Whether to Weather?

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Gil, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Tim,

    There seems to be two distinct camps as regards weathering with some in between the two extremes (i.e. inverted bell curve population distribution). One is independent and desires to do all the coloring and surface work. The second group buys the model from the way it's photograph looks on the cover and desires to have a model that looks simlar without investing in too many tools and supplies to acomplish the build.

    This prodded me into thinking about the process. It might be possible to have one digital model that serves both categories. Here's the general outline of the process:

    The base layer of the design contains the normal details for "cutting out" all the surfaces (i.e. lalpha build white paper model). The next layer contains surface paint and insignia etc.(diffuse coloring) The last layer would contain weathering, shadowing and other blends to complete the weathering (specular colors). Using the layer control in the average paint program the user could apply the desired layers, increase/decrease opacity, flatten and print he image.

    That's the general idea..., still need to work out detail implementation but it might be worth while to investigate.

    Best regards, Gil
  2. Sticky Fingers

    Sticky Fingers Member

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    Neat idea. But the problem I see is most of the digital format kits I have seen are PDFs. Might be kind of tricky to do if that is the case. But I really see no reason why the kits could not contain the various stages o the coloring process for the graphically challenged. :? :?
  3. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

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    Gil,

    Great idea. In fact I'm gonna have to kick that idea around a bit more for the GIMP tutorial. It'd be pretty simple to release a .xcf file with multiple layers available.

    Ryan
  4. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Mark, Ryan,

    It will take a little discipline to keep the layers separate but should work extremely well. Those who desire weathering have the diffuse color layer and need to create a "chipped undercoat layer" masking through the paint layer to reveal the it. The dry brushng layer is where the airbrush and transparency overlay the lower layers. Panel line embossing is accomplished on the base layer using grayscale blends so color blending of the upper layers can be accomplished.

    The file system should be based upon the PDF structure with the layered files being open for editing purposes.

    This could have an interesting effect as the upper layers could now be shared amongst "owners" of the base model. I think this will to some effect "revitalize" card modeling....,

    Best regards, Gil
  5. Al hazlet

    Al hazlet Member

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    Take a look at the thread on www.paperworlds.com that discusses this very thing, going layer by layer through the process.

    The Thread is "Texturing discussion", the link is:
    <http://www.paperworlds.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=414>

    Note that this layered method lets you change color schemes too, if you so choose. The designer/colorist could do polished aluminum/nightfighter black/pathfinder polkadots on three different layers, for instance.

    Makes me wish I could draw better.

    Al Hazlet
  6. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

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    Gil,

    Actually I'm thinking of posting any finished products I complete as GIMP specific files (.xcfs) available for users of GIMP (and a .jpg, .bmp, or .pdf version for those who don't have GIMP). While .pdf is a great format and definately the best overall, it isn't as friendly to the poorer types (like me) who would want to recolor. GIMP as an editor is free and powerful enough to do a good model justice and thus could become a common denominator... Anyone could then recolor the kit as they see fit, so long as they had permission from the designer.

    Oh, and Al, I can't draw that well either. It's just a matter of knowing which tools to use, and practicing with them until you are happy with the result. Also, once you get the basic lines and panels down, it's pretty easy to recolor stuff. Sometimes you can even find "cheats" such as font packs that simulate the lettering or writing you want to use! More on this later in my GIMP tutorial...

    Ryan
  7. Square

    Square Member

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    Al thanks for refreshing my memory
    I havn't been to that link in sometime, They have grown a bit.
    Ryan you might be interested in the UCM program there. it seems to allow us to do thigs of what you are already planning. might be of great interest. I want to check it out myself. Seems like it allows for real quick color changes in the one layer. ???
    Square
  8. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

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    This is how I have always worked! I can't show the current project just yet, it is for someone else, ( but you will see it very soon) and my one file (coreldraw) now contains all the details for 8 different aircraft, with the weathering, markings, panel lines, camouflage, blends etc all on their own seperate layers. One of the things that put me off bitmap images all those years ago was the destructive nature of editting such images, although now of course all graphics programs use layers. Coreldraw 3 had them 14 years ago....

    The main reason for asking was to see if people prefered the 'look' of squeeky clean or battle weary. I generally keep weathering fairly low key on my own models, but this subject is known for the tatty appearance in its particular theatre of operations.

    Watch this space! Thanks for the input guys, very valuable as usual!

    Tim P
  9. Swinger

    Swinger Member

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    As for the non-digital models, I personally prefer those which have the weathering already done, but it must be REALISTIC.
  10. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

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    Back to the point of 'options' in a pdf model, why bother with the layers on each page? It would be easier just to add alternative pages, and let the customer pick which pages they needed? I realise the file size would be bigger than a file with fewer pages, but would the additional complexity of a multi-layer file have the same effect? And remember, you will always get the odd customer who will complain bitterly, having not read the instructions and printed it out with ALL the layers enabled.... or none!! No-one here on this forum would be that dopey, but they are out there!

    Tim P
  11. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Tim,

    Absolutely! Just like buying a computer..., just go down the check list of features get to the bottom and push total! Egads, guess I just wanted the bare bones model in the first place especially on my budget!

    All humor aside, that is just the type of facility I have in mind. The tools exist and are prevalent now in every paint package. (Ryan, does GIMP have pdf file import capability?) We just need to standardize the process with this forum beng the place to do so placing the user articles/turtorials in several parts. This will take time but I think it's well worth the effort.

    As for those who will always complain..., they always have and always will. When I was young I entered the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power Program and underwent an intensive schooling in the art of running Nuclear Power Propulsion Plants. This course of study was so intense that everyone was on edge and had for the most part not enough sleep so things go hazey every once in awhile (this was back in the time of Admiral Hyman Rickover of Zirconium Curtain fame). The examinations were regular and unforgiving. One common grading remark on exams was RTFQ! Remember these were engineering type questions and had to be worked out and an answer stated and boxed. Sometimes the question would be read too quickly and a completely wrong answer derived. RTFQ! was the grading result. It wasn't too much of an insult as getting one was the mark of the initiated. Now just what does RTFQ! mean? "Read The #$@&*$% Question! This summarizes those iindividuals who do not read the #$@&*$% question.

    More to come...., curious as to the outcome of your coloring work.

    Best regards, Gil
  12. Ron

    Ron Member

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    I thought I had read somewhere that layered visio files could actually be contained in a pdf. Wondering if it's a possibility with others? There wouldn't be a need for multiple pages in the normal sense. I love this idea!
    Allowing people to decide on their own what level of detailing and weathering
    and still be able print from PDF would take this hobby to the next level.

    Research time!

    Talk soon
    Ron
  13. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

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    Gil,

    GIMP DOES have .pdf importing ability, but it saves each page as a page... I don't think it would save layers though I could be wrong.

    As far as weathering goes, it just depends on how you want the plane to be depicted. Take an 8th Air Force plane for example. A lot of times after a mission it might look REALLY grungy, but you wouldn't expect that if they were about to start a mission after a three day break because of weather, or if Gen. Doolittle was visiting the base.
    For me, if it's well done, it's nice, depending on how I want to display the model, but I like the idea of having the non-weathered version available.

    Also, non pilots don't tend to take care of "little" weathering stuff such as smashed bugs on the leading edges of a plane flown a lot on the deck. For that matter, you don't have to fly it on the deck that much to get a lot of bugs if your in the right area and time of year! The little Tomahawks I fly sometimes have REALLY nasty looking leading edges at times. There are other things that could be mentioned as well.

    Ryan
  14. Masamune_Washington

    Masamune_Washington Member

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    In a limited way layers can be separate images to be printed on the same sheet.
    The primary problem fouling this idea is consistent printer feeding, misalignment would limit the allowance of position-sensitive elements. Generously figuring a 5mm divergence does permit subjects such as alternate camouflages and lightly weathered color patches.
  15. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    I think that for it to work the layers need to be aligned in the paint application. We'll need to look into this. Tim has allowed that Corel has the ability since version 3 as does Adobe's products. Anyone have information on Paintshop Pro?

    Best, Gil

    PS If you haven't looked at the PaperWorld thread it's located here:

    http://www.paperworlds.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=414

    It's complimentary to this discussion but has no relevance to codifying or standardizing the delivery format.
  16. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

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    Paintshop Pro v7 definitely has them, they are a major 'thing' in the manual. I don't know about previous versions though. Implementation is similar to the Coreldraw layers, although you have transparency effects between layers as well, which coreldraw cannot do; in v9 at any rate.

    Anyone else with info on previous and more recent versions?

    Tim P

    PS I can post some corel example pics shortly....
  17. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

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    GIMP has transparency as well.

    Ryan
  18. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Multo et al,

    The straw man proposal fo bottom to top layering is as follows:

    1.) Metal layer (optional for full paint)
    2.) Grayscale layer
    3.) Paint layer
    4.) Chip mask layer
    5.) Shadow detail mask layer
    6.) Weather detailing layer



    Note that the exact itneraction between the layers hasn't yet been worked out. Also the inclusion of sublayers isn't listed. Mask and transparency interaction between layers is at the heart of reaching a solution.

    Best, Gil
  19. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

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    Gil,

    Shouldn't a weathering layer come before the shadows layer? Just curious why you put it last... My own thinking being that the weathering is more important to a model's look than the shadows. Natural lighting takes care of most shadow situations and can also give the lie to even good shadow jobs. Not that they don't have a place... :wink: I like a nicely done job even if it does have shadows, but weathering can be in place regardless of time of day.

    Ryan
  20. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Ryan,

    The weathering layer is last because it is last in the real world. Shadows are a little trickier. It depends what is desired to add shadows to. Shadows are key to bringing out surface texture detail. It allows application of apparent detail that would be impossible to easily model otherwise. Strangely enough there is a very subtle but very evident psychopictoric effect that key the eye (and brain) into disbelief suspension (basically fool the eye into thinking that what it is seeing is real). This layer will most likely end up with the largest number of sub-layers due the need for it to be associated with various subject subsets. This also brings up an two new categories missing from the first list, geometric highlighting and transparent objects. So the list expands to:

    1.) Metal layer (optional for full paint)
    2.) Grayscale layer
    3.) Paint layer
    4.) Chip mask layer
    5.) Shadow detail mask layer
    6.) Weather detailing layer
    7.) Geometric highlighting
    8.) Transparent objects

    The exact ordering is subject to change as this is a Straw Man Proposal and is the subject of change. This will become more apparent as the details get sorted out and an actual color detail layering set is developed.

    To all, this list is a living list and subject to change. Please feel free to discuss changes and additions to it. Just copy and use indents for sub-layers or new numbers to add a major category. The Wooden Man will be developed out of this discussion.

    Best, Gil

    P.S. Ron, this has distinct commercial possibilities beyond cardmodeling...,