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[Tutorial] How to shade skins!

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avatar Rakqoi
Retired Moderator
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Ninja
1,503
So browsing through the skins list, watching the comments on my rant, and just generally talking to novice skinners, their main issue is not even knowing where to start when they want to shade. So, here I've decided to share my method on shading which is, in my opinion, the most important part of a skin.

WHAT WILL YOU NEED?
All you need for this tutorial is Gimp! You can download it completely free from right here.
http://www.gimp.org/

LET'S GET STARTED!
Alright. We need a skin, right? Let's draw one out. No shading at all, yet, just the semi-limited palette. It helps to keep the colors simple for now.

Qjcynpng

Now we have our simple skin. This is the stage where most people (unfortunately) think it's done and upload it here. But nope, the skin's hardly started. Let's do a bit of shading now...
Take your dodge/burn tool (to get to it, click the little black bulb on a stick icon, or just press shift+D)
Set the "exposure" (it's a little slider bar) to around 50-70. That's what I use, set it to however much shading you want. Now, you can either click the little dodge bubble to switch to it, or the burn bubble to switch back. Dodging is making it lighter, burning is making it darker. Also set the "Range" depending on the brightness of your skin. "Shadows" is for dark skins, "Highlights" is for really light ones, and obviously, "Midtones" is for general/middle shade colors. I used midtones for this skin. For my Clone Trooper skin, I used "Highlights" since it's light.
Make it darker wherever shadows fall, around curves, and on the corners to make it look a bit more 3D. Use dodge to make it lighter wherever direct light shines and reflects. For example, highlights in hair, wrinkles in clothing, etc.
Here's the result of the first step of shading on my skin.

Mjmjpng

Here, I've added more shading on the corners.

vcbnspng

And finally, added highlights and lowlights in the hair.

OeuEpng

Alright. Now as you can see, the head looks much, much better than it did before. Now notice where I shaded at; around the hair line, the corners of each face (front, back, sides, top, etc.) to make it look a bit round, and then around the face. I used dodge and burn to make the eyes stand out more, to make the mouth look a bit better. Also notice how I made underneath the head darker, since it would be shaded.

Now I'm going to go ahead and shade the rest of it using the same technique.

Here's the leg finished. Notice how I made the wrinkles stand out; I made a lighter line, then a darker one under it. Also notice how I made the light shine on the right side of the front of the shoe.

VbXhpng

And the torso finished. Notice how I added the wrinkles again, a light line above a dark one. Also notice where I shaded along the lines of his tank top. Look at how I shaded the shirt that's untucked from the belt. (Also, I added the belt and loose shirt before I shaded it. I forgot to do that at first). Study the shading here.

nWaEppng

Now finally, the arms. This one was pretty simple. Notice how I made vertical lighter lines, then darker ones on the sides of the light ones. I did this to each of the 4 sides. It makes it look a bit more rounded, and keeps it from looking like a single, solid color.

mCYpng

The finished skin!

SiGUpng

fDZhpng

MORE TIPS! YAY!
-Don't use pure black or pure white while using the "midtones" range. You will have to change range to shade them.
-Think of how this would look in real life. Shade accordingly.
-Do not ever use bright or obnoxious colors. They're really annoying, and don't make a good skin.
-You can hold down Ctrl to instantly switch between dodge and burn. It really helps!
-Never use stolen skins, or even pieces of them.
This includes mob skins and steve skins, you steal them from Notch.
-People have different opinions. Personally, I like higher contrast with more shading, while others like less eminent shading. It's a matter of opinion, shade however much suits your own.

Here's the skin that you saw being made here!
http://www.planetminecraft.com/skin/zombie-from-shading-tutorial/

Thanks for reading. If this helped you, return the favor and hit the diamond button! It's just one click, and you have nothing to lose! Help it get noticed so more people can learn how to shade!

-RipClaw
Tags

90 replies

1
09/25/2017 7:01 am
Level 1 : New Explorer
Tirdad
Ok tnx I just don't needed it just wanted to try it.
lol
1
09/15/2017 10:27 am
Level 1 : New Explorer
Tirdad
Please give me the direct link
1
09/17/2017 5:29 am
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Ninja
Rakqoi
What link are you looking for? The GIMP link is listed in the post. If you want a link to the skin, you can find it linked at the bottom of the post.
1
02/07/2016 3:23 pm
Level 1 : New Architect
Tuckermarley
How do you get all those options for Dodge / Burn? i cant see any of them, though, my "Tool options" box is undocked.
1
12/10/2015 9:47 am
Level 25 : Expert Warrior
courtneyroques32
so basically you can shade your hair to move it to the side to see both eyes and then you can move your hair back in its normal position. Cause im using aphmaus latest skin from mystreets her new video of frozen outside or tthe other one and i want to move her hair to the side so i can see if it works, sense i play minecraft dairies modpack server and my eye is covered up with my hair, and its hard for my minecraft roleplay boyfriend to see it
1
03/01/2015 1:36 pm
Level 24 : Expert Architect
ipuro
AMAZING !!!
1
02/17/2015 2:46 pm
Level 12 : Journeyman Fisherman
iSteelersBoyZ
200th Diamond!
1
12/27/2014 12:31 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Vibes
Um well...tbh I think its way to much shading..xD
I wouldn't do this much shading, but I can predict that there would be a better skin for this kind of shading.
Like because it looks like theres noise coming out of it (Agreed with Sneeze7 :P)

Besides that, Pretty good tutorial (Still Helpful In Many Ways)
Baii :3

btw ik its been like 2 years after this tut was out and ik i responded quite late xD
1
12/27/2014 1:22 pm
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Ninja
Rakqoi
This tutorial is very old. irrelevant, and no longer represents my shading technique in the least. I already know what is wrong with this old technique, but I leave this tutorial up for legacy's sake. I have a newer tutorial out, though it too is getting old and no longer represents my technique.
1
12/27/2014 3:50 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Vibes
Btw, do you know any other good skin shading softwares besides Gimp and Paint.net?
1
12/27/2014 3:55 pm
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Ninja
Rakqoi
No need to apologize, I thank you for the criticism.

I use exclusively Gimp for making skins to this day. I've hardly tried anything else since I'm quite happy and used to using Gimp, so I have no reason to switch. So I can't recommend anything else, sorry.
1
12/27/2014 4:07 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Vibes
Lol its fine :P

I guess we can end this convo here, Baii >.<
1
12/27/2014 3:48 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Vibes
Oki I get it now :P
Sorry bud  >.<
1
06/30/2014 10:33 pm
Level 29 : Expert Robot
TheEnderCat5
THANK YOU SOOOOO FRIGGIN MUCH!!!! (lol now i know what dodge and burn does)
Finally going to make "good" skins now.
1
06/28/2014 6:27 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
rasor
I cant take the new shaded skin i made and upload it to minecraft :(
1
06/07/2014 7:36 pm
Level 1 : New Miner
Mine Master 01
Thank you for this tutorial! It really helped! (:
1
05/24/2014 11:46 am
Level 16 : Journeyman Explorer
OptimisticCookie
This is one of the most confusing tutorials I've ever seen.
1
05/24/2014 3:09 pm
Level 31 : Artisan Pixel Painter
EmeraldModule
Agreed, is there one you've found simple?
1
12/31/2013 10:35 pm
Level 27 : Expert Network
Descripted
This looks really realistic. I mean, I wouldn't use it, but if you were making a skin for an adventure map or something, since they don't have to be perfect; i'd use this. nice.
1
12/17/2013 8:02 pm
Level 31 : Artisan Pixel Puncher
k-crafter077
IMM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CONFUSED?!?!?!?!?!
1
12/15/2013 1:20 am
Level 1 : New Miner
ErnieRar3
nope I failed hard so confusing you need to like skype with me about it cuz it so confusing!!!
1
01/18/2014 11:48 pm
Level 1 : New Explorer
Nina Gillespie
1
12/05/2013 7:31 pm
Level 22 : Expert Goblin
G4M3 4DD1CT
Somehow, all shading tutorials seem like rocket science to me...
1
10/20/2014 6:42 pm
Level 7 : Apprentice Artist
Marker Juice
Same
1
02/04/2014 1:48 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Hunter
VelociraptorJaws
Same here!
1
06/04/2014 6:57 am
Level 31 : Artisan Artist
Anxi
well same here too!
1
06/21/2014 9:56 am
Level 2 : Apprentice Toast
TH3GHOSTWAFFL3
Same here too!
1
01/13/2015 7:26 pm
Level 12 : Journeyman Narwhal
WigglyPuff
Same here too!
1
11/09/2013 12:21 pm
Level 24 : Expert Taco
Kingof100
This was very useful
1
10/17/2013 4:03 pm
Level 22 : Expert Network
1234560
This is a very useful tutorial, I was good at shading but wanted a different style.
More like Deadlox's new skin (I spoiled it but it's true).
1
05/28/2013 6:30 am
Level 32 : Artisan Geek
PPG
in gimp i cant how to get the mc skin palet how?
1
05/27/2013 3:07 am
Level 10 : Journeyman Pixel Puncher
toddybear101
Can you make a skin that is transparent so people can do it on websites (instead of downloading gimp) like novaskin
1
05/07/2013 6:54 pm
Level 7 : Apprentice Explorer
Aptrotta
That's really good. Going to use this on my next skin
1
04/23/2013 6:29 pm
Level 25 : Expert Spleefer
Wizardofdoom
This is really going to help me! Thanks!
1
04/15/2013 10:22 am
Level 65 : High Grandmaster Senpai
Ludicrous
Thank you. I hope my skins get better.
1
03/23/2013 12:24 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Explorer
AppelPi
I'll...I'll TRY!!!
1
02/13/2013 5:15 pm
Level 1 : New Explorer
Alpha_Beta
Thanks, that really helped!
1
01/27/2013 8:34 pm
Level 17 : Journeyman Dragonborn
jjguy555
I've been searching for an hour for a tutorial like this. One thing DIAMOND FO' YOU
1
12/24/2012 1:28 am
Level 6 : Apprentice Miner
bandito7799
ok i downloaded gimp now how do i open the page
1
12/21/2012 11:01 pm
Level 26 : Expert Creeper
Monkay
Thanks helped me alot
1
11/28/2012 11:23 am
Level 9 : Apprentice Dolphin
NicoleSaintClaire
can u make a skin for me?
1
11/22/2012 11:03 pm
Level 32 : Artisan Pixel Puncher
FocusLight
3 words:

Diamond for you! XD
1
10/31/2012 2:54 am
Level 50 : Grandmaster Goblin
Gibu
What brush size do you use?
1
10/01/2012 5:34 pm
Level 7 : Apprentice Skinner
starzz
sorry to sound like a noob but how do i change the range??? what do i click on to get to the part to make it highlight, midtones, etc.
1
09/27/2012 6:30 pm
Level 9 : Apprentice Architect
ExPk55
that was a good work!
thanks for helping!!
1
08/07/2012 8:18 pm
Level 1 : New Explorer
litenex
very great tutorial it tought me how to shade within a few minutes diamond for u =D
1
07/26/2012 10:41 am
Level 20 : Expert Narwhal
Spyronicle
Wow this is an awesome tutorial. You should enter it in minetorials contest *if you haven't already*
1
07/26/2012 10:59 am
Level 66 : High Grandmaster Ninja
Rakqoi
This is an old one which isn't very good. My new one is much better, and I entered it in the contest. You can see the new tutorial via my profile.
1
10/22/2012 10:10 am
Level 10 : Journeyman Skinner
ze_minecrafterz 101
hey can u make a TUT of shading with paril's MCskin3D please i use that skinning program and i have NO idea how to shade with it here is the link to the MCskin3D

http://www.planetminecraft.com/mod/mcskin3d/
1
07/19/2012 6:07 am
Level 5 : Apprentice Explorer
xunzhe
Really awesome tutorial i can finaly start making some decent skins and by far i think ur tutorial is one of the best. Diamonds for u :D!

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