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Profiles - How To


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#1 Andy Mullen

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 04:37 PM

Taken from my original post over on ARC.

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:-
AutoCAD 2002
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.
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The next step is to import this DWG into Adobe Illustrator and resize it to a width of 7500 pixels.

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Once this is done I change all the paths to Black and a width of between 0.5 and 1.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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After adding more layers for shadows and hilights...

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The last step is to add some text.

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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

Posted Image

Edited by Andy Mullen, 23 December 2007 - 07:23 PM.


#2 Mike

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 05:10 PM

That last one's the duck's underpants :worthy:

#3 Kirk

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 01:11 PM

Andy,

Just been taking another look at this fabulous work and have a question:
You resize various elements by a pixel or two at certain stages. Why?

Kirk

#4 Andy Mullen

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 02:56 PM

Kirk, when I originally started out in getting the outlines into Photoshop, the lines were very faint after the import from Illustrator, so I tried several ways to improve their visibilty and found this method to my taste.

I have now found, if I change the new Black Outlines' blending method from Normal to Multiply, I can control the outlines strength by adjusting the opacity of the layer.

#5 Kirk

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 04:29 PM

Thanks Andy. I have the DWG & just contemplating investing all the time required to get into Illustrator & Photoshop...
You can do some of what you describe in AutoSketch by making full use of the layers, but the filling and lighting effects you do so well are not possible.

#6 HOUSTON

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 05:04 PM

AWESOME...especially the last one ...the color is BRILLIANT....

Way to go !!!


HOUSTON :pilot:

#7 Seamus

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 10:45 PM

Just reading through this thread again as it's something I'd like to have a go at for myself. I'd be interested to know how you import jpegs into Autocad? I have the 2004 version, but I'm guessing it's a similar process to 2002? :hmmm:

TIA

Shaun :)

#8 eng

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 10:58 PM

Andy,

My computer skills and knowledge are basic to say the least and chucking some pic's on BM is about my limit.

I've always admired your profiles and been curious as to how you do them, this is bloody amazing and hell of a lot of work. I now appreciate them even more, and sure as hell wish I had the patience to learn to do something like this. Very interesting read and thanks for posting your "how-to".

Look forward to seeing more of these beautiful 'Cats!!

Eng

#9 Lightningboy2000

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 11:22 PM

Absolutely superb thanks!

I'm making my own vector line drawings over drawn from my own aviation photography and "attempting" to create profile artwork in that way.
I know Photoshop and Illustrator pretty well, mainly for advertising, but I'm trying to branch out a little and your tutorial helps a lot ta!

regards
Martin

#10 Andy Mullen

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 07:40 AM

Thanks for the kind words, they are really appreciated. :cheers:

Just reading through this thread again as it's something I'd like to have a go at for myself. I'd be interested to know how you import jpegs into Autocad? I have the 2004 version, but I'm guessing it's a similar process to 2002? :hmmm:

TIA

Shaun :)

Shaun (and others)

I have knocked up a new page with some Flash videos showing my workflow for AutoCAD (Video #1), Illustrator (Video #2) and at some point will do the Photoshop video to finish it off.

>> Link to video page << (No audio, but requires Flash plug in)

Rather than create an aircraft profile, I have decided to create profile for the AIM-54A Phoenix missile, which will cut down on the video sizes, but still show how I work in the three programs.

Also recently someone mentioned the free software package called >> GIMP <<, which I have downloaded and had a quick rummage through.

This is surprisingly a lot like Photoshop, and could possibly used instead of the 3 packages I use to create your profiles.

Good luck to all who are just starting out and hope to see some examples added to the forum in the near future :speak_cool:

#11 modelman182

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 09:24 AM

Thanks for the kind words, they are really appreciated. :cheers:


Shaun (and others)

I have knocked up a new page with some Flash videos showing my workflow for AutoCAD (Video #1), Illustrator (Video #2) and at some point will do the Photoshop video to finish it off.

>> Link to video page << (No audio, but requires Flash plug in)

Rather than create an aircraft profile, I have decided to create profile for the AIM-54A Phoenix missile, which will cut down on the video sizes, but still show how I work in the three programs.

Also recently someone mentioned the free software package called >> GIMP <<, which I have downloaded and had a quick rummage through.

This is surprisingly a lot like Photoshop, and could possibly used instead of the 3 packages I use to create your profiles.

Good luck to all who are just starting out and hope to see some examples added to the forum in the near future :speak_cool:


Andy

Fine work! And thanks for the first shot - JUST what I needed for the launch dio I'm planning. Can work out the "holdback" proportions from the image - GREAT!

Have emailed you info on, and pic of, Hase's USN figure set so you can add that to your site, if you wish.

Kevin S :guitar:

#12 T-Tango

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 12:59 PM

Superb work as usual Andy, very informative, perhaps one day I might have a go.

#13 stringbag

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:10 PM

Andy.
Thanks for all your efforts with this post.
I intend to have a go at this myself instead of the traditional ink drawings so your tutorial will be put to good use.

Thanks again.

Chris.

#14 Tsrjoe

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:13 PM

really impresive, iv tried (and failed) a few times to get my head round profiling, i doff my hat to those who can, brilliant work Andy

cheers, Joe