The templates of the 2009 IFM car are meant for easily painting your own designs on the cars and helmets. They contain seperate layers for details, shades, design, damage, and other stuff. For guidance they also include the wireframe for exact positioning.
This guide is to give you a quick introduction into carpainting, still it does not cover all work required and is only meant as a starting point. So it is your task to use them efficiently for the best results possible. They feature:
- Templates for the car body and helmet
- Seperate Layers for Lighting, Shading, Alpha, Carbon and Details
- Reflection map and Specular map layers
- Damage and dirt layers
You need to paint two maps:
The regular texture is the diffuse map, that contains all colors, logos, designs, the answer to life universe and everything.
Reflection maps are a greyscale map to define the strength of reflection on the car’s surface. If your exported cars have too much reflection, this is where you have to look. Adjustments can also be easily made within the KsEditor to values.
All IFM cars share the same Normal map and Specular map, so we disregard them here.
The templates are included as Photoshop-PSD files. They are organized in layers from top to bottom.
In reverse logical order this is:
Background: Base color of the car
Paint design: Group containing all design elements and carbon layers
Logos: Group containing all logos for left and right parts of the car
Mandatory Logos: Group containg all Logos, that are common to all IFM cars. You probably don’t need this for fictional or league designs
Damage: Group containing damage texture, damage mask, and dust texture.
alpha: Group doing some magic to reverse brightness riquired for the Reflection map, this is usually turned of
noise: Group doing more magic to add a bit of grain, structure and dirt to the car.
Stuff: Group with technical stuff. Please note, jointlines and bolts are deactivated and only serve as guides. Deactivate these layers on export.
Shadows: Baked shadows, not much to say, just leave them activated.
alpha-strength: Black layer to adjust strength Reflectiions. We suggest not to change.
alpha-black: Paint on this layer, if you have parts that are not supposed to be reflective.
Wireframe: Wireframe overlay
For more details continue reading.
On the lowest layers is the design of the car. Namely the lines, colors, all stylistic elements, which compose the final design. Here you paint your new paint job. The design should not contain any logos. Everything in here should be the same for both, the left and the right car-side. We included the outlines of our original textures in the templates.
Note, that it doesn’t matter whether you use colored layers, layer settings, paths, everything works out.
Above or sometimes beneath the design-layers is the carbon or commons. This contains the carbon-material areas. Depending on the car the design can be on top of the carbon, or the carbon can be on top of the car. Matter of taste and requirement.
We used to seperate logos from the actually design, all Logos change and different sets of Logos are applied for different liveries.
This is mostly an recommendation. For the IFM we included the common mandatory logos here.
There is a seperate damage, damage mask, and dust layer for the user to experiment with. If damage has not been implemented on your car, just ignore this layer by turning it off. It should only be turned on for export of the damage various damage textures during the damage, damage mask, and dust texture creation. Leave it off in all other situations.
The alpha-folder, we call it alpha, as this is the alpha map of the later saved textures. This folder is a set of layers which serve the purpose of creating alpha maps. To know what this alpha-folder does, I have to explain how the spec maps and reflection maps work.
The alpha-channel and the spec-map define how the surface reacts to light and reflection. The reflection map defines how reflective an area on the car can be, the specular map defines, how much light is reflected.
The simplest way could be to take a grey alpha for both maps and be fine with it, but we wouldn’t be CTDP, if we’d do it this way. Instead we analysed how the carsurfaces reflect and noticed, that black reflects better than white. Everyday knowledge. So all white surfaces on the cardesign, actually have to reflect worse than the black areas. This alpha-folder does exactly this, to invert the reflectiveness of the cardesign. You end up with a greyscale map of the cars reflecting areas. Attention, there is a reason, why this alpha is below the details and shadows and above the design and logos. We only want the design to be inverted, not the shadows. The result would be, that shadowed areas shine more, which doesn’t make sense. Keep the shadows and details above and everything is fine.
Usually this is turned off and only for saving the textures it gets interesting. Usually we save alpha-maps without logos, so the same map can be reused on different liveries. Experiment with this file in Assetto Corsa to see what types of results you can come up with.
Besides the dust layer in the Damage group, CTDP also has included an additional noise and dirt layer that is static and not dynamic as in the damage layers, it makes the car less septic, adds visual distinctiveness, enhances the view and gives a better feel for the surface. You can deactivate it if you want the car to be clean, or for normal texture creation purposes.
Details/Jointlines & Bolts
This layer has all the small details that make mommy cries her eyes out in joy: Joint lines, bolts, ducktape, holes, screws and ton’s of other elements, which let the car look real. You don’t have to change anything. This layer is important for the creation of own normal maps.
For IFM, we removed the jointlines and bolts away from the texture. Joint lines are modeled into the car and bolts are applied to the car by an additional material overlaying the car design. Use the layers in the template to preview, but deactivate them on export.
The shadow layer is the equivalent to the ambient occlusion layer, or baked shadow layer that Assetto Corsa uses. Keep this layer turned on during the final export of your skin for proper shading, or create a seperate additional ambient occlusion layer for use in the KsEditor.
Last few words about the alpha. The alpha-folder below is fine, but if the results are too bright, this layer, is just a black layer with transparency set between 40-60% and all it does is darken the spec-map down. 40% for reflective cars and 60% for dull surfaces. Turn on or off to liking, or leave off and simply adjust values in the KsEditor.
Additionally to the alpha-strength layer, we often use an alpha-black layer, that covers all parts on the texture, that are not supposed to be reflective.
The wireframe displays the model projected on the texture. You see the edges, the seems, details and you see the mapping of all elements. No much magic here.
So now we are through all layers. I hope this helps you to understand how to handle the templates and to produce cars, which share our expertise and quality.