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Shading tutorial(Very serious stuff right there)[Pop-reel!]

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kamafr avatar kamafr
Level 36 : Artisan Pixel Painter
Alright ladies and gents, here for my first blog post. I'll try to teach you what I've learned and researched about shading your minecraft skin. Please do keep in mind that I am not a professional, and all that I am trying to do is give you some advice. You don't have to do exactly as I tell you, try and enxperiment, it is the key to success! :D Also, some words I use there may not be correct, but that's how I say these things, so if you don't understand, just ask :D

EDIT : I am still learning tips and tricks everyday so I come back now and then to edit this tutorial. if you didn't see something you wanted to understand here, it may be there in the future, or you can comment to tell me what I should add.

This being said, here is a list of what I this post is going to be about :

-What IS shading, anyway?
-How do I begin?
-what types of shading do you want?
-Last few advices
-Disclaimers and other stuff

Alright let's begin!

What IS shading,

Welp, good question, my definition is : shading is the art of giving colour effects to your skin. it uses contrasts, things that I call colour valors and lighting effects. With all that you should be able to make your skin less blocky and give it life. Most skinners on PMC have their own unique technique, so try and find yours too!

Let's see two examples, one non-shaded, the other shaded.

Shading tutorial(Very serious stuff right there)[Pop-reel!]
this is steve, steve is not very shaded.

Shading tutorial(Very serious stuff right there)[Pop-reel!]
This too is steve, but he is more shaded. Can you see how different they are?

That's shading for you. I am not saying it makes a skin better, It is a different technique. Some people actually like minimalist skins, I do anyway.

Alright, then how do I do that?

Eeeh, this is the technical part. Alright, here is what you need to know : 

-Light can be diffused(aka spread on a surface) or centered(when the surface is shiny, there's a "dot" of light.)
-Light and shadows can very well be right next to each other.
-A contrast is when bright light and dark shadows are together(aka black and white)
color contrasts are : yellow/blue, green/magenta, red/cyan and orange/blue.
-Don't be afraid of playing around with your colors!
-to edit a color you can change 3 things : It's saturation(the amount of white in it.), the value(amount of black in your color) and the hue(the color itself)
-you can make subtle shadings, or more visible ones, it's your choice.
-It may be tiring and even boring, but the final result is worth it.

Shading tutorial(Very serious stuff right there)[Pop-reel!]
This is an example of contrasts, just pick a color, and it's contrast is on the oposit side of the disc!

Yeah yeah that's cool and all, but can't you just show us?

I can and I will, here let me show you :

This is your best friend right now, he represents all the colors you are going to use, and all their shades, from lots of lights, to lots of shadows. In this case I used the basic colors(RGB) and the complementary colors(MCY).

You can try this style too, it shows the contrasts(wich are also called complementary colors) AND the valors of light and shadow :

Okay, Gr8 M8 show me how it's done :

Okay first things first, your color array, How do you make it? there are various ways to do so. Most people use a tool that darkens/lightens the it is applied to. this is how it looks n McSkin3D :

It is a great way to make the process of shading a bit faster, buut in the end you just play around with saturation. That's what I used to do until I found this great blog about hue shifting. It is very useful and explains very well. Basically the thing is to use the HSVA color wheel thingy in McSkin3D and play around a bit with it to see how it works.

What you should know :
-If you want to darken your color, make the H smaller(if 0 go to 360), make the S higher and the V smaller.
-If you want to lighten your color, make the H higher(if 360 go to 0), make the S smaller and the V higher.

Now, how do you use that anyway? Well like I said, there are many shading techinques, so I am going to use one as an example. It's a step by step thing so don't worry, It's goint to be simply explained.

Step 1 : base color and shading array :

Step 2 : choose lightest and darkest points :

Step 3 : go from the brightest point, and use darker and darker shades, Same with shadows, but with lighter shades instead :

Aaand here is the final result, Isn't it beautiful?

Once again, there are many, many techniques, so chose your own. Creativity is the key.

Here are a few more styles that basically apply the same steps : 

As you can see, it's pretty varied. You can almost do anything.

I'd like to say that bases on what kind of material you want to shade, the light is going to have a different effect.
For example, while metal is shiny and has more concentrated light, cloth spreads the light a lot more, thus you won't be able to see where the light comes from. Hair is a different matter, each lock of hair can diffuse the light differently. Basically what you should remember is that ; hard surfaces like plastic or metal have less diffusion(they are "shiny" and you should use more visible light and shadows) and soft irregular surfaces diffuse it much more. Keep that in mind when you draw, it could make the difference between a guy wearing a shirt and an metal armor.
But, like always, a picture is worth a thousand words so here are two examples : one is metalic, the other a softer material :

Looks pretty straight forward, so got anything else to add?

I do indeed. I can't stress that enough, it's going to take some time, bit it's worth it. you have to train and find your own style.
I also want you to remember that all these advices and informations are from someone who is not a professional artist and I learned all that while watching others and doing some research here and there. These are indeed onle here to help you.

I'm looking at the skins you made right now, How comes you didn't follow your own advice?

This question is a bit off topic but whatever, I only recently took an interest in skinning for PMC, and it's thank to PMC that I learn. when I made my last skins, I did not know all that. And once again, I have my own style ;) so i can not folow my own tutorial if I want. 

If you need to know what programs to use I strongly recommend Mc Skin 3D :
as it is not based on using existing sprites and is the most complete tool you can find for skinning.
Photoshop and Gimp are very useful as well.

Disclamier and other stuff :

-If you recognize your skin/image and you wish for me to remove it, PM me.
-All pictures except the 2 skins and the chromatic disc are made by me on McSki3D(Link up there^)
-Please comment if you feel that I have forgoten something or something I said is wrong.
-Favorite and Diamond if you enjoyed :D

Thank you very much. it was great fun doing this.

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09/08/2014 5:31 am
Level 27 : Expert Dragonborn
okoloto avatar
FInnaly a shading tutorial that does not show how to only shade teen skins.!!
06/06/2014 6:06 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
TheKarateFighter avatar
Cool. Diamond.
06/06/2014 10:50 am
Level 57 : Grandmaster Procrastinator
babbajagga avatar
Not bad, but...
... remove those recommended "applications" from the list.
Reading the rules will maybe enlight you why.

if TL&DR
the 2 sites you recommend for skinning (namely novaskin, mineneedcoolshoes) are not allowed on this site (they are based on stealing skins from others, that's why) and using such applications is bannable.

You have been warned ^_^
That applies to any application, that uses libraries of skins made by other people.
08/16/2015 7:23 pm
Level 4 : Apprentice Network
C4rr0tz avatar
Not everyone on MNCS steals...... And those who do steal don't know about the rules on MNCS. So don't think that everyone on MNCS steals.
08/17/2015 12:41 pm
Level 57 : Grandmaster Procrastinator
babbajagga avatar
TBH. I don't care who steals or steals not on MNCS,
my post was about something esle so if that's all you got from my post... well... ain't gonna be sorry for that ;)
06/06/2014 11:56 am
Level 36 : Artisan Pixel Painter
kamafr avatar
I didn't even know that about these sites. I'm sorry, they are now removed.
06/06/2014 6:22 pm
Level 57 : Grandmaster Procrastinator
babbajagga avatar
np, I am sure it was not your intend, don't worry 8-)
hopefully I did not sounded offensive

otherwise it is a good guide ;)
06/07/2014 3:50 am
Level 36 : Artisan Pixel Painter
kamafr avatar
No offense taken. I' s my own fault for not reading the rulew caref7ully enough.
06/14/2014 10:39 am
Level 46 : Master Princess
OreoVal avatar
"carefsevenully enough"

I'm so7rry, I coul7dn't help my7self.
06/06/2014 11:34 am
Level 28 : Expert Pixel Painter
micah2419 avatar
honestly, I use miners need cool shoes just to view my skins (I use gimp to make them) Oops :[
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