A design quesion

Discussion in 'Software' started by RyanShort1, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

    I have a question/poll that relates to the GIMP tutorial that I'm working on.

    Do you prefer your models to be pre-shaded, especially on panel lines and such, sort of a "flat" all around finish, or somewhere in between. I've seen a lot of kits, including the P-51 I'm modifying that are nicely done with shading, but in truth, I personally feel that a lot of the shading is WAAAY overdone. The effect may be nice to look at. but the spaces on aircraft for panels aren't really that big in real life most of the time.

    This also may depend on the scale being used. Obviously a 1/72 scale line should be smaller than a 1/24th scale line, though that doesn't always seem to be accurately portrayed.

    What do you think?

  2. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    A while back, I took three models I had built and gave them to the local hobby shop for display. One was shaded, the other two weren't. I went back to the shop a couple of weeks later and the shaded model was placed away from the other two. Reason...it didn't look good with the other two because of the shading. However, he told me more people commented on the shaded model than on the non-shaded models. However, I still don't like it personally.
  3. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    I guess you know that you're opening Pandora's Box on this subject!

    Thnk of a high resolution scaled color photograph of the subject being wrapped around fuselage of our potential model. Assume that the lighting at the time of the photograph illuminated every surface with the same color and intensity. These are the ideal conditions under which the "perfect" surface exists to cover the intended model. Taking this 3D surface and zooming in on it we realize that it consists of individual pixels which are a "sample" of the original the resolution depending upon the original "inputing" devices. If the sampling resolution is high enough no one will be the wiser for the most part. The act of printing filters both resolution and changes colors to fit those within it's capability to print. We should still end up with stunning looking model. Now your complaint about panel lines should lead you to start examing high resolution photos of aircraft fuselages. One thing you'll notice is the edge is not a step fuinction, that is it isn't represented by a single pixel but instead several and moreover is a function of grayscale levels. Now what has this to do with your original complaint regarding shaded lines? Everything! The designers are recreating the effect that seams have photographically (mimicking the real world). Some are more effective than others. This effect can be done in most high-end 2D paint packages but the required effect is best done in 3D packages. The effect in 3D packages is called a "Bump Map" and is simply a grayscale representation of near surface contours. The 3D graphics engine interprets dark as low and light as high. The overall amplitude can be controlled allowing anything from a panel line crack to a largish crack in a rock to be effectively rendered. Yes! "Rendered". Don't get too upset because the rendering being done is limited to a planar surface. Bump mapping is one method of cheating in that the actual texture is contained in a grayscale image and doesn't have to be associated with a polygon to create a realistic looking surface (the number of polygons required to perform a passable surface through geometric computation methods would simply take too long with todays computing resources). A practiced eye can tell what type of tools were used on some of the more advanced commercial models now available...., this is one reason that card models will surpass plastic. Plastic just can't compete with the type of detail that is just now becoming available in Card.

    Sorry for being long, but all the best, Gil
  4. Bikerpete

    Bikerpete Member

    I like the shading, I find it adds to the character of the model.
  5. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

    I'm not complaining about panel lines. I think they have their place. What I'm talking about is the coloring of a model in such a way that there appears to be a pre-determined independant light source. I don't mind having panel lines, but it looks kind of wierd to me to have a light on the model from the side, and it looks like the shadows are coming from above the model...

  6. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    I guess "complain" wasn't the right term, better to have used item under discussion. I have several models that use this same effect and suspect that they're probably the work of the same designer or group that's in close communication with one another. The effect is generated is through either manually positioning a shadow effect or by projecting light sources on the 3D model before unrolling or developing the surface. The finished model therefore has the "assumed" lighting model. The subtle message conveyed is that designers are now responsible for the models finished detail and will be tasked with a much higher degree of realistic detail as more and more plastic modelers make the transition to card models. Interstingly enough it does bring up the issue of what to do with those desiring to recolor versions.

    Best regards, Gil
  7. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

    Here's an example of what I was intending to discuss using pictures from the albums on this site:


    Here's a build of NOBI's Yak 17. It has panel lines, but leaves shading to actual "real world" lighting. The panel lines may be a bit heavy for the "real world" in scale, but they give a good, nice, pleasing effect.


    This is one of the Prudenziati planes, a Sopwith Camel. It has well defined shading that looks good as well. The "ribs" effect with the shading is simply BRILLIANT. It really makes it look 3d even though that's a flat surface on the top of the wing. The drawback to this is that in some lightings it is "funny" to see a darker cowl on the bottom and a lighter color on the top of the cowl. Especially if you are posing the model for a shot or display.

    I'm not saying either one is bad, I'm curious what people prefer and why.

  8. ButchPrice

    ButchPrice Member

    Just two cents from a recovering plastiholic

    Just my two cents, rookie card modeler with over
    30 years of building plastics.
    I "personally" do not like the shading that
    assumes a light source. Looks neat for sure,
    but looks totally fake.
    Turn to another angle...yuck.
    Put it under light from the wrong angle...bleck

    I would prefer the designer not assume
    to the extent of light location and intensity.
    I agree that the panel lines are shades of gray,
    and a bit of forshadowed shading in that area
    is actually best. More realism that way from the graphics.
    But hey, I am a graphics guy. I prefer fewer
    parts, but with better graphics.

    I do like the wing "rib" shading effect.
    See, some is good.
    But the bodywork shading is too much for me.

  9. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    If it is a tiny model, enhanced shading might work, but if the model is big enough o cast its own shadows, and the lighting is reasonably directional, 'false' shading is always going to look, well, false. You eye/brain set-up is very sensitive to matching cues when constructing a 3D virtual model, and anything that does not square with the overall image will scream out.

    I prefer no 'false' shadows.

    Now, smoke stains, oil, chipped paintwork, mud, dust, even shades of glossiness, they can be very effective at bringing realism to a model, provided they are done realistically, rather than to a style.

    Observation, that is what matters!

    Tim P
  10. bfam4t6

    bfam4t6 Member

    I am going to have to say that I do and I don't like shading. If overdone it can definitely look very fake when it's in a light that contrasts to the predefined drawn shadows. On the other hand, some kits almost look "cartoonish" when they have no shading. But, I'd have to say most often, excluding the rib shading done on prudeniati's kits, I prefer to not have predrawn dark and light areas.
  11. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    From the gist of this thread, it appears that we are talking about shading as being distinctly different from weathering. I personally prefer some shading, but primarily in areas where very definite shadows are expected, such as in the areas where control surfaces mate with the main structure (for example, between flaps and wings, between rudder and fin, elevators and stabilizers, etc.) For both shading and weathering, my opinion is that it is better to understate than overstate....a little is good, but too much rapidly overwhelms the model. With larger models (32 scale aircraft, etc.) I think it best to let the model make its own shadows, and to use scoring and embossing to give definition to ribs and stringers on cloth-covered surfaces.

    One thing that helps to relieve the "cartoonish" appearance is to deliberately introduce a little bit of "noise" to image. Again, this is easily overdone, but based on my own work with redraws, I think the printouts from my jpg files (a little random noise added by the file compression routine) make a more pleasing looking model than do printouts from the original bmp files. Now I sit here cringing a little bit waiting for the cries of
    "heresy" from purists in the group.

Share This Page