This is a (very) in depth tut on how to make skins.
Ok, if you're reading this, you probably want to know how to make your own skins. So, after a bit of a lazy dry spell, I made this tutorial to help whoever wants to make halo skins without searching google and getting lost in all the geek lingo.
You'll need these programs to start:
-HMT (Halo Mapping Tools)
(Explanation: DBXBmt is a program you can use in order to convert different types of files into another type of file. For example, a bitmap image into a dds texture. DDS textures are the files that will be your skins, and bitmap images are the ones you'll edit.)
-Some form of image editing program. There's a lot you can do with MS Paint, if you're very...driven...but if you want to make life easy get GIMP or something if you dont have PS. Adobe Imageready is free with any PS trial, after the trial expires you can still use Imageready, the only downside is loss of the use of gradients and such....
Ok, first off, I'll send you to a tutorial video so you can learn the easier way and the way I did. If you need further explanation (and more in-depth understanding/you want to be epicly good) then read further into this tutorial. ALSO, READ ADVANCED SKINNING TECHS AT BOTTOM.
This is NOT my video. Credit goes to Fransais. Subscribe and all that.
How To Make Skins
If you're reading past this point you're either scrolling down to read a post or you don't get the tutorial video and want more information.
Maybe you don't understand how to find files in Halo Mapping Tools. Here's how to extract files for weapon and vehicle or w/e else you need to remake.
1) Open HMT (NO WAI)
2) Go to File, Open, and go to My Computer.
3) Go to your Halo files folder directory.
The default is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Halo
4) Go to the maps folder and open the map you wish to edit.
If you are editing a weapon, vehicle, or anything else that is found in other levels, the skin you create will automatically be loaded into all of the other map files when you put it in, but more on that later.
5) The HMT window should show a bunch of sections to choose from. Open the bitmaps tab.
6) There should be a bunch of files scrolling down. Look for the file you want. If you're looking for a weapon or vehicle file, then the file name should start with "weapons\"
P.S.: The Flag is under weapons (Thx E)
7) When you've found your file, select it and when the file's information shows up under the tab editor section, select "Save Texture". Do this twice so that you have a backup file of the file you are editing, just in case you fail at making skins. Put it in a file that you'll remember where to look for it later (The backup one.)
8.) Minimize HMT and open DXTBmp. (You do not need DXTBmp if you have the Photoshop .dds plugin!)
9) Go to File, Open, and open the file for the item that you are editing. (It will be a DDS Texture by the way.)
10) Once you've opened the file, go to File, SAVE AS, and save the image as a 24 Bit BMP Image. Now it is possible to edit using PS, GIMP, MS Paint...etc. etc.
11) Open the BMP image with your file editing program. Edit it however you like. The parts of the w/e are hard to recognize but after a lot of trial and error you'll get it right.
12) When you have finished editing the image of the weapon, then save the image as a GIF or JPEG image. This is to prevent your program from resizing it automatically. If this ever happens, your weapon's design will be distorted and you fail.
13) Open DXTBmp. (If it's already open go back to the window.)
14) Go to File, Open, and open the edited item image.
15) Save that file as a DDS Texture.
16) Go back to HMT, and find the weapon file that you edited (the original version thats loaded into HMT, not the one on your desktop. When you go to File, instead of having to go find your Halo directory again it'll be an option to go there immediately into the map you went to last time and you wont have to go file searching. However, you'll still have to look for the image file manually. This part may be a bit unclear but you'll see what I mean.
17) Once you have found the image loaded into HMT, select it and click on "Inject Texture". It will open the window to open a file. Select the edited image file that you made with your image editing program.
18) A prompt may come up telling you that the image is smaller or larger than the original image (in data). It will ask you some weird thing about resizing or something or other. Just click ok.
-----IF THE IMAGE APPEARS BLURRED IN THE HMT WINDOW, THE WEAPON SKIN MAY HAVE BEEN DISTORTED. THERE IS A CHANCE THAT IT WAS NOT BUT BE AWARE.------
*ALSO IMPORTANT: BEFORE STARTING HALO PC, CLOSE HMT OR ELSE HALO WILL FREEZE AND YOUR COMP WILL SLOW DOWN DRASTICALLY.*
Start up halo and check out your skin while playing in-game. If you likes it, leave it. If you hates it, then edit it or something or start from scratch. If you thinks this is too much work, then read on to the next section.
Oh, and by the way, these skins will show up in every map, and also in campaign.
I will make skins for you by request if you are either too lazy to do this yourself or fail at making skins.
Just send me a PM or ask me on xfire, or send me an email or something. I'm lazy too so it might take a while.
Advanced Skinning Techs
Ok, since some of you seem to be somewhat interested in skins, I'll reveal a few tricks of the trade that I've learned. Take note that most of these tricks will be for Photoshop/ GIMP users.
If you do not know how to make a skin, or need to make references, go to this thread: How To Make Skins
A. Multipurpose Skins
These are basically the reflections of your weapon in the light. They're usually some variant of the original skin with a lavender tint. You only make the tint lavender if you want the shine on the skin. Otherwise, if you want no white shiny spots on your skin, the color unchanging, you plug in the original skin into where it says "weapons/[weapon name]/bitmaps/[weapon name]+multipurpose". This will make your weapons reflect properly.
How to Create Multipurpose: (Using Photoshop.)
* You'll probably want to have your .dds file for the skin also saved as a .jpg image file so that you can edit the skin easier.*
1) Open your finished skin in a image editing program, preferably photoshop or any program that has a color adjustment option. (Most programs.)
2) Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.
3) Check the boxes saying "Colorize" and "Preview". Adjust the hue, saturation, and lightness to make for a brightish purple.
4) Save as a .jpg image and convert to a .dds file as shown in the "How To Make Skins" thread.
5) Insert the multipurpose skin into HMT as shown in the "How To Make Skins" thread, only put it into the file ending in the corresponding multipurpose file.
B. Putting Text onto Weapons/Vehicles
Normally this is very easy, but there are some weapons that mirror the text onto the weapon. Vehicles always do this, as they use a system of wrapping the skin twice around the vehicle starting from the middle of the vehicle. So for vehicles, there is no way to put text onto the vehicle without having it being mirrored if you put text on the side. However, for all weapons, you will ALWAYS only see one side of the weapon, despite the "3D" properties of it. When weapons hit the ground or spawn they ALWAYS have the same side facing upwards. This same side is also the side of the weapon that you see in your HUD. So you can mirror the text onto the skin in order to make it appear correctly on the weapon in-game.
If it's not clear by what I mean by text being "mirrored" I mean that the text is flipped horizontally when placed in-game. So when making the skin in Photoshop, Paint, etc., all you have to do is flip the text horizontally. Ex: I want to put "Scythe" onto a pistol. I type in the text normally onto the pistol skin, and then i flip it horizontally like so:
1) Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontally.
The only weapons that I know of that require this step are pistols and assault rifles.
C. The Lasso Tools
*This tutorial is mostly for Photoshop users.*
If you only want to change the color of a specific location on your skin that happens to be irregularly shaped, you'll want to use the lasso tools. These tools allow you to select an area in an image and make it so only that selected area is editable. There are three lassos for use in photoshop, marked by an icon on the Tools Window shaped like a lasso. Right click on this icon to see the three types of lassos.
1) The Lasso Tool
This is a lasso that requires the user to freely use the mouse to select the area that he/she wishes to edit. It is the hardest to use since it requires a steady hand. It's similar to using the paintbrush on MS Paint. Double click after you have encircled the area you want to edit in order to make the area editable.
2) The Polygonal Lasso Tool
This lasso is a lasso that allows the user to make straight lines enclosing the area that the user wants to edit. It's like using a continuous line tool-every time you click you can make a new line. This is useful for areas that are in the form of a polygon that is irregular. Double click after you have made enough lines around the figure in order to select the area. This is my preferred tool for selection. (For curved lines, zoom in and make the space between points small.)
3) The Magnetic Lasso Tool
This is to me the second most useful lasso tool. It follows the lines inside the image while the user clicks and drags the mouse. However, it can become difficult to use when two lines in the image become close together, and the lasso may follow the new line instead of the line you are following. It works like the other lassos; encircle the area you want to edit and then double click to make the area editable.
More tricks will be added as I see fit.
Edited by Scythie, 10 March 2009 - 09:50 PM.