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Thread: Skinning with GIMP - Tutorial | Forums

  1. #1
    This is intended to be the first of a series of turorials on how to create skins/templates with the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) For those not in the know, GIMP is a free program similar in function to Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. There are versions for Windows, Linux and Mac/Unix.

    I also recently made a short (although not very in-depth) tutorial for creating nose art from period photos using GIMP.


    Comments, suggestions, requests, and corrections all welcome!


    -Edit-
    All my tutorials can now be found at FlightSimGuides.com.
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  2. #2
    Just what I have been looking for.
    Thanks, keep them comming.
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  3. #3
    GIMP Tutorial #2 is already in the works.

    This one will focus on using some of the painting tools.
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  4. #4
    Awesome Jarink,

    I downloaded the Gimp a while ago but never realy could work out how to use it properly.

    So cheers
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  5. #5
    Never done skinning before or used GIMP or any other graphics program seriously for that matter, and this tutorial has really helped out.

    Started to figure much of the other stuff out myself, but it is taking long. GIMP seems very good, but often it won't tell you if you are doing something it doesn't like.

    Like I battled for long time to draw on a transparent layer (the transparent part) that I generated from a selection. Eventually I had to create a new transparent layer and merge it with the selection layer to be able to draw on the transparent area.
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  6. #6
    Tutorial #2 is done!
    (Don't expect everything to go this quickly!)

    GIMPing a Skin Pt2

    Part 2 goes over the painting tools and gives a few ideas on how to use them. Pretty basic stuff, but Part 3 will be more in-depth with examples of (my) typical skinning techniques and problems you might encounter.

    Achilles_NZ, remaxx, glad to be of help!

    I've run into simlar problems with not being able to paint on a transparent layer. Did you erase the area you were trying to paint? If so, you will actually need to 'unerase' before you can do this! (Erasing actually affects the alpha channel, so you have to undo the changes the eraser made to the alpha channel before anything else will show through it properly.) Notice, too, you can cut & paste over an erased area (the paste function modifies the alpha ch.) or use the fill tool if you have the "fill transparent areas" box checked.

    I hope I haven't confused you; just writing that made me a bit woozy!
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  7. #7
    jarink: Drawing to transparency problem.

    What I did, if I remember, was to make a selection (from layer A) then cut it and paste it into a new transparent layer (layer B).

    AND I had the same problem when taking the SAME layer (layer A) and simply making a colour (white) to alpha. Still couldn't draw to the transparent areas.

    Anyways, seems to have solved this, as mentioned, by creating a new transparent layer and merging it with the pasted layer (layer B),
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  8. #8
    jarink, just a tip for your next gimp tutorial.

    The best and quickest method to isolate the parts of the plane you want to work on as some of the parts seem to be joined, like the wings lying next to one another.

    I did it as follows, might be the long way:
    a) used 'select regions by color tool', pushed threshold up to about 110 and selected a white area.
    b) took this selection and floated it to a new layer. Made the floating layer permanent.
    c) then changed the selection into a path (using to path under select menu).
    d) stroked the path with line at 1pix in black. This created an outline of the parts.
    e) Then selected the new outline (the stroked path) and cut and paste it to a transparent layer.
    f) Using erase and draw tools I fixed up a few places. (this is where I encountered the drawing to transparent area mentioned above).
    g) What I now need to do is seperate the plane parts that seem to be joined, like the wings and fuselage.
    h) Did some testing and the black drawn outline does not seem to appear on the final modelled plane in the game.

    Hope there is an easier way, this took me about a day to figure out. Remember I have nil experience with skinning and gimp.
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  9. #9
    Originally posted by remaxx:
    c) then changed the selection into a path (using to path under select menu).
    d) stroked the path with line at 1pix in black. This created an outline of the parts.
    e) Then selected the new outline (the stroked path) and cut and paste it to a transparent layer.
    Unless you want to keep the outline in order to more easily see where the plane parts are, I think you could probably skip straight from b) to e). Personally, I usually refer to panel lines and completed skins to find out where to paint.

    Remember I have nil experience with skinning and gimp.
    Well, I'd say you have some now! Good tip!

    Please, no one take for an absolute authority on GIMP. I've actually only used the program off and on for about 6 months. I just have made more of an effort to learn it lately. I liked what I've learned and decided to share what I've found with others, especially since there's several things in the program that aren't exactly obvious!
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  10. #10
    Unless you want to keep the outline in order to more easily see where the plane parts are, I think you could probably skip straight from b) to e). Personally, I usually refer to panel lines and completed skins to find out where to paint.
    That's exactly the reason.
    Find it much easier with a nice outline (noob!).
    With many of the voids I have looked at the shapes of the panels aren't exactly obvious.
    I then use my technique above and then fill in lines where there are none to have a complete outline of all the panels.

    Also with an outline you can 'fill' a complete panel with one click. The outline also doesn't seem to interfere with the final product (well mostly).

    A) Any help you can supply on using Masks would be nice. I am really clueless there and never use them.

    B) When testing you skins, is the only way to actually export to .bmp, load up Il2 and then inspect. I find looking under the plane difficult as you can't zoom in using IL2's 3D viewer.
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