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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vehicle Skinning

John Marine | 6:02 PM | |
Lately, I have been involved with skinning cars. The ability to create your own skins for cars gives you a chance to express yourself artistically and have unique cars. Who doesn't want to have their own cars and teams represented in a game? Since "John's Race Space" is about all things racing/driving games, I figured I'd share with you this post on skinning cars for racing and driving games. This post mostly concerns skins for PC racing/driving games.

The first thing I want to stress is that my interests in making skins for cars is somewhat why I have been away from the blogosphere. I have been trying to think of designs to come up with for a host of different mods for a host of different racing games. My concentration mostly focuses on rFactor and GTR2. If you follow my work on "John's Creative Space," you may have seen some of the designs I've come up with.

My Skinning Advice.

Here are a few things I recommend in case you want to try out making skins for cars in games that allow for them...

• Learn the nuances of how skins are created. If there is a mod you downloaded that features a template you can use, it is recommended you first begin to see how certain cars are skinned before trying to make your own creation. I actually avoid making skins for some vehicles because I find some templates to be confusing as to how to skin for them.

• Find programs that handle PSD files. PSD files are usually handled by Adobe Photoshop; but Photoshop, especially today's Photoshop costs money for a subscription and even more if you want to buy the full program. So many people look to alternatives that open PSD files such as The GIMP and Paint.NET. Another alternative is to use Photoshop Elements. Photoshop Elements can be just as effective in having bare essentials to picture editing from the base Photoshop in editing PSD files, but you can go only so far with it. One time, I tried editing one template in Photoshop Elements when the program said that it couldn't handle 16-layer images or something like that. Only issue is that they may not be able to handle PSD files as well as Photoshop can. You have some options here... even including illegal/non-recommended ones (like pirated programs, for example).

• Collect logos online. Make like Pokémon and collect 'em all! :) Find as many logos as you can for whatever kinds of skins you may have in mind. I mostly use Google Images to search for logos. Alternatively, you can also use sites like Brands of the World to search for logos. I recommend you find transparent GIF and (especially) transparent PNG images. You can also use JPG images, but the problem with JPG images is that they are grainy and don't translate too well to when you apply them to templates. You also have to do some extra work to make them useful in applying to templates. Also, JPG images have no transparency to them. So that's why I recommend either GIF or PNG files. It is best if you can find decent-size logos that look clean as you apply them to vehicle templates. If you envision having many different logos to use for many different kinds of cars, then be sure to think about what logos for companies you want to have featured on cars. If you are not sure what kinds of logos you want to get to include for vehicle templates, try playing various games to get a little perspective. Make a folder on your computer for which you can dump in the logos for you to use in your creations.

• Make a base for your designs. It helps to make a decent base for your vehicles that you can use to make your designs. This can be helpful in making one car or a car set for a team. You can also set up a base design to make up a One-Make series. With a base livery, you can make all cars identical. Conversely, you can also take a base livery and simply make color variations. This is like you see in the older Gran Turismo games.

• Continually test your skins. No matter how perfect you think your designs are, they don't mean anything until you actually test them in games. So make sure to keep practicing putting skins into games and onto models. As a testing example, if you do not reduce the opacity of your skin for rFactor models, your vehicles will appear very glossy. Unless you specify certain parts to have a glossy appearance, your car will appear very shiny. There's nothing wrong with shiny, but you do want to be realistic. So keep testing certain skins in games.

• (optional) Especially with games like rFactor, GTR2, NR2003, Assetto Corsa, and others... I recommend you download and buy 3DSimEd. It is one way you can test vehicle skins without loading up the game they belong to. One issue you may face is that some loaded cars may be told to be corrupted or encrypted when you load them. All you would need to do when using 3DSimEd is to hide certain 3D geometry so you can see the car better. Besides skinning, it is also effective in editing tracks in most modern simulation racing games. So that's why I recommend you buy 3DSimEd as a powerful tool for your editing of locations and vehicles in most of today's leading simulation racing games.

I hope these tips can help you become a master skinner.

Skinning Examples.

If you would like to see some skinners in action, I invite you to check out these blogs and sites. Gain perspective from these skin makers to help you in your skinning:

Koda Factory

I may add some more if I find any more interesting skinners. The two in this non-edited post are just two skinners that come to mind. You can contact me via E-Mail or through any of my social media pages if you have your own site for which you share your creations.

I Wonder...

The toughest game to skin for in my view is iRacing. You have to pay to play iRacing, and especially if you are making custom skins for cars in iRacing, it can be tough and costly. iRacing does offer its own set of liveries for cars so you don't have to make custom ones. However, making skins for the vastly popular iRacing can be tricky. So I wonder how one would go about making custom skins for a game like iRacing considering the variables discussed here.

In Case You're Wondering...

You can see some of my creaetive works by following "John's Creative Space." Among some of the things I share are some of my skins for vehicles in games. I'd love for you to visit so you can see my own creations. To visit "John's Creative Space," visit It is possible I will offer my skins for download. Make nothing of it right now, but in the future, you can see some of my designs so far on my Weebly site by going to JMDesigns - Game Mods, and you can see mods I've made available on my Weebly site at JMDesigns - Store: Game Mods.

Have yourself a great day/night. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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