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Tips on Making Skins

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avatar Adebar
Level 39 : Artisan Cowboy
24
Alright, I've said this several times on the MC forums, and I figured I should go ahead and make a blog post, so I can just put it down instead of repeating myself so often.

So, here are several tips for beginners to become better at making skins:

1. Use detail. It's VERY important to add details to your skins, even in areas that are generally not seen, such as the Top Body, or Bottom Body. It's even more important to add details to the parts that are visible. Belts, bracers, scars, pockets, anything. Details make skins look like there is more effort put into them, and make them look MUCH better.

2. Use SkinEdit or, if you can afford it, Photoshop. SkinEdit has a thread on the MC forums, here: www.minecraftforum.net/topic/3796-skinedit-new-version-13-april-alpha-3-pre-7/. Now, if you can't afford Photoshop, Paint.net and Gimp may be possible alternatives, but I tend to find that SkinEdit is easier to use, due to being completely dedicated to skins. Using Minershoes is fine, if you're just starting out. It's what I did. However, Minershoes does not have a shading tool, and it suffers greatly because of it. It is also an online tool, which adds another handicap. And PLEASE don't use Skincraft.

3. Use shading. SkinEdit, Photoshop, Gimp, and Paint.net have Dodge and Burn tools, which greatly affect the looks of a skin. There are many ways to shade, however. Many of my earlier requests went overboard with shading, and look messy/rough. I've tried to move away from that, using more controlled and precise shading. Instead of dragging the Dodge and Burn, if you're using SkinEdit, just use left/right click, and get precise shading.

It's also important to shade for a reason, as I learned myself. Shade where a shirt overlaps a belt, where the elbows bend, where the knees will get scraped on the ground, and other places that would have folds and darkness. More often then not, I use the shading tools to texture, not to shade. When texturing, make it look like the texture you're trying to emulate. For example, metal may be slightly darker on the edges, and gets progressively lighter as it goes to the center.

4. Upload original content. Don't steal content, sample content (without permission), or anything in that area. Also, don't upload skins using an 'Armory' tool, that takes pre-made parts and mixes them together.

5. Take your time. It's important to make the skin correctly, not quickly. I've rushed skins and they turn out looking badly. I wish I had spent more time on the shading and details, and made them MUCH better.

6. Be original. Don't make a Creeper in a suit, or skins like that. Mob skins are sometimes looked down upon for either not being good, or being unoriginal. If somebody asks you to do one, respond with this picture: cdn3.knowyourmeme.com/i/000/101/781/original/Y0UJC.png?1298581940. Steve, Herobrine, and Honeydew skins are also fairly unoriginal, since they're considered edits/samples.

7. Taking part in contests is a good way to judge your own skills and gain popularity. If you see a skin contest, contemplate if you could make a good, original skin for it. If you can, do it. Make sure you take your time and do it correctly. PMC is beginning to host contests, so it might be smart to check in on the Community Challenges section of the forums every once in a while.

8. Reference pics are good pics. Try to get a picture to get details from, and other important factors. It's especially important when taking requests, because the requester may have something in mind other than what you might. Ask them to supply a reference pic. If you have a sudden spark of inspiration however, that's embedded in your mind, there's no need for a pic. Many good skins don't require pics, but if you're making a character from a movie, game, etc. it would be smart to find a pic.

9. Practice and train. The best way to get better is to practice techniques, and making skins. There's only so much tutorials can do. You have to get into it and work your way up.

10. ABOVE ALL ELSE: Enjoy your work. I began to get overwhelmed with requests, which lead to me shutting down my skin shop, due to losing the joy from making skins and having to spend too much time on skins. Don't let the same happen to you. Only take requests you want to do, or only make skins you want to make. It's more important to be happy then to be popular. If you think it would make you popular if you made an Assassin's Creed skin, but don't want to make it, DON'T MAKE IT. It'll help you in the long run to do the best requests, or do the best ideas you have.
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whats wrong with skin craft
  • Adebar
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Cowboy
  • November 7, 2011, 1:17 pm
It is, essentially, an incomplete tool, lacking many important features. However, it gives the user the ability to pick from a selection of pre-made parts, which, in my opinion, is a bad thing. It sucks the creativity, originality, and fun out of skin making.
nova skin is a pretty good skin maker, i use it all the time
  • Adebar
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Cowboy
  • October 19, 2011, 10:06 am
To be honest, I've only heard of Novaskin once or twice, and have never used it. I forgot to mention it.

If you could post a link, I'll try it, and add it in.
  • Adebar
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Cowboy
  • October 19, 2011, 10:32 am
Alright, I messed around with it, and it doesn't seem much better than Minershoes.

It has the armory feature, which is more of a downside in my opinion. It also looks very similar to Minershoes, but has you drawing on the skin, so it isn't the grid. That might make it simpler to see what you're making, but the rest of the tools display is a lot more complex than Minershoes.

The auto-hue bar on the bottom is a double-edged sword. It can kill a skin if used incorrectly, or make it easier to change a skin.

Overall, I'd say that SkinEdit or the picture editing software would still be better. I couldn't see a Dodge and Burn tool or an Auto-Noise tool. It would be much better if it had either of those. As it is, I'd say it's better than Minershoes, though.
  • iTried2
  • Level 43
  • Master Unicorn
  • October 19, 2011, 11:16 pm
I honestly don't really ever use that thing with the pre-made items and I do my shading by first making the skins on Skincraft then adding shading on SkinEdit but that's my way and opinion :)
thats fine, we all have our own opinions
  • iTried2
  • Level 43
  • Master Unicorn
  • October 19, 2011, 12:32 am
There is nothing wrong with Skincraft
  • Adebar
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Cowboy
  • October 19, 2011, 6:15 am
Except you aren't making the skins, it has bad shading, it's unoriginal content (so you can't upload it here), and the skins usually turn out looking crappy.

If you don't have the skills to make a skin without using Skincraft, by all means use it. But it's better to practice your skills and get better, so you can make that skin. Or just request it from somebody that can make it.

Most of the skin-makers that have made a large amount of skins dislike Skincraft a lot, because it's basically a cheating tool.
  • Adebar
  • Level 39
  • Artisan Cowboy
  • October 18, 2011, 12:27 pm
Yes, I know Gimp is much better than SkinEdit, but SkinEdit is simpler and has most of the tools required to make good skins.

I tried making a skin on Gimp, and it takes a lot of getting used to, and control with all the tools. I'm sure you can make VERY good skins with Gimp, but I made this blog mainly to help people starting out.
  • Sneeze7
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 67
  • High Grandmaster Hero
  • October 18, 2011, 12:18 pm
Skinedits shading is not good compared to gimps, on gimp you cam have opacity, bigger brushes also smudge tool. What i do is that i make my skin without any shades and then do all the shades in gimp
  • XSSheep
  • Level 68
  • High Grandmaster Pixel Puncher
  • October 18, 2011, 8:37 pm
You don't really need brushes for skins, all you need is a pencil tool and a wide range of colours. SkinEdit is pretty handy because it let's you see the skin as what it would look like in-game too, because there's no point making a skin if it looks shitty in-game.
  • Emma5000
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 22
  • Expert Miner
  • October 18, 2011, 11:04 am
nice tips =)

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