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MSFS Comp Maps Workflow; Not too difficult

I found out quite a bit tonight. I explored ways to make Comp maps, including through Substance Painter. I found that Substance made my seat leather all one color for Rough and Metal. Both were 'Gray'!! Dark to black is maximum gloss, and white is super dull, like 0 setting. I was playing around with the Rough 'slider' in Substance, exported my textures in FS2020 Export Setting, then used only the 'Comp' map to fit into Blender materials for my seats. Worked great. Then messed with the Channels and made the discovery. I was worried that all these crazy colors were used. Nope.... All are grays. They look colorful because they use the 'Channels' of red, green, and blue. But thats an illusion. They are all using gray on their channels. The AO maps are gray, Rough is gray, and Metal is gray. All grays... All levels of settings.

So if you have an idea of how you much reflection you want, you can jot that down in notes somewhere for future reference.

The Workflow I found best for me to 'create' a Comp Map for an existing airplane with PSD files (layers), which has my pre-baked AO maps in layers; I select the Layers with AO maps, export those out of the PSD file into a 'New' texture via 'Duplicate Layer(s) in Photoshop. I create the new texture, the AO layers are all there. I save as PSD, then save as Bitmap. (Cant use PNG yet as they will appear slightly transparent). Then I open the Bitmap in Photoshop, make the Green and Blue layers their appropriate 'settings' of gray for the effect I want, save, save again as PNG/16bit, and done. Check its sheen in Blender, and edit if necessary.

You can reload your Material in Blender by holding the cursor in the Image Manager (I think thats what its called, bottom left, when in UV shop), and selecting Alt-R, or using the hamburger selection/Image/Image Reload. Dont use Alt-R in the 'model' window as it resets Rotations. :S


Nutshell;
Export your AO layers from PSD to a new layer through Photoshop/Duplicate Layer/New....
Create PSD file from that. Save as Bitmap.
Open Bitmap in Photoshop, go to Channel settings. Change Middle and Bottom Channels (Green-Middle-Rough) and (Blue-Bottom-Metal), to the proper colors of gray. White is off, Black is 100%. So something wet will be a very dark gray on the middle Channel. Save, Save again as PNG.
Open PNG in Photoshop, set Mode from 8 to 16bit. Save and exit.
Export and input the new Comp PNG into your 3D design engine of choice.....

The multiple colors of the Comp map intimidated me. But its a total illusion. The colors are because the grays on each layer 'appear' to be colored when viewed with all layers visible. But viewing them in each channel 'alone', you see that they are all gray, each layer. Simple... Dark is maximum, white is minimum.

Top is AO map(s)
Middle is Rough (wet or shiny)
Bottom is Metal (chrome or plastic. Darker is more chrome-ish... )

Hope that helps out those new to this like I am.

Screenshot 2021-01-06 020819.jpg

This is what you see in Photoshop in 'Channels' mode.


Screenshot 2021-01-06 020837.jpg

This is what you see in a Comp map with all Channels active (top most layer, above the Channels).



Screenshot 2021-01-06 021938.jpg


This is what I start out with. I export my Ambient Occlusion maps from an existing Albedo or Diffuse texture. With this, I make it the 'top Channel'. The next two are your Rough setting (in gray) and Metal setting (also in gray).

So simple...


Thank you Lord for some simplicity...
 
Nice guide!
But sinnce you have Substance, why not just use that only? Its pretty good at compiling all the maps for you, and with the Vitus presest its a breeze!
 

Pyscen

Resource contributor
Nice guide!
But sinnce you have Substance, why not just use that only? Its pretty good at compiling all the maps for you, and with the Vitus presest its a breeze!
Understanding what happens or needs to be done and the "why" makes you a better designer. How would someone know that Substance Painter doing so correctly, such as how much reflectivity a material has, or is this plastic, metal, or even bare metal? Knowledge is power... the more knowledge and understanding one has - makes them better. In this case, the workings of PBR and designing in Blender for MSFS. Besides all that.... It's FUN! :)
 
Understanding what happens or needs to be done and the "why" makes you a better designer. How would someone know that Substance Painter doing so correctly, such as how much reflectivity a material has, or is this plastic, metal, or even bare metal? Knowledge is power... the more knowledge and understanding one has - makes them better. In this case, the workings of PBR and designing in Blender for MSFS. Besides all that.... It's FUN! :)
How would you know? Hmmm, by looking at the results and comparing it to real references maybe :D

But what you said is very TRUE. I guess i was just asking from a productivity standpoint. And i agree also that modeling and texturing is great fun (even if hours and hours of it can make you flirt with insanity :D )
 
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