1. 3D aircraft models are composed in Autodesk 3DS Max and then laid out in sketch format, with focus placed on relativity. The relative position and altitude of each combatant is calculated according to combat reports of the day. In this particular encounter, the Kittyhawk and Type 21 close within 200 yards of each other.
2. Relative trajectories are calculated along with airspeeds and rates of turn. This is important to show curvatures in vapor trails, angles of bank and suchlike. The shape of the propellor disk is adjusted to fit the relative angle of the Kittyhawk.
3. The basic digital painting is rendered in a layered process after having exported the 3D aircraft models into Photoshop, including aircraft markings. Scenery from our vast PNG aerial library is consulted to suit the particular event. This landscape lies in the hills to the northwest of Lae.
4. Opacity adjustments are made as required, Jungle/ hills/ geography are added via mulitple daubing process. Weather is overlaid according to meteorlogical reports of the day, via cloud generation/ rendering process in Photoshop. If specific reports for the specific combat are unavailable, then we default to generic conditions for that time of year. A good case in point is that Port Moresby's hilly surrounds turn brown during the dry season.
5. Altitude relativity is also critical. These P-39Ds are cruising at around 12,000 feet. over the northern approach to the Kokoda Gap. New Guinea skies are among the more colorful on earth.
The ulitmate quality of the end product is more due to knowing how to manipulate the exponential powers of 3DS Max 2012 and Adobe Photoshop CS6 than artistic talent.
Regardless of best intentions, about two thirds of our concepts just don't look quite right, and are discarded.