Modding, Mission Design, and Coding > Modding Tutorials

A complete FS ship tutorial -- EXTREMELY IMAGE HEAVY

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3.0 Texturing

MJNMixael taught me to texture with the agreement that I would write his teachings into this tutorial.  I am also stealing from Scooby_Doo for dirtying things up, and I have come up with a few things that work for me.  So here goes.

3.1 Base Texture (Diffuse)

If you don’t already have it, get the latest version of Gimp from

Open it and then open the bomberAO file.

Then Open As Layers the bomberUV file.  In your layer view in the toolbox, this should be above bomberAO.

You’ll probably want to register for an account where I get all of my metal textures.

Whether or not you do that at this moment doesn’t matter.  At this moment what you need can be found in the metals pack that I uploaded,  all of them come from the above link.
download the following.

Once you get the pack, dig out and open Metalbare0130_3_L.  Open it in a separate by window by just going to File > Open > (your file).  Do NOT open as a layer.  Change the size by selecting Image > Scale.  See below, and note that I clicked on the chain links to unlink our verticle and horizontal. 2048 x 2048.

Copy  our resized metal by selecting Edit > Copy.  Then you can close without saving.  Go back to our main window (where we have the AO and UV).  Paste this as a new layer by selecting Edit > Paste as Layer.

Now in your layers window, you should have 3 images.  The top one should say Clipboard.  Double clicking on the thumbnail for it will bring up Layer Attributes window, and change the name from clipboard to Metal 1.  We will be bringing in another metal later, so be sure to include the number.  Then you can click the thumbnail and drag it to beneath the other two layers.  When finished your layer view should look like mine.

Click on bomberAO so that it is selected.  Then look above our layers. In the above image you can see where it says Mode: Normal, with a drop menu on the same line.  Click the drop menu and change the mode to Multiply.

Now select File > Export, and export to the same folder as where you saved bomberAO and UV.  This should also be where you saved bomberGlass, and where you exported the DAE file from Blender.  Name your current export as bomberText.png.

If you haven’t already done so, download PCS2, the latest version and open it.

Once you get it open, select File > Open, and navigate to your DAE from the tutorial.  Then open it.

We aren’t going to get into PCS very much, except to show you how to change and view your textures.

On the left of the image below, you will see many options that we can edit.  Hit the + next to “Textures” to see a list of all textures associated with this model.  There should be 3. 

Notice that on the left I have “bombertext” selected, and on the right, in the box under “texture”, it says “bombertext”.  Where mine says bombertext, yours probably says bomberAO, or whatever you saved the texture as.  Change it to read what you just exported your texture as.  Once you do this, simply moving your mouse away from the text box, or hitting enter will lock it in.  Then hit the button that says “Reload Textures”.

Tell me when you get done so that we can continue.   Ha Ha.

Since you never told me, I’ll continue anyway.  Got some nice metal tuxtures goin on now.  Click where it says “header” to get rid of the selection lines and view the texture.  See below.

Right now you are probably sitting there going “Holy S**t this is so cool”.  I think everyone did when they saw it for the first time.  We did it wrong though.  That was by design.  Notice how we can see the edges of the faces?  Look at the nose if you need clarification.  We should NOT see them.  The reason that we can see them is that we had our UV “on” when we exported the file.  Let’s go back to gimp and do it right.

Notice where we see our layers that next to each layer is an eye?  If you can see the eye then the layer is visible, click the eye for bomberUV.  Notice how our texture changes?  Now export as bomberText.png, and then reload textures in PCS2.  Looks so much better now.

At the lower left of our main window in Gimp, you see some numbers and % (probably 25%).  This is your zoom level.  Hit the arrow next to it for the drop menu and zoom in to 400%.  See below.

At the top select Layer > New Layer, and the new layer dialogue will open.  Name this layer Darken, and leave it transparent.  See below.

Move Darken to just above Metal 1.  Then select the bucket fill tool in your toolbox, and making sure that Darken is still selected, fill the entire thing with black. Set its mode to Darken Only, and then set Opacity (right under Mode) to 59.  See below for toolbox image of layer placement and settings for Darken.  Notice that I have my UV map shut off. 

Exporting the file now as bomberText.png and reloading textures in PCS2 will show that the ship is darkened, looks much better now.

Let’s play with guns for a moment.  I like my guns to be extremely dark.  Not black, but you get the picture, or will at any rate J.

Scroll all the way to the top and left hand corner.  Remember when we were doing the UV and we placed the guns down the left side of our UV?  Well now we get to mess with them a bit.

Select the layer called Darken, and create a new Layer called Darken2, and leave it as a transparency.  It should have appeared right above Darken, if not, move it there before continuing. 

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Darken2 - Normal  - 100
Darken - Darken Only - 59
MetalBase - Normal - 100

In your tool box, select the pencil.  I used to use the paint brush for this, but found that the pencil works much better.  Directly above Mode in our toolbox, you will find a few tabs.  The one all the way to the left is our tool options, and right next to it is layers dialogue.  Open tool options.  Now set the size to 1.00.  Then go back to layer dialogue.  See below for tool options.

Turn off all of the layers by clicking the eye.  Then turn on UV and Darken2.  Click Darken2 to select that layer if it isn’t already.  This is a very simple process. 

Notice that the block I am pointing to below has a dot in the middle of it.  That is because I clicked it.  Clicking it, and then holding shift before a second click will allow you to create a line between the two points.  So click where you see the arrow pointing in the first image, then Shift click where you see the second image.

Continue to shift click until you have done the perimeter of what is highlighted below.  Only do the perimeter, but make sure that is done right, as we are creating the border for flood filling.  In the image below, I have zoomed out a bit to show you that we have now traced the perimeter of this UV island.

Now select your Flood Fill (bucket fill) tool and click somewhere within the perimeter of that UV island.  The island should darken, but nothing else should if you’ve done this right.  From this point we call this operation “Border and Fill.”

Border and Fill the rest of the gun UV islands.  They all run down the left side and should be easily discernable.  Two quick hints.  You can include more than one UV island in your perimeter, and if you become unsure as to whether or not you did an island, you can always find out by turning the UV layer off.  Just be sure to turn it back on after looking.
I did the perimeter work and then went back and filled them.  Or you can fill each as you finish, whichever you prefer.  As long as everything is done including the end caps at the bottom.

When you are finished with Border and Fill on the guns, turn off UV and turn on everything else.  Notice turning things on and off does not select the layer, no matter how much you hit an eye, you won’t change layers that way.  It is good to know.

Anyway, with all layers on except for our UV layer, set the mode of Darken2 to Darken Only, with an opacity of 59.

You can export and check it in PCS2.  I do this several times, usually after each step to ensure that I like the finished product.

Open our model in Blender.  Then go to UV.  Select the face on the top of the small missile launcher as below.

Notice how its counterpart on the UV is highlighted and nothing else is.  See below.

It is a simple matter to find that UV island on our texture in gimp.  Zoom out to 100% to make it easier to find, then zoom into 200% and find it again.

Now in your tool box.  That big black box sitting there, well that is your current color,  click it and then get a nice red.  My box is already red, seen below.

Select Darken2.  Then create a new layer called “Red” and leave it as a transparency.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Red - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
MetalBase - Normal - 100

Make sure that Red is selected, and then create something like the following using Border and Fill.  I zoomed out to 100% for the screenshot.

Set opacity to 70.  Then export and see what we think.

I think it’s a little too much, so I am lowering the opacity to 55 and looking again.

Too much and too pink.  So I am moving it to below Darken, and actually raising the opacity to 60.  Try it and look again.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Red - Normal - 60
MetalBase - Normal - 100

Still too visible for my tastes, but not what I call “anime bright”.  I’ll leave it as a happy medium between my taste and those who prefer the anime bright.  Let’s stay in red for a bit.  Select the top faces of the large missile launcher as below, and then use what is highlighted in the UV to locate the island in our texture.  Remember, when it comes to locating, have UV on.  The only time it should be off is to color check and export.

Once you have it located make something like what you see below using Border and Fill.

Select the back half of the Bomb bay in Blender, as below, and then find in our texture.

Do something like what you see below.

Kill the UV and take a look.  that’s coming along nicely.

With the Red layer selected, create a new one called “Blue”, and then switch colors to a blue. 

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Normal - 100
Red - Normal - 60
MetalBase - Normal - 100

Select the faces below from the side of the large missile bay and locate on the texture.

Paint it like the picture using Border and Fill.  Set opacity to 60. Then kill the UV, export and take a look.

Looks ok.  We’ll leave it.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Normal - 60
Red - Normal - 60
MetalBase - Normal - 100

In Blender, select the sides of both the small missile launcher and the bomb bay as below.

Paint some blue on those faces as seen below.

I think that we are done painting, you get the gist of how. 

We are going to add some tech bits next.  There are a number of programs that will let you extract files from the vp’s, and what you do is, you go through the textures there, and you study each one until you find something you like.  Then you extract it.  Then you keep going until you have enough bits to play with.

You take a piece of this one and place it stragetically, and then a piece of that one and place it strategically, and pretty soon you’ve done the tech bits. 

Furtunately for you I am a nice guy, I won’t make you do that yet, instead I have all of the tech bits that you need for this model ready for download.  Simply extract some somewhere that you can easily find them, but NOT in the folder we are using for our model and texture.

Select the following face in Blender, and then find the corresponding face on our texture.

Now Open as Layer “Dock.png”.  Yes navigate to the tech bits I sent you, and open that one as a layer.  This new layer goes under UV and AO, but above everything else.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Normal - 100
Red - Normal - 60
MetalBase - Normal - 100

It is only half the texture, place it as follow.  Once you have it placed, zoom in to 400% and make sure it lines up on the edge of the UV for that face.  See below.

Export and take a look.

Select the four faces shown below, and find them on your Texture.

Now go ahead and grab Beam3.png and Open As Layer.  Open it directly above Tech Bits.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Tech Bits - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Normal - 100
Red - Normal - 60
MetalBase - Normal - 100

Scale Tech Bits 2 by selecting Layer > Scale.  and make it 125 by 125.

Now position it like below. You will need to do this in increments, start at 100%, then 200%, then 400%.  Notice that there is barely any overhang in the upper left corner.  If we wanted to, we could rotate this and set it perfect, but there is no need here.

In your tool box you have a rectangle selection tool, click it, and use it to outline the part of the UV map that we want, keeping overhangs as close as possible.

Select Select > Inverse.  This inverts our selection.  We do this so that we can erase everything else in this layer, without touching the stuff we want to keep.  Follow me?

With things inverted, go to your toolbox and right click the layer called Beam3.  If it is in fact directly above the layer we put our docking ring on, select Merge Down.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Normal - 100
Red - Normal - 60
MetalBase - Normal - 100

Use your eraser tool to erase our tech bits until you have something like below.  You will need to resize it, but I taught you how.  I set mine on about 5.

Now select the inner box using your rectangle select, and then erase it.  See below.

Select Select > None.

Shut UV off, export, and take a look.  Not bad but a little too bright.  Let’s darken it.  Make sure that our tech bits layer is selected, and then use your rectangle selected tool to select our tech bit.  Grab your brush, and change the color to black.  Under tool options set the opacity to 27, size 15..  Go over the entirety of our box a few times, but over the outside portion about 6 times.  See below for finished.

That darkened things up nicely.  Don’t forget to Select > None before exporting.  Now when we darken the greeble walls it will look pretty nice.

We have our tech on one layer, but you don’t have to, You can put each one on a separate layer.  In order to erase though and not leave behind a white box, you need to merge with a transparent layer first, which is what we did.  You can darken each piece individually the way we did, you can play with the opacity of some paint stuff to make it look faded, you can darken some areas of paint to make it look “abused”.  Possibilities are limitted by only by imagination.

I am just going to add a bunch of tech stuff now, and then show you some images.  You know how to add them, all of the lessons are held in here.  I will tell you any “special” things that I did. 

Arbitrary Rotation.  If you go to Layers > Transform, one of your options is Arbitrary Rotation.  Open something as a layer, and go into Arbitrary Rotation.  You’ll have it figured out in no time.

Break the chain to scale on one axis instead of both.

Use opacity settings on the new mayer before merging.

Use your lasso to surround an area that you want to paint without painting anything else (or darkening).

When you are done with these, come back here, we’ll have some more fun with grunging things up a bit,  and then with Glow maps, Shine, Normal, -trans, maps.  We still have a good amount to do before we are finished with our texture.

Once I got the canyon tech placed, which was actually one piece scaled down, and then Layers > Duplicate and move the layer, I went over it with a paint brush size 50, then I went over the outside edge one more time.  Basically I kept the border of the tech about halfway into the brush (circle).

Other than that it was pretty strightforward, simply use the lessons that you learned above. 

It is taking shape, but we have work to do.  Currently it looks like it has been stamped out of one pice of metal, which it has.  We need to defeat this, but first, I don’t much care for the color of the metal.  So, click on our Metal1 layer, and then select Layer > New Layer.  Call it Gunmetal Bluing, and it doesn’t matter what fill color we use (mine was still on transparency).

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Normal - 100
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
MetalBase - Normal - 100

The new layer should be directly above your metal base.  Change colors and get a nice royal blue.  Then bucket fill after making sure that Gunmetal Bluing is the selected layer.  Set the blend mode of the layer to “Color”, and the opacity to 7.

I like that bunch better, the difference is subtle, but very cool.  That’s a pretty good lesson, subtle is a good thing.

File > Open Metalbare0130_5_L.  This will open in a separate window.  Resize it to 2048 x 2048.  Edit > Copy.  Then you can close that window, and in our main texture window,  Edit > Paste As > Layer.  Then move the new metal layer all the way to the bottom.  Kick up UV, we will need it turned on.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Metal2 - Normal - 100

What we are going to do now is take care of the “stamped from one piece of metal” look.  We do this by erasing our metal base in strategic areas to let a different metal base shine through.  I hope that sums up what we are about to do.

With the bottom layer (Rename it to Metal 2) selected, create a new layer, this layer need not be named, but does need to be transparent.  Once it is created, merge MetalBase with it.  Name this new layer Metal 1.

Use your Lasso select tool to select the area outlined below.  Then hit Delete. And don’t worry about the area on mine being black, I’ll get you there.

Notice how it went away?  Select > None and then take a look in PCS2.  That’s all there is to it.  Stay with me while we do some more.

Looks pretty good, but I think it is too bright.  Change the color to black in your color selector.  With Metal 2 selected create a new layer, filled with Foreground color.  Name the layer Black.  Set opacity to 26, and mode to Darken. 

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

Now export and take a look in PCS2.  That looks better.  Go ahead and do the rest of that the top of the large missile bay.  All of the flats.  Do the bottom as well.  See below.

Now get the following sections of the small missile bay. 

We’ll only do a few more in this tutorial, but what you are wanting to achieve here is simply breaking up the model.  It adds a splash of color, even if it is simply a different shade.  You get the picture.  Keep thing flowing with the lines of the model.

Get the pieces that you see highlighted in the next two images.

Select the canyon walls, the tops of the greebles shown, and the outside of the fuselage near the gun mount.  See below.

You know what to do.  Normally I would do more than this with it.  Normally I would use 3 metal textures.  The thing about using 3 is, go over the model deleting in strategic places like we’ve been doing, but delete from the top TWO metals.  Then go back over the model and delete from only the top  metal in other places.  You understand, in some places you want the bottom texture to show through, in others the middle, and in others the top. 

If you want the bottom metal to show through, make your selection, delete from the top metal layer, then switch to the middle layer and delete from it. 

If you want the middle metal layer to show, only delete from the top metal layer.

At this stage I usually darken my greeble walls.  We aren’t going to because it is a pain.  It is worth it on a model for release, the darkened walls add depth.  It is really easy, use your lasso to make your selection, then use the brush painting black.  Brush options are either Darken or Normal, with your opacity of the brush set to your liking. 

As long as we are discussing “to your liking”, remember that all of the Opacity settings in this tutorial are to MY liking.  Change them to what YOU like when you do your own model. 

Before you start deleting from the metal layers, take a look at what you have.  The large panels are boring and lackluster.  We could have gone with some smaller panels.  To do this, simply create a transparent layer under the UV, and draw on it with a black Pencil.  Making smaller panels inside the larger ones. 

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Lines - Normal - 100
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

Even though we didn’t do this (mostly because I forgot until it was far too late), I will show you what I mean in the images below.  Before and after.

What I did was use the pencil tool color black, and in tool options made it size 1.00, Mode normal, hardness 2, opacity 100.  Create a transparent layer called Lines just beneath the UV layer, and draw the lines on it.  Then move Lines to just above my top metal.  Set the opacity of the layer to 50.  Done.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Lines - Normal - 50
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

You want UV on for that so that you can trace any of the lines on the UV where things remain flat.  Don’t trace lines where panels come together in a 3 dimensional angle.

If you look really close, you can see a line drawn in the red.  It was actually drawn in black, but because we put Lines beneath everything except our metal layers, any paint will show on the line, making it appear to have been painted. 

Remember that these lines offer a great deal of versatility for changing which metal is shown. 

Something else that you can do is create some rivets.  A simple black dot is all it takes.

I created a transparent layer called Rivets and then used a paintbrush size 1.00, hardness 2, mode normal, opacity 100, angle 22.  If you opt for rivets, remember to only put them on one side of a “seam”. 

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Rivets - Normal - 100 **optional**
Lines - Normal - 50 **optional**
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100
Let’s dirty things up a bit. 

Create a new transparent layer called Grime1.  Place it above Tech Bits.  Mode should be Multiply, opacity 50.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Grime1 - Multiply - 50
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Rivets - Normal - 100 **optional**
Lines - Normal - 50 **optional**
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

With Grime1 selected, select Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise.  When the dialogue comes up. make your settings as below, and hit OK.

Select Color > Brightness and Contrast.  Set Brightness to -90, and Contrast to 90.

Now select Color > Invert.  Then select Color > Color to Alpha.  It should still be white, if so hit ok.  If not, make it white, then hit ok.

Now select Filters > Blur > Motion Blur.  You can adjust these settings to taste, but for the purposes of this tutorial, set it at Linear, Length = 47, Angle = 89.  Angle 0 will give you a horizontal smear, so angle 90 gives a straight up and down one.  Since most of our texture is “verticle”, we will go with a 90.

Some rust will be a bit harder, but not much.  Select Tech Bits, and create a new transparent layer called Rust.  Set the mode to Screen and the opacity to 50.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Grime1 - Multiply - 50
Rust - Screen - 50
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Rivets - Normal - 100 **optional**
Lines - Normal - 50 **optional**
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

Switch to a nice rust color, I am using html notation b32d00, and flood fill the layer using your bucket.

Select Tech Bits again and create a new transparent layer called Noise.   

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Grime1 - Multiply - 50
Rust - Multiply - 50
Noise - Normal - 100
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Rivets - Normal - 100 **optional**
Lines - Normal - 50 **optional**
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

With Noise selected, select Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid noise, and use the following as your guide for the settings.

Once it renders the clouds, turn everything off except for the layers named “Noise” and “Black.”

Select Colors > Brightness and Contrast.  Set Brightness to -96, and Contrast to 99.  You can really see the difference in this, so adjusting them will grow or shrink your rust areas.  For what it’s worth, this also works for our grime layer.

With Noise selected, Edit > Copy, and then turn on everything except for UV.  Then turn off Noise.

Select the layer called Rust, and select Layer > Mask > Add Layer Mask.  When the dialogue pops up make sure that White (full opacity) is selected and hit Add.

Next to our Rust thumbnail is a white box.  Click it.  Now click the Rust thumbnail.  You are switching between the layer and the mask.  Whichever is inactive has a black outline, the active one has a white outline.  So select the mask, and then hit CTRL V to paste, and CTRL H to anchor it.

Your Layer view should be:

BomberUV - Normal - 100
BomberAO - Multiply - 100
Grime1 - Multiply - 50
Rust - Multiply - 50
Noise - Normal - 100 ** off **
Tech Bits 2 - Normal - 100
Darken2 - Darken Only  - 59
Darken - Darken Only - 59
Blue - Color - 7
Red - Normal - 60
Gunmetal Bluing - Normal - 100
Rivets - Normal - 100 **optional**
Lines - Normal - 50 **optional**
MetalBase - Normal - 100
Black - Darken - 26
Metal2 - Normal - 100

Currently we have rust on our canyon floor, and I don’t want it there.  Select the mask, and then use your lasso tool to outline the tech in question.  See below.

Hit delete.  Switch from the mask to the layer, and hit delete a second time.   When you delete on the mask, you are deleting the cloud cover, when you delete on the layer, you are deleting the color.

Switch the color selector to Black or White, either one.  Select your AO layer, and then use your bucket flood fill on it.  Choose somewhere outside of all of the islands.

The Grime and Rust are adaptations of what Scooby does.  He does other things that we can’t do with our model due to the mirror modifier.  To see how he does things and get some more tips visit

You can delete Noise.  We are done with our base texture.

3.2 Glow Maps

Glow Maps are easy.  They give us some lighting effects on our model, and can do some pretty cool stuff.

For now, you can save your bomber.xcf in gimp and close it.  Then open bombertext.png.  Make a new layer called Glow.  Make it black, or flood fill it black, what ever you want to do. 

Your layer view should be:

Glow - Normal - 100
bombertext - Normal - 100

Turn Glow off.

Open a new image, by selecting File > New.  Make it 512 x 512.  Now add some noise by selecting Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid noise.  Make it like the image below. 

Let’s create some extreme lightning by selecting Colors > Invert.

Now select Colors > Threshold, and make your settings 128 and 153.  Hit OK.

Create a transparent layer called Blue, and then flood fill it with Royal Blue.  Then give it a mask by selecting Layer > Mask > Add Mask.  In the add mask dialogue, select Black (Full Transparency).  Then copy our noise layer and paste it into the mask.  Don’t forget to anchor it.

Delete the noise layer, and Duplicate Blue by selecteing Layer > Duplicate Layer.

We need to blur the bottom one now.  Make sure that you have the mask in Blue selected, and select Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur, set it to 20 and 20.

Select Edit > Copy Visible.  This is important because copy will only give you the layer, or selection.  Copy Visible is what we need here.  Then go back to our main work window and select Edit > Paste As > New Layer.

Duplicate the layer and then use your move tool to move the duplicate until it becomes an extension off the bottom of the original layer.  Change original to Blue 1, and merge the duplicate down by by right clicking on the duplicate layer and selecting Merge Down.

The layer was too short for our needs, so we lengthened it by Duplicating, moving and merging.  Duplicate the finished product and name the Duplicate Blue2.  Then turn Both Blue Layers off.

Using your Lasso tool, select an area like the one below.  Notice that I am INSIDE the edges of the island.  I used a zoom of 400 for this. 

Turn on Blue 1, make sure that it is selected.  Then invert our selection by selecting Select > Invert.  Then hit delete.  See below.

Now let’s do our other canyon wall.  Make your selection using lasso.  Turn on Blue 2, Select Blue 2, Invert selection, and hit delete.

Now merge Blue 2 Down into Blue 1.

If you want to see how it looks, turn on Glow, and then export as bomberText-glow.png.  Take a look in pcs2.

When you get back, go into your secondary work window.  The one where we built the Blue layers with masks.  Select Image > Scale, and change it to 256 x 256.  Copy visible.

In your primary work window, paste as a new layer.  Move the layer so that it spans across both canyon walls.  Then duplicate it and move the new layer down, in essence lengthening the original.  Keep duplicating until and moving until both canyon walls are covered, then start at the the top and merge them down until there is only one new layer.  Name it Blue 2.  See below.

Duplicate the layer and name it Blue 3.  Turn Blue 2 and Blue 3 off, then use your lasso and make a selection like below.

Turn on Blue 2, and make sure that Blue 2 is selected.  Invert the selection by selecting Select > Invert, then hit delete, then Select > None.   See below.

 You already know that we are going to do the other canyon wall and Blue 3.  I don’t think I need to walk you through it.  Make it happen.  See below.

Merge Blue 3 down into Blue 2.  Then duplicate Blue 2 and call the duplicate Blue 3.  With Blue 3 selected, select Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur.  Set it at 20.  Merge Blue 3 down when finished.

Create a new transparent layer called Blue 3.  Set your paint brush size to 10, and draw the following lines on the canyon floor.

Guassian Blur Blue 3 at 20.  Set the Mode to Normal, Opacity 10.  Then Merge it down into Blue 2, and Merge Blue 2 down into Blue 1.  See below.

Select the face that you see selected below.  Then find it on the UV.  It is small, so you will have to zoom in to find it.  Hint, it is in the center.  NOw find it in our Glow map window.

I went ahead and zoomed in to 800 for this one.  Most times I will work in the same XCF that I used building the base texture.  It allows you to have the UV map up, which helps.

Mkae sure that your Blue layer is selected, and use a paint brush with size set at 7.  See below for what to do.  In order to get it as dark as what you see below.  You need click 5 times in each color.

Looks pretty good, but we are about to make it look better.  Change your brush color to white,  size 1, opacity 75, and click 3 times for one pixel in red, and 3 times for 1 pixel in blue.  See below.

Zoom out to 200%, looks good.

Select the following face of the model in Blender.  Then find it on the texture.

Follow the exact same procedure as above to make the image below.  Of course it is sen in relation to what we just did.

Move over to your dock tech, and then select Select > By Color, and click any of the yellow, then shift click to keep selecting the different shades.  Shift select until your selection is comparable to below.

Edit > Copy, then switch to Blue 1, and simply CTRL V to paste, and CTRL H to anchor it. Turn Glow on and zoom out to about 50.

Notice that we also got the checkerboard patterns that we put on the front of our missile / bomb bays.  We could leave it, but then it would look too new a dirty and somewhat rusted bomber.  So simply erase them.

Turn on Glow, export as bombertext-glow.png, and take a look.  We are done with the glow map.

3.3 Shine Map

Shine maps are actually pretty easy.  Almost as easy as glow maps.  Think about things that we don’t want to be shiny on our model.  We have grease smears and rust, those definately won’t be shiny.  We have glow maps, they glow, they don’t reflect. Paint shouldn’t be reflective either, unless you want it to look like reflective tape, which I don’t.

Since this is my first ever Shine map, you will get the basics.  It is up to you to experiment with this stuff and find what YOU like.  So let’s get started.

First Open the xcf file for our diffuse texture in gimp.  Unlike your PNG’s or TGA’s, the xcf holds all of the layers. So we need it open now.

Turn on all layers.  Then turn off BomberUV, Grime1, and Rust.  Select Edit > Copy Visible.  Then select Edit > Paste As > New Image.

Now in our new image, which we will refer to as Shine, as oposed to XCF, change “Pasted Layer” name to “Base.”  Because we were dealing transparencies at our source, our copy should have an Alpha channel.  We need to make sure though.  With Base selected, select Layers > Transparency.  If you can select “Add Alpha Channel”please do so.  If you cannot, it is because there is already an Alpha Channel in the image.

Either way we now have an Alpha Channel.  So we need to add a Layer Mask.  Select  Layer > Mask > Add Layer Mask.  Then in the dialogue that pops up select “Transfer layer’s alpha channel”.  Hit Add.

We can now edit the Alpha channel.  So, click on the Mask to select it (there should be a White Box around it if it is the active selection), then use your bucket tool to flood the work area with Black (HTML Notation 000000).   

You should now be seeing the gray and white checkers of transparency in your work area, but notice in layer view that the mask is black. 

Export this as bombertext-shine.tga.  Take alook in PCS2. 

We now have a working Shine map.  Wipe off that silly grin, we have more work to do.

Right click on the layer and select “Disable Layer Mask”.  Now we can see what we are doing. 

For starters, it is far too shiny.  We have rust and grime and a show room shine.  Doesn’t look natural.  Be sure that our layer is selected, not the mask, and select  Colors > Brightness and  Contrast and make your settings as below.

Right click on the layer again and enable the mask by again selecting Disable Mask.  Then export it as the same name as before, and take a look.  Not as shiny now.  That is how you adjust the shine level.

We actually did a few things here.  By adjusting the Brightness we adjusted the amount of shine.  By adjusting the contrast, we added a good deal of black, thus adjusting which areas shine.  Undo a few times until you have undone Brightness and Contrast.  Make sure that Base is selected, then adjust only Brightness to -45.

See how much shinier it is now?  In all actuality, it is no shinier than it was before, but we didn’t adjust the contrast, so in this iteration, the entire map is shiny.  Make sense?

I want the entire map to be shiny, but not as shiny as it is.  Undo a couple times again to undo the Brightness and Contrast, then set Brightness to -127.  With this done, do it again.  Brightness and Contrast, Brightness to -127. That looks like the amount of shine that I want.

Remember how we blued everything a bit with the layer called Gunmetal Blueing?  Well I want that to come through a bit in the Shine.  Not too much, but a little.  to do this select Colors > Hue-Saturation, and make your settings as below.  You can play with these options to find what they do and what you want, but when you are done, set them as below.

Export and take a look.

Let’s play with environmental reflections a bit.  Select the mask, and then select Colors > Brightness and Contrast, and make your settings as below.

There is no sense in looking at the moment, as there is no environment to reflect.  Again, these are just the settings that I wanted on this particular machine.  When you do it for you, the settings are for you to experiment with and set.

Switch tpo XCF, and again Copy Visible.  Switch to Shine, and paste as a layer.  Make sure that your new layer is selected, it is called “Clipboard” by the way.  Duplicate this layer and then turn the duplicate off.  Select Clipboard.

Make sure that your color is Black, and then Bucket fill in the work area.  Make sure that you click an area that is already black.  Unless you are paying attention, you won’t see a change, but if you are watching our “long tech bit”, you will see the change.

Zoom in on the small tech piece seen below.

Bucket fill the surrounding gray until it looks like the image below.

Now duplicate the layer.  The new layer will be named Clipboard Copy #1.  Set it’s mode to Screen, then right click it and Merge Down.  See how the gray in the tech bit is brighter?

Do it again.  Duplicate, set the mode to Screen, then Merge Down.  The gray should be nearly white now.

Use your Rectangle Select Tool to select the following area.

Select Base Layer, not Mask, and paste then anchor using CTRL V then CTRL H.

Reselect the tech bit in Clipboard.  Then Paste and Anchor it in the Mask.

With Clipboard selected, use Lasso Select Tool to select the large piece of tech seen below.

Do the same thing you just did, copy, then switch to Base layer and paste and anchor, then do the same for the mask.

When you look at it in PCS2, notice how much shinier the tech bit is than the rest of the craft?  That is because of how light it is in comparisson.  The craft is dark, so not much shine,the tech is light, so lots of shine.   

Believe it or not,the hard part is done.

Switch to XCF and turn off all layers.  Then turn on Grime and Rust.

Copy Visible and then paste it as a new layer in Shine.  Layer order doesn’t matter. 

Zoom out to about 50.  Now select Select > By Color.  Click a rust spot, you should see all of the rust spots get selected.  Then Shift click a grease spot.  Now all of the rust and the grime should be selected.

Disable the mask, and you should see where some of our selections are being intrusive on our tech bits. This will not do.  See below.

The two selected areas that I have arrows pointing to are going to interfere with the shine our chrome pieces.  Erase them but first make sure that your Grime/Rust layer is selected.  Select Select > None.

Now reslect by color, for both rust and grime.  Best way is to turn off Base, and then make sure that you have Rust/Grime layer selected.  Once you have the selections by color, turn Base back on and notice that the offending selections are gone.  Turn off Rust/Grime layer.

Select Base layer, and then use black to flood fill inside one of the circles (selections).  Then enable the Mask, select tghe Mask, and do the same thing.  Finally, select Select > None.

With this done, take a look at it.  Notice how hard the edges between the shiny areas and the  grease/rust areas?  Looks like a sticker.  We don’t want that.  See below for an example.

So select the Base Layer, and then select Filters > Blur > Selective Gaussian Blur.  See below for settings.

Once it completes, select the Mask, and blur it in the same manner, same settings.

Now Open as layers, and navigate to your Glow map.  Currently in your layer view, the only layers that should be turned on are your Glow map and Base.

Select by color and keep using shift select until all of the blue is selected as in the image below.

Then keep using shift select to select all of the Yellow.  Use shift select because we want it in addition to the Blue.  Then shift select the Red.  In this manner, everything in the glow map except the black selected.  When you do the red, don’t forget to the get the white dot in the blue lights on the gun mounts.

Turn off the Glow map and select Base layer.  Hit delete, then select the mask, and hit delete.

There should still be an untouched copy of your diffuse texture sitting as a layer.  Turn it on.

Use color select to select both red and blue, then select Base and hit delete, then select the mask and hit delete.

That’s it, we are done with the shine map.  Although not perfect and I’ll wager not even 100% correct on the best way to do things, you can and will get a shine map onto your ship by following these steps.

Remember, I am just beginning with these, as such there is a wealth of information out there yet to pour through.  These two threads should help with a good deal of this.

The Gimp Thread

Figuring out ship shininess

3.4 Normal Maps

Once again this is a first for me.  Haven’t made a Normal Map before, so this will just be a basic procedures tutorial.

Go here and get the plug in.

Normal Map plugin for Gimp

Before we do Normal Maps, know that at the time of this writing PCS2 does not display Normal Maps.  So while I am including this texture types in this section, you will probably want to skip this section for now and go straight into PCS2 and Tabling. Then come back here to learn this.  Alternatively, you could look ahead and learn just enough to get your ship into Freespace2, just for viewing purposes.  Either way, once you get it into FreeSpace2, you can either view it in the Tech Lab, or in Fred. I view mine in Fred.

So let’s make a Normal Map.

Step 1 is the height map.

We’ll be working in the XCF. Get it open.

Select the layer named “Red” and create a new layer above it.  Call the  new layer “Gray”.  Doesn’t matter what you fill it with. Then turn off everything ABOVE this layer except for BomberUV.

Select the very top layer, and create a new transparent layer called Blue Lines. Draw something like the blue lines shown below.   It doesn’t have to be exact.  Draw them in blue.  When we are finished, everything in Blue will be recessed, everything in Red will be raised up, and everything else will be neutral.

When you are finished, create a new transparent called RedLines.  Draw something like the what you see below.

Turn on the layer called Tech Bits.  Locate the tech bit that looksllike the image below. With Blue Lines selected, color the areas in blue.

Now on Red Lines, paint red as below.

Finally, put what you have just done together to create something like the following. The darkest areas get colored in Blue, the lightest in Red.  Leave the rest.

Shut everything off except for Red Lines, Blue Lines, and Gray.  See below.

Copy Visible and then Paste as a new image.

In the new Image,select by color and choose your Blue coloring.  Then go to flood fill and fill it in black.

Select by color again and select Red this time.Fill it in White. See below.

Select Filters > Map > Normal Map.  The top option is Filter, I set mine to 5x5.  Then hit ok.

When it gets done, you have the bluish purple Normal Map.  Now select Colors > Components > Decompose.  When the dialogue box opens change Color Model to RBGA.

This opens in a new window,with four layers.Red, Green, Blue, and Alpha.  Select Red and copy it. Paste it into Alpha.  Then Copy Green, Paste it into both Red and Blue.  Don’t forget to anchor.

Then simply Color > Components > Compose.  Once again Color Model is RGBA. It willcompose in a new window. Export as bombertext-normal.tga.

We are done with Normal Maps.

3.5 -trans

Trans maps are very very cool, and not just because of the simplicity to create.  The thing is how much they add to a ship.  We will only be doing our cockpit glass in one.

While building the cockpit model, two things happened that have screwy effects on this map.  One I foresaw, and left it alone as a lesson, the other I did not.  When you look at the image below, notice the black lines on the cockpit.  Had we not smoothed the cockpit glass, this would have happened.  This is where the hard edges of the glass meet, and it messes with the trans map.  Low poly and not smoothing caused this. 

I didn’t foresee that.  That got caught and fixed before writing this.  Just wanted to bring it to your attention here.

So, open Gimp and grab BomberGlassUV.png.

This is very easy.  Change your color to White (ffffff), and then Shift Bucket fill the work area.

Add a Layer Mask (transfer Alpha) and flood it with Gray (808080).

Set the opacity to 40%.

Export it as BomberGlass-trans.tga.

Don’t bother looking yet, you won’t see it.

Copy Visible and Paste as a new image.  This new image will be the shine map for the cockpit glass.

Add a Layer Mask (transfer Alpha) bucket fill it White (ffffff).

Select the layer base (not mask) and bucket fill it in Black (000000).

Export as BomberGlass-trans-shine.tga.

Open the model in PCS2 if it isn’t already open,  go to the textures section, and tell PCS2 to use BomberGlass-trans.

We are done.  If you know how to get your ship into FS2, you can see it in Fred.

As you rotate the ship, you may notice a centerline in the cockpit.  I saw this coming but left it as a lesson.  When you do your cockpit glass, apply the mirror modifier BEFORE you UV it.  I don't think it needs any further exlpanation.

The last thing that I do is open, get it at

Open all of the textures and turn them into dds files with DXT5 compression.  Delve into the different uses of the different dxt variables, I haven't yet, but knowing that some tihngs must be in dxt5, I just do them all that way.
We are done with texturing.

4.0 PCS

PCS2 is where we turn our model into a ship in the game.  We add weapons, subsystems, docking points, and several other things.  This is where it happens.

4.0a PCS

Now, open your model with PCS2. You'll need a recent (at least 2011, but the more recent the better) version of the program. You should be seeing something like this:

First, check in the Textures tab if nothing weird did make it through export - you should only be seeing textures of which you know where they are used. Now, it may be most convenient to switch to ortographic mode - it's in the button bar at the top.
If you have difficulty following the next part, I suggest that you open up a fighter/bomber from the MediaVPs, and see how it's done there. Seeing it for yourself tends to work better than pictures.

Next, go to Weapon Points - here, you define where the guns and missile ports are. Select Gun Points, and add your first gun bank: in the Bank section on the panel to the right, press the New button (the yellowish square). Now, add gunpoints to this bank - the number of gunpoints will define the number of guns in that bank. Press the New button in the Point section. If you now go to wireframe mode (it's in the button bar at the top), you should be able to see a small sphere with a line sticking out of it. Well, the sphere is the place of the gun, the line is the direction it will fire. Edit the gunpoint's coordinates (the three numbers under Point, not under Normal) until it's at the right spot. FS uses a nonstandard axis convention: X is positive to the port of your ship, Y is positive upward and Z is positive forward. If you have one point, you can make the one on the other side by duplicating it (next to the New button) and changing the sign of the X-coordinate.
Set up missile banks the same way - note that the number of firepoints does not determine the number of missiles.

Next up, docking points. A fighter generally only needs one, for rearming purposes. So select the tab, then on the panel on the right click the topmost New button. Press the down arrow next to the Properties textbox and select the entry, then rename the point from "Docking Point" to "rearming dock". Skip the Paths section, we'll take care of that later.
Now here's the knack: each docking point actually has two points. The dockee ship will dock in the middle of them. Point 1 should be the most forward one (unless you want the support ship to dock backwards).
So press the downmost New button and edit the coordinates until it's in the right place. Then, adjust the Normal vector until it's approximately perpendicular to your ship's surface, and press the Norm button next to it. The normal coordinates work in pretty much the same way as the other coordinates; 0:1:0 has the vector pointing straight up. Then duplicate the point and move it back a little.

Thrusters: these points define where the thruster plumes will be, and in which direction they'll fire. Thrusters are organised in banks, each corresponding to one of the engine subsystems (mainly relevant for capships); if one engine is disabled, the corresponding thrusters will cut off. Press the topmost New button, and under Properties, associate this bank to the default Engine subsystem (which we'll add in a minute).
Now under Glow Points, make a new one and set its radius to something you can see. Then move it to the right place. The normal is set pointing straight back by default (0:0:-1). Add more points as needed - a fighter/bomber generally has only one engine system, so all thrusters can be in the same bank.

Glowpoints: You know how most of the MediaVP Terran ships have these little (sometimes even blinking) lights on them? The Orion is a good example. Well, those lights are defined with glowpoints. These too are organized in banks, much like the thrusters. Each bank has a set of properties:
Displacement time: the time offset at which the glowpoints will blink (if applicable). Unit is milliseconds. This is how the runway lights on the Orion are made, for instance: it's a row of glowpoint banks, each with a larger displacement time than the one before.
On time: time (in milliseconds) the light is on. Set this to 1 or more.
Off time: time (in milliseconds) the light is off. 0 will give you a light that is always on.
Parent subobject: the subobject your glowpoint is attached to. This should usually be detail0.
LOD: if this is what I think it is, it should be left to 0. If there's any reason not to, please do tell me.
Type: I have no idea what this does. If you can find any ship where this is not set to 0, please let me know. Just leave it at 0 for now.
Properties: here you select the image that the glowpoint will use. There's quite a few in the MediaVPs (MV_Effects->data\effects), with the naming scheme blue_glow1_small, cyan_glow etc. Choose one you like; you don't need to add the extension to the $glow_texture= line, just the filename will do.
Then set up the glowpoints themselves, they work pretty much the same as thruster points. The default normal of 0:0:0 will give you an omnidirectional glowpoint; if you add a normal to this, the point will only shine in the direction the normal is pointing. 0:0:1 will make a forward-pointing glowpoint, for instance like a landing light on aircraft.
One glowpoint bank can have multiple glowpoints with the same properties; if you want to add points of different colours or blinking patterns, you need to make a new bank for each of the sets.

Special points: these define the subsystems of your ship. Make a new one, choose a name for it (all of the usual names are in the drop-down list). Set the radius and the position as you see fit; the Properties window you can usually leave alone.

Turrets we can skip for now; I'll write an extension to this tutorial for making capships.

Paths: Press Auto-Gen, that's all we'll need for a simple fighter.

Eye Points: this is where the camera is located, the eyes of the pilot. Make a new one (you only need 1), make sure its parent is detail0. Change the coordinates to where the pilot's eyes should be. The normal is pointing forward (0:0:1) by default - assuming your pilot looks forward, leave this as-is.

Insignia: With this feature you can add a spot for squadron insignia on your fighter (if you don't have it, get a more recent PCS2 build - download link in Spicious' signature). It is a bit cumbersome in use, but the result will be good. Defining it in Blender is possible as well, see here.
Add a new insignia, leave LOD and Offset at their default values. Then add a new face and move its vertices to approximately the place you want it; duplicate the face and make the other half of the insignia. In the U and V boxes, insert the coordinates (u,v) as shown in the picture below. Projection is currently disabled for me, so I can't help you with that.

Shield, auto-centering, model comments: nothing to do there, except maybe checking if your shield made it through the conversion alright.

Lastly, go back to Header, and under Moment of Inertia, press "Recalculate" - zero moments of inertia will lead to weird things when your ship is hit.

And that's that! Save your ship as a POF and put it in your mod (don't forget the texture and table). Check if everything is alright in debug builds of FRED and FSO.

Congratulations! Now all that remains to be done is the texture; there's plenty of good tutorials on that around on the internet, or you can nicely ask someone to do it for you.
For more information on, and possibilities of the conversion process, got to the Wiki's excellent Blender to POF conversions page - special thanks to Vasudan Admiral for writing it.

4.1b  PCS2 Walkthrough

Step1, read the above section by FSF.

OK, open the bomber in PCS2 if it isn’t already open.  By now you know that Textures are good.

You need to learn how to get around.  Left click rotates the model, Shift Left Click Pans it.  Scrolling with the center wheel zooms,and shift scrolling pans a zoom. You’ll see what I mean.


Click the plus sign next to Weapon Points, then select Gun  Points.  On the right side of the screen is where we add them.  At the top you see “Bank”.  Below that is a drop menu, and below that you can see a yellow square.  Clicking that square adds a Gun bank. Click it once.  Notice how the drop menu changed.

Below the section for “Banks” is “Points”.  Add two points to this Bank.  At the very top, on our tool bar your will find Wireframe.  It is all the way to the right. Click it.  Also, you will find Orthographic view, click it as well.  You should be seeing a little white dot with a purple line coming out.  This is dead center of the ship. This is your placement marker, it tells you the firing point of the item in question.

Select View > Top.

On the right, make sure that you have point 1 selected by using the drop menu.  Notice under it you have section called Point, and below it is a textbox filled with zeroes.  That is where we will enter the coordinates of our points.  It is set to 0:0:0 by default, in x:y:z format.  The x, y,and z axes do NOT correspond to Blender.  y and z are reversed.  So y is our verticle, and z is our depth.  With me so far?

For x we have 0.000000, change it to 8.000000. Notice that one of our firing points has moved to the right and now sits outside the ship. Change your z coordinate to 19.000000, so that our coordinates now read 8.000000:0.000000:12.000000. You can see what we are doing.  Change x  to 0.672000. It is now lined up with one of our Nose guns.  Change to z coordinate to 11.800000. Now we are on target for x and z.  Change from wireframe to textured view.  The button is in the toolbarat the top, and switch to front view.  Now we can see how far off we are vertically.  Make your y coordinate -1.640000.  Our coordinates should read 0.6720:-1.640000:18.879999.

Go back to top view.

Highlight and copy your coordinates.  Use your drop menu under points to select point 2, and paste your coordinates there.  Now change x to negative (-0.672000). Bank 1 is finished.

Let’s discuss “Normal”. The section under coordinates reads 0.000000:0.000000:1.000000.  That means that the weapon fires forward. 

Under Banks create a second Bank and give it two firing points.  These points will be our fuselage mounts.  I’ll leave you to do these. 

On the left switch to Missile points.  Create 3 banks on the right, and know the order we are doing them will be important when we Table.  The order is  Small Missile Bay, Large Missile Bay, Bomb Bay.  Switch to Bank 1.  And give it four points.  Point one should be 5.120000:-0.480000:11.400000.  Point 2 is 4.000000:-0.480000:11.400000. Point 3 is 4.000000:-0.960000:11.400000.  Point 4 is 5.120000:-0.960000:11.400000. 

Now add four more points.  Copy point 1 coordinaqtes and paste them into point 5, then make x negative  (5.120000:-0.480000:11.400000  becomes -5.120000:-0.480000:11.400000).

Copy point 2 and paste to point 6 as a negative.  Point 3 goes to point 7 and negative, point 4 goes to point 8 and negative.

We are done with the small missile bay.  If you rotate the model a bit, you will see that they are inset.

Switch to bank 2.  Give it 8 points and lay them out as below, then add 8 more for negative x coordinate.  You want the firing point to be at the back of the bay.

Bank 3 will have 2 points  shown below, again at the back.

You can set missiles and bombs up to be viewed extrenally.  We will not be exploring this here, this will be done in the table section of this tutorial.


If you read section 4.1a, you know that each docking point is actually two points with the niormals perpendicular to the ship, and the ship docking with it docks between these two points. 

Click Docking points on the left,and then on the right you will Points at the top.  Add one point.  Beneath you will see Properties. Change the docking properties to $name=rearming dock.

Next we have paths, don’t worry about them right now.  Move downward to the second section called points.

We have one docking point created, and now it must have the two points. Add the two points in section.  Make sure that you have point 1 selected, and because I am nice, use the following coordinates.


We need our normal to be perpendicular to the ship, so again thank me for being nice.


Switch to point 2.  Coordinates are 0.000000:2.000000:-9.120000, and normals are 0.000000:1.000000:-0.300000.

Notice in the 3d render that our points are sitting about 1 meter apart, and the normals are pointing perpendicular. 

Docking is done.

Thruster Glow

For our thrusters, I want to have a redundant system. ie...if the left engine goes out, the right one keeps going. 

So, click on Thrusters on the left, and then on the right add two Thrusters.  Make sure you have thruster 1 selected so that we can start adding  glow points to it.  Because of the odd shape of our engine system, we will need more than one glow point.  Add 5 glow points.

Go to Back view, and zoom in a bit.  Use the following to set each Glow point:

1.  radius = 0.400000, coordinates = -1.440000:-0.320000:-13.600000
2.  radius = 0.240000, coordinates = -0.912000:-0.048000:-13.600000
3.  radius = 0.240000, coordinates = -0.912000:-0.560000:-13.600000
4.  radius = 0.320000, coordinates = -2.080000:-0.448000:-13.600000
5.  radius = 0.240000, coordinates = -2.560000:-0.528000:-13.600000

Notice how this bank isn’t completely filled in?  Normally I would keep creating smaller glows to fill in the entire engine area, but I think you get the picture.

Switch to Thruster 2 and add 5 points.  The radius of each will correspond to Thruster 1, and the coordinates will be the same except that x will not be positive.

We will return to this section once we have our subsystems set so that we can link the thruster glows to our engine subsystems.

Glow Points

Something that makes me crazy is improper coloring of lights.  If you rotate your ship around so that you looking at the top, with the front pointing toward the top of your screen, the left side is the port side and the right side is the starboard side.

The easiest way to remember this is 4 letters.  Left, Port, Wine.

So red goes on the left, and green goes on the right.  White in the center.

On the right, select Glow points.  On the left you see a bunch of stuff.  Glow points are set up in banks.  You can think of these as colors.  Add 2 banks under Glow points.  We will have one for red, and one for green.

Make sure that bank 1 is selected, this will be red.  You might also want to make sure that you are in wireframe, back view.  Red goes on the port side, so staying in rear view,zoom in on the left half.

On the left we see “Displacement time“,  we won’t be using it, leave it 0.

Beneath it we see “On Time”, set it for 300.  Beneath that you see “Off Time”, set it for 1000.   We just said “Light on for 300 ms, and then off for 1000 ms, or 1 second”.  Pretty simple stuff.

Parent Subject, LOD, and Type require no change.

Properties should read $glow_texture=redglow.

Then we come to points.  This is where we actually add the red lights to the port side.  Create 2 points.  Both will have a radius of 0.150000. Use the follwoing coordinates.

1.  8.000000:-0.900000:-3.200000
2.  7.360000:1.600000:-3.200000

Set the normals to 0:0:0.  Not sure if we need to, I just know that this works.

Bank 2 is the same as bank 1 with the following changes:
$glow_texture=greenglow instead of redglow.
x coordinates become negative.

Glow points are done.

Special Points

We’d may as well call this the Subsystems section.  Click where it says Special Points on the right, and then look to the left.  At the top is where you create these, you already know how, so add 6 special points.

Select point 1.  Under this section you will see a textbox labelled Name, and a drop menu.  Select the drop menu and then select $Engine.  In the textbox change it to $EngineLT.

Radius = 0.640000, and coordinates are 1.600000:0.800000:-12.000000.

Use the following to set special points 2 -6.  All have a raidus of  0.640000.

2.  $EngineRT  coordinates -1.600000:0.800000:-12.000000
3.  $Weapons  coordinates 0.000000:2.720000:8.320000
4.  $Sensors  coordinates 0.000000:-2.240000:14.400000
5.  $Communication  coordinates 0.800000:3.200000:3.280000
6.  $Navigation  coordinates -0.800000:3.200000:3.280000

We are done with subsystems. 

Go back up to Thrusters and in prerties for Thruster 1 put $engine_subsystem=EngineRT, and for Thruster 2 put $engine_subsystem=EngineLT.  Now when the $EngineLT is destroyed the thrusters on the left side go out, same with the right side.


Just hit Autogen for paths.  That’s all we need for this ship.


Eyepoint is simply your viewpoint in the ship.Since we have a pilot model, we just move the eyepoint to his head. Create an eyepoint, coordinates 0.000000:1.600000:11.200000.


We are going to have one place for insignia. 

Click on Insignia, and create a new place for it.  Below,where you see faces, create 2. Make sure that you have Face 1 selected.  There are three vertices for each face.  See below for coordinates of each vertex as well as U and V inputs.

Face 1 Vertices
1.  coordinates 8.000000:1.760000:0.000000, u = 0, v = 1
2.  coordinates 5.600000:1.440000:0.000000, u = 1, v = 1
3.  coordinates 5.600000:1.440000:2.880000, u = 1, v = 0

Face 2 Vertices
1.  coordinates 8.000000:1.760000:0.000000, u = 0, v = 1
2.  coordinates 8.000000:1.616000:2.880000, u = 0, v = 0
3.  coordinates 5.600000:1.440000:2.880000, u = 1, v = 0

and we are done with Insignia.

Now go back to Header and have it figure Moment of Inertia (on the left).

Save it as tutbomber.pof

5.0 Table

Generally, When Tabling I will start with copying a Table entry from a similar ship.  For this exercise I copied the GTB Phoebus. Then I modify it.  For the Table entry of this tutorial I am simply going to post my Table and send you to the wiki for a line by line explantion.

Two small notes.  How I do trails?  Quite simple actually, once you have saved the pof, add a gun point.  Go to op view and set the gun point up where you want the trail to start, then put those coordinates in the Table.  Shift to the next trail, do it again.  Done.

The Missiles are visible due to one entry in the table.  Something that you will want to do, and I would have had I thought about it, is to open the missile pof's in PCS2 and save as DAE, so that you can import them into your model file for sizing.  Because I screwed up, our pilot is a giant.  It was that or not have cyclops.  So, bring the missiles in to size the bomb bays and missile bays. That way your ship is alreeady perfectly sized.  This tutorial has been as much a learning experience for me as it has for you.

--- Code: ---;;GTFB Atropos 
$Name: GTFB Atropos
$Short name: bombertut1
$Species: Terran
+Type: XSTR("Fighter Bomber", 3011)
+Maneuverability: XSTR("Medium", 3012)
+Armor: XSTR("Heavy", 3013)
+Manufacturer: XSTR("Han-Ronald Corp.", 3014)
+Description: XSTR("Fighter Bomber ", 3015)

+Tech Description: XSTR("The Atropos fighter bomber is a jack of all trades and a master of none.  Named for the Fate of Greek Mythology who severed the thread of life, Atropos was concieved to bridge the gap between fighter and bomber.  She accomplishes this through her cavernous bays and thick skin.  Faster and more manouverable than a light bomber, yet stronger and heavier than an assault fighter, her main drawback would be lack of punch as a bomber.  This fact is usually overlooked due to her increased dog fighting capability.  Survivability is also increased with redundant engines.  Each engine is controlled separately, a flameout in one engine will not result ina dead ship.  While she excels at nothing, she is capable of anything, ensuring a niche in GTVA armed service.", 3016)
+Length: 21 m 
+Gun Mounts:             2
+Missile Banks: 3
$POF file: tutbomber.pof
$Detail distance:          (0, 180, 300, 1300)
$ND: 244 7 7
$ND: 232 38 38
$ND: 43 43 235
$ND: 8 7 243
$Show damage: YES
$Density: 1
$Damp: 0.35 
$Rotdamp: 0.5 
$Max Velocity: 0.0, 0.0, 70.0 
$Rotation time: 4.0, 3.75, 4.0 
$Rear Velocity: 0.0
$Forward accel: 4.0
$Forward decel: 2.0
$Slide accel: 0.0
$Slide decel: 0.0
$Expl inner rad: 50.0
$Expl outer rad: 100.0
$Expl damage: 25.0
$Expl blast: 2000.0
$Expl Propagates: NO
$Shockwave Speed: 0.0
$Allowed PBanks: ( "Subach HL-7" "Prometheus S" "Prometheus R" "Lamprey" "Circe" "Maxim" "Gauss Railgun" "Banshee X" ) 
$Allowed Dogfight PBanks: ( "Subach HL-7" "Prometheus S" "Prometheus R" "Lamprey" "Circe" "Maxim" "Gauss Railgun" "Banshee X")
$Default PBanks: ( "Prometheus R" "Gauss Railgun")
$Allowed SBanks: ( "Rockeye" "Hornet" "Tornado" "Trebuchet" "Stiletto II" "Piranha" "Cyclops" "Cyclops#short" "Hornet#Weak" "EMP Adv." "Infyrno" "Rebel Bomb"  "Balista") 
$Allowed Dogfight SBanks: ( "Rockeye" "Hornet" "Tornado" "Trebuchet" "Stiletto II" "Piranha" "Cyclops" "Cyclops#short" "Hornet#Weak" "EMP Adv." "Infyrno" "Rebel Bomb" )
$Default SBanks: ( "Hornet" "Balista" "Cyclops" )
$SBank Capacity: ( 50, 70, 70);;70 = 2 Tomahawks
$Show Secondary Models: ( YES YES YES )
$Shields: 600
$Shield Color: 100 100 255
$Power Output: 4.0
$Max Oclk Speed: 75.0
$Max Weapon Eng: 100.0
$Hitpoints: 375
$Flags: ( "player_ship" "default_player_ship" "bomber" "in tech database")
$AI Class: Captain
$Afterburner: YES
+Aburn Max Vel: 0.0, 0.0, 125.0
+Aburn For accel: 0.7
+Aburn Fuel: 300.0
+Aburn Burn Rate: 60.0
+Aburn Rec Rate: 35.0
$Countermeasures: 55
$Scan time: 2000
$EngineSnd: 127
$Closeup_pos: 0.0, 0.0, -45
$Closeup_zoom: 0.5
$Shield_icon: shieldPhoebus
$Ship_icon: iconPhoebus
$Ship_anim: bombertut-01t
$Ship_overhead: loadPhoebus
$Score: 10
+Offset: 6.5 .5 -14
+Start Width: 0.35
+End Width: 0.05
+Start Alpha: 1.0
+End Alpha: 0.0
+Max Life: 1.0
+Spew Time: 130
+Bitmap: Contrail01
+Offset: -6.5 .5 -14
+Start Width: 0.35
+End Width: 0.05
+Start Alpha: 1.0
+End Alpha: 0.0
+Max Life: 1.0
+Spew Time: 130
+Bitmap: Contrail01
$Subsystem: communications, 10, 0.0
$Subsystem: navigation, 10, 0.0
$Subsystem: weapons, 20, 0.0
$Subsystem: sensors, 10, 0.0
$Subsystem: enginelt, 35, 0.0
$Subsystem: enginert, 35, 0.0
--- End code ---

We are done with the basic tutorial.  Yes, everything you and I have learned is just Basic modding. 

6.0 Advanced techniques

6.1 Turrets

Turrets are something that people continuously struggle with, and I just learned how to do them myself.  So, if I am mistaken in anything, I am sure that those who know better will correct me.  I found them to be surprisingly easy, the secret is in understanding how each part affects the outcome.  We will be doing both single part and multipart turrets.

We are going to start out in Blender, because one thing that you do in Blender will save a metric buttload of agravation.  Let’s get started.

Step 1.  Setp 1 is more of a rule.  No laughing at the model.  It isn’t here to be pretty, it is here for you to use as a visual reference.  I mean it, there is to be no laughing.   If there is any laughter, I will consider it ot be FreeSpaceFreak as he is the class clown and he will get Saturday detention.  I kid you not.

Seriously though, you will need the following file for this tutorial.

Open the Blend file.

You should be seeing something like the following.  See below.

You guys must think I am kidding.  Someone just earned FreeSpaceFreak a Saturday detention.

If it isn’t already selected, select the big box as seen above.  The press N to bring up properties.

Before going any further I want you to go to the left side menu and select Origin > Origin to Center of Mass.

Looking in our properties window, we see that scale does not equal 1, location is way off, and we need to fix these things.  Not to mention the fact that the name is off.  Let’s start with the name, rename it from Cube.001, to detail0.  You will probably need to scroll down to find it.

Next select Object>Apply>Location.  Then select Object>Apply>Rotation and Scale.  Notice that Locations are all Zero, and Scale is all set at 1.

Now select the small cube on the side.  Name it Turret01.  Then apply Location, and then Rotation and scale.  See below.

Now, on the left side menu, select Origin>Origin to Center of Mass.

Now select the cube up top, name it Turret02, and apply Location, then apply Rotation and Scale.  See below.

Now change the point of origin to Center of Mass.

Select the smallest piece,as seen below, name it Turret02Arm.  This where things get different.

In properties, locate the 3d cursor section.  I have taken the guess work out for you.  Enter the follow coordinates for each axis.

x:  0.0000
y:  0.9041
z:  10.5706

Notice thaat the 3d cursor has moved to where our current point of origin is for the arm.We simply told it to go there, but with an X coordinate of 0.  Now change Z to 3.0738.  The 3d cursor is now in the turret base, which is where we want it for the pivot point of the arms.

Since we are only going to have 2 barrels in this turret, we don’t have much to do.

On the left menu, select Origin > Origin to 3d Cursor.  Apply Rotation and Scale.  DO NOT APPLY LOCATION TO TURRET ARMS.  If you apply location to turret arms you will be using the point of origin of the ship as the pivot point for the turret arms.  That will not do, as they don’t stay attached to the turret base.  So don’t apply location.

Our turret will only be two barrelled, so we are done with it now.  To do a 3 barrelled turret, you would duplicate the arm, set the x axis to -(x coordinate of original arm), then duplicate it and set x axis to 0. Then join all 3 objects together, set your 3d cursor as above, and the Origin to 3d cursor as above.  Apply Rotation and Scale and you are done.

Selecting the top view (Numpad 7) will show the point of origin really well verses the two arms. 

Anyway, you will want to texture this, so when you do your turrets for real, follow the instructions above as if you were  setting up to texture a ship.  For this tutorial however, I plan to fudge as much as possible.  So hit CTRL and left arrow 5 times to get the to UV screen.

We are going to put all of this on one texture just for ease of operation.  Again, when you do it for real, you will probably want to do something different than this.  First create a new image, 1024 x 1024.  Titled TurTut, and give it a white background. 

Your turret arms should still be selected, so switch to Edit mode, then in the center menu, Select Unwrap>Smart UV Project. When the dialogue comes up, make your Angle Limit 89, and Island Margin 0.01.

You will probably have to select TutTut again, and then hit A to select all on the UV side.  Then scale it down until you have something comparable to the image below.

Hit G for grab, and then move it to the position seen below.

Go back to Object Mode and select the turret base. Notice in your image that you can no longer see the UV layout for the arms.  Reselect the arms.  I’d may as well teach you how to put different objects on one texture.

Remember where you put the arm UV and then select the turret base.  Go to Edit mode, and then make sure that everything is selected by hitting A. Select Unwrap>Smart UV Project, again with Angle Limit at 89 and Island Margin at 0.01.  On the UV side, select all, then scale and move until you have something like what is below.

Back in Object Mode, select the small box on the side, Turret01, and do exactly what you just did with the turret base.  Edit mode, select all, Unwrap>Smart UV Project at 89 and 0.01, then on the UV side, scale and move.  See below.

Back in Object mode, select the big cube (detail0), and do the same thing to it.  See below for placement.

With that done save the image as TurTut.png.

Then go into your outliner.  Your hierarchy should reflect the following.  Notice that all turrets are subobjects, and that Turret02Arm is a subobject of Turret02.

The only thing left to do now is to go into Properties and add a material and a texture to each object.  If you have a material or texture added to a subobject right now, it will show up in outliner, simply right click the material and select Unlink.

Once you have added a material and texture, you can select any of the objects, and go into Texture Paint Mode, and paint the selected object.  Then you can go to Object Mode, select another object, and then paint it a different color.  This will help you see what is going on with things in mission.

When you are finished, Export as TurTut.Dae, in the same folder as where you put the image.  Make sure when you export than you are applying modifiers and including materials and textures.  We are done in Blender.

Open PCS2 and open TurTut.Dae.

Acrossthe top as you search the buttons you will find “Use Orthographic Projection. Select it now.  Then select View>Front.

Click the Plus Sign (+) next to detail0 and then select Turret01.

Turret01 doesn’t rotate, it is a single part turret.  It is properly placed so we don’t need to worry about offset.  All we need to do is give it a Field of View.  In Properties make the following entry:

$name=laser turret

See below.

On the right side, you will see where it says Turrets.  Click it, then on the left, Click the little yellow box at the top, the one next to the 0, to add a turret.  Use your drop menus to make your entries like the following.

A few notes here.  First, Normal tells the Turret which direction it is firing.  We have a Normal of x=1 because it fires to the right when looking straight at the front.  That little line coming out of the firing point tells you the normal.  This is important, because remember when you made your entires into subobject properties, that we gave it fov 180.  This means that the turret will have a firing arc that extends from the normal, 90 degrees in all directions.  Does that make sense?

Single part Turret is now finished.

Let’s go back to Subobjects and click on Turret02.

Believe it or not the multipart turret is going to be nearly as easy as the single part turret.

First give it a Z rotation.  No need to offset, because it already placed where we want it.  In properties make the following entries.

$name=laser turret

Now select Turret02Arm.  Give it a Z axis rotation.  We are done with this.  Go down to Turrets and click the yellow box to add another turret.  Make sure that you have 2 selected, and use drop boxes to make your entires like mine.  See below.

Notice that the normal covers both firing points.

The coordinates for Firing point 1 are  3.500000:14.000000:0.000000.

The coordinates for Firing point 2 are -3.500000:14.000000:0.000000.

Now select Paths on the right.  On the left select Auto Gen. 

Save as Tur.Pof.  We are done in PCS2.

Let’s make a table entry.

--- Code: ---$Name:                          GTSG Tur
$Short name:            TSTur
$Species:                       Terran
+Tech Description:
XSTR("I literally copied the GTSG Watchdog table entry and modified the turrets, hit points , and rotation time.  At the bottom, where we deal with turrets, know that the first number is the rotation speed of the turret.", 3064)
$POF file:                      tur.pof
$Detail distance:       (0, 100, 500)
$Show damage:           NO
$Density:                       1
$Damp:                          0.2
$Rotdamp:                       0.2
$Max Velocity:          0.0, 0.0, 0.0
$Rotation time: 5.0, 5.0, 5.0
$Rear Velocity: 0.0
$Forward accel: 0.0
$Forward decel: 0.0
$Slide accel:           0.0
$Slide decel:           0.0
$Expl inner rad:        0.0
$Expl outer rad:    0.0
$Expl damage:           0.0
$Expl blast:        0.0
$Expl Propagates:       NO                                                      ;; If set to Yes, then when the ship

dies, the explosion propagates through it.
$Shockwave Speed:       0.0                                             ;; speed shockwave expands at, 0 means no

$Default PBanks:        ()
$Default SBanks:        ()
$SBank Capacity:        ()
$Shields:                       0
$Power Output:          100.0
$Max Oclk Speed:        0.0
$Max Weapon Eng:        0.0
$Hitpoints:                     120
$Flags:                         ("sentrygun" "in tech database")
$AI Class:                      Captain
$Afterburner:           NO
$Countermeasures:       0
$Scan time:                     2000
$EngineSnd:       -1                    ;; Engine sound of ship
$Closeup_pos:           0.0, 0.5, -14
$Closeup_zoom:          0.5
$Score: 1
$Subsystem: Turret01, 0.625, 2.0
$Default PBanks:        ( "Terran Turret" )
$Subsystem:                     Turret02, 20, 1.0
$Default PBanks:        ( "AAAf" "AAAf" )
--- End code ---

That's it, make a mission in fred using this, and you can see how the turret moves, and how the arms move.  The other turret also fires away.

6.2 Animated modelling
6.3 Visible missiles
6.4 Animated Textures

Credits list

You gotta give credit where it is due.These are the people who influenced the creation of this,and how they influenced it.

FreeSpaceFreak -- His tutorial was the base for tihs one and is still probably the yardstick against which all others are measured.  Even beyond his tutorial his help in creating this thing has been worthy of note.

Black Wolf, Droid803, and The Dagger -- Modelling lessons that they taught me have been included in this tutorial.

mjmmixael -- Texturing. His lessons on texturing have proven invaluable, were it not for him I would still be coloring my screen with crayons.

Herra Tohtori -- Timeless Gimp Master.  You can thank him mjmmixael and Black Wolf for getting me through Shine and Normal maps.

Zacam and Axem -- For help on finding out what I was doing wrong on -trans maps.

Wanderer, Zacam, Snail, Hallneck, Valathil, The_E, Zookeeper, m!m, SypheDMar, mjmmixael, Sushi, Cyborg17, Z64555, Pecenipicek, Swift and Talon1024 -- Contributions to keeping the ships table updated in the wiki.  Fantastic job.

I couldn't live with myself if you guys went unnoticed for your efforts.  So Thanks.


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