VI - Tail and Winglets
Placing the logos
One of the main problems when painting the tail is getting the AVA logo in the correct position. Vertical stabilizers vary in shape one plane to the other so placing the logo is not exactly a 'precision' task. There is a general rule as to where to place it and we try to make it LOOK like it is in the correct position in all different tails.
I will make a 'composite' of the different tails from the different plane models for you to see.
To the left you have the A340 tail, in the middle the B747 and to the right the B737. The 747 goes only to the end of the seams, it is a broad tail but not that much...
Notice a similarity?
First, AVA is written paralel to the 'ground'. There are certain planes, like the 767, that have a curved fuselage at the end. Nevertheless AVA would be written as those shown above.
Second; The "AVA" logo is aproximately in the first third of the tail from below. Not exactly as the tails have differences in width. So the 747 is broader than the 737, as you may notice. This way the logo is positioned somewhat below the one on the 737.
Take not to make it too large or too small. Notice on the A340 and the B737 that there is a margin from the edges of the tail. There will be some variations, as you can see on the examples above, but the important thing, once again, is to make them look in proportion from one model to the other. This is also true on smaller planes, like our B1900D and the Maule. Since their tails can vary in format from those of the modern jet planes they present some specific situations. Take a look at the image below. To the left we have the Maule and to the right the B1900D.
The two tails apparently do not follow the 'placement rules' I described above. But in fact, when you go see the plane in FS, they look correctly positioned when compared to the other planes.
The Maule has a strong bold line outlining the rudder and it also has the writings on top. Besides the fuselage goes downward and kind of 'merges' with the tail making it not as distinct as it is on the jets. This way the logo is not positioned over the rudder and also further below in relation to the leading edge of the tail. But in the end, when looked from the side, it looks like all the other tails from the planes in the fleet.
The B1900D is another special case as it is a T tail; that is, the horizontal stabilizer is on top of the tail. This way, although the vertical stabilizer is kind of shorter than the other planes, when you add the horizontal stabilizer on top of it and look from the side the logo is in the first third of the whole empennage.
Positioning the tail
Ok, you have learned the theory. Let's do it now.
We are painting a 737 so we are lucky and already have a nicely painted tail for us to follow. We will take the image of an Altair 737 tail and place it over the one we are going to paint. Then we add the logo over it and are able to correctly position it on the tail. Rather easy isn't it? In fact, if you are painting a real world livery you can do the same 'trick'. All you have to do is go to airliners.net or any other website, get a good side view picture from the plane you are painting, cut the tail from the picture, resize it over your file, and position the logo accordingly. Very easy.
But, since we are also learning to create new liveries, like the Altair VA one, it is important to know the basics of proportion as we will have to paint Altair aircrafts for the first time, that is, that do not yet have a model we can use.
Let me provide you with a nice 737 tail now as I happen to have one right here...
Below is the image. Click over it to download the zip file with the .psd file.
DO NOT COPY this jpg image, click over it to download the zip with the PSD file.
Once again: LEFT CLICK TO DOWNLOAD!!!
There is a little surprise for you in there. The logo alone is in a separate layer. So you have the whole tail with the logo on it and over it there is another layer with the logo.
After you have downloaded the file unzip it to your 'Non DXT3 textures' folder, open it and and drag the two layers to your file. It will look like this, the two layers names marked to the right and the tail and logo alone over your workspace. I think you may have noticed that we will have to resize the tail and logo, right?
Now we are going to use one of the Photoshop most useful tools for repainting, which by the way is also one of the most misued features as well. Will explain this later.
The feature is the ability to change the 'BLENDING MODE' of the layers. It is useful to help us correctly position a layer over the other one.
To the non Photoshop users I will explain what it does and will kindly ask you to locate in your image editor which tool does the same thing.
To understand how to use it first try to position and resize the tail over the existing one in our PAI file.
You will quickly notice that when the image goes over the other one you will not be able to see the layer below it and corectly position the tail. Something like this on the image below: now where the hell is our PAI tail??? All you can see is the template.
Now let us change the BLENDING MODE of the B737 TEMPLATE layer. There are several modes. The most used one is the MULTIPLY mode. But in this case the one I think works best is the SOFT LIGHT option as it allows us to see a faint outline of the B737 TEMPLATE shape. Go ahead and try different modes to make the layer look somewhat like the image below; the template tail is visible while having the underneath layer also in sight.
To the upper right I have marked where you change the BLENDING MODE in Photoshop. Be sure to change the mode for the layer that is on top of the other, in our case, the B737 TEMPLATE, as shown to the middle right.
Now that we can see the layer below the template, go ahead, resize the template and position it exactly over the PAI tail.
REMEMBER: Always when resizing stuff use the option to keep the resized image in proportion. We have talked about that a couple of modules before. In Photoshop press CTRL + T to get the FREE TRANSFORM tool and then hold SHIFT while dragging one of the corners to the size you want. You may have to reposition the layer after resizing.
Now after you have resized the tail over our PAI file, you will do the same to the logo. Drag the logo to the correct position and resize it. Pretty easy right?
Now let's do it for the other side of the tail. So, what we have to do first is a copy of the AVA LOGO layer. As we will leave one on each side of the tail, we need a copy to place on the other side.
To copy a layer in Photoshop is pretty easy, all you have to do is drag the layer you want to copy over the NEW LAYER icon to duplicate it. Like this:
Great! And here comes another nice feature to help us position the logo on the other side. We can LINK or lock two layers together. This way, when you move one of the layers that are linked together all the other linked layers will move keeping the exact same position one to the other. The same is true when you resize them, all layers will be resized to the same position. The same when you flip them. We could have used this to resize the logo but I wanted to show you the blending mode first... :o)
So go to the layer that we want linked and select it. In this case, the new layer we have created called AVA LOGO COPY. Click over the layer's name.
Now locate the layer B737 TEMPLATE. We want to link this one to the logo. So we click to the right of the layer's name, on an empty box as shown on the image below and see that the icon of a link will appear.
Now we are ready to transfer it to the other side of the tail.
Select the B737 TEMPLATE layer you have just linked.
Now in the menu go to EDIT, then choose TRANSFORM and then FLIP HORIZONTAL. You will have something like this, below; Notice that the template is still 'faded' out because we have changed the BLENDING MODE, remember?
You will now drag the tail to it's correct position over the right side of the tail.
And that is it, we have finished the tail.
The one last thing we will do is either delete or make the B737 TEMPLATE layer invisible. We do not want it to appear over our PAI livery as we used it only as a guide to position the logo. And that is it. Here is the result with the B737 TEMPLATE layer invisible:
Let's go do the winglets now.
The same thing we saw about tail positioning can be used for the winglets. The only exception is that the winglets vary a lot more even among jets. The NG 737s have ridiculously long and thin winglets while the A340 and the B744 have them more like in the same proportion a normal tail has. Below are a couple for you... To the right you have the A340 winglets. Second from the right we have the 744. Third from the right is the one from the 737NG PMDG model. The first two to the left are from the Kittyhawk 737NG. The nice message in red is from the guys at Kittyhawk that do not seem to like winglets. I am still trying to figure out why those who like winglets are dumb but... they must have their reasons... :o)) Go figure...
Easy here to see that there is no golden rule when it comes to positioning the logo on a winglet. Try to use the same rules for positioning as you used for the tail.
This time we will not use a template for the winglets as their shape is different from developer to developer.
We will simply copy one of the AVA logos from the tail and position it over the winglet.
You have learned how to do this so we do not need to go into detail again.
Make a copy of one of the logos we placed on the tail, resize this copied logo that will be in a new layer and position it about one third from the bottom up. Remember to keep the logo small...
This (below) is the end result as I did it.
Now you may all you have to do is copy the logo to another layer, flip it horizontally and position it over the other side of the winglet. Let's do it.
Make a copy of this small logo layer.
Drag a guide line to the top of the small logo with the copied layer selected. Let it snap into position at the top of the layer.
Flip it horizontally.
Drag it to the left and position it about the same position the other one to the right is.
And a small Photoshop tip. When dragging objects, if you press SHIFT while dragging, the object will only be dragged in straight lines or in a 45° angle relative to the starting point. ;o) Pretty handy...
Here is what I got:
And finally, the engines.
But... we will se that in our next module, along with an easy way to copy the paint from one side of the fuselage to the other.