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AfghanAnt’s Freedom Force Skinning Past

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Click to Enlarge

In the Fall of 2001, during my freshman year of college, I found Freedom Force. It was the demo and you got to play on the icy aircraft level against some of Nuclear Winter’s goons. I remember being so excited that there was a superhero game that allowed you to create your own characters and I immediate wanted to make my own. So I fired up my copy of Photoshop, open the male_alpha’s file and sighed. I had no clue how skinning worked and my dreams of Superman fighting Thor were starting to fade fast.

 I knew I had the ambition but I lacked the knowledge of game texturing and years of water coloring and pencil drawing couldn’t help. I didn’t know what a targa file was or why files needed to be 256 X 256 (what the community use to skin at), I just knew I wanted to skin. So I searched for any information I could find on skinning and found out others had already been doing what I  wanted to do. I opened the skin files and like a child learning how to draw, I traced over them and tried to color in the lines. After days of practice, I got it. For years, I skinned just for characters. I didn’t try to put a lot of detail or layer colors, I just cut sections out, recolored them, and saved them as tgas.

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Click to Enlarge

Eventually, I realized I needed to start making my skins stand out. I needed to do something to not get lost in never ending opus of customer characters. I looked to other skinners at start and ultimately settled on comic artists and colorists for inspiration. I wanted to capture the look and feel a character rather than focus on accuracy of the costume. It took a lot of trial and error but I eventually I got to where I am.

I guess I wrote this post to let other skinners to know, I wasn’t granted some skinning gift at birth. It took a lot time to get to the point where I am now. Does this mean if you try hard enough and long enough you’ll be fantastic? Probably not, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying. Anything you make should be special to you regardless if others like it.

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