After receiving many emails on how I go about creating my profiles, I have decided to layout how I created my latest F-14 profile.
This is the software I used:-
Adobe Illustrator CS
Adobe Photoshop CS
Terragen - Freeware
First I find a suitable Black and White line drawing and scan it into the computer at about 600dpi. Originally when I started attempting to create profiles, I used the scan and imported it straight into Photoshop, but when going through the rest of the process I found the result to be too blocky and took a lot of time to correct.
So now I import the scan into AutoCAD where I will trace the line drawing as a vector drawing - this takes a while, but looks a lot better the original scan.
Fortunately with the F-14 there are only minor changes to the basic airframes. So in this case I used an existing AutoCAD drawing and checking photos of the real aircraft modified it to look like this.
The next step is to import this DWG into Adobe Illustrator and resize it to a width of 7500 pixels.
Once this is done I change all the paths to Black and a width of between 0.5 and 1.
Load up the saved AI drawing into Photoshop, and in the dialog change the size to 7500 pixels wide and 300dpi.
Once loaded, I resize the Canvas (not the image) to 8000 pixels wide, and create a green background layer to keep down eyestrain and to be able too see the fine lines. The layer loaded in from Illustrator is then renamed to "Original Outline" and locked to prevent me modifiying it by accident later on.
Selecting the Original layer I create 4 new layers - the first and second are black copies of the original, the third is the Original selction expanded by 1 pixel and at 75% black, the fourth expanded by another 1 pixel and 55% black. I then merge the 2,3 and 4 layers, give it a guassian blur of 1 and then merge in the 1st layer. The resultant layer then sits on the top of the stack during the rest of the profile.
The next stage is to create the Standard set of colours for things like the engines, bare metal and lights.
For the under carriage white, for example, create a new layer, use the rectangle tool to fill the area required.
Then go to the "Original Outline" layer and using the magic wand tool, select the areas that don't need to be white, switch back to the UC White layer and hit delete.
You end up with the white being in only the areas you require.
Keeping them on their own seperate layers helps in editing later on, if changes need to be made. Also things like Gradients and the effects tend to slow your machine down whilst working and saving. Turning them off improves the speed response somewhat.
To the right are the basic layers I created for the picture below.
Next step is to create basic colours of the paint scheme, in this instance there were only three needed - Overall FS16440 (light Gull Gray) FS36118 (Dark Grey) on the wing bladders and FS17038 (Black) on the canopy. With the Black colour, i used a path to create the demarcation, created a selection from the path and filled with black. The path covered the canopy and goes outside the main outline. Using the magic wand, activate the "Original Outline" layer and click outside the main outline, activate the black layer, and clear. At this stage the canopy still is filled with black, so holding the Control key down, Left-Click the glass layer and hit delete. This removes the black from the canopy.
Create a new set for the markings. Then for each marking create a new layer.
As I scan all my decals when I receive them, I use them as the basis for creating each marking.
In this instance however, I don't have any decals, so I created them using photos as a reference.
Below is how it looks after all markings have been completed.
I use Terragen to create a BMP background of 800 pixels wide by 400 pixels high and place it over the green work background, and scale it to 8000 pixels wide.
This was the extent of work I used to do on profiles to this point. Recently I have been playing with Photoshop, and improved on the finished results with a few extra steps.
I create a new layer and Ctrl-Left-Click the "Original Outline" layer, modify/expand the selection by 10 pixels and then modify/feather it by 20 pixels, fill with black and change its Opacity to 30% and set it to multiply.
After adding more layers for shadows and hilights...
The last step is to add some text.
The file is saved as a PSD file (so I can use again for another profile) and then output as a JPG.
This JPG is then resized to 800 pixels wide and again as a thumbnail 100 pixels high, ready for addiing to my website.
Hopefully this will be of help to those wish to have a go and hope to see them on the web sometime.
Here is a one of the latest Tomcat Profiles going a bit further into adding shadows and hilights
Edited by Andy Mullen, 23 December 2007 - 07:23 PM.