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FSX Making a repaint: How to create a separate layer with the grey details?

Although I work with Photoshop quite a few years already, I stil haven't got 'the trick' of how to create a separate layer with the graytones, like darker parts, rivet rows and shadow lines. When lucky, a white textureversion is available, but then what? Most repaint tutorials skip this specific phase of layer creation.

The best solution I found untill now, is setting the selection wizard at a certain value and select and cut out the lines and rivets. This layer I put above the layer with the colours I wanted to give the plane. Then I set the 'rivets an lines layer' at a half transparent setting, but this also 'bleaches' the rivets itself. Parts that smoothly go from white to grey are even very hard to select this way and the result after setting an amount of transparency is horrible.

I probably take the wrong procedures.
I have been searching in this site for a instruction how to do the rivets and lines in a proper way, but I failed to find it.
Or is there somebody who knows were such an instruction is found or who is so kind as to explain me how it is done?

Thanks for the help !
Bram Stikkel


Resource contributor
Here's a layered version of what I believe you might be trying to achieve. To pick out details, I use the magic wand tool in combination with selective copy/pasting; in other words, I will get the general area with the magic wand, and then copy a few specific rivets, which I then paste into the pattern, ultimately building my own pattern that only resembles the original. Then I will use eraser and various layers of opacity to get the end result. That whole group of layers gets condensed into a black and white image I call "displacement" and I use it with the displacement filter to modify the background image I created for the demonstration. It is the technique one uses to project an image onto fabric or waves. From there is it is (again) various layers of dirt and opacity to get the desired results, my principal tool is a "sponge" brush that I found online that used on the eraser tool, gives the mottled effect.

Part of your post was included as proof the original shutterstock image was not edited.


  • layers.zip
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Hi RK, thank you for the description of the process you use, and the example files, how you did it.
I understand you partially use the same procedure as I do, only with more patience and time to edit.
I am going to take a good look at it and see if I can reach such a result too :) !
Thanks again !


Resource contributor
Sometimes "wizards" can not achieve the required results you can get by doing stuff manually Bart.

What you also can do is:
- simply clone the bottom layer into a 2nd layer
- make a certain % of transparency to the 2nd layer
- modify the 2nd layer manually

Or create even more layers inside which you each put a different portion of the texture you want
1 - base grey undertone layer
2 - rivet shapes and locations
3 - the seems between the skin-plates
4 - color of the rivets
5 - shadows around the rivets
6 - color of the skin-plate seams
7 - shadows around skin-plate seams
8 - overall dirt and grime layer (for the dirty skin look)
9 - scratches and dents in the over all materials
That is - in a more detailed way - how you can achieve the best texture possible
By isolating each effect you want to have in a separate layer with its own transparency.

Keep those texture screenshots coming!

EDIT: Added links to external tutorials:
Last edited:
Hello Ronald and Kalong,
Thank you very much for the very usable idears, examples and links to more info sources.
Great idear, the use of several layers for different elements on the plane.
I am going to try this way of working.

Kind regards!
Bram Stikkel


Resource contributor
Blending modes are your friend! Over the years I came up with a workflow that achieves reliable results, here's an example using your texture:

You can add color using blending modes like "hard light", "overlay" or "color burn", depending on what effect you're going for. I usually draw shadows and highlights using "Hard light" for dirt effects apply a grunge map (seen on the left side of the image) and set it to "multiply". You can always tune down the effect with layer masks, the eraser tool or the opacity slider.
Vitus, thank you for this add. I think, I might be Adobe Photoshop Elements does not have this function, but I could switch to the freeware equivalent (which name I have forgotten at this moment..., sorry)


Resource contributor
I think you can find Photoshop 2 for free, and legit, on the net. Its quite old, but it should have all the functions and filters necessary to create great textures.
you can try the inverse way, blend the colors layer over the white texture layer with the details, tweak the opacity and "fill" to get a best result.