How to edit the Minecraft Skin template

If you have the Minecraft skin template file and an image manipulation program, you’re ready to start learning. The first thing that is not obvious is what is going on in that template file.

editing a skin template
Edit a Skin

In the previous post, we learned what is involved with making your own “skin” for Minecraft. Every step is pretty simple and self-explanatory – except for the part about editing the Minecraft skin template.



To recap, we log into our account on the Mojang site, and go to the Profile page:

As long as you can edit the template, all you have to click here is "download template" to get the working file - then "Browse" and "Upload" once you've made your changes. Easy and quick!
As long as you can edit the template, all you have to click here is “download template” to get the working file – then “Browse” and “Upload” once you’ve made your changes. Easy and quick!

“Download template”, it says. So, you download the template and wind up looking at a little tiny image file that looks like this:

4px_reference

If you’ve used texture maps on 3D things before, this may not seem so intimidating at all. Though, there are a lot of people who may only do this kind of thing once in their lives – in the name of having a character with a fully custom look in a multi-user Minecraft world.

A lot of people use Photoshop or GIMP in their day to day lives. Some people get by with MS Paint – but unfortunately, you need to be able to save transparent pixels to do this, so MS Paint does not have what it takes. Unless you have some really serious professional requirements for your image editing software, I highly recommend GIMP.

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It’s the free, open-source version of Photoshop. It installs and runs nice and light. You can get it here: https://www.gimp.org/. It’s not as easy to use as Photoshop – but the quality of the files it produces is second to none.

So, if you have the skin template and an image manipulation program, you’re ready to start learning. The first thing that is not obvious is what is going on in that template file. The simplest way to understand is to look at a map. I’ve found a few maps around the web, but they were a little clunky and arbitrary, so I came up with this one:

minecraft skin template with parts labeled
minecraft skin template with parts labeled

Note that I only included the “top, bottom, right, front, left, back” labels on a few of the body parts. It’s the same on each of them, so no sense making this “map” any busier than it needs to be. The parts that say (outer) are like the “armour” – they render onto a slightly larger “box” than the body. This is a really fun feature – you can leave lots of transparent pixels in theses layers, and it allows you to add shape, depth, and texture to these otherwise very primitive (and primitive looking) shapes.

I kept some of the original colours and textures that were included in the template, and made an elderly bearded dude in Mr. Spocks Star Trek uniform.

Here’s an animated gif that shows the 10 “simple” steps I took editing a skin template in GIMP to get my very first Minecraft skin:

Animated gif of editing Minecraft skin template

You’re going to want to set your pencil tool and eraser tool up special for this. Those little “squares” are actually individual pixels. You’re going to want both the pencil and the erase tool to have a width of 1 pixel; opacity 100%; transparency 0%; anti-aliasing NO; hardness 100; and then your tools will easily allow you to mess with one pixel at a time.

Here it is, all in one piece and not disappearing in an animated gif:

myfirstskinmagnified

From there, you just follow the step on the Mojang pages (where you’re logged in, of course), as outlined in the previous post – and you’re done. Next time you start your Minecraft client – you’ll be wearing you new skin!

(Please see the previous post if you’d like to see a screenshot of what this thing looked like in the real (Minecraft) world.)

 

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Author: Pete

Editor-in-Chief, Lead Software Developer and Artistic Director @ 3dspace.com

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