One tip I can give you for differentiating the metal panels is to use very light black and white but also a tiny bit of colour. Add some very transparent blue on a panel and check the effect to see whether you like it. You can also play with yellows or brown IMO.
It gives the aircraft a more patchy look without making it too obvious (we're talking 1-3% opacity).
Well.....after all my hard work on this Mustang, I have to say......I started over. I found an outline drawing that I liked better. Plus, after reading several threads on here about Mustangs, I went looking for photos to match up to my drawing I found. Its still in its infancy, but what do y'all think?
The tail has a much better shape than before. I like the new lighting, though I think you need to add some shine to the rear wing root area.
The notch where the scoop meets up with the tail? I'm not sure what that's supposed to be? I think the bottom outline was more accurate in the first version.
By the way, one good place to find several good nearly side-on photos is Airliners.net. Since most of the photos are of restored warbirds you have to use caution regrading antennas and some panel lines, but there are some good photos to give a really good outline for the shape.
The new is MUCH better.
I didn't comment earlier, but one thing that bugs me about the earlier version is the mottling on the metal is all the same, same size, same intensity, same busyness. That tells you what to do to make it better, different metal panels, different noise and mottling. Vary it in every way, even within a panel you can have smoother sections and mottled sections.
Combine that stuff with the new version you have and employ the same subtilely and I think you'll have a winner
The lighting at the rear of the wing root is definately something I need to work on. As for the notch where the radiator scoop meets the tail, that would be one of the drop down vents. I'll probably be working on a seperate layer for a fully opened version of both vents later on. I'm more than likely going to smooth the fuselage out right there while I'm at it.
The metal work has been my biggest issue. Since this is my most complete aircraft profile, I'm still trying to hammer out the bare metal look and feel. I too was bothered by the texturing of my earlier version.
I thank all of you who have commented so far. If not for your input, I wouldnt have started over .......kidding. The feedback I have gotten has been truely helpful thus far. Keep it coming.
One more trick is to find a scratched metal texture and use it as a overlay or added texture to different panels. A lit of what makes those panels different looking are scratches in different directions that pick up the light differently.
Location: between tedium and apathy, with an occasional sidetrip to monotony
Re: Bare Metal P-51D
I wouldn't worry to much about texturing at this stage its far more important to get the shape right, and as Gamary has already said the shadow at the back of the scoop looks way to rounded as it is here. In reality the scoop fairing and indeed the rest of the Mustang is quite slab sided and only needs a hint of shadow right at the bottom of the curve. Also you may want to look at rendering the wing as a separate object that isn't perfectly blended onto the airframe. I have found that it is much easier to render both the fuselage and wing shadows(which look to me that they could be a little subtler) that way.
I have posted a great image that clearly shows the subtle curves and lines that the Mustang posses. I hope it helps, keep at it.
I'll see what I can't do about the shadow at the scoop. As for the wing, taking a closer look, I noticed I left the panel line out on the lower image, where the wing meets the fuselage. The shadowing for the fuse and the wing are seperate though. I'll see about making the wing completely seperate.