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Burkhard

How to paint MyTraffic aircrafts - basics, hints and tips

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This topic is intended to explain to everybody who wants to learn how to make aircraft paints. I will give my tips, and maybe others have other tips, and newcomers please do not hesitate to ask.

The new MyTraffic aircrafts are intended to be easy to paint. They only use a planar projections - which means that the textures show the aircraft exactly from the side (some military aircrafts may show a pure top view of the wings too, the airliners will not.

What do you need?

1.) A blank texture of the aircraft. In this thread I show everything as smaller pictures.

post-148-12868951805_thumb.jpg

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You see that you can paint the fuseledge, the engines and the winglets on this model. The lower part is the wheels, lights, cabin crew uniform colors etc, leave it untouched for the moment. It is just identical on all new models, even is some aren't used on the specific model.

The next thing are some good pictures of the model you want to make, or at least one good. Taken exactly from the side, without any shadows on the plane. The better the picture the easier the painting. If we start with a paint that isn't too complex, the Iberworld A320 http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1193996 is usable when you choose the large one. Or maybe you still have some thousand photos in your cellar from times when you looked at aircrafts without a computer, or go out to the spotting places from time to time?

What you need next is a paint program, either a complex one or several simpler ones. A combination of MS Paint and MS Photo Editor does the job as well as Photoshop or whatever you are used to. What you need is the possibility to add things in a transparent way, and a way to resize objects, rotate them, and to change the constrats and the brightness, some other basic tools like a pen, a line tool, a rubber.

Only using Paint, just by copy and paste, I included the tail logo. Removed the rest of the landscape around and by chance it fits ( the texture size is made so that 1280x1024 originals fit well ) into the tail on the left side. The next step is shown on the right, using the line tool, the fill tool and a brush the tail is done.

Next I copied the title - and increased in contrast and brightness to have the white really white. The rubber helped to get away some darker spots. Next would be to fit the title in. It is slightly too large and slightly tilted, so a rotation by degree and a reduction to 95% might be the solution to that - or you use it and overpaint or whatever.

I stop here with the example, because basically all is said what is needed.

post-148-128689518058_thumb.jpg

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Once the bitmap is done, it has to be converted into a format that FSX is able to use. If you are in a development process and want to look at at single pixel placement, take the 32bit bormat, the normal one weill be DXT1 ( or DXT3 for very metallic surfaces ). Never convert the original, always convert a copy of it, since there is no way back from DXT1 to 24bit without strong losses.

There are two tools, DXTBMP by Martin Wright and Imagetool by ACES (FSX SDK) to do this.

I personally use imagetool, but the result for DXT1 is binary the same with DXTBMP, so it is a question of the user interface which fits better to you.

So once you have the A320-t.bmp in 32bit ot DXT1, you can put it in any texture folder of the new model, replacing the Lufthansa as example, and can be sure to find it in quantities at Lufthansa hubs. It is a good idea to use a frequent model, since than you may have it from all sides at one airport, so can look from all sides without having to load.

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Testing the repaints

Here I'll describe how I test my repaints, I'm interested to hear how others do this.

Before FSX you could use FSRepaint to see your repaints without loading FS itself. But FSRepaint doesn't support the real FSX models, so....

FSX with MTX installed takes about 5 minutes to load on my computer, so my first step is to rename the MyTraffic/aircraft folder to MyTraffix/aircraft_org, then create a new aircraft folder that contains just the model I'm working on.

While painting the A320's, I have put my repaint in the 01 texture folder of the 320 (Lufthansa).

I will then start a free flight in FSX at Frankfurt/Main using the Trike, with all scenery set as low as possible, but all Aircraft Traffic at 100%.

This way, almost all the planes I see, will be my current repaint. I drive/fly around it a bit and inspect the latest changes I have made.

When you change the texture, you must end the flight and reload, there's no need to shutdown FSX completely.

Using this trimmed down version of MTX I have no problem keeping Photoshop running in the background (I have 1GB internal mem).

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I almost use the same technique, with one little difference.

It is not necessary to reload the whole flight, everything that forces textures to be reloaded is suffcient, and the easiest one I found to work is to change the autogen setting of the scenery - is a bit faster.

On my daily work setup, I only have all the new aircrafts active - this is blooming up from day to day like nature outside, so there is a strong motivation coming from this side.

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I find that in order to study the effect from all angles and and with different lighting I install the repaint as a flyable plane.

The procedure is a follows:

To install in Mytraffic-X

Go to the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\MyTraffic\aircraft\SOMEAIRCRAFT directory, create a folder in there called "texture.MYTEST"

Then open the aircraft.cfg and copy the existing text of the last aircraft in the repaint list, and paste this text after the last [fltsim.xx], incrementing the xx.

For example, if your last entry was [fltsim.11]

then add:

[fltsim.12]

title=

sim=

model=

panel=

sound=

texture=MYTEST

atc_id=

atc_airline=

atc_flight_number=

atc_parking_types=GATE,RAMP

ATC_PARKING_CODES=BKP

ui_manufacturer=

ui_type=

ui_variation=

description=FSX model by MyTraffic

atc_heavy=0

Put in the appropriate values for title (it mist be unique)

Being AI aircraft, Mytraffic planes are normally invisible in the aircraft selection menu. To check whether you have installed it correctly and see what it looks like, you need to see it in the aircraft selection menu in order to load it up as a flyable aircraft. This is straightforward. All you need to do is to copy a panel folder (any panel folder from any of the default MS aircraft) into ...MyTraffic\aircraft\SOMEAIRCRAFT folder and all the aircraft in that particular folder will be selectable with a generic picture. If there is a small image in the texture folder called "Thumbnail.jpg" and it is 200x100 pixels in size,, you will get a preview picture.

So, step by step... to make this aircraft visible in the aircraft menu:

1] with Windows explorer, go to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\SimObjects\Airplanes\B737_800\ and highlight the panel folder.

2] copy the whole folder to the clipboard with Ctrl-C

3] Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\MyTraffic\aircraft\SOMEAIRCRAFT folder.

4] Ctrl-V to paste the panel folder into the SOMEAIRCRAFT folder.

5] Now start up FSX, and select your repaint.

Once you have done this, you can happily make modifications in photoshop, send it to imagetool, convert to DXT1, create mipmaps and save the result to your texture folder as XXX_t.bmp. you can do this as many times as you like each time you make a change.

If the paint it looks OK, make some screenshots and upload your paint here so that MyTraffic can get better and better. Then add the aircraft into the Mytraffic X database with the MyTraffic X editor program as per Husain's instructions.

Now you can delete the panel folder to prevent the FSX Aircraft menu from cluttering up.

This is a somewhat abbreviated version. If it's not too clear, post and I'll write out some nauseatingly detailed instructions.

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Another small tip:

If you use photoshop, you can drag the PSD file directly into imagetool. You dont need to convert or even flatten the file. Imagetool will read a photoshop PSD file directly.

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Which model do you need. Most of the new models have a texture.blank folder with a 24bit texture. Photoshop cannot handle DXT1 format.

If you cannot find, just tell us...

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Burkhard,

 

I am trying to paint a 737-600 in the colors of Janet Airlines (Have spooks will travel...grin).  Can you supply me with a blank 737-600 please?  I am assuming I need a blank to paint it.

 

I have tried converting a China repaint from DX1 to 24bit but once I do so I always end up with just  black texture. I know you tried to explain that to me something about the conversion when I was repainting the C-141A, but I never quite understood what you were trying to tell me.

 

Thank you,

Jim

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HI, I have a question on the texture files. Each aircraft have 4:

 

B772_t.dds (1024x1024);

B772_t_3.dds (128x128);

B772_L.dds (1024x1024); and

B772_L_3.dds (128x128).

 

What are the 128x128 pixels used for?

 

Thanks.

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They are used for far away models. Due to the enourmous number of different textures that may need to be loaded when you come near to an airport, loading big textures may introduce stutters - freezing for several seconds. These small textures are a factor of 64 smaller, load very fast and only get replaced for nearby aircraft. So this is a performance improvement feature.

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