Flying around in one of the seven provided liveries for the Alabeo C400 Corvalis TT is a blast, but it’s even more special when you can cruise around in your design. Especially for this world tour, where I document everything with screenshots, it’s nice to see your own personally designed plane on those pictures.
Firstly, I wanted to change the call sign to something more personal on the existing livery that I flew with until now (see flights before October 29th, 2015). I wanted the tail number to start with the prefix “OO-“, because that’s the registration prefix for Belgian airplanes (and because I am a Belgian…). The suffix “FWT” stands – of course – for “FSX World Tour”. However, when I changed the call sign in the details of the aircraft, before starting a free flight, it didn’t automatically change on the Alabeo textures, so I was stuck with the preconfigured tail numbers.
Luckily, next to the beautifully designed liveries, Alabeo also delivers the aircraft package with some PSD files (Adobe Photoshop files) of this payware model with a mostly white textured plane, without tail number. This makes it easier (not easy) to edit the textures of the plane. Nevertheless it’s not an easy job to edit the textures, especially when they are designed with such high detail, like Alabeo does. It’s not too difficult to ruin a design. Fortunately, I know my way a bit in Photoshop due to my studies in college, so I could mess around and experiment with these files.
In case you want to edit an existing livery and you don’t have PSD files, don’t worry. When you download and install NVIDIA Texture Tools for Adobe Photoshop, you will be able to open and save DDS files in Adobe Photoshop. You also need to install this tool when you want to save your new design from the PSD files, because Flight Simulator X uses these DDS files to load the textures.
I’m not going to write down a whole tutorial about editing textures for FSX, but I can provide you with some Youtube links which helped to get me started:
So, back to my design… I didn’t really have a general idea how I wanted to design my plane, but I wanted to have more colors. When you search for liveries and texture designs, you will find a lot of repaints for airline companies and lots of designs with a logo and some vector-based shapes (squares, lines, …). I wanted to have something more complex with colorful abstract figures, so I went off to Google to search some high resolution images that I liked, installed some good freeware Photoshop brushes with urban styled or paint splatters, and I went to work.
The whole design was a trial and error process, because the 3D alignment of the different texture parts of the planes is something you can’t see in the flat texture files. I paid close attention to the other texture designs to spot how they are designed and how basic shapes flowed. Sometimes I didn’t know which part of the texture represented which part on the plane, so the easiest solution that I could come up with was to add differently colored dots to the different parts and let the aircraft render in ModelConverterX (faster than booting up FSX each time) to preview where the dots were situated on the 3D model:
After a few hours (and days, and even flights) of experimenting with different figures, images, colors and gradients, I came to a final design. I can’t guarantee that there won’t be any changes to the texture design in the future, but for now I’m happy with the result, which you can see in the screenshots of future flights. And now, my biggest sponsors (pun intented) are flying with me on the wings, so we can get this bird ready for the next stage to Turkey.
- Adobe Photoshop CC (free 30-day trial)
- NVIDIA Texture Tools for Adobe Photoshop (freeware)
- ModelConverterX (freeware)