Aircraft Surfacing 101

Add a layer to the color folder and name it Base. Most WW II aircraft have a basic 3 color scheme. A green + grey top side and a blue grey bottom. Select the grey top color and use alt+backspace to fill the layer. Turn base off by clicking the eye for that layer. Add a layer called Green above Base. Select you green color. Activate the Lasso tool and at the top turn Anti Alias on and set the feather to about 2.

Draw on where the green camo bands should be. If there is more than one "band" then use the shift key to add to the selection. Once its done it should look like this. Image #3 Fill this layer with your green. Now before you go any further save this selection. We'll need it later on. Add another layer called Belly and repeat the above using the lasso tool to outline where the color on the belly should go. Fill it and again save the selection. Now your layers window should look like this Image #4 and your image like this. Image #5 Ok..it doesn't look like much, but its the combination that brings it to life. So carry on.

Diffuse Maps
Diffuse maps are a 256 step grey scale image that tells Lightwave how dark to render each pixel. White being 100% diffuse, black being zero%. Its a way to selctively darken or lighten area's of the color map. Collapse and hide the color folder and add a layer to the Diffuse folder and again name it Base. Since just about nothing is 100% diffuse. I fill this layer with a light grey 220,220,220 in this case. Add another layer called Panels. This is where the fun begins. Using the pencil tool and about a 3 point tip, Trace out the panel lines on your plane. Use a fairly dark grey for this. I used 89,89,89. It will look aweful but we'll fix that. Image #6. Make a copy of your panels layer so you have 2. Rename the top one to something like Drips and hide it. Make sure the panels layer is selected and gaussian blur it LOTS. All you want left is a slight color shift around where the panel lines are. Image #7. With the drips layer active use the smudge tool set to around 60-70% to turn the panel lines into the drips of grime that would flow out of them on a real aircraft. When your happy use the eraser to get rid of the untouched lines. Gaussian blur the layer slightly.. around 1-2 like this. Image #8.
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