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An Introduction To Livery Painting With Layers Part III

An Introduction To Livery Painting With Layers

Part 3 - Night Lighting For Traffic Global Liveries

By Robin Tannahill

The next stage is to complete the "LIT" (darkness) files so thatthe livery just shows in the darkness plus the tail is dimly lit.This procedure was told to me by "Xplaner73" and works well:

1.Save the main .xcf or psd file WITH ALL LAYERS UNMERGED and close it.

2. Open the ATR42_HC.png and ATR42_HC_LIT.png files,

3. Generally speaking, when opening a _LIT .png, draw black closedareas around any plain "lit" tails, and engines etc. Only the windowlights and/or the landing lights should be left showing apart from theblack areas. In GIMP this will add the new black areas to the baselayer. "Select All" and "Copy".

(In Paintshop, each new closed path automatically becomes a newlayer, and you would have to do a "Merge Visible layers" procedurebefore selecting "All" and "Copy". In GIMP, however, the path toolwill combine the new paths with the active layer, unless you specifyyou want it to be a separate layer, so the procedure outlined abovedoesn't require a merge layer procedure.)

In the case of the AT4 we are painting, the _LIT .png only has thewindows and landing lights showing, so we can skip the making of theblack areas, and instead just do a "Select All" and "Copy"

4. Go to the ATR42_HC.png and do an "Edit/Paste as new layer in place"

5. On this new pasted layer, use the "fuzzy select tool" and clickthat on the majority black area.

6. Do an Edit/Cut. Your screen should look like this:


Notice the "hatching" round the windows and the marks on thefuselage fronts. These will show up as lights when we arefinished.

7.Go back to the ATR42_HC_LIT.png file. Use your color picker toselect BLACK and then do a path round the existing lights as we didbefore with the engines and tail etc, and again the new black areaswill merge with the exisitng ones. The .png should become a totallyblack layer. Again, do a "Select All" and "Copy" and then CLOSE thisATR42_HC_LIT.png. Go to the ATR42_HC.png and activate the base layer.Then do a "Edit/Paste as new layer in place" and a completely blacklayer should appear between the base and the lights. In the "Layers"window, reduce the Opacity of this new black layer to 98%. (Theopacity tool is at the top of the Layers Window).

8. Save this new layered file as "ATR42_HC_LIT.xcf" (or psd ifusing Paintshop) and export the file as "ATR42_HC_LIT.png",overwriting the original. It should look like this:


Tailplane Lighting At Night

1. Photoshop

Hide the second "black at 98%" layer on your ATR42_HC_LIT.psd file

Select the base layer (i.e.,the fully colored one) make a selection round one of the tailplanes and do a "copy".

Unhide the second black layer and "paste" the bright taiplane copyyou made as layer three, i.e., in between the black 98% opacity layer andthe top layer with the lights. You now have to darken that new brighttailplane layer down to make it look like a tailplane lit up at night,but not too bright. Go to drop-down "Layer/Layer Style/InnerShadow". The settings that were recommended to me were as the picturebelow:


This gives a nice nightime effect.

Now, because in the Air Corsica case, the tailplanes are"Mirrored", you can just duplicate the darkened layer, and flip ithorizontal. Hide the "98% opacity" layer and move your duplicateddarkened tailplane layer to the correct position on the othertailplane and then unhide the "98% opacity" layer. Save yourATR42_HC_LIT.psd file and then save as the ATR42_HC_LIT.png andproceed as before with the .dds conversion etc.


The standard GIMP I was using 2.10.10 does not have an equivalentLayer Style as standard. You have to add it as a plugin (similar toX-Plane Plugins) You can find the download link and installinstructions (extremely easy) atthis page.Once you have installed it, follow the instructions above, in yourcase make a copy of the tailplane area on the base layer and "paste asnew layer in place" on top of the "98% opacity" layer. Then, RightClick on this new layer and you will get a Layer menu as shownbelow. At the bottom you will now see "Layer Effect" and in there is"Inner Shadow".


I messed around with the settings, starting with the ones in thePaintshop settings picture. It's up to you to adjust as you thinkfit. I went back to the "paste as new layer in place" in the historywindow a few times and tried new settings until I was happy with theresult.


Then copy and paste onto the other tailplane as per the Paintshopinstructions and .dds conversion, etc.

Next task is to convert the .png's back to .dds files for use inTraffic Global. In your XP Scenery Tools folder that you created,open the Xgrinder Window as shown below:


Note the drop down menu selections. The normal window is this:


Now, you drag your two .png files onto this window and they willautomatically be converted to .dds files in the same folder.

But we don't want all the extra GIMP or Photshop and photo filesetc., so we select the AirCorsica folder inside AT4 and copy it insidethe AT4 folder, the result being a new folder called "AirCorsica -Copy". Rename this folder to "AirCorsica_Paintfiles". In thisfolder, delete the object and configuration files in case they confuseTraffic Global.

Inside the "AirCorsica" folder delete everything except the two.dds files, the object file and the configuration file. It should belike this:


Finally we need to edit the config file to let Traffic Global knowto which airline this aircraft belongs. Open JFAI_AT4_AirCorsica.cfgwith a text editor and in the line


change it to


Save the file and we are done! The next time you fire up X-Plane,the missing livery, in our case "JFAI_AT4_AirCorsica" will havedisappeared from the list. If you are familiar with the Air Corsicaschedule, you can go to the relevant airports in X-Plane and see ifyou can spot your repaint "in real life".


I hope you have found this tutorial useful and that it willencourage you to take part in the painting of liveries. The more Iuse GIMP, the more impressed I am, it is amazingly powerful for afreeware program. Get in touch if you have suggestions or questions,either at FlightSim.Com or at X-plane.org.

Robin Tannahill

Read Part 1 - Introduction to GIMP

Read Part II - Painting Liveries For Traffic Global

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