Reflective Textures the Easy Way


The purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate how easy it is to make reflective textures for FS2002.

You will need a good graphics editing program such as PaintShop Pro, Corel PhotoPaint or Adobe PhotoShop and a freeware program from MW Graphics called DXTbmp. Imagetool will NOT lets us import a bmp as an alpha channel as it will alpha channels in tga files and I for one find dealing with tga alpha channels a bit frustrating.

At present, you must first  have a model that has been created with gMax and exported with the HasReflectMap box checked in makemdl.exe.

A tip before we get started: To keep your project images organized, create a couple of subfolders off your main texture folder. One for templates and one for gMax images (the ones you use to paint your project in gMax). Remember, gMax can't read the extended bmp format that we use for FS2002 but you must have a file with the exact same name to paint in gMax as is used in FS2002.



First you will need a templete to paint. Load up your project in gMax and select the part(s) you want to make the texture for. In this case I am going to do the left wing top. Do a "print screen" then import the clipboard contents into your graphics editor. Crop and resize the paper to a square, remembering that the finished image must be a power of 2, ie: 64x64, 128x128, 256x256, pixels etc. and save it in your templates folder. Paint it as you normally do and save it in either 8 or 24bit format in the gMax subfolder for the uv map process. I have given this texture the name of l_wing_top_t.bmp. Next I will make another image but I will paint it much simpler and only use white and shades of grey. Remembering the darker the shade of grey the MORE reflective. I use a 128,128,128 RGB value where I want the appearance of bare metal. A value of 230,230,230 RGB where I want a glossy painted surface and full 255,255,255 RGB for flat non-reflective surfaces like the rubber of a tire. This image will become my alpha channel so I save it as l_wing_top_t_alpha.bmp in the templates folder.



Now that we have our wing painted load up DXTbmp and open the image l_wing_top_t.bmp from the gMax subfolder.



Click on "Alpha" on the menu bar and select "Import Alpha Channel" and open l_wing_top_t_alpha.bmp from the templates folder.



Save the file as l_wing_top_t.bmp in your aircrafts main texture folder in the DXT3 with Alpha format and your done!


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