Aircraft Surfacing 101

A few people now have asked me for some tips on making textures for aircraft. Most want an example of how to create them in Photoshop. This won't involve modeler or layout and there are a few things that I'm going to assume.

  • You know how to create a background template from a view in modeler.
  • I'll be using Photoshop 6. This will work in earlier version but there are no layer folders in pre v6
  • Your familiar with the basic tool set in Photoshop.

I'm going to be showing one method for creating the Color, Diffuse and Specular maps. There are other methods and I'd urge you to modify this to come up with a method that works for you. If there is continued intrest I'll continue with Bump maps etc.

Photoshop Setup

Ok. So fire up Photoshop and lets get to work. Load in your background image and if it isn't already. Lock it, just in case. First order of business is to get the layer folders set up I always create the layers folders first and NAME them. Not just the folders but everything. It takes a couple seconds but will save you hours of head aches when you need to load a .psd file in and tweak or change a map. Layer 6 in Folder 2 doesn't give you near as much informations as Green Camo in the Color Folder. Mine look like this Image #1. The background image I'll be using is for a Mosquito that I"m building. Image #2

Here is a point of intrest if you want to color your aircraft as accurately as possible. Here is a page that shows the CMYK value of just about every color used on military aircraft. Aviation Colors What I do is find the correct colors that I need and save the thumbnail of it. Load that into photoshop and using the eyedropper save it to my color swatches. Its accurate and since its saved when you exit Photoshop its always on hand when you need it.