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Why do some liveries take so long?

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    Why do some liveries take so long?

    Plain and simple....for some....its a LOT of work!
    For example, here is what I spent the last few hours on...trying to get it as close to perfect as I can.

    In case you're wondering...the nose area is notorious for being one of the hardest places to wrap textures around successfully. So with a livery like Cathay, you have to deal with that green stripe (and red one)
    Why is the nose so hard you ask? For many, many geometrical & 3d model design reasons.
    • Reason 1 (geometric): Compound curves – Drawing a straight line on a 2d representation of what will be rendered in a 3d world is always a challenge. Unless you can perfectly visualize in your mind how that line will undulate as its drawn across that compound curve, you’re gonna:
      • Draw it on your master
      • Move it to the texture map
      • Reload in the sim and take a look (or use modelconverterX…very handy tool for this but you still have to see it in the sim before you sign off on it.)
      • There is a wireframe layer on the master that helps…but the human brain struggles with the conversion from 2d (which we paint on) to 3d (what you see in the sim)
    • Reason 2 (geometric): Tapering cylinder – at the nose naturally, the fuse tapers to a blunt point. Same challenges as above.
    • Reason 3: (modeling): Near a border – When textures are drawn near a boarder of a texture map, they “stretch” just a bit, especially if a tapering, cylindrical compound curve is approaching that area. On PMDGs model, the effect is not as bad as others, but still something you have to deal with.
    So….you do all that work….got it lined up perfectly….great! Now all you have to do is match the rest of the layers and maps.
    In the picture sequence below, you see my initial attempt through completion.

    1st attempt...not bad... but well...hehe. The dark green is actually the misaligned Metallic texture map (the Red channel specifically) waiting its turn for adjustment after I conquer the main texture map.

    nose align 01.jpg

    Better, but I know the red channel "line" is a good path, so more adjustment. The left side (stage right) is too high, but the connection point is good. Also the right side (stage left) tip connection point needs to go down a pixel or 2.
    nose align 02.jpg


    Success! Looks about as perfect as I care to try and get it. Just need to adjust the red channel on the Metallic texture map next

    nose align 03.jpg



    Finished....Phew!.....

    nose align 04.jpg

    Here is that red channel Metallic map I had to adjust. The yellow arrows point the specific points where the FOUR connection points for this one part of the texture join together. You have to align them all...perfectly..... TO THE PIXEL or it doesn't look right. and on both maps (not just the Metallic)

    nose align 05.jpg


    So now you can start to see why some paints take longer than others....and add to that the learning curve of painting in PBR, and specifically metal, are a few reasons we have have not released any paints just yet.
    Steve has also been sick the past few days and Brian has really been picking up the pace. Most of the metal adjustments have been Brian doing them, showing me, and me going..."yep, looks good" or "let's try reducing the opacity of the green channel 25% darker"...then looking at it in the sim. Unfortunately, ModelConverterX is useless in tweaking metal...needs to be done in the sim. Its really only good for main texture alignment checking.

    We'll keep posting interesting tidbits of the painter's world if you're liking these posts. Hit the like button to vote so I can know if I'm really giving you guys stuff you'd like to know or you don't have interest in this stuff (hehe). It does not really affect my painting time as I do take breaks as looking at the same point too long has a myriad of its own problems...so I'm on a short painting break when I'm composing these.
    Last edited by Steve Dra; 16Mar2019, 17:30.
    Regards, Steve Dra
    Click here to download my paints

    #2
    Yeah, I know the struggle with that. It took me a while to do the same with not only the stripes on the nose, but also the tail.
    Captain Kevin

    Kevin Yang

    Comment


      #3
      Nice work.

      Keep the posts coming. It's a bit daunting for a mere beginner. But from where I'm sitting, it's better to read these and see what can be done rather than have no idea and just spit out over-glorified bitmaps.


      Mike
      Mike Dryden

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Mickel View Post
        Nice work.

        Keep the posts coming. It's a bit daunting for a mere beginner. But from where I'm sitting, it's better to read these and see what can be done rather than have no idea and just spit out over-glorified bitmaps.


        Mike
        Hey Mike we all start somewhere....but I hope some of these posts inspire you to keep at it and keep building your skills. One of my favorite sayings is nothing good ever comes easy (or quickly). If it does, there is no sense of accomplishment or ownership in the outcome and for me that's what drives me to keep improving my skills and outcomes.

        If you never heard the story of how I got started, It was back in 2002 when the freeware group FFG was pushing out the MD 80. I kept bugging the lead painter for an Austrian livery and he kept rejecting me. After enough "persistence", he finally challenged me to paint it myself and he'd give me some pointers when needed.
        Took me over 3 months to paint my 1st livery....but I finally got it done and was proud enough of it to post it at Avsim and Flightsim. I wound up doing some time with a few freeware flight groups back than and have painted for a few devs on request.

        I've since produced enough liveries to fill a few pages over at Flightsim.com. I had about as many at Avsim, but lost a ton with the hack occurred and never re-uploaded them there. Anyway....I was quite "prolific" back in the early 2000s and built my skill up after each paint....but it certainly took some time.
        1st repaint.jpg
        Regards, Steve Dra
        Click here to download my paints

        Comment


          #5
          Yeah, not expecting it to be instant results. I've started for the same reason you did - the only way I was going to get an Alitalia livery on the -6 was do it myself! Working on another right now.
          Mike Dryden

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Mickel View Post
            Yeah, not expecting it to be instant results. I've started for the same reason you did - the only way I was going to get an Alitalia livery on the -6 was do it myself! Working on another right now.
            And you did a really good job! That is one of my favorite liveries and my beloved late Aunt worked for Alitalia Cargo out of JFK for 30 years, so have fond memories of her and visits to work.

            I don't own the -6, but when PMDG blesses that metal monster with PBR, come see me and I'll work with ya to get that metal shining like a new nickel.
            Regards, Steve Dra
            Click here to download my paints

            Comment


              #7
              Started dabbling with the metallic files meself a bit, but have a question. Do the spec files have any bearing anymore as far as shininess goes, or is it just the metallic files?
              Curtis Smith

              KSUS/1H0

              Comment


                #8
                Another great post! What are you using as input device while painting (graphic input display, mouse or something else). Just curious. I got a graphic pen display but have not tried it yet. Would be interested in any tips if you, or anybody else, uses one.
                Thanks.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great topic Steve, I feel you!
                  Texturing sometimes can be annoying as f**rozen pizza when you have to do pixel painting and need to move pixel by pixel...
                  Cheers, Daniel Fürnkäß

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Amazing! Don't know how in the world you guys do it but I'm just glad you do!
                    Victor Green

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This is pretty much why I drink.
                      Matt Smith
                      Prepar3D NGX/747

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by CJSCHCargo View Post
                        Another great post! What are you using as input device while painting (graphic input display, mouse or something else). Just curious. I got a graphic pen display but have not tried it yet. Would be interested in any tips if you, or anybody else, uses one.
                        Thanks.
                        I don't think Steve has a pen, I know I don't and I've never seen him use one. Just the mouse.
                        Brian Thibodeaux
                        B747-400/8 First Officer
                        Typed MD-80, BE1900
                        ATP, CFI, MEI

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by cgsmithmo View Post
                          Started dabbling with the metallic files meself a bit, but have a question. Do the spec files have any bearing anymore as far as shininess goes, or is it just the metallic files?
                          We haven't played around with the Spec layer. I don't think either of us have ANY desire todo so. I would suggest coloring the entire fuse with a light blue color say #a5b6c9 then put a color overlay of white over that, say at Opacity 30% to tone it down a tad without affecting any other layers. from this point start playing around with the Metallic Red and Alpha Channels. We didn't play with the PMDGs default Alpha setting, seems to be working pretty decent for us. But for the Red Channel, anywhere you want to see a metal reflection you should try to use a color like #d9d9d9.

                          If I don't get called out for work I might be willing todo a hour long Twitch demo of playing with PBR on Friday. Sometime early evening UTC.

                          This took me maybe 5 min todo. And its "alright" its not near as good as the Metal Steve developed originally for non-PBR, just because of a few color transformations and intentional imperfections PBR just turns it into something mind blowing.
                          Yes I know, horribly applied! But I didn't want to spend much time on this.

                          Metallic File Red Channel (This is from Steve and my work)

                          Result


                          Kid you not, 5 min. Is it something I would use on my aircraft? Meh....most likely not. BUT! You could use that as a start, come up with you own color transitions. Play around. Steve and I spent hours, and hours, AND HOURS going back and forth trying to figure out what we thought looked best. Mind you, that was just for the metal. There are other components that do not have a metal background that need to be painted separately and handled differently on the Metallic file. The fairs, all those static ports, the placards, dirt. All separate all adding just a few more min to this non-ending project :-)
                          Last edited by thibodba57; 18Mar2019, 23:04.
                          Brian Thibodeaux
                          B747-400/8 First Officer
                          Typed MD-80, BE1900
                          ATP, CFI, MEI

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If I don't get called out for work I might be willing todo a hour long Twitch demo of playing with PBR on Friday. Sometime early evening UTC.

                            That would be awesome. Hope you will not get called out for work.....will be checking in the afternoon UTC if will be on.

                            Cheers and thanks again for the info. The color references help a lot.



                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi Brian T,
                              Any chance of a PBR for N263SG and N465MC, please?
                              Kind regards Alex Nicolov
                              "You can't make a difference unless you upset at least one."
                              [email protected] GHz, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, DDR4 3200 64GB

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Alex View Post
                                Hi Brian T,
                                Any chance of a PBR for N263SG and N465MC, please?
                                Someone else has done a Sonair bird, would be easiest to ask them to remove the shadows and reupload. As far as N465MC Steve Dra he has actually done that one or another BCF. When he gets time in sure he won't mind making it compliant. How's that for doing it? I'm a facilitator :-)
                                Brian Thibodeaux
                                B747-400/8 First Officer
                                Typed MD-80, BE1900
                                ATP, CFI, MEI

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by thibodba57 View Post

                                  Someone else has done a Sonair bird, would be easiest to ask them to remove the shadows and reupload. As far as N465MC Steve Dra he has actually done that one or another BCF. When he gets time in sure he won't mind making it compliant. How's that for doing it? I'm a facilitator :-)
                                  Ok, so the answer for a PBR for N263SG and N465MC is no, that's fine. As far as for "How's that for doing it?" I would say pretty bad, especially when non of them are PBR.
                                  Kind regards Alex Nicolov
                                  "You can't make a difference unless you upset at least one."
                                  [email protected] GHz, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, DDR4 3200 64GB

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Alex View Post

                                    Ok, so the answer for a PBR for N263SG and N465MC is no, that's fine. As far as for "How's that for doing it?" I would say pretty bad, especially when non of them are PBR.
                                    Ok Alex, relax it was a joke. I'll email Gabriel Guzman and see if he can export both of his. But I have done neither of these two paints, so I would have to do the work from scratch and given the current list of work I want to convert as well as other projects it would be probably months before I got around to these. The fastest way is to get in touch with the originators of work thats already been done and see if they are willing to put the work into it.
                                    Brian Thibodeaux
                                    B747-400/8 First Officer
                                    Typed MD-80, BE1900
                                    ATP, CFI, MEI

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Thank you for the post and all the hard work, Steve. It really puts things in perspective and will help people realize just how much work and effort goes into something that is mostly given away for free.
                                      Fahad Al Riyami
                                      PMDG 737, 747 (+ -8), 777 (+ -300ER). Prepar3D v4.X (always on the latest version).

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by fahdriyami View Post
                                        will help people realize just how much work and effort goes into something that is mostly given away for free.
                                        ​​​​​​Indeed!

                                        I have put out a fair number of paints in my time (did a lot with the Qualitywings 757 before I graduated up to the NGX). Really got into it, making custom bump maps and customizing every detail of obscure variants compared to real-world photos. Hard work but very satisfying...and mostly appreciated by the "customers", as evidenced by the numbers of downloads.

                                        I did have one complete kook sort of stalk me via email for awhile, complaining about the design choices I made, quality of bare metal (on a model that didn't really support it), demanding entire aircraft fleets to be painted etc. in the craziest spelling and grammar...like a ransom note LOL. Gotta love the internet.
                                        Matt Smith
                                        Prepar3D NGX/747

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          As a photographer/videographer and using photoshop everyday. I can tell you i have spent weeks on hand trying to create a simple delta repaint and cant do it. Its very hard to get the hand of idk how people do it but its not easy
                                          Alex Kulak
                                          PMDG Studier and flyer
                                          Ramp Agent @PHX

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            This it what happens when the font you need isn't available and you create it your own based on the airlines style sheet...
                                            It's an aircraft registration font, have fun gessing the airline
                                            Unbenannt-1.jpg
                                            Attached Files
                                            Cheers, Daniel Fürnkäß

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Originally posted by cheesysims View Post
                                              This it what happens when the font you need isn't available and you create it your own based on the airlines style sheet...
                                              It's an aircraft registration font, have fun gessing the airline
                                              Unbenannt-1.jpg
                                              I can't name the airline,but LOL yes fonts are a project all by themselves sometimes.
                                              Matt Smith
                                              Prepar3D NGX/747

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Don't forget about the logos ! Sometimes you just gotta do it the hard way:

                                                Norwegian Tail WIP.JPG
                                                LN-LNI.JPG
                                                Attached Files
                                                Brandon Promeneur
                                                Aka FSBlackestStar Textures

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