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Photoshop Skinning Tutorials

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Article based on an original post by Halie Satanus, imported as part of the Scriptorium project from this archived copy.


Ok first off your going to need these little babies. Vercingetorix's PAK Extractor

And this will allow you to view tga. files with windows, you want the Nvidia utilities and the thumbnail viewer.

A guide to skinning in Photoshop is a huge undertaking, that's why there isn't one and while I'll do as much as I can when I can, it would be nice if other members of the TWC modding community chipped in with their own contributions. if anyone does please keep images at 640x480 to avoid stretching.

Starting Out

So something simple to start with:
1. using the marquee tool pull a box around the area you want to work on.
2. add a layer, this is so you can work on a layer above the original image, and as you'll see later drop the opacity when you need to.


1. paint the boxed area with the paint brush any colour you like.
2. Add some simple shadows with the burn tool, if you can't see the burn tool right click over the area it is there. notice along the top of the window I have it set to range;highlights, Exposure 7%, this will make the shadows subtle and easy to manage.


1.Use the Dodge tool to make some highlights above your shadows. Range;Highlights, Exposure 6%.
2. Along the top of the window go to Filters, in the drop down menu select noise, this is the easiest way to add texture to your units clothes.i have the slider at 2.03, Gaussian,Monochromatic,


1. Drop the opacity, click on the blue arrow and a slider will appear.
2. now you can see your original image underneath, while holding down Alt use the marquee tool to pull a box around the belt. now right click over the image and in the pop up select, select inverse, now you are able to work on the area outside the box.


Now use the erase tool to rub out the area over the belt and turn the opacity back up.


Next you want to merge your images together. follow the picture.


Now you have one flat image.All you need to do is go to files at the top of the window and save it,in the Nvidia pop up use the settings shown.



OK that's it for now, not too exciting I know but I just wanted to kick this off as gently as possible, and show a few basic tools.

Adding Texture

OK in this part I'll show you how to add a texture you have copied from the net. use Google images to hunt for textures, cloth, silk, patterns, diamonds, tartan,anything you might want to use, I'm going to use


1.Use the Move tool to move your texture over to the skin, click and drag.
2.Its better if you texture is to big rather than to small, to resize your texture select the Marquee tool, right click over your image and scroll down to free transform, a box will appear around your texture now resize it to the position you want. when you have positioned your texture click on the move tool, a box will appear, click apply.Your texture may be slightly out of focus, go to filters at the top of the screen and scroll down to sharpen, select sharpen.

Now for a simple technique that you will use a lot in skinning.

I want to add a part of the texture to the top of the sleeve, use the Marquee toll to select an area on your texture larger than the sleeve area,

you need it larger because the sleeve stretches on the model, now with the move tool selected and holding down Alt drag your cursor over to the top of the sleeve, you should now have a new marquee selected area,


Free transform so it fits over the top of the sleeve.


If you don't like the colour you can change it, there are two ways to do this, along the top of the widow go to Image/adjustments/ you can use colour balance or Hue and saturation, i'm going to use hue and saturation, just move the sliders until your happy, sometimes you may have to save as close as you can to what you want and then repeat the process, it's a bit trial and error.


At this point I've dropped the opacity as shown before so I can make a triangle at the front of the skirt from the belt line to the hem, this is because the skirt stretches in this area.Use the Polygonal lasso for this its a marquee tool (under the square one)I've added noise and shadow as shown above.


Now you can repeat the shadow and belt parts as before or add parts from other units and save as it is.

Making Buttons

As I've got this texture open I'll show you how to make buttons for his tunic, this is a simple technique which can be used in many ways ie; adding details to armour.

first add a new layer. OK right click over the Marquee tool select the circle, now make a circle and paint it grey.

1.Double click on your layer, this will bring up your Layer style box.
2.Select Bevel and Emboss.
3.Select pillow emboss.


These are the setting I use to make a button but play around with them depending on what you are doing.


As shown before hold down Alt and use the move tool to create multiple buttons. then merge and save as shown in part 1.

I've added a few touches to the finished skin but I haven't used ant techniques I other than the ones I've shown. just remember this is a basic guide if I tried to show you every detail it would take too long.


And other than the shield this one uses the same techniques to.


Alpha Channels.

Using Alpha Channels to erase parts of a unit.

1. select channels.
2. select alpha channel.
3.paint this area black.and your shield will no longer be visible in game.


Simple reflections

Its actually just as easy to make gloss files, but this is a simple way to make reflections.

Open your skin, Place a screen shot or any pic over your image, where you want the reflection. Go to filters/blurs/guassian blurs, blur the image. Go to filters/blurs/motion blur, blur the image.

I haven't specified any setting because it depends on your image and where you put it.

Drop the opacity, and remove any unwanted areas with the erasure. I added a bit of noise and did a bit of light and shadow work with dodge and burn as shown above.


I made this from the pic below in about the same time as it takes to make a gloss file.



A gloss effect consists of two files, a black alpha tga.dds, and a white gloss. tga, make copies of an existing set and rename them the same as your unit.

Open up the tga of your unit. Open your two renamed files. 1.using the marquee toll, hold the cursor over your unit and right click, chose select all.


2. using the move tool move the unit over to the black tga.dds. file with the alpha channel selected. then paint black all the bits that you don't want the gloss file to affect. save as interpolated alpha, as shown above.


3. now the tricky bit. remove any of the original white image. repeat step 2 but this time move the black tga over to the white gloss.tga. now go to the top of the page and chose select/colour range, your cursor should look like a pipet, select the black area in the white gloss tga. ok, and hit delete, you should now have a blank bg with you image on it.


4. double click here.
5. select here.
6. white.
7. reduce the opacity.
8. merge visible.
9. oh there is no 9, umm save, that's it, test in game.

Initial content for this article was based on: TWC Thread

Posted here with the permission of the original author: Halie Satanus

Please note that the content may have been altered since import. Subsequent amendments are welcome but are not the responsibility of the original author.
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