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~Elsen's Reference Guide to Skinning~

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ElsenRykker's Avatar ElsenRykker
Level 45 : Master Skinner


Due to the additions of the likes of the full body layer in Minecraft version 1.7.9, and the new player model in 1.8. Skinning may have become more complicated for some due to these new additions, especially for those interested in taking advantage of this new system. I have decided to make a skinning guide for starting skinners and for those just wishing to get more information! I will be going over several topics here that will hopefully make things a bit easier for future skinners!

Before I continue, I might as well mention that this is a very long Guide.. if you are here looking for a specific section, I would advice scrolling to the respective colored title that matches the color in the table of contents. Otherwise, feel free to make full use of the information provided! :P

Table of Contents






Before I go into to much detail, I might as well at least mention the old template, just incase there are any beginners reading this. I'll just use my old Security Guard skin in the demonstrations. To make viewing of the templates easier to understand, I have split up each section of the body for your convenience. Be sure to bare in mind that each part is connected in standard templates... You should know what those look like by now though!



Here we have the old template. This is the template used for all minecraft versions older than 1.7.9. Prior to 1.7.9, Things were pretty simple back then. As you might notice, each part of the Minecraftian body is made up of 6 pieces that form a cube, or some form of rectangle. Going from left to right, we have:



Just remember: The top piece of a body part section you are working in is ALWAYS to the "left" of the bottom piece!

The only other thing really notable in this template is the second head layer. With that, we were able to give our characters hats, goggles, glasses, and a whole manner of other accessories! Of course, with 1.7.9, we got a new template...


At first, this template can look a bit overwhelming... Even my jaw dropped when I first saw it... but, I have split it up just like the old template, to show how each part goes into play! Of course, things are set up just a little bit differently in the new template than that of the old, so bare with me for a moment!..

Not only do we have full body, secondary layers on each piece of the Minecraftian body to work with now, (indicated by a dotted colored border, rather than solid) but we also now have the abilty to set up each arm and each leg seperately! For quick reference, just remember that the sections to the right and left of the two body layer sections are the right arm and right leg, and the two sets below that are the left arm and left leg. Before I continue on to the next section, I would like to note the black squares on the arms of Mike: I use those in my skins to indicate which piece connects directly to the body, for my own reference. Obviously you don't have to include those in your skins, but bare in mind that you may find inaccuracies in your skins later if you don't memorize where each part goes... Of course, this brings us to our second section..


After the release of Minecraft version 1.8, we got a brand new player model in the form of "Alex". What sets this template apart from that of Steve's, is the fact she has thinner arms. I have once again split up this template for your convenience.

As you might notice, not much is different in this template. The only thing you have to pay attention to in the creation of a skin with the Alex model is the arms. The difference in this template that makes the arms look thinner, is the fact that the front and back of the arms are a pixel thinner. So this means its 3X12 (or 3X4 if your working on the top or bottom of the arm), rather than 4X12 (or 4X4).

Heres another formula just incase you're still somehow lost!:



As you can see, the Alex set up is pretty easy to get used to once you know the difference!

Just as a side note though before I go on: Remember that the two left arm sections are 2 pixels away from the two left leg sections, and 2 pixels away from the left side of the template in the normal set up!


Now that you have some idea (hopefully) of how the different templates work, now you need a good program to use. I highly suggest NOT using Microsoft Paint... Though its a simple program, and can be used in skin making, I have had issues in the past with it myself, especially where it would try to remove some detail from my skins..

Anyways, a program I highly recommend myself for skinning, however would have to be Paint.NET! Paint.NET is free downloadable software that gives you much more features to use in your skin making than Microsoft Paint. You have access to:

-The ability to create additional layers: Perfect for when you are making little edits to a skin, be it a new accessory, or for fixing a mistake, and just want to patch it up over the old pixels.

-Isolated selection tool: The selection tool in this program can actually serve as guard rails for editing different sections, and can help prevent that dreaded accidental streak of pixels over some of your work... (A fluke I found unfixable in Microsoft paint.. -_-)

-Adjustments: The adjustment tab in the program gives you a few useful tools as well. You can invert the image, change the brightness and contrast, and also alter the hue/saturation. The hue/saturation tool is probably one of the most useful bits in the program. It allows you to easily be able to alter the color hue and saturation of what you have selected. This is perfect for when you are having to change the hue of large parts of the body. You will be able to tweak it without the need of clicking the color change in by hand, pixel by pixel. Of course, the downside to this though, is if you try to use the tool for smaller selections, like for editing pixels around the eyes for example, the tool can become just as tedious as placing the pixels in manually, so its best to just work with the smaller selections with your pencil tool.

Of course, as you are aware, there are other programs out there that could be of use. HOWEVER, be aware that there are some skinning programs that are not allowed to be used for skinning on Planet Minecraft.. some examples can be found in the rules, but I'll go ahead and copy the names here as well:

  • Newground's SkinCraft
  • SkinEdit skin creator
  • MinersNeedCoolShoes Armoury
  • The SkinDex skin editor
  • NovaSkin skin creator
  • minecraftskins.com skin editor
  • SkinsProCreator (iOS platform)

The main reason these creators are banned is due to the fact that their part libraries tend to contain stolen pieces from popular skins, many of which taken from the owners without their consent.. It is important that you check with a Planet Minecraft mod and make sure that the creator/program you use is acceptable, otherwise you could be faced with penalties on your account.. (I will go over part picking in the next section)

The only other acceptable programs I know of are GIMP and Photoshop. Obviously, Paril's MCskin3D Program is acceptable as well. If you know of any other useful programs for skinning that don't break the submission rules, please drop it down in the comments, and I will hopefully get it added to the list!


Obviously, in your new hobby of Minecraft skinning, you are going to need some tips to remember..

See, there are some things you should try to avoid in your skins, as many of the points I am about to bring up are against the Planet Minecraft rules of skin submissions, and should be noted in the creation of your skins...:

1. Do NOT copy parts from a skin created by someone else. Not only is this against the rules in Planet Minecraft, it is also extremely unoriginal... Please only use skin content created by YOU and YOU alone.

2. Avoid creating skins of characters that may be considered offensive/inappropriate! This can include, but is certainly not limited to the likes of:

  • Adolf Hitler
  • Osama bin Laden
  • Pedobear
  • Nude or Explicit characters
  • Racist or stereotypical characters(Seriously.. Who would even make skins of things like that anyway?)

3. Do not submit skins that are only slight variations of the same character/ thing in separate submissions. It is important that you only submit these skins in the same submission of the original skin. (For example, lets say you have a space suit skin. If you were to make copies of it, and just change the visor and other little parts of the skin to a different color, this would fall under this catagory..) More often than not, these sort of skins will be disabled by a Planet Mc staff member until you merge them into one submission. You can easily link to variations of the same skin through programs like Imgur!

4. Do not use Official Minecraft textures in your skins. This can include, but is not limited to: Picking parts from the default player skins, picking parts from block textures, or picking parts from Official Minecraft Mob textures. This is of course considered unoriginal/part picking, and is against the rules. I learnt this little tid bit the hardway personally, when I tried making a skin that used a bit of textures from the default steve skin in one of my submissions, and got my uploading priviliages revoked for a day by a mod. (Not knowing of it at the time, of course, as I had seen tons of skins on the site that use stuff like that before, so I thought that it was fine... Of course I was dead wrong!). I soon learned very quickly that this is frowned upon, and I have never tried to use official Mc textures in my skins to this day.

For more information on things that aren't allowed in skin submissions in Planet Minecraft, please look at it's respective section on the Planet MC Rules page.

Some of the following things listed may not exactly be against the rules, but I highly recommend you avoid them as well. A few are mostly pet-peeves of the community, or just myself in general. One of the main forms of skins to avoid is as follows:

OVERDONE SKINS: You know the ones I am talking about... Those skins of various things that are so DONE TO DEATH, you see them all over Planet Minecraft... I will go over a few of those sort of skins now. Now don't get me wrong! Its not that any of these skins are bad, as most of the skins have decent shading, and seem to have effort put into them, but... its just that many of us see SO many of these skins on the site.. Why not try to find something that hasn't been done before, or has very few attempts? Being original is not difficult. Plus, the community will thank you for it!

Example A: The "Teenager skins" - You know the ones I am talking about. Male and female minecraftians wearing hoodies with creepier logos on the back of the jacket, and headphones. Most of the time these skins have the exact same over all design.. Oh! That also reminds me of sort of a sub group in these skins, the "Girl/Teen girl" skins. Look, its not that these skins don't look good. I have seen TONS of Girl skins on here that have AWESOME shading work done on them. The point here is just being original. If you are going to make a skin that might be overused, at least try to put some sort of spin on the concept...


Example B: The "Mobs in suits" and "Mob" skins - You would have to be pretty lucky to not search through the skin database of Planet Minecraft, and not eventually run up on some form of mob in a suit. They are EVERYWHERE. That concept has just been beaten to death.. Not to mention, you have to be extremely careful with that sort of thing. Most of the skins I see that do this use textures from the official mobs, which of course counts as part picking, which is against the Planet Minecraft rules.. So not only is it unoriginal, it could get you in trouble too!




Example C
: Steve, Herobrine, (And more than likely Alex now, with the addition of the new default skin) - Its not an uncommon sight on Planet Minecraft to see some form of Steve or Herobrine. I'm not talking about the ones that do a spin on the concept, I'm talking about the ones that just rip the textures straight from the game, do a few little tweaks, and then VOILA!: Apparently its a skin. Look, these skins are just not original. Slapping a few different colors or accessories on it, or tweaking its face does not make it a unique skin. Once again, these skins can get you into trouble with the staff team, as they take textures straight from Minecraft most of the time..



Example D: "Popular" skins - As a skinner, sometimes it might be tempting to to try to fall into the latest craze, and make skins of whats currently popular. This can include anything from:

- Youtuber skins ( Honeydew, Tobuscus, Skydoesmc, etc.)

Diggundefineddiggy diggy hole c:

- Super heroes (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc.)

undefinedI'm Batman...

- Popular anime characters (Goku, Naruto..)


- Video game characters <Master chief, Link (Funny since I'm a Zelda fan myself), That guy from Assassin's creed.. (err, what was his name again... Oh right. "Ezio")

undefined Head shot? Is that what that term is?

The list goes on. You probably know of a few of these sort of skins yourself. I'm not saying they are all necessarily off limits.. I mean, if you can do an AMAZING job on the skin, and can do something that makes it unique compared to all the other clones out there, go for it!

Example E: Unshaded Skins - This one is just a little pet peeve of mine.. I can't STAND IT when I see a skin on here that pretty much has NO form of shading, or any effort put into it... (I'm not referring to the simplistic genre, as I am aware those are another popular fad on here.) Other skins that can fall into this catagory include: Outline skins, Solid color skins, Flat skins, etc. Not only are these skins usually uncreative, and unoriginal, some of them can even be considered spam skins, and could get you into trouble..


Things to remember: Basically, when you make a skin, ask yourself some questions:

- Did I use any textures or parts from someone else's skin, or any textures from the game itself?

- Did I put any form of shading or anything on the skin to make it unique?

- How long did it take me to make this skin?

- Is this skin original and creative?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may or may not need to reconsider the design of the skin before you post it on Planet Minecraft. I mean, its not like its illegal for you to upload superheroes, or teenager skins. It would just really be good for the community if you focused primarily on skins of characters and concepts that haven't been touched upon, or are rarely seen on the site! Also, don't be afraid to step away from the popular concepts, and create skins of your own ideas!

Basically, if you do a search for a cool character thats not necessarily mainstream, and you get this..:
Nothing here."

Do us all a favor, and try to make an attempt of it...


The following section is going to contain any tips given by other skinners in the community. I will be adding these over time, so be sure to check back later! Each tip will have the Planet mc username of the skinner that provided it!

User: Legoskeleton

TIP 1: "It is important to have a clear idea what style you are going for (Minimalistic shading, Blocky, HD, etc..)"


I hope this little guide helped you better understand the skin templates, and helped answer any questions you may have about skinning.


1. Originality is key in skinning. Not only will you be less likely to get into trouble with the staff team here at Planet Minecraft due to an unoriginal skin, You will also be contributing skins players will enjoy seeing on the Planet Minecraft site.

2. Remember to check the rules in regards to skins, and check with a staff member if you think a skin might be breaking the rules. The moderators won't mind if you throw em a pm in regards to a skin. It will also keep you from experiencing any heartache from an unforeseen penalty on your account!

Anyways, if any of you have anything you would like to add, just drop it into the comments section. Whether it be programs you use for skinning, skin concepts you think have been beaten to death, etc. Also, I would appreciate it if any staffers that read this add examples of things that are against the rules in skinning that I may have missed!

Well guys, its been fun setting up this tutorial! I hope you all find it useful. See you in my next submission :P

One last thing: Any image of any skin shown in this guide (Except the Security Guard Mike skin used in the template demonstrations of course) do not belong to me, and I take no credit for any of them whatsoever! If you are the owner of any of the skins shown in this guide, I am not singling you out in any way! Infact some of the skins I have shown have some pretty decent detail. If you do see your skin anywhere in this guide, please let me know in the comments or through pm, and I will give credit as needed. (That is only if the skin IS yours and yours alone, and you have PROOF that you are it's creator..)
CreditThe following users have provided tips for this guide: Legoskeleton

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06/05/2015 10:57 pm
Level 67 : High Grandmaster Fox
Jordanw5432's Avatar
I'm kinda a person that makes unshaded skins. Trust me, if I could I would edit all of them with shade, it's just that I have a terribly difficult time making shaded skins, however, my skins are detailed in ways. I guess that makes me a "noob-pro" when it comes to making skins, IDK. Either way though, this is still a great blog ElsenRykker. Keep up the good work :)
06/07/2015 4:49 pm
Level 45 : Master Skinner
ElsenRykker's Avatar
Thanks! I've been out of skinning for a very long time :/

I lost the computer I used to work with them on. I was able to back up the skins and get them to a back up pc, but the program I used (Paint.NET) isn't compatible with the backup.

I've started to dabble in work with Gimp. Infact I often frequent Smashboards lately, where I've been making icons and campaign cards for the campaigns for the Smash ballot. I plan on trying to pick back up skinning someday... but for now, I've been off doing other things. I wouldn't want to try to do something I'm not into, as that would just produce garbage that no one would enjoy at all.

Your skins look pretty good by the way. Nice job! Anyways, thanks for the comment.
02/12/2015 9:01 pm
Level 45 : Master Skinner
ElsenRykker's Avatar
If a staffer sees this, can they please tell me if there is anything wrong with this tutorial? I would have no idea if it is breaking the rules, because I went by whats in the rules section. If there is some sort of hidden copy of the rules somewhere, I would seriously like to know.
02/11/2015 9:28 am
Level 11 : Journeyman Skinner
ShadyStarlight's Avatar
Can't a blog that's HUGE like this one get you in trouble?
02/12/2015 2:43 pm
Level 45 : Master Skinner
ElsenRykker's Avatar
Not that I'm aware of. There is however a minimum of characters if thats what you were thinking of :o

"Blogs must be at least 350 characters to be posted to prevent some spam.
This is only slightly longer than the first paragraph in these rules."

As for the catagory, it obviously falls under "Tutorials: These are blogs that are meant to teach people something."

The section of the rules in regards to blogs is 7.2 if you wanna read up on it.

Anyways, If there was a limit to the maximum amount of characters allowed in a blog/limit on the size, in my opinion it should be specified in the rules.
02/12/2015 2:50 pm
Level 11 : Journeyman Skinner
ShadyStarlight's Avatar
there is a rule that says that blogs can't be to big: "If you can't find the limit, it's not a blog"
02/12/2015 2:52 pm
Level 11 : Journeyman Skinner
ShadyStarlight's Avatar
Don't get me wrong, I like you're blog, but I don't want you getting banned from planet minecraft, you're stuff is to good for that
02/12/2015 9:00 pm
Level 45 : Master Skinner
ElsenRykker's Avatar
Well I see nothing like that in regards to the blog section at http://www.planetminecraft.com/rules/..

At 7.2... If there is some sorta secondary rules on this site, that is extremely deceptive.. If what you said is a rule, it needs to be on the rules link. I can't/wouldn't know to follow something that isn't there.

The images probably make the blog longer than it actually is anyways.
11/20/2014 11:08 pm
Level 44 : Master Pokemon
lukarikid9001's Avatar
Nice guide!
11/20/2014 11:12 pm
Level 45 : Master Skinner
ElsenRykker's Avatar
Thanks! :P I have actually been working on this guide since yesterday, I've just not had it live. I wanted to make sure it was clear enough, and had as little typos as possible ^_^

Anyways, glad you like it
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