VII - Engines and Final Touches

Getting it done

The only details left now are the engines and the other side of the fuselage.


The Engines

Some airlines have the engine maker logos apllied on the engines. Altair does the same. They are always positioned near the intake and vertically in the middle of the engine, when you look from the side.

Our 737-700 uses CFM engines, so we will place their logo on the engines.

Let's see the engines from the PMDG model, the "City of Belo Horizonte" and the Kittyhawk model, the "City of Denver":


To the left you have the Kittyhawk model and to the right the PMDG. See how they change a bit from model to model? The PMDG has some more details drawn.

Let's use the images above to help us position the CFM logo correctly. Noticed that little grid on the back of the engine? The middle of the logo is aligned to the middle of that grid. It is better to align the logo to the grid as the safety drawings may vary from one developer to the other, as they do here from the PMDG to the Kittyhawk. PAI's drawings will certainly vary as well so it is better to use the grid which is a part of the aircraft.

Vertically it is positioned aproximately half way between the end of the metallic surface from the intake and the first seam.

As usual, I am providing you with a nice CFM logo:

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.





OK, you know the routine next.

Unzip and open the logo, drag it to your file.

Drag a horizontal guide line to the middle of the small grid.

Position the logo in the correct position and resize it accordingly. The red rectangle from the logo is aproximately twice the size of the grid. Try to keep the logo in the right proportion and make it LOOK right.

Here is what I did; Notice the guide line over the middle of the grid.


Now let's do it on the other engine.

First, drag a vertical guide line and let it snap to the middle of the CFM logo.

Then drag another horizontal guide line to the same position over the center of the small grid on the other engine.

Make a copy of the CFM logo layer and drag it to the position where the two guide lines meet.

Flip it horizontally (it has to be mirrored to show up properly in FS) and presto...

Could not be easier right?

Here is the end result: The two CFM logo layers are shown to the right.


And we are done! Everything is painted.

Well, we are almost all done. We still have to do the other side of the fuselage. As I said before, it is nice to take a look in FS9 or FS Repaint everytime you change or add something so you know it is ok before painting the other side. For now we will skip this part until getting to module 08 and learning how to convert those files to the FS9 EXTENDED FORMAT. But in the future when you paint your aircraft always take a look after painting a large area or part of the aircraft from time to time.

Let's do the other side of the fuselage now and learn another nice trick to work with those layers.


The other side

The easiest way to paint the other side is to copy and drag the painting from one side to the other. There are a few ways to do that. We will go through the easiest ones and depending on how good you can manage your image editor you can choose one or the other.

Folders or "Sets"

Adobe Photoshop has the ability to create folders (they are called "SETS") where you can organize your different layers. Those "SETS" allow you to copy, drag and flip a bunch of layers at the same time in one move. Here is what I usually do. I create a SET called DETAILS and place it high above all others, except for the PALETTE layer that I want visible all the time. Then I drag inside this new DETAILS SET all the lines, doors, details, etc, layers that are supposed to be over the livery I am painting. In the image below I have already dragged all the layers from the left (without the SETS yet) to the DETAILS SET on the right. Those layers are the ones that came originally with the paint kit.

Then I create another SET with the name of the plane I am painting. This new SET I called AVA DENVER. This is very useful when you have more than one paint for the same plane on the same file, like the AVAS Douglas DC-7C and the 1960 Douglas DC-7C. Also notice on the image to the right that the AVA DENVER SET is expanded while the DETAILS SET is not. Once again this is a nice feature so you do not have to roll up and down the layers all the time.


To create a new set in Photoshop you click over the small folder at the status bar marked with the red circle to the right on the image above.

Even if you do not use Photoshop I am pretty sure other image editors may have this feature as well.

So go ahead and create two new SETS, one named AVA DENVER and the other one named TAIL, ENGINES, WINGLETS.

Drag inside the new AVA DENVER set all details we painted on the fuselage. Take a look at the image above that shows the SET expanded and has all the layers we used to paint the fuselage into it.

Now drag into the other set you have created, TAIL, ENGINES, WINGLETS, all the other remaining layers you used to paint those corresponding parts of the plane.

Duplicating the set

So now we are going to duplicate the AVA DENVER SET and drag it to the other side of the fuselage. Right click over the SET and choose DUPLICATE LAYER SET. Choose a name for it (I chose AVA Denver down). Voilá, you have duplicated your layer set. Couldn't be easier...


Now we will have to drag this new SET to the right side of the fuselage and adjust a few things.

Remember we dragged a guide line to the bottom of the left side of the fuselage? We will do the same thing to the right side.

Drag a guide line to the bottom of the right side fuselage, in the exact same position you placed one on the left side of the fuselage when we started to paint.

Now you will click over the new AVA DENVER DOWN SET and select it.

Next you will flip the entire set at once. You already now how to flip a layer you will do exactly the same thing just now, once you have a SET selected it will flip ALL the layers in the set in one move and keeping their exact same positions. Here is mine after flipping the new set:


Looking the image above we can see to the upper right the new SET selected. To the bottom right we have the two collapsed sets AVA DENVER and TAIL, ENGINES, WINGLETS quietly sitting there.

And in the center you may see that all the new layers in this new set are flipped.

SETs are a very nice feature and they can save you some time when painting.

I think I do not even need to tell you what to do next now do I?

Dragging the set

You will leave the SET selected and drag it to the correct position over the right side of the fuselage aligning the bottom part of the blue belly to the guide line you placed at the bottom of the fuselage.

Make sure the edge of the flag aligns correctly with the end of the last window to the left. You may also use the directional arrows in your keyboard to 'fine tune' the positioning and 'nudge' the whole set.

There is also an additional thing you can do. If you want the blue belly to 'snap' into position over the guide line you have dragged at the bottom of the right side fuselage you can also select the BLUE BELLY layer, LINK all the other layers in this SET to it and with the BLUE BELLY layer selected drag all the layers at the same time. It is up to you, it depends on how many layers you have in a given SET. If you have too many layers it may be a bit bogus to go and link them all, it is easier to zoom in and adjust it to the correct position.

Here is the other side of the fuselage in my file:


We are almost there...

Mirroring the writings

On some textures, depending on the mdl file the developer of the aircraft use, you will have to leave the writings mirrored like in the image above, or, in some others, you will have to flip them again so that they will be correctly displayed in FS. This is the case with our PAI file.

For that you will have to flip the individual layers that have something written on them. Those are the ALTAIR, the BRIGHTEST STAR, the REGISTRATION and the WWW.

Select each one of those and flip them.

BUT REMEMBER!!! If you have linked the layers to drag them as in the alternative method to position the duplicated set on the other side of the fuselage, you will have to remove the links before flipping them or you will flip ALL the layers while keeping their relative positions one to the other. And we do not want to do that, we want them to remain where they are and just flip those with something written one them.

The only two layers that you WILL HAVE TO LINK to flip are the ALTAIR and the BRIGHTEST STAR layers. Try to flip them without linking to quickly see why... ;o)

Here is my file after flipping the layers.


Seams and doors and lines and details...

We are almost done. There is one final thing you need to do.

Take a closer look at the cargo doors and at the line delimiting the root of the wing below. Look also the seams over the logo on the tail.


Now some people may disagree with me but I think they look a bit too strong over the blue belly. They look fine over white but when apllied over the blue or any other darker color they look unrealistic. They are fine for white because seams and cargo doors are always painted gray on the models and make a nice contrast with white and light colours. But for darker colours they are way too bright and have too much contrast with the blue, in our case.

Want to see a real life example of what I am saying?

Take a look at this Braathens 737-700 and notice the cargo door on the bottom right of the fuselage. You can barely see it right? Notice the seams. See how faint they look like except those on the nose?


So what we have to do here is making them less apparent over the dark areas and leave them as they are on the lighter areas... How do we do that? By changing the layer order and placing it below the logo? Hmmm... it might even work when you have a very small area that you have to correct. But, it does not look very realistic. Have in mind that the logo is just paint over a surface. If the surface has a texture or something like that on it, everything you apply over this surface will also show it. Seams do not magically dissapear in rw once you paint them. Same thing is true for doors. Just painting over the seams and doors and any other details is not realistic at all. What you have to do is find a way to make the lines less apparent and not getting rid of them, so painting over them or changing layer order is not a very good solution.

So we have two ways of doing that the right way:

First one is by changing the BLENDING MODE for the layer. Second one would be to copy the layer or copy and paste a part of the layer into a new one and change the OPACITY of the layer. Which one to use depends on what you are painting and changes from situation to situation. I will show you both and you may decide which one to use in similar situations.

Changing Blending mode

I would personally use this one for this situation as it is much simpler to use and yields good results. We already know how to change the BLENDING MODE for a layer so I will just do it and show you my results. You might remember we have a lot of modes to choose from so it is just a matter of testing which one is best. If you are not sure, take a real world picture of a plane and just compare...

Here is what we have to do.

We have dragged all the layers we have to edit into the DETAILS set, remember? Let's start by the tail. The layer that has the seams in the tail is the TAIL LINES.

So we select the layer and change the BLENDING MODE.

Here is a small tip. You may be tempted to zoom in to see the results when changing modes. Don't! Try to leave it at 100% or 200% max so you can have a better idea of how it will look like in FS. You will never zoom into an aircraft in FS like you can do here. It is nice to always check the details of your work but remember the plane will always be seen from a distance, so taking a step back to look at the whole is better.

Here is the original image. See how the lines go over the logo?


I think two modes could be used, either DARKEN or MULTIPLY. I prefer the first one as it leaves the lines not too apparent over the logo while altering very little of the seams over the white. Here is my file. Compare both images above and below. See how the logo shows up better while still displaying the seams behind the yellow wedge? A much more natural effect than the image above.


Let's do the same for the wing root lines.

Changing Opacity

But this time I will show you the other option we have. I would not use it, as I told before I would use BLENDING MODE here but it is just for you to know.

The wing root lines and all the other little fuselage thingies are in a layer called LINES & DETAILS.

Select this layer. Now we will select on the image the part we want to edit. In this case we are interested in the root lines only, so we will select the whole mid part of the fuselage. And I will take the opportunity to show you a few very useful tricks for selecting and deselecting stuff in Photoshop. Again, for non Photoshop users, try to identify in your software how to use the same functions as I am sure your software will have those features as well, it is just a matter of learning the correct key combinations.

Now here is the selection. Notice the MARCHING ANTS delimiting the area we have selected. Now in the middle notice also that there two small details we do not want in our selection, those two rounded things on each side of the fuselage. I have marked them in red. We need to deselect them.


In Photoshop, CTRL, SHIFT and ALT are your best friends...

The best way to do it is by holding the ALT key while using the select tool. Notice that when you hit the ALT key a small MINUS sign appears on the lower left corner of the cursor. It indicates that everything you select while holding the key will be excluded from the selection.

In the image below you may see that I have already deselected the areas I am not going to copy. Although it seems I am removing a part from the root lines it is just due to the size of this reduced image.


If ALT deselects from an existing selection then there must be another key that ADDS to an already made selection... This key is SHIFT. If you hold SHIFT while using the selection tool it will add what you are selecting to the already selected area.

Wanna know another cool and very useful tip?

This is a really nice one. Follow me here...

Press and hold CTRL. Now go to the layers list on the box and click over the LINES & DETAIL layer. See what happens? You have just selected all the elements of the whole layer. Cool hum?

Now let's make it even cooler...

ALT adds to the selection right? Now press and hold ALT and CTRL at the same time and click over the BLUE BELLY layer. Nice isn't it? You have added the whole layer to the selection. This is VERY useful when you have to select a layer with lots of different and sparse elements. The windows layer is one of those, the seams, the details, there are many uses you will see for this feature.

Wanna know another useful one? Ok.

Press and hold CTRL and ALT and SHIFT all at the same time. Now click over the LINES & DETAILS layer again. Now you have DESELECTED the lines over the BLUE BELLY layer. This keystrokes combination acts by EXCLUSION. That is, if you have an already made selection and want to remove from this selection the elements of another layer, use this key combination.

Had enough? No? Ok, here is another one...

You may do the opposite, that is, use the selection tool to select areas that are COMMON to each other by holding the ALT and SHIFT keys. Let me explain a little further. Select the the BLUE BELLY layer. Remember how it is done? With the CTRL clicking over the layer's name. Now you hold SHIFT and ALT and select any area larger than the blue belly that is selected. See the result? Only the area common to both selection remains...

Nice features aren't they? Let's move on now. Where were we? The selection...

Ok, we have selected the wing root lines. Now we will copy this selection and paste it. A new layer will be created and hopefully it will be positioned over the same place where the original layers is. If it is not, drag the layer a little bit to match the new layer exactly over the previous one. Zoom in if necessary.

Ok, now you will change the order of the layers so that the original LINES & DETAIL layer will be below the BLUE BELLY layer. Place it is below the last blue belly layer, the one on the right side of the fuselage that we have copied before.


Now we will go to the original copied layer up there and change it's opacity. What will happen here is that since the original layer is below the blue belly the part that is below it is not showing up. The root lines you see over the blue belly are from the copied layer. So when you increase the OPACITY of the copied layer it will 'fade' and over the BLUE BELLY you will see it less apparent until completely dissapearing if you set it to 0%. But over the white paint on the fuselage you will see it reduce just a little bit, since the original layer is showing up behind the blue belly. In fact it is fading there too but since there is the original layer showing up behind the blue belly you will still see the lines there. You must have guessed what we are trying to do by now. Go on reducing the OPACITY value until you are satisfied with the results. One tip is to let the part that is over the white of the fuselage almost exactly as it is when you turn the visibility of this layer off.


I set the opacity to 40%.

And it is done, this is what you need to do to use this second method. Since I prefere to change the blending mode in this case I will just delete the copied layer, put the LINES & DETAIL layer back to it's original place and change it to MULTIPLY BLENDING MODE. Of course you may choose the method you want.

Now the last thing we must do is adjust the cargo doors in the same way. All we have to do is go to the DOORS & WINDOWS layer and change the BLENDING MODE right?


A nice example of how easily you may goof when painting an aircraft if you do not pay attention to details. Look what happens when I just change the BLENDING MODE of the layer. Let's see if you can spot what is wrong with the image if I just do it. The original is to the left and the edited to the right. What went wrong???


The windows are part of the layer we changed the blending mode so now the yellow wedge is showing over the windows... Of course that is not supposed to happen. But it shows very well that before changing something in a layer make sure that what you are going to change does not affect other parts of the aircraft. It is a good idea as well to separate elements in different layers, like the doors from the windows, details from seams and so on... You will soon find out how many layers you will need for what when painting.


The easiest thing to do here is to cut the cargo doors from the original layer and only change the blending mode of this new cargo doors layer.

So go ahead set the blending mode of the layer back to normal. Now select the cargo doors and COPY then paste to form a new layer. Why are you copying and not cutting like I said? Because you need to first position them accordingly and THEN you may cut them from the original layer.

Let's call the new layer... hmmm.... though one... CARGO DOORS! (duh..)

Once they are correctly positioned you select the old layer again and then you select the cargo doors and delete them.

Now we select the new CARGO DOORS layer again and change BLENDING MODE to MULTIPLY or whichever suits your taste. Here is the end result:


The window now is clear and the cargo doors are barely visible over the blue. Notice that they do show up over the yellow, which is what we wanted.



And that is it...

We have finished. For this aircraft we are not adding dirt or weathering effects. We want to keep this file size small.

We will see that in other modules with better non AI aircaft. Let us see now how our plane looks like in 3D. For that we will need to convert those files we have been working on for a format FS understands. This is the subject of our next module.


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