I - Getting Started
What do we need?
Let's quickly go through what you need to take part on the AWPG Internship Program. First of all it is assumed you have a basic understanding of how to copy, move, rename, delete and handle files in Windows... It is also nice to know how to install aircraft in FS2004 and therefore be familiar with the basic folders structure within FS2004. Any knowledge in using a particular image editor is also recomended, although you do not need to be a pro at it, knowing the basic tools the software provides you is good enough. Now let's see what you will need regarding softwares, where you can get it and what online resources we have available to help us.
Ok folks, here is a small list of what we will need to start painting planes.
1) An image editor
This is more a personal choice. There are many softwares around, some will prefer one over the other but the most used ones are these:
DXTBmp is a small freeware software that converts bmp files to the extended format used by Microsoft Flight Simulators. With it you can also add alpha channels to your bmp files. Very nice program by Martin Wright.
3) Image Tool
Another small program from Microsoft also used to convert textures. Let's you convert a 24 bit bmp into a 32 bit bmp. It came with FS2002 and if you still have it installed it is in your hard drive:
If you do not have FS2002 installed, look into the installation CDs.
If you do not have your installation disks anymore, then you may download it from the Microsoft website. Some SDKs (software development kits) have imagetool.exe included. The most recent one is the Terrain SDK.
4) Abacus FS Repaint
This is not a necessary software, but it will speed things up A LOT for you if you use it. This is a payware program that has an aircraft "viewer" and an image editor as well. It is listed here due to it's viewer, that is available in the limited trial version. With it you can visualize the aircraft without having Flight Simulator running. It is a real time saver.
That is basically what you need to start. Let's take a look now at the resources available for us on the Internet.
We have tutorials that use one or other image editor to teach how to paint aircraft. I will list some here that cover a few of the most used ones and that can provide us with some basic knowledge. Keep in mind that you wil find some differences in the way some tutorials present some techniques. You have more than one way to do things and besides some of the tutorials are for FS2002 and FS200. They will be a general guide for us and in the end choose the one you feel most comfortable with.