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I'm trying to do a not-so-what-if skin to the F-18E of Brazilian Air Force, and I'm having some trouble with the decals, there is a way to locate the exact coordinates at the aircraft, or I need to try each one?

 

And I have some doubts about the Decal.ini... What "MeshName", "DecalLevel", "DecalFacing", "Rotation", "Scale", "DecalMaxLOD" are?

Edited by pablitoVPT

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MeshName= the part of the aircraft lod (or 3d mesh) you want the decal to appear on. ie: LeftWing, InnerWing, fuselage, nose, verttail, etc. As defined (if included) in the OUT file. NOTE: not all aircraft & model builders use the same naming conventions for their mesh names!!! Without the OUT file, you'll need to use a hex editor to search for the "usual suspects", looking for mesh names as defined in the aircraft's data ini.

 

DecalLevel= at what "level" a marking will appear

 

Level=0: national markings, appears ALL the time

Level=1: individual squadron marking, only for THAT particular unit/squadron

Level=2: individual aircaft serial/modex/ID numbers. Also for individual nose arts, etc

Level=3: killmarkings

 

DecalFacing= which direction the "top" of the decal points. IE: right, left, top, bottom (ie: USAF star on TOP of left wing, "NationName" (USAF) on BOTTOM of left wing)

 

Rotation= number of degrees off center or 0; Example used to angle national marking to fit wing sweep, etc. Uses both positive and negative numbers. NOTE: the positive numbers do NOT require the plus (+) sign. Only negative uses the minus (-) sign.

 

Scale= Physical size of the decal with respect to the size of the aircraft. Larger aircraft like bombers will most likely use a larger scale, smaller aircraft like fighters a smaller scale. NOTE: there is no set ruling as to units of measurement that I've ever discovered. For locating purposes, I always start with a 1.0 or 1.5 size, base on a 128x128 pixel decal, and adjust up or down accordingly.

 

MaxDecalLod= how "far off" in distance the decal will be visible, usually linked to multi-lod aircraft models. The average seems to be MaxDecalLod=3

 

There's TK's decals turorial over in the downloads section, look in the Utilities & Tools Thread. It's several years old, but the basics are all the same. Reccomened reading!

Be advised, it says "don't go over 4 decals per mesh". I've found that 3 is the max number that is usable before the LOD becomes transparent (ie: the aircraft disappears)

 

Locating the exact coordinates is a matter of trial and error, and educated guesswork. For wings I use the location of the wingtip ID lights, and come "in" approx 1 meter. Fuselage/Nose I use the location of the pilot. After that, it's just a matter of even MORE trial and error dailing in the exact location.

Meaning, given a know lenght of an aircraft; say for example, 10 meters, the tail light is at -9.50 meters aft, you'd place the fuselage national insigina at approx -7.5 or -8.0, and see where it shows up.

 

Wrench

kevin stein

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Also, you may want to consider using this tool:

 

http://forum.combatace.com/index.php?autoc...p;showfile=6314

 

Useful in finding coordinates on models when you don't have access to the original MAX file.

 

Wrench,

 

Awesome info on decals...was planning on starting my own...thanks for the explanation...

 

Is this in the KB? :)

 

FC

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A ruller! Everything I needed!

 

And FC, this info isn't in the KB, unfortunely, there is something very similar in the TK's Decal Tutorial.

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I added there a couple of hours ago.

"Great Minds Think Alike" -- the info, although right off the top of my head, btw -- was just too good to loose!! :ok:

 

I actually need to re-edit it, as I made a misatke in the "assumed known length" statement. If something is -9.50 (AFT of the center point - the 0,0,0 coordinate), it's possible the aircraft is 18 meters long, if given equal distance from the world-center of the model. That may depend if the model's world-center is at the same spatial point as the aircraft center of gravity, which may not always be the case.

 

Wrench

kevin stein

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Easy!!!

 

For my WW2 planes, on each of the templates, there's a layer at the VERY top, or the first one. I call mine "dirt, mud, crud and various crap". That way, it gets on top of everything. For the actual color, it's either the "light warm brown" that comes with Photoshop, or "RAF Mid Stone"; both are nice light browns.

 

What I do, is knowing the locations on the skin bmp (or the part of the template) that is near the landing gear/wing root, tail gear -if used like on a Mustang, Zeke, Tomahawk, etc- paint in the "splashes" of dirt or where it would accumulate.

 

I use fairly large, not round brush (in photoshop, they're the "soft round" with the fuzzy edges) of anywhere from 21 - 200 pixels in size, and use a pressure of 50% and just dab it around the effected area. Mind you, this is very much like adding it to a plastic model, with a light airbrush spray (did that for years, but was it was a looooong time ago)

 

Then, I adust the opacity of THAT layer, so it looks like how I want it. As you can see in the screenie, about 50%. I've tried to point out the various part that I've oversprayed, to give you a feel for how it looks. (looks like I also missed the area in front of the radiator scoop, too!! better fix that!)

 

Now, for 'chipped paint', like where things have bounced up and hit, or where the pilot and ground crew have been opening panels, or climbing up the fueselage and dragging their feet, is pretty much the same, but I do THAT on a seperate layer, called "chipping, scuffing and wear". I use a smaller brush, still the soft round, anywhere from 3 - 21 pixels, and lightly dab around cowling panels, gun bays, etc. For the scuffing, I lighten the pressure -somewhere from 10-20% and put that near the cockpit and wing roots where you'd normally expect things to be dragged along. Again, adjust the layer's opacity to taste.

For the color, I use either 10% or 15% gray.

 

Exhaust, gun and fuel stains get their own layers and pretty much follow the same pattern

 

Then, to 'dull' everything down, as to make it look more faded by the sun, I usually have ANOTHER layer, below all the panel and rivet lines, but ABOVE the actual skin paint job, called "Fading". I use 25% gray, and usually set the opacity anywhere from 5 - 10%. It all depends on the background color. Navy planes in their blues will be slightly different from land-based aircraft in their camo pattersn. Also, I don't use a fading layer for Natural Metal, as you can adjust how they look via the Specular, Glossiness and Reflectivity in their textureset inis.

 

There's some SUPERB tutorial over at simmerspaintshop.com -- they're more than worth the reading. Those, and multiple experiments until you get it the way you want is the way to go!

 

Wrench

kevin stein

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