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How to make "proper" skins?

Discussion in 'Content Creation' started by Petrovsky, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Petrovsky

    Petrovsky
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    duplicate account of banned user AwesomeSauce

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    So, I've been making some skins using GIMP recently. The only problem is, they suck, as you can tell from the pictures below:
    screenshot_00152.png screenshot_00144.png
    So I was wondering if I could get some tips on making proper skins.
     
  2. kirbyguy22

    kirbyguy22
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    There is no proper way to make skins. Making it look good is a challenge.
    I use Photoshop CS5 for skinning, but you can use any program that allows the editing of DDS files and their alpha channels.
    I used to make skins for Trackmania and it transitions well to pretty much any game that supports custom skins (BeamNG, RACE 07, LFS, etc.).
    It helps to have a 3D program like Blender or 3DS Max (I personally use 3DS Max 2012) so you can render a wireframe template and see how the skin applies to the model almost instantly. It's very useful for junctions (e.g. making a stripe going from the side to the rear of the Covet).

    If it makes you feel any better, here's my first skin that I made for Trackmania using PS:

    (imported from here)
    So just try to get used to the program that you're using and keep trying.
     
  3. RedBolide

    RedBolide
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    I use Photoshop CS6 Extended for skinning. It's very easy to use, and has a broad range of useful tools that make skinning easy. You can apply for student discounts to drop the $1,000 price tag. I got my copy for $200. I highly recommend it, especially if you plan on doing skins for other games.
     
  4. Ryno917

    Ryno917
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    There is no "proper way to make skins." Photoshop, Gimp, etc, are all tools. To get a good result you need to know what you want to make, and how to use the tools available. I often get asked "how do you make a car in Solidworks?" and there is no answer. Every step you take depends on exactly what you want in the end. There's no 'make a car' button; you have to build it up with other features to get the desired shapes. Skinning cars is the same thing; there's no 'make a proper skin' button, you have to create it by drawing in shapes, lines, picking colours, etc. In the case of BeamNG it's probably good to have some shading on the texture as well. You also need to handle the specular maps properly.

    I don't know the ins and outs of GIMP, but I know it has some kind of analog to PS' pen tool. That's what I use to create the majority of all of my skins as it gives you perfect edges and endless opportunity for modifying and tweaking lines as needed. The basic things you'lll need to know are how to use this tool, how to handle colours (for instance, never use a color with more than 90% brightness or saturation if you want something to look realistic), and how to handle layers and blending modes. Look for some tutorials on these types of topics for GIMP; there's got to be plenty out there. It's become a very popular alternative to the costly pro softwares. :)

    [EDIT] One more thing; take your time. Even a simple skin takes me upwards of ~4-5 hours to finish. More complex ones have taken me upwards of 30+ hours. I generally work quite quickly, too.
     
  5. RedBolide

    RedBolide
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    While I agree with everything else you said, I don't think your times are accurate. I can finish a simple skin (basic police skin or racing stripes) in less than an hour. A complicated skin, like a few rally skins I'm working on, only take around 7 hours of solid work. More than 30 hours is just insane, unless you're transferring a complicated custom pattern across multiple panels.
     
  6. Ryno917

    Ryno917
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    By 'simple skin' I mean a finished racing style skin with good logo placement, number panels, everything scaled nicely with a solid hierarchy, all paint scheme design lines (just racing stripes or a simple design) aligned across multiple body panels, colours all correct and realistic, etc. Ensuring all of that is done to a high standard with realistic proportions takes time and multiple in-game checks.

    30 hours isn't uncommon for me, really. That's about how long this took to get to 100% completion. Keep in mind that includes gathering all resources, altering the design as I went and creating a few logos. There's also three different maps (diffuse, spec and fresnel) to keep in track, as well as basic wheel textures. Also, while working on this plane I spent about ~50 hours or so. That, though, was more because there were three rounds of revisions and 3 concepts developing in parallel at any given time.

    Racing stripes or a police skin; yea, that's a quick job because you have little to no detail wrapping different body panels and only a couple 'logo' elements at max. Sometimes I forget race cars are not the only thing you can skin :p
     
  7. Petrovsky

    Petrovsky
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    Thanks, but my problem is, I don't have a digital pen or anything like that. All I have is an optical mouse, and drawing with a mouse isn't exactly precise like it is with a pen.
     
  8. Ryno917

    Ryno917
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    The Pen Tool is one of the tools within Photoshop (and Illustrator) that you use for drawing vector shapes. You don't need a tablet or anything like; it's just what the tool in the program is called. GIMP should have something similar. :)

    While I have a drawing tablet, I've never used it for skins or graphics in general. I prefer the mouse for that stuff.
     
  9. jackeo21

    jackeo21
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    How do you actually edit DDS files with gimp? or any file that allows you to edit the car with gimp?
     
  10. n0ah1897

    n0ah1897
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    My student discount got me the entire Creative Suite 6 for $40. :p
     
  11. rhigosrebel

    rhigosrebel
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    PLEASE tell me how you do the skins on photoshop, I got the files to open, they are black and white, and when I use gimp they dont align on the car
     
  12. MM1998

    MM1998
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    You know that Photoshop CS2 is free right?
     
  13. RedBolide

    RedBolide
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    Yes, but I don't particularly like it. CS6 Extended is significantly better.
     
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