X-Plane Photo Paint Tutorial

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by Josh Gales

The first thing I do when I want to make a photo paint is look for a good photo. A good photo is large, preferably 1600 pixels wide, but you can get by with one a bit smaller than that. It should be 90 degrees (or very close to) side on. The lighting should be even across the fuselage, and shouldn't be a funny color as you would get in the early morning, late afternoon or evening. It's best for the light to be straight on too, or you'll have to correct the shadows.

Here are some good photos to use for photo painting:


And here are some not so good ones:


After looking through lots of photos, I used this one (with permission from Remi Dallot) for the paint:


Notice that it's not entirely side on and that the light has a slight color to it. I'll have to correct that.

Before color correction:

Now I'll use the polygonal lasso tool to select the shape of the fuselage:

Next, I'll check that the photo is perfectly level. I drag down a ruler (command-R to show them) and place it over the windows to give me a horizontal reference.This photo needed to be rotated clockwise just a hair. I like to do this by pressing command-T to transform the selection, and rotating it as needed. Since this photo wasn't exactly side on, I'll also stretch the fuselage horizontally a little bit to compensate.

After rotating:

After stretching:

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