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Painting Cars in rFactor

It is reasonably simple to paint a car in rfactor. Or to be more specific: Changing an existing skin to your own preferences.
Of course the more you want and the higher your standards are, the more effort and knowledge it will take to do the job.

Here we will try to provide both. A quick editing guide and a tutorial to get the max out of creating skins.

What you need:

The quick Guide

(using templates and just paint. no layers or complicated stuff)

The easyest way to create a skin is if you are lucky enough that a template exists of the car/mod you want to work on. These are either provided within the mod you are using with rfactor or created by other users of which you can find examples here.
A template is a blueprint of the cars skin which is viewable in 2D in your paint program of choise. To get to that blueprint you need to locate or download the template and open it in your paint program.
You can simply use and overwrite an existing car skin (backup the original one first) or create a seperate skin which we will do in this example.

Example skin with template: rfactor/gamedate/vehicles/F3Euro_2007/2007/AM-Holzer Rennsport/F3Euro_07_28.dds
With this template you have a clear vision on what is going on in the skin, everything is in order and you should be able to do what you want.
When you are done save it as a D3D/DDS file in the location of your choise using the following settings in the DDS Plugin window:
In this example of a seperate skin the location should be in a seperate folder within the AM-Holzer Rennsport folder named F3Euro_07_28Skins.
The DDS file should be there, as well as a text file copied from the AM-Holzer Rennsport folder. Both dds and txt file should be renamed the same.
In this example they are: F327G-Star.dds and F327G-Star.txt
(note that different mods might use different file structures, it is important to look at what is going on in the mods skin folders in order to make a new skin work in-game. usualy it speaks for itself and you need to copy/rename what is allready there)

The skin has now been (partialy) painted and you need to check out the results.
Startup rFactor , go to the mod/vehicle you are working with. click the skins tab and select your skin. Grab the car with your mouse and you are able to view the skin in all angles.


Problem: There is no template but you realy want to create a custom skin.
Solution: There is no effective solution to this. For example GP79 has no templates so you are left with guessing where things are. Throwing a very raw colour pattern on the skin and viewing it in rFactor usualy helps identifying the selective areas which you can use to build on.

With this quick guide you are able to create a basic car skin without any fancy stuff like high res painting, using alpha channels, layers etc. That is all saved for the main tutorial.

Alpha Channel explenation on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kH2XPCwZVY

Alpha Channels explained on our forum:

To paint a skin and add reflectivity/shine using Photoshop:

1. Open the .dds file of your choice with nVidia Plugin - Convert image to 32bits - do not load MIP maps.
2. "Save As" a .psd file (in Photoshop).
3. Paint away - the fun part!
4. Don't forget to "Save" often!
5. Next to the "Layers" tab, there is a "Channels" tab -click on it.
6. Click on the "eye" icon on the left of the Alpha Channel layer to make it visible.
7. Then click on the Alpha Channel layer to select it.
8. Then click on the "eye" icon on the left of the RGB Channel layer to make it (and all three of the other Red, Green, and Blue Channel layers) invisible.
-- The above 3 steps can also be handled by simply clicking on the "Alpha Channel" layer, which automatically turns off and makes invisible the other four
Channel layers. However, the above three steps gives you options for selecting individual layers.
9. Now you can paint on the Alpha Channel to adjust the shine/reflectivity of the car skin. You can make it any shade of grey, solid black, solid white.
You can paste anything into the Alpha Channel layer: logos, stripes, whatever you want. Black = matte finish. White = high gloss finish. Greys = everthing
in between.
10. When you are finished with the Alpha Channel, click on the "eye" icon on the left of the Alpha Channel layer to make it invisible.
11. Then click on the "eye" icon on the left of the RGB Channel layer to make it (and the Red, Green, and Blue Channel layers) visible.
12. Save finished art. I saved mine as a different .psd file (flatten Layers - discard hidden layers). Not really necassary tho.
13. Click "Save As" (Ctrl+Shift+S) and save as a .dds file. Make sure "Alpha Channels" is checked under "Save Options" just below where you select file type.
14. Click "Save". This will bring up the nVidia dialogue box. Select "DXT5 ARGB 8 bpp | interpolated alpha" (this will properly preserve the Alpha Channel).
It should also be showing "2D Texture", and "Generate MIP maps" should be checked, and "ALL" should be selected. Tho the only thing you should have to
change is the "DXT5" setting, the rest were set that way by default on mine.
15. Put the skin in the appropriate file, start rFactor, select the skin, and enjoy!

Changing Cockpit Colours in GP79

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