Black Panel lines and rivet heads...

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by wunwinglow, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Interesting problem!

    I don't build planes models or know much about them, but I would guess that the angle of the light must be very important. Under a slanted light, rivets are going to show up in sharper relief because they will be highlighted on the light side and have contrasting shadows on the opposite. Cracks or seams should be picked out the same way.

    Because the surface of the aircraft is round and complex, I would assume that no matter where the light source, certain seams and rivets would be very noticeable from one angle, but might vanish if the viewer took a step or two, while others would then become more apparent. The same crack might bu picked out by a highlight from one angle, by a shadow from another.

    If that's true, it will be very challenging to graphically produce seams and rivets that appear realistic from any angle, and under the kind of lighting conditions most models are viewed in. Sounds like fine lines and subtle colors would be the best bet.

    Addendum: I like Woodenengraver's strategy! If you can use a physical instead of graphical technique, the shadows and lighting produced might make for much more realistic details. If the lighting conditions of the displayed model can be controlled, you could really maximize the effectiveness of this techique! Do aircraft modelers ever score panel lines? That might be another physical approach for creating more natural definition. Sorry if this is all painfully obvious or already common knowledge in aircraft modeling spheres ... :)
  2. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Jan 25, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Paint Detail

    An old adage concerning surface detail is "add just enough to be noticeable, then back off some". Suggesting the detail in a subtle manner is more important than it being physically visible. The issue with aluminum is that it reflects its surroundings requiring the setting to be "painted on" in the very same way an artist would. I finally concluded that aluminium surfaces were best modeled with real aluminum (imagine that). The area that is being discussed comes under what is commonly known in the graphics arts community as texture mapping. A good definition is here:

    Several factors make up the synthesis of a real looking surface. The first is drawing the surface with the application of an effective texture map (big emphasis on "texture map"). Next is to model the lighting including the time of day, lattitude and time of year. On top of this can be added atmospherics and the surround (these are sort of a minimum requirement for outdoor scenes). A render of the frame is run and the results used to adjust parameters. This yields a single frame in time.

    I've experimented with doing exactly the above and then baking the surface with the resulting rendered texture map. This works but has the drawback that it has the applied lighting at an exact time of day that casts shadows and will, depending on the cast of the sunlight (you are using sunlight aren't you!) will contain the reflected light of the surroundings. Put this model in the wrong surroundings and it's amazing how bad it looks. The implication is that the notion of using a diorama to "surround" the subject is not such a bad idea afer all...,