How to Skin Your Own Plane

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Warbirds III  is a flight simulation game by Total Simulation Series, Inc. Warbirds III  skins are for both Mac and PC users. Place the Targa files into the offline skins directory.

Sometimes I'm asked:  "Can you teach me how to make a skin in warbirds?" I've never been able to answer this very well, so I'll try again here.


1. Lots of research on the net.  Find about 30 images, photos, profiles, models and RC aircraft pictures of the plane you want to skin.

2. You need a template that tells you where the parts go. There is a page on the internet that has templates to download.

3. Do you know how to use PhotoShop? you have to work in layers to do a good job. You have to be able to do spray paint with soft spray. You have to be able to copy/paste. You have to be able to draw thin light lines and do rivets. other things:  color saturation, smudge tool, contrast and brightness, etc. Color control and accuracy is VERY important.

4. Look at SIMMERS PAINTSHOP FORUM. Download templates and skins from games like (shudder) IL2 and others. See how others did rivets (I'm not so good). If you see a good rivet, copy it and use it. It's not stealing, It's just LEARNING. One rivet is just one small grain, but remember, a mountain is made of lots of small grains of sand! See how others did weathering and erosion effects. SIMMERS PAINTSHOP gives very good TUTORIALS on how to do rivets, weathering, panel lines, canvas camoflage patterns, etc.

5. Be sure you do it in HI-RES (1024x1024).

6. Last of all, it takes a LOT OF TIME. My first skin worth publishing for the public took about 3 months. Now I can do a skin in about 1 month. After I do one P47D, I can use much of the same template layers to do another skin for the P47D. I just need to change decals, colors, add or remove stripes: like the yellow stripes on the wings of "Hun Hunter" -- I just needed to move them in towards the fuse when I did the Tuskegee skin. Yellow bar on the rudder? No problem, just delete the layer for yellow and paint in the red tail. If you are not willing to put in the TIME, don't bother. All the research also takes time. I find photos in Airshow web pages, also plastic models provide a lot of good material to study. I just found a great website that shows plastic model photos in a large size and with very good detail HERE. I wish I had seen this page a long time ago.

7. One good way I learned a lot is to copy parts of skins from other artists work (like IL2 skins) and paste them on Warbirds templates. I made it a point to ask the artist's permission first. The UDET BF109e I did (shown below) is one of my favorites (even though it is Lo-Res), but I asked the artist permission first. He said yes.

What plane do you want to do? What experience have you with paint programs and what have you painted before?

Below are some of my first SKINS
Most skins below are LO-RES (sorry)

See more of this plane at: Gallery2.html
Ernst Udet (pilot is iArt7)
Ernst Udet's "LO" 1 2 3 4 5
Ernst Udet
Pilot figure iArt7 as Ernst Udet
Go to the FILES page for TGA's
KI-84 from a LA-5fn skin by LEGO

FW-190 from a skin by ZARGOS

FW-190 from a skin by ZARGOS

click on photo to go to A7V gallery
CLICK here to view Gallery2.html other galleries available:
gallery2, gallery3, gallery4, gallery5
galleryA7V, A7V2, A7V3, A7V4, A7V5



Some Cool Links:

for skins: e-mail me Arthur Flores

Click To Listen


Gallery2 BF109e
Gallery3 Pilots
Tank for DOA
Mephisto & Wotan

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