The YF-19: Improving the materials

I did some more research this week about shaders, and along with the tutorial of carpainting I did before, I did some more refining to the fuselage material and the inner mechanisms for the plane. I now think the reflection values look better, since a fuselage is mostly steel and other metals, but in many pictures it reflects light in a different way, depending on the angle of the light hitting it. While making the car paint tutorials I found that the way the light hits creates different reflective values, so I came up with a better result this time.

NATO Operation Allied Force

Shiny white reflection in F-15C


More reflective mirror-like value in F-16


Low reflectiveness, matte feel in Tornado


Shiny, almost plastic feel in Su-27

Every fuselage has different materials and values, which if I take into consideration will give me different results. That is why I haven’t really “nailed it” yet on the final look of the plane/mecha, but in the meantime it allowed me to keep practising and improving on understanding shaders.


December 7 – Reflective values similar to the car paint added

This first run did a good thing: It broke the “toy” feeling I was getting from the renders, in which the plane looks a lot smaller and made of plastic. This one looks metal, looks big and it looks complex. So this was a good outcome of my experiments.


December 8 – Added textures for the inner connections of wings

Later, I did some more photoshopping and got to a good result on the hidden connections of the wings. I also did a bit of research on texturing techniques in Photoshop.



December 9 – Texturing the biceps and shoulder plates



December 10 – Inner knee mechanisms re-textured

The reflectiveness on the wings looks nice, and now I can clearly recognize when something doesn’t have a good enough material – like the leg connections now looking flat and grey – compared to the fuselage reflective values.


December 11 – Messing with the red glass and canopy shader

I also tried using a lower resolution map, from 6144×6144 to 2048×2048. I thought that would make for quicker render times. Nope. Each render still takes about an hour or so, which is disheartening.


Also, the resolution is not as good with a smaller map. So back to the huge ones for a while longer.

I feel I’m about to reach the end of this part of shading and texturing. I’m happy about that. I’ll do a final detail run on all the body, inner mechanisms and then do a (hopefully) quicker run on the cockpit UV mapping and texturing. I can’t wait to get to the next part of this project.

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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