• John Matthews

Flying the B-52

i feel like it’s been so long since I've been here like I need to blow the cobwebs out of here. What has it been… two or three weeks? Fact is, when not otherwise hanging out with the family or working, I’ve been working on the B-52 the whole time.

i was really unhappy with the way the texture map looked on the plane. I must have tried unwrapping it three or four times before figuring out what I wasn’t doing right. So, I totally revamped it because nothing painted on the nose (paint, panel lines…. nothing) was straight when it was painted. I spent many hours just flattening out the nose area so I could make sure it was all straightened out. And that was after dividing the plane into lots and lots of individual mapping groups (over 80 of them), which made flattening out most of the model easier later.

What a stratobear!

The result? Smooth panel lines, paint lines, and everything looks like it ought to look without stretching or deforming.

I guess you could say it was a bit obsessive. I mean, I had already flattened the plane out once or twice preparing it for painting. it was worth it though. Maybe the obsessive part really started when I began working on the familiar SAC light gray, anti-radiation white, and bare metal scheme.

It was a balancing act to get the right levels of color and grayscale values, reflection, and roughness all coming together to create an appropriate texture. 23 iterations of the base grayscale and color layer, and over 30 variations of the roughness and metal value layers, before I arrived at a combination that produced a believable appearance.. I think it’s close to being finished now.

You probably noticed the engine nacelles are glossy black instead of white. That’s because I just did a quick import of the 3D model of the whole plane, minus the individually mapped engine pods, so I could just focus on getting the right “look” of the fuselage, wings, and tail section. The finished plane will have engine nacelles that are correct in appearance.

So, all the textures will be finished the next time you see the plane, and I’ll be working on scenery for it to fly over.

Until then, safe skies!


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