Mapping Maps are raster images that are projected onto the surfaces to give them color and texture, and are a key factor in achieving some sort of realism. Cad applications generally do not handle maps as well as 3D modelers the process can be a little awkward. But, if you are aware of the difficulties beforehand and can modify your modeling methods to make ‘map friendly’ surfaces, you can get some pretty good results. I use two applications to generate maps – CorelDraw, and Photoshop. Corel is a vector based application which is good at generating solid color artwork. In Corel I draw out all the structural details that are required for the surface – nails, panel lines, louvers, etc.. Then I draw out the markings for an individual aircraft. Corel allows you to draw on separate levels so you can keep many schemes in one file. When finished export a .tiff file. Here’s a screen capture of the Corel file that holds the DVa fuselage color schemes: In Microstation the process works like this: Every design file can have 256 different material assignments, each material has a set of variables that control it’s spectral properties, and can also be ‘mapped’ with 2 raster images – a surface map, and a bump map. The surface map is color image that is applied to a surface – sort of like a decal The bump map is a grayscale image that is translated into surface deformation that can be used to give texture, or to define shallow surface features. Source.