• Repainting in Microsoft Flight Simulator Part 3

    Repainting in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    By JanKees Blom

    Part Three...

    In the last chapter of the previous tutorial, we finished completing all the paintwork, which was relatively easy. Our next task though, is how we go about making our new repaint into something we can fly around with in FSX (or P3D).

    As I explained in the previous tutorial, all the texture folders contain four different texture files, called; C47_1_T.dds, C-47_1_T_Spec.dds, C47_2_T.dds and lastly, C-47_2_T_Spec.dds, with each one consisting of a 'normal' and 'alpha' part. The paint we have so far, corresponds to the normal part of both C47_1_T and C47_2_T, combined in one file. This combination effect is a peculiarity of this model (you do find it in a few others, but usually each different texture file has its own paint kit file). Here we will have to separate the two, but that will come later. First, we need to produce the spec and respective alpha textures.

    To do this, I use a relatively simple method, that takes very little time. If you look in the paint kit, you'll see there is already a layer called 'alpha'. Most good paint kits will come with both, base alpha and spec textures, sometimes within one file, sometimes though, developers (e.g. A2A) use separate files.

    Can you remember what the alpha of the normal file is used for? That's right; it controls the amount of reflections! So, bare, shiny aluminum will have strong reflections, while matte camouflage paint will have (preferably) no reflections; everything else sits between the two. Strong reflections need to be dark, no reflections, white. Image 1 below shows the alpha layer visible.

    Image 1

    As you can see, there are lots of dark textures. These will be for the shiny bare aluminum parts of the repaint, while all the white part will be dull.

    So, what parts of the repaint need to be dull? Well, the wheels obviously, but also the majority of our new paintwork. However, look at the wings; our aircraft doesn't have deicer boots on the leading edges, so we will need to make those dark! To get rid of them, I've used the magic wand tool to select the white parts on the deicing boots; copied them into a new layer, and then gave that layer a dark overlay, so the leading edges of the tail and wings will shiny.

    As for our paintwork, I gave that group an overlay as well, making it white, and I made the layers with the wheel textures, etc. invisible (Image 2):

    Image 2

    The result of this is that the white parts will be dull in the sim, and the dark parts will be shiny. When performing this technique, I usually use the same alpha for the spec file as well. There the alpha controls the sharpness of the reflections, with black being sharp reflections (for the metal), and white giving blurry reflections (for the paint).

    Tags: repainting

    1. slyf's Avatar
      slyf -
      Bedankt voor alles.
    1. graaant's Avatar
      graaant -
      Where were these fine tutorials when I needed them, a decade or so ago?! Great stuff, thanks
    1. rooitou's Avatar
      rooitou -
      Thanks very much JanKees. I'm trying to identify the scenery in Image 7. Looks like my favourite kind of airport - small, local airport with character.
    1. jankees's Avatar
      jankees -
      Quote Originally Posted by rooitou View Post
      Thanks very much JanKees. I'm trying to identify the scenery in Image 7. Looks like my favourite kind of airport - small, local airport with character.
      It's a quiet corner at Alice Springs, by Orbx
    1. rooitou's Avatar
      rooitou -
      Ah, no wonder. I have quite a few Australian airports from ORBX, but not that one. They should pay you commission, because it is now on my wishlist :-)
    1. Lancduyn's Avatar
      Lancduyn -
      Hi JanKees.

      Great article. Inspired me to do my first ever aircraft paint, mod, desecration, graffiti or whatever this is after many years of thinking about it. I left errors in just to see how they appeared in the sim.
      Attachment 197416

      Thank you Very Much!
  • Recent Forum Activity


    FSX and STEAM Head ache

    Thread Starter: watchur6

    I made the mistake of downloading FSX Steam without deleting regular FSX. Now I have a mess on my hands with liveries disappearing, planes don't...

    Last Post By: mabe5454 Today, 08:57 AM Go to last post

    Short Sunderland MkIIIA by February 1942!

    Thread Starter: flightsimg

    Hi! Keeping with my WW2 airplanes collection! :):) Spotted that Short Sunderland MkIIIA freeware. Photographied she above the Hebrides, by February...

    Last Post By: flightsimg Today, 06:41 AM Go to last post

    Flying the Montana, Missoula Ospreys Baseball to Spokane WA

    Thread Starter: aviator66

    Got Alaska Airlines to take the baseball team from Missoula KMSO, Montana to Spokane WA. for a game. New paint job for the TDSBoeing737-MAX8 looks...

    Last Post By: flightsimg Today, 06:37 AM Go to last post


    Thread Starter: Garciamk3g

    For those who's been following up on My Screen Shot Page you'd know a little more about my beloved C150 How she use to be and how she's looking now....

    Last Post By: Sascha66 Today, 06:36 AM Go to last post