Scheme Designers Goes 3-D

Craig Barnett, principal of Scheme Designers, which creates unique paint schemes for aircraft of all makes and models, is beaming like a proud parent. He says that it has always been a challenge working with some customers who have trouble visualizing what a paint scheme will look like on their airplane from a two-dimensional rendering.

“Face it, that’s flat,” Barnett says, “and most aircraft have lots of curved surfaces. It is just hard for some people to envision a design that might wrap around or taper in a certain way. And sometimes it is just figuring how the colors will look from different angles that is hard for people.”

Barnett’s solution to his customers’ problem was to create 3-D renderings of the aircraft for them, all wrapped in variations on the prospective paint schemes. The aircraft, seen in small Quicktime movies, can be rolled and pitched and yawed around their axes so that you can get a clear look at what any particular paint get-up is going to look like.

“We charge a premium for the service, because it is so labor-intensive,” says Barnett, “but people are really happy about how it helps them to make decisions. They are asking for the 3-D more and more.”

Barnett also offers the chance for you to see your airplane in a prospective 3-D still shot, flying in the blue. The rendering is realistic enough, if he has a good picture of your airplane (make sure to photograph any custom bumps or curves so that he can get them in), to fool people into thinking you’ve got your bird flying and had a nice photo shoot done already. “That’s really just a side-benefit,” explains Barnett. The real plus, he says, is that people are finding it easier to choose, and since he charges a flat fee for all the changes you want until the actual full-size templates and paint-shop instructions are printed, the easier it is for clients to make up their minds, the easier Barnett’s job is.

Contributing Editor Amy Laboda is a freelance writer and editor of Aviation for Women magazine. She's an ATP-rated pilot and instrument and multi-engine Flight Instructor with a passion for teaching and flying in light aircraft. Her steady rides these days are a 18-year old Kitfox IV and a fresh Van's RV-10.

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