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  • Mods/Skins

    I think that I am interested in getting into modding and skinning. The only problem is that I dont know jack!!!

    If anyone else has any idea of a website or something that has an easy to fallow tutorial where I can start from scratch I want you to post it here.

    Any help will be appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Mods/Skins

    Modding and skinning are two very, very different things. Modding is not something you can do on your own unless you're very talented; you need coders, mappers, modellers, skinners, animators, public relations people, web hosting, etc. Skinning is much more defined; you're just making skins for 3d models.

    If you want to learn how to make mods, your best bet is to learn C++. Once you know C++, you can start off by making little tweaks to existing games. Then you want to learn how to map, and you can start making mods like Garry's Mod for HL2 or TurboHL or Rocket Crowbar 2 for Half-Life. Once you can map and code (not easy at all, most people spend their lives learning to do one), you need to learn to model, skin, and animate to get the rest of your mod finished, plus sound and stuff.

    So that's tough.

    Skinning's easier since it's more limited. Your best bet is to buy Photoshop, or download The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). Photoshop's expensive, GIMP is free. Learn how to use it, and then you can get ready to start to learn how to begin to get good at skinning. To skin something, you need a model first. I could loan you some or something, but you shouldn't have too much trouble finding them because many skinning tutorials come with sample models. You'll probably need a 3d package, since at the very least you want to see your skin on the model and at most you'll sometimes need to unwrap the model first (which takes a lot MORE learning). Free software is pretty hard to come by. Your best bet is Maya Personal Learning Edition, XSI for Half-Life 2, or Milkshape3d. I'd recommend Maya PLE, but either of those 3 should be sufficient for learning how to skin.

    Basically, what skinning is is taking a 3d model, laying it out flat, and painting color onto it. The flat thing that represents the model is called a UV map, and it's what you'll paint on in order to make the model look good. There are other things, like normal and specular maps, that you'll want to learn about much later, but first you'll have to learn how to do a basic skin.

    For the actual skinning itself, once you've learned how to use The GIMP/Photoshop, you import your UV map from the model into one of those 2 programs, and you start painting the skin on. Typically you'll isolate the wireframe that you have (the very base of the UV map) and stick it on a seperate layer. Set this layer to "screen" if your frame is white, and "multiply" if your frame is black. Now you can turn this layer on and off, and you can paint your colors under it.

    You'll want to start off skinning non-organic things, because people and animals are much tougher. A good rule of thumb is to try to do everything inside the program while you're still learning, because that way you get good at using all the tools available to you. Creating everything from scratch, though, is tough. This website has very good tutorials for metal and a few for wood and stuff. Your best bet, though, is simply to get very familiar with whatever editing program you're using. There's no substitute for familiarity when it comes to figuring out how to achieve an effect.

    Once you've made a few skins from scratch, you'll want to start working with photographs. You can use photographs as basically your entire skin (for example, a picture of a wood plank that you copy and edit a bunch to get a wood crate) or for very small touches. For example, you might take a picture of a rusted wall, select only the rust, and use just that selection (not the stuff inside it) as an outline for where you want to manipulate the color on your original texture, to get a random pattern.

    Once you've gotten practice both with hand-painting and photos, then it's just a matter of more practice. Typically the best texture painters are good painters in real life, so it pays to learn things like light and shadow and highlights and color theory and things like that.

    Last of all, when you're confident with your texturing skills, you email your favorite Half-Life 2 mod or something and ask them if they need any help. And there you go!

    There really aren't any helpful tutorials for making your own mod, because it's so difficult the only people that do it can basically do it without any help. If you're dead set on making your own, get an IRC client, connect to Gamesurge, and join the channel #naturalselection. People like Fam, tankefugl, and randomnine who hang out there are people who have made entire mods by themselves. They'll be happy to help, but you'll still have to learn C++ and all that.

    Tutorials that will help you with skinning are much easier to come by. I linked that metal one already, here are a few more:

    Texture Archive

    Lots of tutorials about character texturing and texture setup and stuff

    CG Talk forums, great for help or tutorials

    Texturing cloth.

    Very useful book for beginners; your library might have it.


    • #3
      Re: Mods/Skins

      Thanks for the info, Tycho. I use an old build of Maya 5 at work to crank out simple signs, surfaces, and text. Been trying to get more into complex modelling but custom skins are the hardest to pull off.
      In game handle: Steel Scion


      • #4
        Re: Mods/Skins

        Mapping wasn't that hard for me to pull off. I just kept at it and studied decompiled maps and websites. There are tons of websites for both HL2 mapping and modding.


        • #5
          Re: Mods/Skins

          Hmm.... thanks. So I think I want to start skinning for CSS. Would the same programs be good for that? I have seen others take weapons, like a grenade, and turn them into Axe cans and stuff. I was kinda interested in doing stuff like that, I figured I could just take an existing weapon and make a few changes to make it something of my own.

          Thanks though I can learn a ton of stuff from what you have given me. :)


          • #6
            Re: Mods/Skins

            Turning a grenade into an Axe can is much more than skinning. It also entails modelling, UV unwrapping, and exporting.

            If you want to learn how to model, you should download XSI for HL2 or Maya Personal Learning Edition (XSI will actually work for CSS right out of the box, so that's pretty good). You'll have to learn one of these programs, or something else like 3d Studio Max. Once you've learned how to model, you'll have to learn how to unwrap the UVs on the model, and after THAT you can skin it like I talked about in my first post.

            Then there's exporting, which by the time you get through the rest of it will be pretty easy :D You can just poke around on the Valve Developer Wiki to learn how to do that.


            • #7
              Re: Mods/Skins

              Hate to bring this thread all the way back from 2006, but if I'm interested in re-skinning BF2/BF2 mod models I would need a 3d program to open said models in, correct?


              • #8
                Re: Mods/Skins

                first things first: get the expressed written consent of the original modder.




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