Camouflage paint schemes on aircraft can be tricky to create, but look amazing in-game. This tutorial will show you how I make camouflage.
Identifying the Path
The first thing that is required is that you identify where the boundary between colors needs to be. For this purpose, I typically use a path or separate mesh object to then trace out when making the camouflage cuts. In the image below you can see the path object showing the pattern I want to cut into this sample wing.
The first cutting that I do is a rough cut. Here I have cut vertices into the edges where the path intersects.
I recommend if possible, to make a duplicate copy of the mesh you are working on prior to making any cuts, so that you can undo anything that may go wrong in the camouflage cutting process.
Cutting Detail Vertices
After the rough cut, we need to refine it a bit. Additional vertices are needed, so those have to be created. The easiest way to do so is to cut them using the multi-cut tool. You do not have to have the same number of detail vertices in each part of the camouflage, only where more are needed. For example in the second section only 1 or 2 extra vertices are needed while in others up to 3 may be needed for my purposes.
Positioning Detail Vertices
This is the most important step for two main reasons: (1) It will control the shape of the camouflage pattern and, (2) Will influence the finish of the wing.
If the vertices are moved by directly manipulating them, then you will distort the mesh and in extreme cases, event the mesh smoothing cannot fix the issues this causes. Instead, you need to use the scale feature.
Scaling Vertices Into Position
By selecting a vertex at the corner of the original face, and then scaling the vertex towards that reference vertex, we can keep the original flat surface of the face, since the cut vertex will not be moving out of the plane. As long as you only use the original face's vertices as references for scaling the vertex, you can move the vertex virtually anywhere on the face. Even if you need to use multiple vertices to move the vertex, that is okay.
This tutorial covers cases where the rough cut vertices are not sufficient to directly cut the camouflage pattern into the mesh. Some models have sufficient detail that the rough cut is all that is needed. In other cases, it may be better to shrinkwrap camouflage patterns onto an airplane.
Ultimately the main thing to remember when making camouflage is to avoid distorting the base mesh you are working on.
Please contact me on YSFHQ or on Twitter at @decaff_42 if you have any questions!