Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi all.

I want to get into making my own skins for planes. In particular I just want to make like fantasy mercenary skins/decals/factions/nations etc. but I haven't the slightest on how to do this. My current project is to have an air superiority gray F-106 with just some basic black custom number decals and a custom mercenary emblem.

Once I figure this out I would love to skin mod base game aircraft such as the F-4C but that is a whole other can of worms because the files aren't even stored in the same place as the .ini so I'm at a loss.

Any help appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best way to do it is to get yourself Photoshop, or failing that GIMP ( I use gimp mainly for Decal making ) and find  a template , there are loads in the downloads section , and experiment , some skins are easier to do than others though , especially the old ones as those tend to be  less advanced as models, and the skin template structure is very basic , however, they are good to experiment with !! and dont expect outstanding results straight off , however if you keep at it, you will find ( as I do ) a great deal of satisfaction , even if you are only doing the skins for your own personal use . 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget that it's $239.88 USD for a year on Photoshop (it can be paid monthly). I once had the exe for earlier versions of Photoshop but they don't work anymore (sucks because I paid the full 700 for it), but GIMP is at least FREE. There are other programs but I stick with Photoshop due to familiarity and it's a good program, and cheaper for the yearly plan than buying the program outright (which I would do again if the option was there) as they used to do. Anyways I'm rambling and skinning isn't hard, you just have to find out how things work and you'll figure it out. I'd first look in the Downloads section for a template which you can use (or if somebody has one if you ask) to start your project. If not you may have to make your own if one doesn't exist, which is a project on its own. There are plenty of tutorials online in how to use the programs that you may pick. Note there are other programs, which may be around as well, as well as picking our brains of those who do skinning on this site.

Edited by EricJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, EricJ said:

Don't forget that it's $239.88 USD for a year on Photoshop (it can be paid monthly). I once had the exe for earlier versions of Photoshop but they don't work anymore (sucks because I paid the full 700 for it), but GIMP is at least FREE. There are other programs but I stick with Photoshop due to familiarity and it's a good program, and cheaper for the yearly plan than buying the program outright (which I would do again if the option was there) as they used to do. Anyways I'm rambling and skinning isn't hard, you just have to find out how things work and you'll figure it out. I'd first look in the Downloads section for a template which you can use (or if somebody has one if you ask) to start your project. If not you may have to make your own if one doesn't exist, which is a project on its own. There are plenty of tutorials online in how to use the programs that you may pick. Note there are other programs, which may be around as well, as well as picking our brains of those who do skinning on this site.

Is GIMP really that much of a downgrade from photoshop? I am really not in the mood to spend $240 just for something I may or may not continue as well as have no experience with if you can understand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not experienced with GIMP so I'm assuming it is just as powerful as a tool (and popular despite the fact that it's free) as Photoshop. Oh I understand. I still do skins (havent't done any recently due to lack of motivation and other things going on) here and there but I can understand where you're coming from. I don't mind paying the $240 because it's worth it for me. But I'd suggest you start with GIMP and go from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, EricJ said:

Don't forget that it's $239.88 USD for a year on Photoshop (it can be paid monthly).

Eric,

   I pay $10 a month to rent two copies of Photoshop, plus updates, etc...  I rent it from Adobe.

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, EricJ said:

I'm not experienced with GIMP so I'm assuming it is just as powerful as a tool (and popular despite the fact that it's free) as Photoshop. Oh I understand. I still do skins (havent't done any recently due to lack of motivation and other things going on) here and there but I can understand where you're coming from. I don't mind paying the $240 because it's worth it for me. But I'd suggest you start with GIMP and go from there.

Fair enough. Now what about modding base planes? I know their data is in the .CAT files but I'm not sure about if there is a need for file structure retention or if I can just whip up a new skin folder in the plane directory and it just works.

Observing how the mod plane directories are setup I would assume I'd need a textureset.ini and decals.ini along with the jpegs of the various parts of the plane but I'm ignorant as to what to configure these inis to

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I find Gimp awkward to use for skinning , however there is I believe a tutorial in the forums on how to utilise it , as I say I only use it for making decals , also , the other issue is, most of the templates you will find in the downloads section are in photoshop format , and as I have never converted one to Gimp , I cant comment on how easy or hard that may be , as for new skins , I dont understand why you want to mod the aircraft data if you are just making a new skin ,  that is whole different ballgame , modding data can be .....problematic if you mess around with it too much , unless you know what you are doing . So if you want to make a new skin, it is best and simplest if you just copy and paste an existing skin folder, re name it , for example if you have a skin in the aircraft called , for arguments sake ,  USN Grey , and you wish to make it a green aircraft ( I am really simplifying this , so dont think I am being condescending here ) just copy and paste the folder , and rename it to USN Green , and re name the textureset.ini file in that skin folder, from USN Grey, to USN Green, so when you fire up the sim , it will be showing as a different skin option , Then do yourself a new skin , and like majik , you will have done your first very basic skin. I hope this makes sense , I am maybe not being very clear . but once you get the hang of it its a simple as breathing , and the more you do it the more it becomes second nature , and is really easy to acomplish. However you do need to get a handle on the program you wish to use to create the skin in the first place ............Oh and by the way it can be VERY time consuming , depending on how complicated a skin you wish to make is , and depending on how many meshes are involved . If you get really stuck , drop me a pm and I shall try to explain more clearly .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, trotski00 said:

Personally I find Gimp awkward to use for skinning , however there is I believe a tutorial in the forums on how to utilise it , as I say I only use it for making decals , also , the other issue is, most of the templates you will find in the downloads section are in photoshop format , and as I have never converted one to Gimp , I cant comment on how easy or hard that may be , as for new skins , I dont understand why you want to mod the aircraft data if you are just making a new skin ,  that is whole different ballgame , modding data can be .....problematic if you mess around with it too much , unless you know what you are doing . So if you want to make a new skin, it is best and simplest if you just copy and paste an existing skin folder, re name it , for example if you have a skin in the aircraft called , for arguments sake ,  USN Grey , and you wish to make it a green aircraft ( I am really simplifying this , so dont think I am being condescending here ) just copy and paste the folder , and rename it to USN Green , and re name the textureset.ini file in that skin folder, from USN Grey, to USN Green, so when you fire up the sim , it will be showing as a different skin option , Then do yourself a new skin , and like majik , you will have done your first very basic skin. I hope this makes sense , I am maybe not being very clear . but once you get the hang of it its a simple as breathing , and the more you do it the more it becomes second nature , and is really easy to acomplish. However you do need to get a handle on the program you wish to use to create the skin in the first place ............Oh and by the way it can be VERY time consuming , depending on how complicated a skin you wish to make is , and depending on how many meshes are involved . If you get really stuck , drop me a pm and I shall try to explain more clearly .

Would you do the same for base game aircraft as they are all mixed together in any random .CAT file? Like say just create a new folder in the same folder that has just the .ini in it since it doesn't have everything else there?

Also, when I tried tinkering with an F-106 skin, I wanted it to have no decals or nation markings whatsoever, and yet for whatever reason it put Russian stars on it. I'm not sure what causes this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

if I can just whip up a new skin folder in the plane directory and it just works.

yes you can....if you make new folder say      106 Green

textureset .ini in the folder must have same name..

ie

Name=106 Green
Nation=
Squadron=
StartDefaultDate=
Specular=0.300000
Glossiness=0.200000
Reflection=0.000000

...when you drop that new folder in F106 main folder and start game...it automatically adds the skin name to the planes main ini (not the data,.ini)   F106.ini for example.

Edited by russouk2004
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Geary said:

Eric,

   I pay $10 a month to rent two copies of Photoshop, plus updates, etc...  I rent it from Adobe.

  

I went ahead and quoted as that's the highest you can pay. I know renting it is cheap but I went with the yearly option since I use it so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will do so because the decals.ini are giving the skin instructions to display the markings , have you downloaded any of the skins on Combat ace at all , as the ones that come with the out of the box sim, are all in the Cat directories , and you would need to extract the whole lot , to see what you are working with , it may be simpler for you to download an actual aircraft , from here , as it should then all be laid out in the correct order , so you can see how the file structures work .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, A48Racing said:

Is GIMP really that much of a downgrade from photoshop? I am really not in the mood to spend $240 just for something I may or may not continue as well as have no experience with if you can understand.

Not really. I'm not an expert but I can get by with Gimp just fine. Also, the Lod viewer helps a lot!

I JG52.jpg

I JG52.jpg

I JG52.jpg

I JG52.jpg

II JG26.jpg

II JG26.jpg

II JG26.jpg

II JG26.jpg

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you can see superb results can be acheived with Gimp, which is FREE   But it does come down to personal preference , I do still believe GIMP is more complicated to use, but that may just be my perception , but free is good !! another useful tool is Paint.net , which is also free , and I find better than windows on board paint programme , other VERY VERY VERY useful tools are Mues tool box , which is available here on Combat Ace , in the downloads section , and therefore is.........Wait for it............FREE             and is an indispensable set of tools for ALL modders and skinners alike ,  also read the how to do stuff guides in the forums, there are a lot of very useful guides and hints , that will send you off on your merry way rejoicing, and you will be banging out new skins before you know it !! Finally if in doubt ask , you may be told in some cases to go and look it up in the forums , because we encourage you and any new member to do this. knowledge is power .

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, trotski00 said:

As you can see superb results can be acheived with Gimp, which is FREE   But it does come down to personal preference , I do still believe GIMP is more complicated to use, but that may just be my perception , but free is good !! another useful tool is Paint.net , which is also free , and I find better than windows on board paint programme , other VERY VERY VERY useful tools are Mues tool box , which is available here on Combat Ace , in the downloads section , and therefore is.........Wait for it............FREE             and is an indispensable set of tools for ALL modders and skinners alike ,  also read the how to do stuff guides in the forums, there are a lot of very useful guides and hints , that will send you off on your merry way rejoicing, and you will be banging out new skins before you know it !! Finally if in doubt ask , you may be told in some cases to go and look it up in the forums , because we encourage you and any new member to do this. knowledge is power .

Lol I guess you gotta make FREE that noticeable :lol:

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Legacy CS 2 photoshop is FREE also and more than enough for skinning

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@A48Racing - You do seem to be wanting to run before you walk. So just enjoy playing the game, adding a few mods to learn the file structure and, trust me, it will soon become clear and second nature. 

I started by playing around with the decals.ini to put stock decals where they shouldn't go but this game/sim really took off for me when I taught myself how to make my own decals and skinning soon followed although I often save time by overpainting national insignia and adding my own either directly onto the skin textures or by decals. You'll learn a hell of a lot just by downloading a template(s) (like sundowner's Phantom templates) and seeing how they work.

GIMP is absolutely fine to start with. Indeed, 12 years later, I've never felt the need to move on to something better and for decals it is quite simple and very fast if you set your default image (in preferences) as a transparency.

https://combatace.com/forums/topic/76701-making-decals-using-gimp/?tab=comments#comment-609704

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Spinners said:

@A48Racing - You do seem to be wanting to run before you walk. So just enjoy playing the game, adding a few mods to learn the file structure and, trust me, it will soon become clear and second nature. 

I started by playing around with the decals.ini to put stock decals where they shouldn't go but this game/sim really took off for me when I taught myself how to make my own decals and skinning soon followed although I often save time by overpainting national insignia and adding my own either directly onto the skin textures or by decals. You'll learn a hell of a lot just by downloading a template(s) (like sundowner's Phantom templates) and seeing how they work.

GIMP is absolutely fine to start with. Indeed, 12 years later, I've never felt the need to move on to something better and for decals it is quite simple and very fast if you set your default image (in preferences) as a transparency.

https://combatace.com/forums/topic/76701-making-decals-using-gimp/?tab=comments#comment-609704

 

 

Trust me, I've modded the hell out of the base game and even done some total conversion mods.

What baffles me is modding base game aircraft because I am still not certain about how file structure works with those since everything is hidden away in those neat little .cat files. I find myself thinking do I extract this? where does it go after I extract it? will the file being in another place screw with the file structure and I'll have a vantablack F-4 forever?

I pointed out the F-106 first as I thought I'd use a mod plane to gauge my skills and then move to fiddling with other things once I got more info, since all of everything is in plane (ehehe) sight.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just pick a cat file with an aircraft in it , make a folder somewhere you know that is convenient and easy to find  , then extract all the files of the aircraft in question ......Lets for arguments sake pick the A4 Skyhawk as that is probably the first one you will come across ,  you will end up with a metric fuck ton of files , that will be cock pit files ,  for the different versions of the A4  , skin files and all the other gubbins need to make the whole shooting match operate , then look at all the files , sort them into tc corresponding folders , and you will have all the stuff you need to do your thing.........However , as has now been suggested to you about 2 or 3 times , there is an easier way , ie, just go to the downloads section of this very site , find an aircraft you are interested in , (That is an add on aircraft, of which there are a plethora of , not a a skin file only , download a complete aircraft ) .  Then look at the file structure , and it will all become clear how it all works , its actually quite easy , if I can do it , and I'm an ancient ground pounding grunt , I am sure you can then figure out the structure , where everything goes , and will be able to work from that starting point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume you do actually have the CAT extractor dont you ? 

Edited by trotski00

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, trotski00 said:

I assume you do actually ahve the CAT extractor dont you ? 

I do, I've used it once or twice for .ini editing, but not skin modding. Also it seems some .lods can't be extracted which is weird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you cant extract lods    PERIOD !! ....they are locked to most common mortals , and new lods can only be made by those in the community who commune with evil spirits , and who have access to such arcane and stupidly expensive programs such as 3DS MAX , so unless you are a millionaire , forget about lods !! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TK intentionally locked the LODs due to piracy issues and the like from what I remember.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By simonmiller416


      View File NKorea People's Air Force New Skin for MIG-29S(By TMF)
      TMF's MIGs as a famous great work, I don't need to link original mod, right?
      Thanks TMF!
       
      This is the painting used after North Korea upgraded the original MiG29A to 29S in recent years.
      That's it,I made this skin for my script of the Korean Peninsula campaign,now I share with your guys.
       
      Recommand step
       
      ADD
      [SquadronXXX]
      Name=55AR,1ACD
      DisplayName=55AR,1ACD
      Nation=NKorea
       
      TO YOUR SQUADRONLIST.INI
       
       

      Before Start,
      1.Make sure put NK1 folder into your mig's folder
      2.Make sure you add these sentences in MIG-29C_rus.ini
      (I personally recommand to build a independent folder for NK MIG29,but It's not necessary)
      [TextureSetXXX]
      Directory=NK1
      Name=55AR,1ACD
      Nation=NKorea
      Squadron=55AR,1ACD
      Specular=0.300000
      Glossiness=0.200000
      Reflection=0.000000
      DecalNumberRandomize=TRUE
      DecalNumberBlockSize=40
      DecalNumberStart=0
      DecalNumberEnd=39
       
      Then run your game and enjoy

       
       
      Unknow issues(or not?):
      1.I can't find a clear picture about the sign under the cockpit(yeah the red square),so I just write some korean on it(just not rigorous);
      2.I can't find a call sign texture consisting of three numbers side by side,so there are two number(yeah, just not rigorous).
      Submitter simonmiller416 Submitted 06/04/2020 Category MiG-29  
    • By simonmiller416
      TMF's MIGs as a famous great work, I don't need to link original mod, right?
      Thanks TMF!
       
      This is the painting used after North Korea upgraded the original MiG29A to 29S in recent years.
      That's it,I made this skin for my script of the Korean Peninsula campaign,now I share with your guys.
       
      Recommand step
       
      ADD
      [SquadronXXX]
      Name=55AR,1ACD
      DisplayName=55AR,1ACD
      Nation=NKorea
       
      TO YOUR SQUADRONLIST.INI
       
       

      Before Start,
      1.Make sure put NK1 folder into your mig's folder
      2.Make sure you add these sentences in MIG-29C_rus.ini
      (I personally recommand to build a independent folder for NK MIG29,but It's not necessary)
      [TextureSetXXX]
      Directory=NK1
      Name=55AR,1ACD
      Nation=NKorea
      Squadron=55AR,1ACD
      Specular=0.300000
      Glossiness=0.200000
      Reflection=0.000000
      DecalNumberRandomize=TRUE
      DecalNumberBlockSize=40
      DecalNumberStart=0
      DecalNumberEnd=39
       
      Then run your game and enjoy

       
       
      Unknow issues(or not?):
      1.I can't find a clear picture about the sign under the cockpit(yeah the red square),so I just write some korean on it(just not rigorous);
      2.I can't find a call sign texture consisting of three numbers side by side,so there are two number(yeah, just not rigorous).
    • By simonmiller416


      View File Russian Navy Su-30SM(by frtn) Skin
      Here to get 30sm
       
      And basically I made two version of Russian Naval Air Force (BMPφ) Skin for Su-30SM,u can see them in screenshoot page.
      (I used some oldder version Su-30SM's tex for some parts of mine work,I dont really remember who made that but Thank you for your work!!!)
      Also I provide data.ini and loadout.ini,I just do some changes to make them act close to reality,hope u guys enjoy.
       
      Recommand step:
      [Squadronxxx]
      Name=43rd RGT,BMP
      DisplayName=43rd Attack Regiment,BMP
      Nation=Soviet
      to your SQUADRONLIST.INI
       
      seeya
      Submitter simonmiller416 Submitted 06/03/2020 Category 4th/5th Generation Skins  
    • By simonmiller416


      View File ACE7 "STRIDER1" ,124th TFS Skin for F-15C
      Don't Ask Why I Post Crash Pics In the SrceenShoot Page
      Just Ask Mihaly!
       
      There there,this skin won't cost much time,just some small changes
      And have fun guys. 
       
      Recommand steps
      ADD
      [Squadronxxx]
      Name=124TFS
      DisplayName=124th TFS "STRIDER",OADF, LRSSG
      Nation=OADF
      to your SQUADRONLIST.INI
      THEN ADD
      [Nationxxx]
      Name=OADF
      DisplayName=Osean Defense Forces 
      Alignment=FRIENDLY
      PilotNameList=NamesUSAF.lst
      RankList=RanksUSAF.lst
      CallsignList=CallsignsUS.lst
      Formation.Fighter=USFighter
      Formation.Attack=USFighter
      Formation.Bomber=USBomber
      Formation.Transport=USBomber
      Formation.Tank=USTank
      Formation.MobileAD=USAD
      PilotTrainingStandard=EXCELLENT
      GenderRatio=0
      DebriefSuccessMusic=DebriefSuccess.wav
      DebriefFailMusic=DebriefFail.wav
      DebriefKilledMusic=DebriefKilled.wav
      SpeechFile=USAFSpeech.cat
      SpeechTextFile=USAFSpeechText.cat
      Medals=MedalsUSAF.ini
      MedalTextFile=MedalsUSAF.str
      UseFAC=TRUE
      ActiveDate=1948
      AlternateDecal=USAF_OLD
      To your NATIONS.INI
       
      seeya
      Submitter simonmiller416 Submitted 06/03/2020 Category 4th/5th Generation Skins  
    • By simonmiller416
      Here to get 30sm
       
      And basically I made two version of Russian Naval Air Force (BMPφ) Skin for Su-30SM,u can see them in screenshoot page.
      (I used some oldder version Su-30SM's tex for some parts of mine work,I dont really remember who made that but Thank you for your work!!!)
      Also I provide data.ini and loadout.ini,I just do some changes to make them act close to reality,hope u guys enjoy.
       
      Recommand step:
      [Squadronxxx]
      Name=43rd RGT,BMP
      DisplayName=43rd Attack Regiment,BMP
      Nation=Soviet
      to your SQUADRONLIST.INI
       
      seeya
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..