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3D model - allow window configuration via alpha channel



Hi TFDi team,

Super excited to hear about the MD-11 announcement!  I'm excited to see what you guys bring to the fore with this one.  I'm a long time fan of your 717 and I'm sure the MD-11 will live up to the expectations.

Once released I'll be sure to be doing some repaints of this beautiful bird.  I have a suggestion that some developers do not honour and affects the accuracy of the liveries based on operator - the ability to control cabin window configuration on the external model.  Some vendors cut their windows into the 3D model and do not allow for creating various cabin window configurations, others leverage the alpha channel on the albedo maps to control which windows will show up as transparent on the model and which won't.  My suggestion is to ensure that the MD-11 external model allows for the latter, so that we can have accurate cabin window layouts for each operator/airframe.

As it is still early in development I hope you consider or have already considered this feature in the upcoming MD-11.



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@ProfessorMadman I'm glad that this topic was brought up because one of my goals as a modeler is to ensure that this aircraft is as painter-friendly as possible while not making any sacrifices in texture resolution or clarity. The aircraft has not been texture mapped at this point, and windows HAVE been physically cut out, but it's just as easy for me to leave the windows in place on the texture map rather than moving them to another location on the sheet (or to a different sheet altogether, which I have also seen done.) The PBR workflow actually makes this even easier. I couldn't tell you why a lot of developers do it the latter way, unless they feel the need to map windows separately for higher texture resolution or avoid blurring around the edges. We will be dealing with high enough resolutions anyway that this shouldn't be a concern. 

So to answer your question concisely, yes, painters will have control over which windows are "plugged" by manipulating the albedo map's alpha channel. 

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A single window not being blanked which the real aircraft does have isn’t that big of a deal. But for instance KLM had about half of the windows between doors R1 en R2 blanked, and not being able to do that would bother me.

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I also support this method of model texturing as it gives painters flexibility of how to present a paint.

In fact you can even produce a paint of a freighter, "modeling" a cargo door on the fuse by using the bump and spec maps (and metal maps if it will be a PBR model).

Here is the result I came up with on the A333 (Airbus just started converting A333's from pax to freighters, the Air Hong Kong/DHL was the 1st)


If you look close, the "light" you see on the cargo door lip is from the PBR model catching the light from the modified bump map I made for the cargo door (I actually "bumped" the lip in a little so not only do you see the "painted" line of the cargo door, you'll also see the reflected light when the sun is at the right angle and would also catch that lip...very convincing to the eye when you see it dynamically happening in the sim).  You can also see bump map work on the blanked out windows...the frames are still there ("Bumped") on the real aircraft, just painted over.

One small detail you may miss is that bump maps were created for the default pax version for the kick plates on the pax doors...you can see I left the one on the L1 door, but removed it (as it is on the real plane) from the non-functional L5 door or else you'd see a phantom "bump" where the L5 kickplate would be.  All the details done from using all the texture map types available on a PBR modeled aircraft. :) 

Techy paint tidbit: With PBR, you also have to remove the L5 kickplate from the green (shadow) channel and the alpha channel on the metallic map or you'll see a phantom kick plate as the left side of the plane moves into the shadows in the sim...painters never before had to worry about this as the "shadows" were always statically painted on the main texture (now called the albedo map).  In PBR they are now fully dynamic, and mostly controlled by the green channel.

If the pax model of the MD-11 came out before the Freighter, and if the model was set to use the Alpha channel to blank windows....painters could blank the windows and "paint" on the cargo door for those itching for a FedEx, UPS or Lufthansa Cargo flight using the method above. ;)  The only downside of course is the cargo door wont actually open until TFDi pushed the F model...but the paints for those freighters "should" work so no extra painting effort would be needed.

Edited by stevedra
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This topic has been automatically locked due to no responses being given in the past 60 days. If you need any further help, please create a new, detailed forum post or speak to a Community Moderator or Staff Member.

Title: 3D model - allow window configuration via alpha channel
Locked At: 09/10/2020
Locked By: Otto Pilot

- TFDi Design Forum Management

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