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Steve Dra

Painting AA colors....not easy

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I've successfully painted the old American bare metal liveries in the past....both before and after the advent of PBR textures.....

One recent example....

Mmis6C.jpg

Although challenging.....once you understand the interaction with the RED channel in PBR-speak...you can play with it until you get a very satisfying "metal" effect.

The new American Airlines' silver "mica" paint however is a completely new technique to achieve the proper effect.

I'm currently repainting the new Aerosoft A330.

After trying many flat paint variants....I was never completely satisfied with outcome in the sim...even if I felt I nailed the color (which you never can with a metallic paint using a flat color BTW)So 

So this series of screenshots shows you the stark difference between a flat and gradient paint.

1st up....the madness that is my paint shop when working on countless variations of colors, hues, brightness, gradient patterns and such...here I am adjusting a gradient...the notepad shows just some of the colors I tried to match (7 on this list...many others that I didn't even bother to log after seeing them in the sim) what see see in the real world.

GIhiGP.jpg

 

Notice the bottom fuse (left side of the plane) is slightly darker than the right (I'm playing with the best brightness level now that I'm happy with the color...for now)

Depending on your monitor settings....it may not even be noticeable to you (hence the issue we have when someone claims a paint is too dark or light...sometimes its just monitor settings....or in-game settings, or Nvidia settings, or HDR settings, or time of day, season, cloud coverage, angle of view, etc....)

Now see the difference in flightsim....

GI9pI1.jpg

Pretty amazing contrast in the sim vs what's on my paint screen huh?  Of course the light source in the sim is heavily influencing this effect as well....but you see the challenges painters face to get all the various paint settings just right (or as close as we can)

Finally....this next pic clearly shows how superior a custom gradient looks against a flat color selection when it comes to replicating a metallic paint in flightsim.  The mid-fuse texture map (on the right of the screen with the "n" in American near the border between the 2 texture maps) as you notice is a flat color...one of the many grays I tried after going thru my blueish phase....which I found is only relevant on an overcast day after looking at 100s of photos.  I may add just a tinge of blue to the final color to get a best mix scenario...as the in-sim color rendering engine does not faithfully reproduce the different hues you see in varying overcast conditions (Trust me I tried every type of overcast and saw no appreciable difference in the fuse color)

xfnELw.jpg

In addition, I'm also adding a special effect to this "mica" paint to partially emulate the "sparkles" you see from the mica embedded in the paint. (done thru the alpha channel for those interested)...the effect it quite cool I think...

Look closely at the sparkles between the "c" and "a" in the "American" text...see the sparkles?  Note that this in only visible when the sun is at just the right angle and only close up (just like in the real world)

hpPSGS.jpg

Here is an interesting video describing how AA came up with this paint (and mentions the infused mica chips)....while watching...anyone notice the "odd" choice they used to look at the various gray hues on the real plane in the sunlight?
Quite hilarious actually when you see it. 🙂 ...its about 15 seconds into the video.

 

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Regards,

Steve Dra

Download my paints here at Avsim by clicking here

9Slp0L.jpg 

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Steve,

Where's the "Like" button here @Avsim forums? :)

I have a great respect for your know-how of painting, the result is always jaw dropping. Thanks for sharing the insight. I do feel that 90% of the people who download repaints have no clue of how many effort and time goes into a GOOD and ACCURATE repaint.

All the best.

 

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Regards,

Vital Vanbeginne

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I understood that paint shouldn’t be Metal in the PBR world as it’s a dielectric?

I guess if there’s metal in the paint the specs would be metal?

 

Looking good though, and nice tips. 


Nick Botica

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Ditto to what the gentleman above said. Amazing time and talent as well as generosity to share.

On a side bar I want to say IMO American has the plainest if not down right ugliest livery in the sky. Just drab and colorless compared to others. All in the eye of the beholder I suppose.


Vic green

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51 minutes ago, vesalius said:

Steve,

Where's the "Like" button here @Avsim forums? 🙂

I have a great respect for your know-how of painting, the result is always jaw dropping. Thanks for sharing the insight. I do feel that 90% of the people who download repaints have no clue of how many effort and time goes into a GOOD and ACCURATE repaint.

All the best.

 

Thanks my friend!

You more than anyone knows what's involved in creating accurate and detailed paints....yours are equally stunning! 🙂

 

29 minutes ago, NZ255 said:

I understood that paint shouldn’t be Metal in the PBR world as it’s a dielectric?

I guess if there’s metal in the paint the specs would be metal?

 

Looking good though, and nice tips. 

You are 100% correct!

However I found trying to infuse the mica specks AA puts into the paint...into the RED channel that controls the "metalness" of the effect....I got less than desirable results.

If you notice in my desktop screenshot you see in the notepad that I set into the color of the fuse, a Gaussian noise mixed at 1, uniformly and monochromatic....I abandoned this after several attempts as it was not giving me the results I wanted.

What you don't see are the settings I'm now applying to the Alpha channel on the "M" map vs the RED channel....which are 15, uniformly and monochromatic.  Sadly the effect on the 2k maps is too re-scaled to look good...thus I had to up-scale the "M" maps of the fuse to 4k to maintain the proper Gaussian pattern.  The effect is what you see above....and here is a pass at applying the Gaussian method to the RED channel (in many tries at varying intensities) 

lOvHIE.jpg

While it looks really cool (and like a beer can)...its obviously not the look we're going for.  Any variations to the intensity of the effect on the RED channel either rendered the effect null....or gave me this.  So I moved the effect to the alpha channel with much better results. 🙂

 

29 minutes ago, PATCO LCH said:

Ditto to what the gentleman above said. Amazing time and talent as well as generosity to share.

On a side bar I want to say IMO American has the plainest if not down right ugliest livery in the sky. Just drab and colorless compared to others. All in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

I won't disagree with you about AA's livery...I hated it two-fold initially because I LOVE bare metal paints and I thought it looked drab.  While I still feel this way....I can appreciate the technology they put into it to try and replicate "metal"....which we know can never be done...no matter how much mica you infuse in the paint.

After painting any livery in flightsim...you acquire a certain "like" for it...if nothing more than appreciating all the research you do on the livery and company as you paint it...if you're painting it for your own collection. Meaning that if you're painting as a job...and are assigned a hideous livery to paint...you most likely will never like it.  For example.....one of my personal dis-likes are some of the Asian airlines that splatter Anime characters all over their planes.  Never liked the whole Anime fad, and especially don't like it pasted on what would otherwise be a great looking livery/aircraft.  So don't expect any of those paints from me. Hehe.  There are plenty of other painters out there that seem to like them...so there is never a shortage of those liveries.

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Regards,

Steve Dra

Download my paints here at Avsim by clicking here

9Slp0L.jpg 

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Steve, the latest AA paint job is interesting in real life. On an overcast day the paint looks almost like a flat gray. Let the sun shine on it though and it has an almost metal flake appearance to it.


NAX669.png

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Steve:

Regarding, "...Meaning that if you're painting as a job...and are assigned a hideous livery to paint...",

I've a feeling it will look good in your hands whether you yourself like it or not...🙂...!

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1 hour ago, mwilk said:

Steve, the latest AA paint job is interesting in real life. On an overcast day the paint looks almost like a flat gray. Let the sun shine on it though and it has an almost metal flake appearance to it.

Hey Mike....Live in Carrollton, fly out of DFW often...spent many an hour on the SkyTrain looking down on the AA paints when going from Terminal A to E (I fly Spirit a lot...don't judge me, hehe).

Seen the sunshine effect on the paint many times...it looks really nice....but if its overcast...like you said....flat and gray...like the sky.

This is still the best pic I ever took from up there:

8SNACo.jpg

 

42 minutes ago, P_7878 said:

Steve:

Regarding, "...Meaning that if you're painting as a job...and are assigned a hideous livery to paint...",

I've a feeling it will look good in your hands whether you yourself like it or not...🙂...!

Thanks!  I'd make the paint as close to the real thing as I could. 😉

If I were assigned a hideous livery, I'd do a professional job on it... putting any bias I had for the livery aside...but in the sim or in real life...it would still look hideous. 🙂

Google 9M-XXB...Hideous is hideous. 🤮  (Sorry to all the fans of this livery....)

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Regards,

Steve Dra

Download my paints here at Avsim by clicking here

9Slp0L.jpg 

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37 minutes ago, Steve Dra said:

Hey Mike....Live in Carrollton, fly out of DFW often...spent many an hour on the SkyTrain looking down on the AA paints when going from Terminal A to E (I fly Spirit a lot...don't judge me, hehe).

Seen the sunshine effect on the paint many times...it looks really nice....but if its overcast...like you said....flat and gray...like the sky.

Not a problem. I'm retired so I'm over all of that. That is a great picture. American used the bare metal for so long and when fuel got expensive US Airways went to bare metal. As soon as fuel prices dropped it was ok to slather on the paint again. What's another 4 or 5 hundred pounds of weight?


NAX669.png

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Steve, as a painter, you are on a par with the legendary Picasso for your outstanding work.

However, I have small challenge for you. Would you be able to do an Air2000 for a CS757 III?

 


Rick Almeida

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12 hours ago, vc10man said:

Steve, as a painter, you are on a par with the legendary Picasso for your outstanding work.

However, I have small challenge for you. Would you be able to do an Air2000 for a CS757 III?

 

Hey Rick,

Thanks for the complement!
Painting the CS 757 in Air2000 colors would be a big challenge actually as that is one of the few modern flightsim aircraft that is not in my hangar.  Sorry 😞 


Regards,

Steve Dra

Download my paints here at Avsim by clicking here

9Slp0L.jpg 

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2 hours ago, Steve Dra said:

Hey Rick,

Thanks for the complement!
Painting the CS 757 in Air2000 colors would be a big challenge actually as that is one of the few modern flightsim aircraft that is not in my hangar.  Sorry 😞 

 A great pity, Steve, as it' the only 757 I have and have just got back into, and made many a charter flight with that airline, Air2000,and offshoot of a Canadian operation, in late 80s-late 90s.


Rick Almeida

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21 hours ago, Steve Dra said:

  For example.....one of my personal dis-likes are some of the Asian airlines that splatter Anime characters all over their planes.  Never liked the whole Anime fad, and especially don't like it pasted on what would otherwise be a great looking livery/aircraft. 

I agree. The overdone flying bill boards many of which just look silly. Look more like clown cars then aircraft.


Vic green

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On 12/22/2019 at 6:58 PM, PATCO LCH said:

...Just drab and colorless compared to others. All in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

Indeed it is in the eye of the beholder.. and we shall agree to differ, sir. I, for one, like that livery. If you can't have a polished metal skin, then the elegant simplicity of American's livery looks great. Actually, I never realised how complex the stylised US flag on the tail is. :cool:

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Mark Robinson

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