The YF-19: Signs, labels and decals

After I (thought I) figured the specular maps issue, I began doing the signs and decals for the whole fuselage. I took the reference as a start and then used the YF-19 manual specs to do the rest of them. This was a fun and enjoyable part of making textures, since to me, decals and labels are what sell the idea that this is a plane and not a toy. The more warning signs, hooking icons and written stuff you have on a plane, the easier it is to believe that people actually perform maintenance on it. Also, it looks awesome to have a DANGER sign next to an exhaust or the intakes.

The overall look of the signs is high visibility. This scheme was very popular on jet fighters in the 70s, especially with the oh-so-iconic F-14 Tomcat. Later on, it seemed they were better off with low visibility paintjobs, so everything went gray. I’ll definitely make different schemes for this plane, and a low visibility one is part of the plan. But for the YF-19 Alpha One, this needs to be close to the Anime, and because of that, it will be nice and visible.

October 10 - signs on cockpit

October 10 – signs on cockpit

Going back and forth, I changed things to be consistent and close to the manual specs, while keeping them close to that wallpaper when possible. Because of the high resolution of the maps, it was easy to write down small words and keep them legible.


Still something looking odd with the panel lines… why are they lighter than the rest of the specular panels? I’d find out the real solution later on.


According to the manual, it seems those black romboids are part of some sort of maneuvering system, or an exhaust cooling port. This means I need to add some more detail to the actual thrusters and maybe add some dirt to them.


The “rescue” arrow is pointing to a painted hatch which looks disorted because my model is stretched there. I did not pay enough attention when modelling that part 😦 So I have to tweak that and maybe change the position to keep it far away from the border.

October 11 - decals on legs and shoulders

October 11 – decals on legs and shoulders

Same with the labels on the shoulders. I think I made some novice mistakes when mapping these. I’ll have to switch the position to reduce the stretch.

October 14 - decals on legs

October 14 – decals on legs

I had to leave for work so I couldn’t wait for the render to finish 🙂

October 15 - Tweakings to the chest labels

October 15 – Tweakings to the chest labels

October 17 - Finally specular maps correct, tweaked the rescue labels

October 17 – Tweaking the rescue handle signs

I also started adding a bit of dirt and differences in specularity. This is when it hit me: I’ve been seing the specular maps inverted all this time. That’s why the panel lines were lighter than the fuselage and not darker. The reason for this mistake is simple: Blender uses a value from 0 to 1 on “graininess”, not “specularity”. That means, the bigger the value, the more grainy the metal looks, which means, the more matte and less shiny. A small value is brighter, and since it was taking my specular map with black for non reflective and white for very reflective, Blender was essentially using the maps inverted. All I needed to do was to invert the colours of the map, and voilà.

October 17 - Specular maps now working correctly

October 17 – Specular maps now working correctly

Ah, now we’re talking.



This changed the whole thing. Time to start messing with the textures to add a layer of dirt and specular differences, to make this look like it’s gone through some war.

October 18 - dirt layer added

October 18 – dirt layer added

October 19 - Dirt layer on the whole fuselage

October 19 – Dirt layer on the whole fuselage

It looks a bit too dirty now – so I’ll move the values back a bit to keep it interesting. Now on finishing the rest of the labels, and making the inner mechanisms that will show when it transforms.

About Eduardo

I'm some dude with a huge love for animation and film. I've been working in TV animation for the past 6 years in New Zealand. I love dragons, pointy metal things that can cut dragons, and flight simulators.
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