This is the first part in a short series on how to use Eloh Eliot’s Starlight skin templates for virtual world avatars. Basics 1 covers downloading the template files and changing the skin tone.
Please read the below disclaimers first.
This is a Photoshop-based tutorial (CS3) produced on a Mac. There are similarities when using Gimp, so you can follow this tutorial as a general guide. I’m unable to offer detailed advice for Gimp as I haven’t used it.
This tutorial is just one method of making very basic changes to the skin templates. It doesn’t contain any advanced techniques on skin making (hand-painting, photo source, 3D baking etc.,).
All the Photoshop files used were designed and created by Eloh Eliot of Another Skin. These files are not my own work and I am not an experienced skin creator. I am unable to answer any detailed technical questions about how they were made. These files do come with a license agreement which I strongly recommend you read before you using them. MIT License
This might seem an obvious statement but for any readers who are not aware: the Starlight female avatar skins are depicted as anatomically correct. These tutorials are meant for a mature audience who are comfortable learning and working with anatomically correct template files.
The first thing is to download the Starlight skin templates in .psd format from Eloh’s Resources page. The files are Face: 22.4 MB. Upper: 9 MB and Lower: 8.5 MB.
If you have a slow internet connection or are logged into your virtual world you may want to close down any open windows. If you have any difficulties downloading the Starlight skin you can choose one of the other skin generation files to download: e.g. Pleiades, Untitled or Seven Deadly Sins. Please note that there may be differences in skin tone or make-up options which this tutorial doesn’t cover.
Once the files have downloaded I recommend you create a folder on your computer to keep them together. Launch Photoshop. Open the three .psd files called: starlight_face, starlight_upper and starlight_lower.
If you look at the layers palette on the right-hand side you will see multiple layers with folder icons. Don’t worry about these for now as the tutorial won’t be directly using most of them.
Instead of the default skin tone, let’s say you want an avatar skin that is a lighter shade. Eloh Eliot has included five preset skin tones.
The next step is to choose one of those. Using the Head template first; click on the Layer Comps icon in your Dock or go to the Menu Bar, select Window and then select Layer Comps from the drop down list.
Now that the Layer Comps palette is open you can see that there are ten options for the Head template file. There are only five skin tones but for the Head template file each skin tone has the option of two nose styles, lips, freckles and eyebrows. By clicking in the box next to the name of a skin tone, in the Layer Comps palette, you’re turning on and off what layer options are visible. This is very important to know for later when you may want to make custom changes to your skin.
For now; click on the box next to the skin tone light (R sept). The skin tone will now be changed.
To complete your avatar skin; now select the upper body file, go to the Layer Comps palette and click the box next to light (R).
Repeat this step one more time with the lower body file.
By choosing the light (R) layer comp the optional layer for genitalia is now visible. If you would prefer not to have this on your completed skin then you can switch off the visible layer. To turn it off: go to your Layers palette and click on the eye symbol for the genitalia layer. The layer’s visibility will be turned off.
You may notice that for some skin tones a cute moth logo is shown. You do not need to keep this on your completed skin. Sometimes this will automatically turn off when you change the skin tone in the Layer Comps palette. If you want to turn off the visibility manually: At the top of the layers palette you will see the name Another Skin (Starlight). Click on the eye symbol and that layer is now turned off.
Now that the basic changes are complete I’d suggest saving your files. This is a personal preference but I like to use Save As so I can rename the .psd copy. This saves time if you want to come back to use the default templates rather than ones you’ve already made changes to.
Now you have a basic skin to replace a default Ruth skin. If you want to use this as a replacement, you can soon upload this to your virtual environment. See my tutorial on Uploading an avatar skin to OpenSim if you’ve not done this before.