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  • Bmused55
    Aaahh Emu!
    • Oct 2003
    • 11136

    How to make an aircraft template

    I hope the mods bare with me on this one. Not strictly Com. Aviation, but related to.

    After several requests I'm going to show you a rough guide on how to create the templates I do. Now there are undoubtely plenty of different methods, but this is the way I do it

    First off, the tools I use:

    Adobe Illustrator
    Adobe Photoshop
    Official 3 view line drawings from Boeing.com

    Step 1.
    Clean up the 3 view drawing for Boeing, I use just the side elevation view. But there's nothing stopping you from doing this withthe top or front views.

    The drawings from Boeing mostly have the correct fuselage shape and placement of doors and windows. But they usualy lack finer details like antennae, panel lines and detailed engines. So I add these using photos for reference. On occasion you can find a good drawing from a third party that has lots of detail which you can use for reference.

    Here is what you should have once the above is completed:


    I use illustrator as it deal with vector graphics. Vector are infinately scalable.

    I know open photoshop and open a document of a fair size. For example, 5000 by 2000 pixels.

    (For a precision drawing, you can size the drawing so that it will be to scale with the real thing, 1cm equals 1 pixel for example
    So if the plane is 60 meters long, thats 6000cm which would mean a 6000 pixel wide picture.)


    Bit by bit I copy and paste the parts of the illustrator file into photoshop so that the outline of the wing, fuselage, engine, etc are on their own layers.

    Once that is done, the real fun begins. Fleshing the template out.

    Part 2 coming up when I'm ready. (I'm writing this as I work on the template)
    Bmused55

    Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

    My Blog
    My Designs
  • Bmused55
    Aaahh Emu!
    • Oct 2003
    • 11136

    #2
    Originally posted by Matthew Murray
    I've always wondered how to do it!

    Nice one Bmused55. I trust you will be posting Part Two on this thread?
    indeed I will
    Bmused55

    Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

    My Blog
    My Designs

    Comment

    • Bmused55
      Aaahh Emu!
      • Oct 2003
      • 11136

      #3
      Part 2

      Part 2

      Once you have arranged all the layers in photoshop its time to start filling out the layers to give them colour and body.
      Here is an example of how I arrange my layers:



      The 747-400 has 3 types of engine. I'm not illustrating the P&W engines as its not worth the hassle for an engine only the weakminded (UA for example) use. I use layer sets with essentialy is just a folder for the layers within the layer pallet. You can group together layers that belong to each other.

      As you can see from the picture, I've seperate the GE and RR engine types into their own layers sets. Each see has its own subset as follows

      Main set: GE engines
      Subsets: No.1 Engine
      No.2 Engine
      Pylons

      The reason for Pylons being included in the seperate engine sets is because the pylons for GE and RR engines are slightly different. Not by much, but enough to make the RR engines not fit onto the GE pylons in the drawing.

      OK, lets begin the "fleshing out" I'll demonstrate with Engine No.1 of the GE engines.
      First the easy bit. With the magic wand tool and the Outline No.1 layer active, select the areas of the engine cowling. We only want the part that is usualy painted at this point. Like so:



      Once you have your select, create a new layer and place it below the Outline No.1 layer and fill it with white (or any colour realy, white is best though).
      The layers should look like so:



      Ok, thats the basic fill layer for the cowling. I now rename the layer to Cowling Fill. On that layer I set a gradient of white and grey with a small inner shadow of white to add a "shine" effect to it.



      Now onto the metal. I suggest you browse website such as PSlover.com for custom gradients that give a metal effect.

      First off, I create a new layer and make a rectangular selection with the selection tool. I then apply an gradient to this layer:



      Now I got to the EDIT menu and choose: Edit > Transform > Distort

      I now distort this gradient layer into the shape of the engine exhaust nozzle.



      Once its distorted and looks ok. I add other layers for detail and doscolouration. Using the various blending modes Photoshop offers. (no time te explain these, check the hand book if you have one).

      In the end it looks like this:


      The leading edge of the cowling is also done in this fashion.

      Using these same methods, I "flesh" out the Wings, Pylons, horizontal stabiliser and the flap fairing canoes.

      Part 3 will be how to make the fuselage look 3d with gradients and layer effects.
      Bmused55

      Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

      My Blog
      My Designs

      Comment

      • WebMaster
        Administrator
        • Aug 2000
        • 1949

        #4
        Made it into a sticky and just changed the thread title slightly

        Comment

        • Bmused55
          Aaahh Emu!
          • Oct 2003
          • 11136

          #5
          Originally posted by WebMaster
          Made it into a sticky and just changed the thread title slightly
          Thanks webby
          Bmused55

          Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

          My Blog
          My Designs

          Comment

          • Bmused55
            Aaahh Emu!
            • Oct 2003
            • 11136

            #6
            Part 3

            How to turn that flat white background into something that resemble a fuselage.
            This bit gets tricky. The top deck of the 747 makes this a little more complicated than usual.

            We'll start with the easy bit. We need to create a layer that will block any colours and such appear from outisde of the "fuselage". Its easily done.
            Click on the layer that contains the outline of the fuselage so that it is active. Use the magic wand tool (in the same way we did in Part 2) and select the area OUTSIDE the fuselage.
            With the selection still active, create a new layer and place it underneath the fuselage layer like so:


            Now, got to Edit > Fill then choose whether to use the foreground or background colour. I chose foreground as it was red and that will help show you what's going on. But normaly I use white.

            So, now you have a layer filled with a colour that completely covers everything OUTSIDE of the fuselage. A quick and easy way to make your designs stay within the fuselage.

            I call this layer BLOCK. As thats what it does, blocks.

            OK, now that is done lets make the fuselage look a tad more rounded than flat white.
            Create a new layer direct above the background layer of the photoshop file, like so:


            Now onto this layer, drag a gradient, starting from the top of the fuselage to the bottom. Here's the gradient I'm using:


            Once you've created that, you should have something like this:


            It doesn't look like much now, but it will soon enough.

            Now, this is the tricky part. I'm still perfecting this myself so bare with me.
            Click on the fuselage layer and with the magic wand tool select the area inside the fuselage (NOT THE TAIL THOUGH) and the wing root.
            Go to Select > Modify > Expand. Enter 1 pixel and press ok. This expands the selection so that it overlaps the outline of the fuselage.

            I'l make the next bit another part or else this part will be far too long.
            Bmused55

            Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

            My Blog
            My Designs

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            • Bmused55
              Aaahh Emu!
              • Oct 2003
              • 11136

              #7
              Part 4

              Part 4
              Adding body to the fuselage.

              First, make sure the Fuselage layer is active. (The layer that contains the outline of the fuselage)
              With the Magic Wand tool, select the inside of the fuselage, including the wingroot fairing if you have drawn it.
              Here is an example, the green is what I selected:


              With the selection active, create a new layer and place it above the one with the gradient that was created in

              part 3 and fill it with white. We will call this the Fuselage Shape Layer for reference.
              Now, so we can see whats happening create another new layer below that and fill it with blue.
              you layer pallet should look like this:


              Doubleclick the fuselage shape layer in the layer pallet to open up the layer styles control panel.
              In Blending options set the Fill opacity to Zero as shown, then click on Bevel and Emboss as the arrow shows:



              Now this is the difficult bit. There no way to instruct on how to get the perfect settings.
              It a matter of playing with these settings untill you get a result that looks right to you:


              You aiming for something that resembles a highlighted and shadowed fuselage, like so:


              Repeat these steps for the Wingroot fairing and any over curved features.

              Next part I'll show you how to draw windows, doors and panel lines.
              Bmused55

              Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

              My Blog
              My Designs

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              • Sonnenflieger
                Irgendwo im Sden
                • Mar 2004
                • 535

                #8
                Very much thank you! Now at least I have a chance of doing something with that 727...

                Comment

                • airband1
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Jun 2004
                  • 456

                  #9
                  [QUOTE=Bmused55]First off, the tools I use:
                  Adobe Illustrator
                  Adobe Photoshop
                  Official 3 view line drawings from Boeing.com[QUOTE=Bmused55]

                  Is there any particular versions of Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop or can we use any version number.

                  Cheers
                  Jim Robertson

                  Lat: 55:53:23N (55.8898) Lon: 4:19:25W (-4.3236)

                  Comment

                  • airband1
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Jun 2004
                    • 456

                    #10
                    Thanks Matthew
                    Jim Robertson

                    Lat: 55:53:23N (55.8898) Lon: 4:19:25W (-4.3236)

                    Comment

                    • Bmused55
                      Aaahh Emu!
                      • Oct 2003
                      • 11136

                      #11
                      Matthews templates are very very good, comparable to the illustrations Airliner World use from time to time.

                      Mine are no where near as detailed, I call mine representaional if anything.
                      Bmused55

                      Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                      My Blog
                      My Designs

                      Comment

                      • Bmused55
                        Aaahh Emu!
                        • Oct 2003
                        • 11136

                        #12
                        Part 5

                        Part 5
                        Windows and doors

                        Anyone who knows photoshop should probably get this very easily.

                        Firstly, make the layer with the outline of the windows visable. (You should have copied and pasted from

                        illustrator). I like to reduce the opacity to 50% so its easier to see what I'm doing.

                        Now, choose the Pen tool


                        Now its a case of tracing round the guidelines for the flightdeck window.
                        First, draw one complete shape around the window lines, this will be the window frame:


                        You can draw seperate frames if you want.
                        Once you have drawn them, apply what ever style you want to the frame untill it looks good to you. Then make it

                        invisable.

                        Now repeat the procedure for each flight deck window. There are styles available at www.pslover.com and other

                        such websites that will offer you fairly realistic looking windows.

                        Here's what it looks like when finished:


                        Note each window is seperate.

                        The Passenger cabin windows are probably the easiest thing to do. You simply use the shape tool to drawn rounded

                        off rectangles and place them in the correct positions.
                        Same goes for the doors, but for those you merely use a stroke, no fill.

                        the panel lines are optional but realy only consist of the line tool at 1px width. Like so:

                        Once finished set the layers containing your lines to arounf 20% opacity.

                        TIP:
                        In order to draw all the lines on one layer, make sure you select the following button while the layer is active and you have the line tool selected:

                        To draw absolute straight lines hold down SHIFT before you click and drag with the tool

                        And thats it realy. I'm sure you now know your way about well enough to add things like pitots and door hinges (simply black lines).

                        Enjoy
                        Last edited by Bmused55; 23rd March 2005, 12:48.
                        Bmused55

                        Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                        My Blog
                        My Designs

                        Comment

                        • Bmused55
                          Aaahh Emu!
                          • Oct 2003
                          • 11136

                          #13
                          The finished article.

                          Time from draging first line to final save of project: 13 hrs

                          Bmused55

                          Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                          My Blog
                          My Designs

                          Comment

                          • Bmused55
                            Aaahh Emu!
                            • Oct 2003
                            • 11136

                            #14
                            If anyone actualy uses these instructions, I'd be interested in seeing the results
                            Bmused55

                            Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                            My Blog
                            My Designs

                            Comment

                            • greekdude1
                              Senior Member
                              • Jan 2000
                              • 3183

                              #15
                              This is all fascinating, Sandy, although I will never partake. I don't have the patience. There is one statement that was unacceptable, however.
                              Originally posted by Bmused55
                              I'm not illustrating the P&W engines as its not worth the hassle for an engine only the weakminded (UA for example) use.
                              How dare you!!

                              Comment

                              • Bmused55
                                Aaahh Emu!
                                • Oct 2003
                                • 11136

                                #16
                                Originally posted by greekdude1
                                This is all fascinating, Sandy, although I will never partake. I don't have the patience. There is one statement that was unacceptable, however. How dare you!!
                                LOL

                                There has to be a reason why so few use them
                                Bmused55

                                Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                                My Blog
                                My Designs

                                Comment

                                • LBARULES
                                  Pointless flightaholic!
                                  • May 2003
                                  • 9820

                                  #17
                                  Like GD1, I dont have the patience nor the desire to make my own aircraft template, however, what a fantastic thread for anyone wanting to do this. So good that people can put this much time into the forum, brilliant work Sandy.

                                  5 Stars

                                  Comment

                                  • Bmused55
                                    Aaahh Emu!
                                    • Oct 2003
                                    • 11136

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by LBARULES
                                    Like GD1, I dont have the patience nor the desire to make my own aircraft template, however, what a fantastic thread for anyone wanting to do this. So good that people can put this much time into the forum, brilliant work Sandy.

                                    5 Stars
                                    It was a pleasure
                                    Bmused55

                                    Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                                    My Blog
                                    My Designs

                                    Comment

                                    • seahawk
                                      F-4 Phanatic
                                      • Jan 2000
                                      • 4612

                                      #19
                                      Does Airbus offer comarable 3 view drawings ?

                                      And I will do my own templates following your instructions. My own tries were too bad.
                                      Member of ACIG

                                      an unnamed Luftwaffe officer:"Typhoon is a warm weather plane. If you want to be operational at -20C you have to deploy the F-4F."

                                      Comment

                                      • Bmused55
                                        Aaahh Emu!
                                        • Oct 2003
                                        • 11136

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by seahawk
                                        Does Airbus offer comarable 3 view drawings ?

                                        And I will do my own templates following your instructions. My own tries were too bad.
                                        they do indeed, in the media section.
                                        Bmused55

                                        Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee.

                                        My Blog
                                        My Designs

                                        Comment

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