Questions on Skinning

Discussion in 'Assetto Corsa' started by TheMaroon47, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. TheMaroon47

    TheMaroon47

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    Greetings! First off, I am completely new to skinning. Means no skins for Assetto Corsa and any other games. This is my first. I am trying to make a skin for the SF70H with Henky SA's unofficial template. I am having a problem with the sponsors as deleting the original layer still results in the silhouette still being present.
    Example: Deleting the layer for the Shell logo makes the logo disappear, but leaves a white silhouette on the body of the car.
    Will creating a completely new .dds file for the sponsors fix this problem? I am currently using the ones supplied by the unofficial template as they provide wireframes for easier positioning. Many thanks in advance!
     
  2. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    Go to channels in PS and look at the alpha channel, areas painted black will show the metal detail texture. You will probably see some logo shaped white bits in the alpha channel.
     
  3. TheMaroon47

    TheMaroon47

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    Is it possible to get rid of those white bits?
     
  4. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    I'm at work but will give you a more detailed answer later if noone else does but for now just paint those little logo areas the same colour as the rest of the alpha channel (black I guess.)
     
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  5. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    So I was just going to try and explain that the alpha channel uses grey scale to turn on/off the metal detail texture which you might find included with your template or in one of the other skin folders (or if not it might be hidden but you can probably override it by dropping a different metal_detail.dds file into your skin folder.) Black shows the metal detail completely and shades of grey will show it with less opacity and white doesn't show any metal detail at all. If you paint a skin blue and then view it and it is red then you have a red metal detail and your alpha channel is painted black, paint the alpha channel white and your skin will now be blue.

    You could end up with a similar problem to the one you described in your original post if the logos are painted onto your skin_map.dds file as well, that file controls reflections and stuff. You can mess around creating your own one of those but it needs to be named correctly (and it varies from car to car, it is usually the main skin file name with "_map" or "_Map" after it.)

    Note: I have no idea of the correct terminology for most of this stuff, I have no experience modding other than messing around with AC skins so please don't shoot me, looking at you pro AC modders :D
     
  6. Ryno917

    Ryno917

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    Further to the info provided by Andy, have a look at this post on the official forums for more in-depth information on the various paint textures, and how they work.

    In brief:
    Main livery file provides the shadows ("ambient occlusion") on the car, plus any specific design elements. Also controls blending with the detail texture.
    Detail texture is a small tileable texture that controls main body colour (usually only for single-colour cars, like the road cars) and specular spread of the material. Recommended to use the default texture for most cars (just don't include one in your folder) when making a livery, unless the car you're painting by default uses a coloured one (several Ferraris do this, annoyingly).
    _Map texture controls reflectivity amount, reflectivity sharpness and specular intensity.

    Different things on most race cars have different values of the above things, so some skinners will replicate that by manipulating these textures effectively. When trying to understand how to create a _map texture, remember that there's no real difference between an alpha channel and the RGB channels. In essence, a normal picture has three channels; red, green and blue. Each channel is a greyscale image where black=no light, and white=full light. So the red channel, for instance, white means 100% red light, black means 0% red light. Across the three channels the light from each colour is mixed to create the final full-colour image. Full black in the blue channel, but full white in the red and green channels, your full colour result would be yellow (because red light plus green light equals yellow; RGB are the primary colours, contrary to what your art teacher told you). White in all three channels means you get white light, because red plus blue plus green equals white.

    As an extension to all of this, the skin system in AC is quite cool. When you make a new skin folder, you make a new skin. When you place a properly named texture in this folder, the game will use that texture instead of the car's default texture for this skin only. With that in mind, every single texture on a car can be changed per skin if you want to. If you don't want to, you just don't include that file in your folder and the game loads the default texture.

    I hope that rambling made sense.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  7. TheMaroon47

    TheMaroon47

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  8. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    Is the car the correct colour? As in the colour you painted it in Photoshop? If not and if you don't want to mess around with the metal_detail.dds just paint the whole alpha channel white and your logos will show up and the car will be the colour you painted it. If you are happy with the colour just turn all layers off except the logos and use the selection wand with "sample all layers" ticked and then paint the select areas (where your logos are) white in the alpha channel.
     
  9. TheMaroon47

    TheMaroon47

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    Yes it is. What exactly does "metal_detail.dds" do as I've only edited 2 files which are "EXT_Skin.dds" and "EXT_Sponsors.dds". And I'll try that. Many thanks.
     
  10. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    AFAIK it is just a texture and/or colour that tiles over the main body where the alpha layer is painted black or grey. For example it could just be a solid colour like red or it could be a carbon effect or scratched metal effect with or without a colour. Grab a metal_detail.dds from another car skin folder and drop it in your skin folder. Paint part of your alpha channel black and see how it effects your skin. You could then paint your base colour in this new metal detail file and paint the corresponding areas black in your main skin file and make use of the metal_detail.dds
     
  11. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    IIRC the Alfa GTA skin folder called Lemont or Lamont has a scratched metal effect metal detail you could play with if you want to experiment and some of the Ford Mustang skins have a metal flake texture.
     
  12. TheMaroon47

    TheMaroon47

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    Don't really think it's necessary but I'll have a look at it.
     
  13. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    If you play around with it you will have a better understanding of what it does, if you intend to make more skins it might come in handy. You can always just paint the alpha channel completely white and forget the metal_detail exists instead ;)
     
  14. davewilliams000

    davewilliams000
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    Assuming you're using PS... I would add to this that a quicker way I found is:
    1. Make a layer with a colour that's not on your logos in order to help with selection e.g. cyan (0,0,255 RGB)
    2. Have 'contiguous' unchecked (next to sample all layers) and set 'tolerance' to a fairly low number. I also have 'Anti-alias' turned on but that's probably personal preference.
    3. Turn all the layers off apart from the logos and the background layer made at no 1.
    4. Click anywhere on the background colour once. With 'contiguous' unchecked it should select all areas around and in between everything as well - e.g. in the middle of letters like O and P, etc. This is a mega time saver!
    5. Invert the selection (select > invert)
    6. Save the selection to the alpha channel. Select > Save Selection, in 'channel' dropdown change to 'Alpha 1'
    7. The Alpha should now have black everywhere except your logos which should be white.
    :)

    Edit: If its a file for just sponsor logos (not the main chassis file), I'd make sure the background (when looking at it back in RGB channels) is transparent so you don't get any colour showing around the edges of your logos.
     
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  15. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    It does the same the way I do it :thumbsup: I just use alpha layer or whatever it is called rather than a colour layer. So all layers turned off except the logos (using this example) and select the alpha layer with the magic wand with sample all layers on and tolerence at 0. If the spaces between letters on a logo layer don't have colour they will be selcted as they will be alpha layer also. Strokes and folks I guess, I used to use a colour but then ran into issues once or twice where there was the same colour elsewhere and found it easier just to turn all colours off rather than pick one I know I haven't used and fill a layer with it.
     
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  16. davewilliams000

    davewilliams000
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    Yeah it was the contiguous option that was the main one for me... once I found that it was a revelation! Before I was having to check and double-check I'd selected in between everything... took ages!
    I also use the same thing for making the map files, have a group in the main file with different layers for different parts of the car (i.e. different colours) that I want to have different reflectiveness and then use layer masks created using the magic want.
     
  17. Andy-R

    Andy-R

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    I just checked and I don't have contiguous ticked so I guess it works without that when using the alpha layer. I have no idea if I do maps the normal way or not but I basically duplicate the AO and set it to normal mode and adjust RGB to suit as a base and then a similar method as above turning off all but desired layers and creating a new map layer for them above the base similar to yourself.

    This is a fairly normal one for me (the pink is a metal kind of area IIRC)
    Untitled-11.jpg

    Other times I just experiment and do something crazy like this (the tiling isn't noticeable on the skin, atleast not too badly that I can tell but I'm not very fussy :D)
    Untitled-12.jpg

    I would suggest a thread to talk skins would be a good idea but we all work so differently. Even the people that taught me the basics did things very different to myself. One of them uses masks for everything and tried to get me to do the same... I rebelled and never use a mask, I don't even look in the mask buttons general direction! Maps are definitely something I would like to know more about, I had a look at a proper map for the first time when working on another guys mod and changed completely the way I do them after I saw it, from basically grey scale to something more similar to above.
     
  18. davewilliams000

    davewilliams000
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    Yeah, contiguous unticked is what you want. If it's ticked it doesn't get the bits in the middle. It was ticked by default when installed PS.

    Agree, everyone works slightly different. You just have to find a way that works for you :)
     
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  19. Ryno917

    Ryno917

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    Reading these last few posts, I work very differently to all of you for sure! :p

    I do everything in vector shapes and vector smart objects where ever possible. For my "_map" file, I duplicate all of my diffuse texture layers, in their own group, and modify colours accordingly. Same for the alpha; duplicate of all of my other layers, modify colours to suit, then duplicate that group and flatten it to a single layer which I can easily copy and paste into the alpha channel.

    It would be interesting to see more about how everyone skins. Everybody has their own techniques, and I'm sure all of us, even those who have been doing this for over 20 years, could learn some neat tricks!
     
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  20. davewilliams000

    davewilliams000
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    Yeah I exclusively skin in 2D with vectors and smart objects. Some people can paint in 3D in PS, but I just don't 'get' it. I understand how it's done but I can't get the accuracy, find the camera placement fiddly, and also vectors and shapes are much more easily changed if you make a mistake.

    @Ryno917 I've seen the alpha done in the way you say - in the tires for RSS FH2018 which I used the base dev PSD made by CC and learned a few things from that. I've only been skinning since the beginning of this year, and it was quite fun figuring out how to do stuff.

    I also figured out I could finish one side of a car at once - sponsors and all, and then take a copy of everything and also that part of the uv, flip/mirror it all together and move it to the other side of the car, using the uv to line it up exactly, then re-flip the sponsors (in most cases) so they are the correct way around (sometimes have to create new smart object via copy and edit it to flip it if it's at an angle). :)

    I guess in a way, and I've just thought of this, it's a bit like building race cars where everybody builds a car in their own way and ends up with a very similar laptime :D