RD Skinning Tutorial

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  • Race 07 Skinning Tutorial (Using only Free / Open Source Software)

    Created by: Saul Boucher

    This tutorial will teach you how to create the following skin for the BMW Mini in Race 07. (RD BMW

    Mini)

    RD BMW Mini

    Software Required:

    GIMP. Gimp is a powerful open source, image manipulation software program. As of writing,

    the most recent version is 2.6.11. http://www.gimp.org/

    DDS Plug-in for GIMP. DDS stands for Direct Draw Surface, which is an nVidia format.

    Included in the Tutorial Package files (follow installation instructions)

    Paint.NET. We will need this software to create the window dds files. As of writing, the most

    recent version is 3.5.6. http://www.getpaint.net/

    PSD Plug-in for Paint.NET. PSD is a Photoshop format, which Paint.NET does not support by

    default. Included in the Tutorial Package files (follow installation instructions)

  • For this project we will need the BMW Mini skin templates available from Simbin. I have included

    the files in this package. For more skin templates available for Race 07 and expansions please visit

    the individual game title websites, and look under downloads.

    Getting started.

    If you havent already done so, install GIMP and the DDS plug-in using the included instructions.

    Open GIMP, then using the File -> Open menu, open the file named Mini Challenge body.psd.

    Available in the Tutorial Package Files. You should have a screen that looks like this: (screenshot 01)

    Screenshot 01

    Working with Layers.

    First off, lets get familiar with Layers. On your open screen to the right, you should have a window

    open called (Layers, Channels, Paths) (screenshot 02). By default the layers tab should be selected.

    In the Layers area, you will see all the various layers, some of which are visible and some that arent,

    that make up the screen in the middle that we see.

    Screenshot 02

  • Think of these layers as being stencils stacked on top of each other. Try turning the visibility off on

    some of the layers by clicking the little eyeball icon next to it. Try turning some of the other ones on.

    Ok, lets leave the following layers visible. Starting from the top.

    Shading

    1 Copy

    1

    Parts

    Base Layer

    All the other layers should not be visible.

    Now lets save our project, File -> Save As. Name it RD BMW Mini.psd and save it to your desktop (or

    wherever you like).

    Creating a Pattern to use in GIMP

    So to start our project, were going to pick a base color to start with. For this project we are going to

    make a nice blue carbon fiber pattern to use as our base coat.

    To do this we will create a new file. File -> New. A Dialog Box will appear. Under Image Size, change

    the Width and Height both to 4, and pixels should be selected. Click OK.

    A new window will appear with a small square dot in the middle. First off, make your window larger,

    click and drag the corners. Now zoom into the image by holding your Ctrl key and scrolling up with

    your mouse wheel. You should have a window that looks like this. (screenshot 03)

    Screenshot 03

  • Creating our pattern

    Using the Rectangle Select Tool, select an area in the top left hand corner of the image like in

    (screenshot 04), 1 pixel high by 2 pixels wide. Just click and drag your cursor.

    Click the Change Foreground Color box to bring up the color choosing dialog, and select a color

    similar to the one in (screenshot 04). Click OK.

    Click the Bucket Fill Tool, then click inside the rectangle area we selected to fill it with the

    color we created.

    Screenshot 04

    Repeat the above process until your pattern matches the following (screenshot 05).

    Screenshot 05

  • Once youve created the pattern we are going to have to save it as a pattern, and place it in the

    appropriate folder so GIMP will recognize it.

    File -> Save As.

    Name it as Carbon Fiber Blue.pat and place it on your desktop for now.

    In Gimp under Edit, select Preferences to open up the window as shown in screenshot 06.

    Expand the Folders menu, then click on Patterns to show where GIMP stores its Patterns.

    Mine is C:\Users\Saul Boucher\.gimp-2.6\patterns (yours might be different). Make note of

    your location, then click cancel.

    Close GIMP, File -> Quit.

    Now move the file Carbon Fiber Blue.pat to your patterns folder location.

    screenshot 06

  • Applying our Pattern to our Base Color of the Skin.

    Open GIMP again, and lets make that Blue Carbon Fiber Pattern our base color to our Mini Project.

    Open the RD BMW Mini.psd file you saved earlier.

    In the Layers Window, select the base color layer by clicking on it once. This tells GIMP we are

    working on only this layer. (screenshot 07)

    In the Toolbox Window, select the Bucket Tool. Then under Fill Type, select Pattern Fill. Click the

    little box below Pattern fill, then locate and select your Carbon Fiber Blue pattern. (screenshot 07)

    Now click somewhere in the center of the screen, like on the roof. You should end up with your Blue

    Carbon Fiber pattern filling the base coat of the car. (screenshot 07)

    Screenshot 07

  • Converting our file to DDS

    Before we go any further, we are going to get our skin visible in Race 07 so we can view it. Make sure

    you have the DDS plug-in installed for GIMP.

    In the Layers Window, right click on any of the layers. In the context menu select, Merge

    Visible Layers. A dialog box will appear, select Clipped to Bottom Layer, then click Merge.

    Click File -> Save A Copy.

    Navigate to your Documents\SimBin\Race 07\CustomSkins folder. Then Create a new Folder

    Called RD BMW Mini. (screenshot 08)

    Save your file inside this folder as RD BMW Mini.dds (we are changing the file extention to

    .dds instead of .psd)

    Screenshot 08

    Click Save, and the following Dialog Box and error will appear. (screenshot 09)

    Screenshot 09

  • In the Save As DDS dialog box select compression type BC1 / DXT1, and put a checkmark in

    Generate mipmaps, click ok. Click Ok in the GIMP Error message box. (Screenshot 09)

    At this point, always make sure you select Edit -> Undo Merge Visible Layers. So you dont

    lose your saved work!

    If you have changes you havent previously saved, Save and Exit GIMP.

    Getting your skin to show up in Game

    In order to get your skin to show up in game, we will have to create an .ini file. But before we do that,

    lets make sure you can see known file extentions in windows.

    I am using Windows 7 64bit, I think the following process is exactly the same for Vista.

    Navigate to your Documents\SimBin\Race 07\CustomSkins\RD BMW Mini folder.

    If you do not see a Menu bar showing File / Edit / View / Tools / Help. Do the following step.

    Under Organize / Layout / select Menu Bar (screenshot 10)

    Screenshot 10

    Under Tools, select Folder Options. Then click the view tab.

    Make sure Hide extensions for known file types does NOT have a checkmark in it. Click OK.

  • Right click anywhere inside the RD BMW Mini folder. Select New -> Text Document. Change

    the filename to RD BMW Mini.ini (remove the .txt file extension). Click Yes when the dialog

    box comes up. Then open the file.

    Now open the Template.txt file in the Tutorial Package Files. This is where you can find the

    various .ini file templates for the various car types.

    Search for the BMW Mini ones... (Tip: Ctrl + F)

    Copy the following text from the template file to your RD BMW Mini.ini file.

    [[[TEAM_NAME]]]

    [[DRIVER_NAME]]

    [BMW MINI COOPER]

    body=

    windows=

    interiorwindow=

    driver=

    ext_driver=

    helmet=

    Change it to: (Change Licensed Driver to your name)

    [[[RaceDepartment]]]

    [[Licensed Driver]]

    [BMW MINI COOPER]

    body=RD BMW Mini.dds

    windows=

    interiorwindow=

    driver=

    ext_driver=

    helmet=

    Save the file, and close it.

  • Now check out the skin in game. Fire up Race 07 and see how your skin looks in game. It should look something like this:

    Creating Complex Shapes Open GIMP, and your RD BMW Mini.psd file again. We will start creating some custom shapes to liven up our skin a little. (Tip: File -> Open Recent -> RD BMW Mini.psd)

    Introducing the Wire Frame Layer!

    On the very top of your available layers, you will see one called Wire. It will not be visible, go ahead and make it visible by clicking the eyeball. This will make it much easier to see the natural lines of the car, and line up our shapes between different body panels.

    Now lets start with the hood. I like to rotate the entire image 90deg counter clockwise, so I am looking at the car from the front. To do this click the Image menu, Transform -> Rotate 90Deg counter-clockwise. There, much better!

    Zoom into the hood area. (Cntrl + Mouse Wheel)

    The first thing we want to do is create a new layer to work on, and we are going to place it right above the base color. To do this, click on the base color layer, then click the New Layer button. (screenshot 11)

  • screenshot 11

    A dialog box will appear. Name the Layer Hood Stripes, and select Transparency, click OK.

    Your new Layer should now be directly abo