Painting Pizzas on Airplanes in Microsoft Flight Simulator

A small painting of a pizza by Hypertexthero.

Here’s how to paint pizzas on airplanes, also know as creating a “skin” or “livery”, in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MSFS), as seen on this video.

1. Copy Existing Livery from Official to Community Folder

First we will find the folder containing the files for the airplane we want to paint inside our MSFS installation folder, and copy it to the Community folder.

For this tutorial we will use the standard Cessna C172 equipped with Garmin G1000, and make a tasty livery.

In the Steam version of MSFS installed on an external SSD, we will make a copy of the following folder for the C172 G1000 from the Official folder at:

D:\MSFS\Official\Steam\asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-aviators

…to the Community folder at:

D:\MSFS\Community\asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-aviators

Remember to never edit or move anything in the Official folder. Only copy folders from there, and then change things in the Community folder. This way things won’t break in the simulator when we make mistakes or Microsoft updates MSFS, and we will avoid jumping up and down with computer rage.

2. Edit Text in Folder Names

Pacman, on of Hypertexthero’s Follower emotes in testing!

In our newly copied folder now inside the MSFS Community folder, lets right-click on each folder and select Rename to change text as follows:

asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-aviators
…to…
asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza


asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_LiveryAviators
…to…
asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as10000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_Pizza


In the the folders inside asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_Pizza\, rename the folders:

model.aviators
…to…
model.pizza

panel.aviators
…to…
panel.pizza

TEXTURE.AVIATORS
…to…
TEXTURE.PIZZA

3. Edit Text in Text Files

Touch and go to say hello!

Open the aircraft.cfg file at asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_Pizza\aircraft.cfg using a text editor like Notepad++ and change the following text:

title = "Cessna Skyhawk 172Sp G1000 Aviators Club Livery"
…to…
title = "Cessna Skyhawk 172Sp G1000 Pizza"

model = "aviators"
…to…
model = "pizza"

panel = "aviators"
…to…
panel = "pizza"

texture = "aviators"
…to…
texture = "pizza"

ui_variation = "TT:AIRCRAFT.LIVERY.AVIATORSCLUB"
to
ui_variation = "Pizza"

atc_id = "ASXGSA"
to
atc_id = "PIZZA"

Then save the file.


Open the manifest.json file at asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\manifest.json and change the following text:

"title": "Cessna 172 Skyhawk (G1000) - Aviators Club",
to:
"title": "Cessna 172 Skyhawk (G1000) - Pizza",

"creator": Asobo Studio",
to:
"creator": Our_Own_Name",

Save the file and go for a walk outside or do some exercise for a break from the screen and to prepare for wanting to eat a lot of pizza.

4. Edit Graphic Files

Beautiful!

Time to paint some pizzas on our airplane. For this tutorial we will paint a pizza on the top of a wing of our C172. To do this we will edit the file called C172SP_AIRFRAME_WINGS_ALBD.PNG.DDS at asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_Pizza\texture.pizza\C172SP_AIRFRAME_WINGS_ALBD.PNG.DDS

(If the .DDS extension is not visible, we set Windows Explorer to display file name extensions by clicking on the checkbox by View > File name extensions. Thank you, WildCraze!)

Here’s how:

  1. Visit https://www.photopea.com/, a Photoshop clone, in a web browser.
  2. Drag-and-drop the C172SP_AIRFRAME_WINGS_ALBD.PNG.DDS file onto the Photopea browser window.
  3. Edit the file to paint or place photos of pizzas at the following position (thank you, Icebird4all!). 1 Pizza positions on the top of our tasty airplane wings.
  4. Save our masterwork with all its layers for future tweaking by selecting File > Save as PSD in Photopea.
  5. Save our capolavoro in a format that MSFS understands is meant to be displayed on airplanes (DDS) by selecting File > Export as > More > DDS in Photopea, then clicking Save (leaving all the settings at default) and Save File so it is downloaded into our Downloads folder.
  6. Rename the original file back at asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_Pizza\texture.pizza\C172SP_AIRFRAME_WINGS_ALBD.PNG.DDS to C172SP_AIRFRAME_WINGS_ALBD-original.PNG.DDS so we have a backup copy, then drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste our newly-downloaded C172SP_AIRFRAME_WINGS_ALBD.PNG.DDS to the asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\SimObjects\Airplanes\Asobo_C172SP_AS1000_Pizza\texture.pizza\ folder.

5. Computer, Edit One More Text File For Us

Hello, computer!

After doing all of the above we need to edit one more text file called layout.json. Since this one is particularly tedious, lets have the computer do it for us by using MSFS Layout Generator:

Go here and click on MSFSLayoutGenerator.exe to download it to our computer. Move it from our Downloads folder to somewhere where we will find it again whenever we wish.

Drag-and-drop the layout.json file at asobo-aircraft-c172sp-as1000-pizza\layout.json onto the MSFSLayoutGenerator.exe file. We will see a command prompt window appear and disappear quickly. BOOM! Our layout.json file has been edited for us by the computer, adding pizza text and file size information in all the right places. 2


Boom!

Start Microsoft Flight Simulator, choose the Cessna 172 G1000 in our hangar or for a flight in the world map, make sure to select the Pizza livery, and go for a flight!

If this has been helpful please come visit Hypertexthero’s Twitch channel and click on the Follow button if you like what you find!

Found any mistakes? I’m just a human, so please let me know!

In a future post: How to paint bananas on a yellow C172 floater variant, and how to edit decals such as the blue tips of the wings in the above livery in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

A presto!
Simon


  1. There is a paintkit containing a file template with a “UV Map” guide to help you see what appears where on the Cessna 172 skin available at flightsim.to↩︎

  2. Power tip shared by WildCraze: a. Find MSFSLayoutGenerator.exe in File Explorer. b. Right click → Create Shortcut c. Navigate to special folder shell:sendto via address bar and drag-and-drop or cut-and-paste the above shortcut inside. d. Rename the shortcut to MSFS Layout Generator. e. Right click any layout.json file → Send to → MSFS Layout Generator ↩︎

Prior entry:
Next entry: