Monday, February 28, 2011

Your new Skin - Step 2 - Starlight

Ok - we're finished with the preliminaries.  Let's make the skin!  Here are the steps:

  1. Find and open the GIMP file for the Upper portion of the skin.  Then edit it to turn on the various 'bits' that Eloh left off when she saved it.  Then save the skin as a jpg file (aka texture).
  2. Likewise, find and open the GIMP file for the Lower portion of the skin.  There are 'bits' missing here too so we'll have to turn them on.  Then save teh skin as a jpg file (aka texture).
  3. Finally, find and open the GIMP file for the Face portion of the skin (actually the head).  No bits are missing here but we will want to turn off a couple things.
A skin has 3 textures, an Upper, Lower and Face.  The Upper covers the portion from the neck to the waist.  The Lower covers the portion from the neck down.  And the Face covers the portion from the neck up, the entire head.  The places these three connect are crucial areas, the goal is to see no line or boundary connecting the upper to the face or the upper to the lower.  The upper to face is usually not a problem, but the upper to lower can be if we are not careful.  Being careful here will mean changing the smallest number of layers we can get away with.

The Upper Texture:

Now double click on "starlight_upper.xcf" and look closely at the GIMP image window.  (the squarish one)  You will see the front and back of what appears to be a girl with NO NIPPLES.  :-(

Fortunately the nipples are layers in the file, we just have to turn them on.  So scroll through the layers (the layers window) and find the layer named "nipple.creases".  That marks the top of a list of layers that have to do with the nipples. The lower limit is marked by the layer named "nipple.dark.color".  We will go through them layer by layer, topmost to the bottom and turn them on - or leave them off.  In particular, we'll have the opportunity to choose light, medium or dark nipples - and will choose medium.  You can choose light or dark if you wish - or choose light and dark and medium in any combination.  But I would recommend just medium to start.

The way to turn a layer 'on' is to click the area to the left of the layer near the edge.  An 'on' layer will have an eye looking at you - meaning it is visible.  An 'off' layer will have no eye - it will be blank.

  • nipple.creases .... on 
  • .... on
  • nipple.middle .... on
  • nipple.outer  .... on
  • nipple.light.colorcenter .... on
  • nipple.light.color .... off
  • .... on
  • nipple.dark.color .... off
Now you should see a nice pair of nipples on the breasts.

The next step is to save your work.  I would suggest a naming convention and change the name of the file.  Today at this writing, is February 28, 2011, so I would change the name to "starlight_upper 110228.xcf".  If you save the file again, you might choose to name it "starlight_upper 110228-2.xcf" or you might not, its up to you to decide how major your change was and how annoyed you would be if you had to back up to the previous level.  So.... do a File->Save As and change the name to "starlight_upper yymmdd.xcf" and press enter.  ( yy stands for the last two digits of the current year, mm is the number of the current month 01->12, and dd is today's date ).

Now you've saved your work but you do not yet have an uploadable texture file.  To make one choose File->Save As again and name the file "starlight_upper yymmdd.jpg" and press enter.  GIMP will create a JPEG file, a compressed image file that you can upload into Second Life.

The Lower Texture:

Double click "starlight_lower.xcf" and you will see an image of the lower portion of a body, front and back with detail for the feet oddly located to the right.  As you study the image you will notice that there are "bits" missing in this file too and its totally your choice whether you want to add them or not.  In this case it's the vulva, the female external genitalia.  The vulva layers that are not turned on are near the top of the GIMP layers window so scroll up in that window and you will find them.  Starting at the top the first one is labeled "hood.highlight" and as you scroll down you will find the last is labeled "hood.shade".  As you did for the layers in Upper, click each of these layers and all in between, "on" - make the eye for each layer visible.

Now you should see a pretty vulva on the image named "starlight_lower.xcf" and its time to save the file.  Choose File->Save As and change the name as we did above to "starlight_lower yymmdd.xcf" and press enter.  Once GIMP is finished saving, Choose File->Save As again and now change the name to "starlight_lower yymmdd.jpg" to create the uploadable texture for Second Life.

The Face Texture:

Double click "starlight_face.xcf" and you will see the GIMP file containing the layers that create the face texture open up.  It really looks pretty good as-is with no obvious 'bits' missing.  But if you look closely at the lips and the eyes, you may think as I do, that there are a couple things that could use correction.

I will pause here and give you a little 'tip' about GIMP that will make things easier.  A small lesson in Zooming in and out with GIMP.  If you have a mouse with a wheel, zooming in and out is simplicity itself.  Position your mouse pointer over the point in the image file that you want to be the middle of your zoomed image, press the control key (labeled Ctrl) and roll the wheel of your mouse away from you to Zoom In.  Likewise, position your mouse, press Ctrl and roll the wheel of your mouse toward you to Zoom out.  Try it on the lips, zoom in and out and try it.

If your mouse does not have a wheel, or you have no mouse and are on a laptop, do not despair, there is something we can do to make zooming nearly as easy.  What we will do is define a pair of shortcut keys to zoom in and out, I use the "-" (minus) key for zooming out and the "=" key for zooming in.  On the image window open Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts and choose View.  If you scroll down in the list you will fine "Zoom In" is already assigned to "=".... good, let it be as it is.  Then look a little further down and find "Zoom Out" and note that it is disabled.  Click on that line with your mouse to select it, then press the '-' key to tell GIMP you want to use that key to Zoom Out.  Click the close button in the lower right and you can now use the = and - keys in an image to zoom in and out.  Try it on the lips, zoom in for a close look.

We will now walk bravely into the land of opinion.  There is no right or wrong - there is only opinion here.  I may like one thing and you may like another.  That's ok...... As I look closely at the zoomed-in lips, the area under the lower lip looks dark to me.  There is a layer that control that darkness: lipsB.lower.edge.shade.  You can click on the eye and turn it off - but to my eyes that looks too light.   So turn it back on and then click your mouse on the layer to select it and notice above the list of layers something called "Opacity".

Make sure you have the layer you want selected (it will be highlighted) and then move the slider from 100% to about 50%.  Or move it to where you like the balance between light and dark.  For me, 50% seems about right.

A little below the "lipsB.lower.edge.shade" layer you'll find lipsB.color.ganguro.  I had to look it up to see what 'ganguro' meant and you may too, its a color of lipstick used in Japan a while ago.  If you like it - keep it.  I turned it off by clicking the 'eye'.

You may want to look at two other layers too - a little further down:  "lipsB.base" and "lipsB.base.darker".  They are both currently on and I like them that way.  But you may want just one on or neither.  Click them on and off and see which appeals to you.

Ok, we've made our choices and we're now ready to save the file.  Choose File->Save As and rename the file "starlight_face yymmdd.xcf".  Once its saved, choose File->Save As again and now rename the file to "starlight_face yymmdd.png" and press enter.  Notice that's "png" not "jpg" as we used on the Upper and Lower.  That's because this file has a couple of transparent areas that we need to reproduce in the texture we'll be uploading.  The JPEG files (jpg) are good for uploading textures that have no transparent areas (technically called an alpha layer) and PNG file (png) are good for uploading textures that have transparent, or semi-transparent area.

That's enough for now I think.  Go make a cup of tea and relax or take a nap.  In the next post we'll upload the textures we've created and turn them into a Second Life Skin.  Woo hoo!



  1. Again a brilliant delivery Robin thanks again :)

  2. Thank you for making this tutorial.Im still so lost but learning.I cant for life of me figure out how to save it as a jpg >.< its only showing xcf etc for options when i go to save.I s there a trick to find that option? :D