landing somewhere. They still got rotten from the salt.

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