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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:11 pm 
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I'm curious what the sage advice is, if any, on using textures for buildings and baseplates. There are examples aplenty that yield good results across varied scales for concrete and asphalt textures, but what about grass?

I noticed a few of the FG building models use a baseplate, but I've not downloaded any of them, and judging from the FG website, it appears a solid gradient of green is used to denote grass. Since I plan to submit a building design or two eventually, I'm curious if a field of green is "standard" for grass. Anyone know?

I'm also trying to get an idea for the various textures used in denoting the materials buildings are made of. There appears to be a "standard" for texture and gradation for metal on airplanes, is there one for buildings as well? IE, should the south and east sides of a building be a shade or two brighter than the north and west sides?

The real-world control tower I used as a basis for my design uses corrugated metal siding. How does one model that?

Are there standards for brick/wood/stone? I suppose I could just use the exterior from another FG building and modify that? Is that an acceptable practice?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:14 pm 
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I can't answer all your questions--and probably not 100% accurately either. I sent in a country store model for FG's inspection and got a few suggestions from Chip as to what he likes. I wish I still had the file, but I can't seem to find it in all the trash on my drive. Anyway--as far as shading goes--don't shade any particular sides, or the modeler will be forced to position the strutures in one direction, but do shade downward (like f'rinstance--the area below the eaves should be shadowed a bit--likewise the bottom side of window sills, clapboard and the like. Do your initial model large--at least 1/48th scale and then scale it down for other sizes.

I've found some good wood grain textures in other models and used them. I photogaphed some brickwork and used it realistically. Ground textures can also be found on the web--or take a photo of what you want and multiply it with Photoshop (or your favorite drawing program) to get realistic textures. I've done this with sidewalks, road surfaces, etc.

Windows: Check out some of the later models (like the New England series and the Lighthouses) for ideas on simulating the reflection from window panes. They are really close to the quality that FG is looking for.

Corrugations: Check out John Dell's JU-52 for good examples of corrugations....you may even be able to 'borrow' some of it and transplant it onto your building.

Keep the same basic format as the planes...follow the same protocols, such as parts placement , observe the paper's grain, etc.

Best way is to do it--give it your best shot and send it in, then wait for feedback. Hope I helped some.....

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:55 pm 
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Rob-

Excellent advice as always!

I've downloaded and have been fooling around with GIMP in order to better meet the submission format for Chip & Co. I've been pouring over the numerous examples provided on the website as to text placement, font, grain, etc. It's been very enlightening yet also challenging as now it seems my design needs lots of work just to meet the necessary format!

It's a steep learning curve for me, but fun too. I've got lots of designs to "try out" and figured I'd better learn the proper way to do them rather than have to redo them later for submission.

I did notice that at 1/60th scale, my building used SEVERAL pages of cardstock. I cannot imagine what that would be at 1/48th! Since internal bulkheads are generally frowned upon, I tried to make the walls as "one-piece" as possible, and scales larger than 1/60 make for some interesting splits on some pieces.

I do like the "see-thru" effect on some of the lighthouse glazing, however, I'm not certain such would do well for my control tower- the cab glazing is at such a strange angle, you see ground images from quite a distance reflected in them. I was thinking perhaps that instead of see thru, they'd be "see inside" where maybe a controller's silhouette would be seen.

I didn't know if photo-realistic textures were kool or not. I've lots of close-ups of the metal siding, but how to make them a useable texture would be my next question.

Keep the advice coming, I'm certain to have more questions as I delve deeper into this...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:50 am 
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Yes--the things can be huge at a large scale--but the purpose is not to build them at that scale, but to design them. A lot more detail can be more easily done at a larger size, than fighting wiht a few pixels. Start with a large file (2--3 x larger than a finished page) and then reduce it. Keep your files DPI at 200 throughout your work. Working with large files at more than that can really slow down your computer, unless you've got the latest and greatest machine.

A few years ago, at my wife's suggestion, I created a card model of our house. I did the original from photgraphs of the different sides of the house, and even went so far as to use the actual reflections in the winows for my shading. I scaled it down to 1/87 (HO) scale and it still seemed enormous, so I dropped it down to 1/160 (N Scale) and it looked nice--but too fiddly. I actually laid up the prototype in 1/48--really surprised me at how much compression the makers of model rr buildings add into their products. The model did not look like a photgraphic rendering, btw, when printed on cardstock.

FG's buildings are usually in HO, N, and Z (1/220) scales, although that's not hard and fast. It's better to size your model to optimize the paper-that is create your largest part to fit onto a 7.56 x 10.5 area (thats the largest printed area allowed by a pdf on standard letter sized paper) and then calculate the scale, and make sure that's on the first sheet, below the title...the scale, that is.

Since your tower is an airfield piece, you might want to try for a 1/60 scale--but that's not really important, as most modelers have the ability to rescale to fit their needs....just like most FG aircraft are NOT drawn at 1/60, but make the best used of the page....rescaling info is the WSAM % found in the header.

GIMP's a good, and very powerful program....Guido Van Roy is a master of that particular program and would likely be glad to help you with any difficulties you might have. I might also suggest checking your local booksellers for books dealing with GIMP. Two I like are The GIMP POCKET REFERENCE and GIMP FOR LINUX-- BIBLE.

I myself use PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 2.0--which is available on ebay for pocket change.....both programs share a lot of similarities. You might also try INKSCAPE--a freeware drawing program, simlar to ILLUSTRATOR.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:13 am 
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I truly appreciate the info!

Let's see if I understand you correctly- in designing the model, you essentially use a very large canvas in your drawing program of choice, and that "prototype" is basically at 1/48 scale right? The canvas just has to be big enough to design the prototype at 1/48?

So, in order to test the fit, that is, actually print it and try it out, you would have to reduce your prototype to something smaller to fit a page of cardstock and print that, correct? I suppose if your prototype was small enough at 1/48 scale, you could just print it directly then build it.

I guess my initial hangup was in trying to get it all on as few sheets as possible during the design phase. And yes, I chose 1/60 from the start figuring the control tower would probably fit best with century-series jet models the same scale.

Yes, I now realize that there's quite a bit of detail that can be added and will shrink in the wash to the final product!

Here's another wrinkle though- I have taken dozens of photos of the Reese tower here, but they are all from ground level. The pics of the lowest parts would be good to use for a "photo-realistic" texture mapping if you will, but the taller parts have too much parallax in the pics to do that. Also, the reflections in the Cab windows are from the ground, not "at eye level" if you could position yourself up six stories tall.

I suppose there's a few options when windows are involved:
1. Just color them black or some shade of blue as a few of the jet models do when it comes to canopies.
2. Try for the "transparency" effect and envision what would be seen through them as some of the lighthouse models do.
3. Try for the "opaque" effect and just show silhouettes that hint at something the other side of the pane.
4. Something else I haven't considered but someone else may have.

I can see now where layers are very useful- just make a separate layer for the windows.

I'll see if I can upload some additional shots of the tower cab for further discussion...

(and I hope I'm not boring everyone with my questions) :D


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:17 pm 
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You've got the basic points right: design large and reduce until you can fit the largest piece on a single page. Put in lots of detail at the larger scale and then reduce. likewise shading and weathering.

Use your perspective tool in GIMP to straighten out your pictures. I've found it best to split the struture up into stories--each a separate layer--because the higher you go--the more vertical compression occurs. Then use the perspective and resizing tools to stack each converted layer. Use a window, door or other architectural detail to judge the proper sizes.

The higher you go--the less the quality of the image will be--but just use it as a template to redraw what you want. Use detail from the lower stories to detail those blurred and otherwise distorted upper features.

I'm doing the Pensacola Lighthouse (which is 160 ft tall) using this method.--hard part here was doing circular bricks--a brick truncated cone---without adding so much brick detail it looks cluttered, but keeping enough to show that the main structure is all brickwork. I used a searate layer fo the brick detail--so that I could increase the transparency of the linework to get that effect. I always find it convenient to use a separate layer for everything--the siding gets a layer, each window and door gets a layer Other details, such as signage and utilities get theirs as well. That way, I canmove, modify and sometimes even create several structures fro the basic design.

.

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