Welcome to the Illustrated Skinning Tutorial! It will show you how to modify
a color in a skin, which covers almost everything needed to know about skinning,
and answers some questions about skinning and texture editing.
Please note that a basic understanding and know-how of image edition is
assumed, as this is not a tutorial on image edition. For those of you who
are not familiar with WimGimp, the image edition software used here, don't
worry, there are a number of screenshots in the tutorial to help you start
with it. If you are already used to another image manipulation software such
as Photoshop, you can use it rather than WinGimp (if it offers the required
functions of course, which Photoshop does, but not irfanview for instance).
To do yourself the steps of this tutorial, you need to have installed the
Nolf Editing Tools (available from the official site here),
the rez file manager WinRez-LT (available for free here,
many thanks to BlackAngel Software!) and finally the WimGimp image edition
software (available for free here thanks
to WinGimp.org). Because the Nolf Editing Tools are available only on the
PC platform, this tutorial cover only the PC. Unfortunately WinGimp
is not totally bug free and may bug sometime (the program will close, all
you have to do to go on is to restart it and re-open your image), therefore
remember to save your work from time to time.
You will see in numerous places a symbol representing a screen: .
Clicking on it will display a screenshot to illustrate the text.
This tutorial applies to the original Nolf as well as to Nolf 2: A Spy in
Harm's way. In the How-to section after the tutorial, we'll see how to modify
a Nolf 2 skin. Because at the moment I'm writing this, Nolf 2's Editing Tools
are not available, I will use the original Nolf's Editing Tools. You could
of course do it with Nolf 2's Editing Tools.
What we call a skin is the color and designs of a character: skin, hair,
clothes, accessories, etc...
In the game's system, the skin is a simple image painted, which is 'folded'
around the player. By modifying this image, you can modify the color and
designs of a character. More often than not, there are in fact several skin
images per character: it can be one for the head and one for everything else
for instance (common in Nolf1), or one for the hair, another for the face,
and a last one for everything else (common in Nolf2). We often call
those files skin files, or in short just skins.
The art of skinning is the art of modifying those images, or creating brand
new ones, for a character.
The images of the skins are also sometime called textures. Skins are textures,
but not all textures are skins: skins are only used for characters, while
texture is the name used for image files 'folded' around something, regardless
what it is: rocks, grass, walls, furnitures, objects, etc.
In this tutorial, we'll see in detail how to change the color of a cloth.
If you have more ambitious goals with skinning, know then that once you'll
have learned that you'll know 90% of what there is to know in skinning! From
there, making more ambitious skins is just a matter of mastering your image
This is done in 3 steps. We will export the skin's image file from the game
using DEdit, modify the image using WinGimp, and finally import the new image
in the game using DEdit again.
1. Export the skin
Start DEdit (it
is in the Tools folder located in the folder where you have installed No
One Lives Forever, usually it is the "c:\Program Files\Fox\No One
Lives Forever\Tools" folder). Open the game's project file (in the
menu File, choose the command Open Project ,
and open the Nolf.dep file that is in the NOLF folder located in the folder
where you have installed No One Lives Forever .)
Select the skin, write down its properties.
Click on the texture tab, and in the folder tree (usually at the top of
the left part) select the CHARS/SKINS folder .
That feeds in the list of textures below it. Click on the ELITEASIAN_ACTION
select it. Double click on it to see its properties and write them down
somewhere! You will need them later .
Export the skin
Right-click on that skin in the list and select the "Export TGA File(s)..." command .
Browse to your documents folder, create there a new folder, name it "My
Nolf Skins", open it and save the image there .
Save the original skin file
With the explorer, go to your skin folder. Select the .dtx file ,
copy and paste it to create a copy of it in this folder .
2. Edit the image file
Open the file
Open Wingimp .
Click on Ok to close the "Tip of the Day" window, and select
the Open option in the File menu .
Wingimp is the windows version of Gimp, which is originally a Unix program.
Even the windows version kept a part of the traditional Unix "look
and feel", so if at the beginning you don't find your marks, don't
worry, it will come quickly as you use WinGimp!
Double click on the "My Document" folder to open it .
Open then the "My Nolf Skin" folder .
There you can open the skin file we just exported, open it .
Modify the skin
Let's modify the color of the belly band and the lower leg bands. Those
bands are rectangular, so select the "Select rectangular regions" tool
by clicking on its icon in the toolbox . With
it, select the belly band by positioning the pointer to one of its corner,
clicking and dragging (while maintaining the click) the mouse to the opposite
Then right-click somewhere on the image and select the "Image -> Colors
-> Hue-Saturation..." command .
In the window that opens, make sure the Preview button is in the pushed
You may there change the colors by moving the sliders to obtain the color
like that for instance .
Click on the Ok button when done. You can repeat the same thing for the
leg band (the little vertical one, lower).
Save the modified skin
Right-click on the image and select the "File -> Save As..." option .
We will save it as a PCX file type. For that, click on the "Determine
File Type" button and choose the PCX file type .
Then click Ok to save .
You may know close Wingimp .
3. Import the new image file
Import the new skin
In DEdit, right-click in the texture list and select the "Import
PCX Files"... option .
Open the pcx file ,
and confirm the we indeed wish to overwrite the existing texture .
You still have, noted somewhere, all the original texture properties, right?
Good, because we'll need them now. Double-click on the new texture to edit
its properties: they have been reset to the defaults value when importing
the skin , you
need to change their value to recover their original values .
Press Ok when done. Were' done with DEdit. The new skin is now, with its
correct properties, in the EliteAsian_Action.dtx file.
Make the rez file
With the explorer, go to the skins folder and select the new skin file
We will copy it in the right folder structure to build the rez file. Copy
this file and create in the "My Nolf Skins" folder a new folder
called RezFolder .
Inside that new folder, create another folder named CHARS .
Inside it, create a SKINS folder and copy the skin there .
Now, with the explorer, go to "My Nolf Skins" folder and save
there the rez.vbs file (right-click here and
choose "Save Target As.."). Double-click on it to create the
rez file .
That will create a rez file with your skin in it .
Don't forget to rename it with a more specific name!
See it in the game
Copy the rez file in your custom folder (in the game's folder). Now, start
the game's launcher and load that rez file with the custom button .
Start the game, in the Multiplayer menu choose the Player Setup screen,
and there select the player model "Elite Guard, Style 4" to see
the new skin .
And if you wish to share your skin with the community, send it to NolfGirl.com!
If you wish to do more advanced skinning, have a look at the how-to here,
and if you have questions not answered here feel free to ask your questions
in the forum here.
How to learn more about image editing with WinGimp?
See the official site's list of links (here),
it includes links to numerous tutorials. If you wish to really become a WinGimp
expert, you can also find a few books about WinGimp.
How to change the color of a non rectangular shape?
You'll need to make a non-rectangular selection in WinGimp, and there are
a few tools to do that - please see WinGimp's documentation for more information.
As a start, you can try the magic wand (the one that say "Select contiguous
regions") which can select the part of an image that have a certain
color (very convenient! use the threshold in the tools option window to control
it). You can correct a selection by using a selection tool while pressing
the Shift key to add to the current selection, or the Ctrl key to remove
from the current selection.
How to add something onto a skin?
In WinGimp, create a layer above the layer containing the skin and draw
in this layer. You can also paste your design in that layer if you already
have it in another image file. Please see WinGimp's documentation to learn
how to work with layers and transparency.
How to modify a skin in the Nolf 2 Demo with the original Nolf's Editing
Easy. First, unrez Nolf2's demo rez files. For this, download and save this
small file Markers.rez (right-click
and choose "Save Target As...") and the UnrezDemo.vbs program
(save it in the same folder). In that folder, drop a copy of WinRezLT and
double click on UnrezDemo.vbs. That will unrez the demo files. Then, run
this little program here (click
on it and choose the Open button) to create a Nolf1 DEdit project for the
Nolf2 Demo. Later, when you open that project you will see a message
about a missing dll, you can safely ignore it.
You might have to lower the number of mipmaps in the texture properties
to 4, because Nolf1's DEdit is limited to 4 mipmaps while Nolf2 can use more
(a few Nolf2 skins have 7 mipmaps). Other than that, there should be no problem.
To load your rez file into the Nol2 Demo, create a folder named "Custom" in
the Demo's folder, put your rez file there and type-in "-rez custom\MYSKIN.REZ" (without
the quotes) in the Command line of the launcher's Advanced option window.
While you're there, make sure that "Always pass command line arguments
to the game" is checked.
Here is an example of a skin for Nolf2 made with the Demo (it should works
too with the game) .
Aren't they cute? You can get the rez file here.
Please note that this only allows you to import/export the textures, to
make maps for Nolf2 with Nolf1's DEdit cannot work.
How to modify another kind of texture?
Simply: in the same way. Remember however that your RezFolder must have
its structure copied onto the structure of the NOLF folder. If for instance
you modify a texture that is located in NOLF\TEX\WOOD\WD01, make sure you
put it in REZFOLDER\TEX\WOOD\WD01, otherwise your rez file won't work as
If your texture is a transparent or transluscent one, then you'll have to
save it in WinGimp as a TGA file (not a PCX), and to import it in DEdit as
a TGA file. Make sure when you save a TGA file with WinGimp that the RLE
button is not pushed (it will appear when you save), otherwise DEdit won't
be able to import it.
For some reason, when I import in DEdit a TGA file saved from WimGimp, it's
all upside down. To solve that problem, just before saving it, I put it upside
down myself so that DEdit will put it correctly when importing. For that,
I select the "Flip the layer or selection" tool and click once
with it in the skin, then right-click in the skin and choose "Image
-> Transforms -> Rotate -> 180 Degrees". It's a bit tricky,
but it works. If you encounter that problem, well, you now know how I solve
How to make my custom skin seen by the other players in multiplayer?
In order to keep the capacity of your internet connection intact for the
gaming experience, Nolf doesn't automatically download add-ons. So, because
your skin is correctly installed and shows up on your machine does not mean
that the other players will see your custom skin on their machine. If you
made a new skin and want it to be seen by your gaming partners in multiplayer
games, they need to install your rez file onto their machine. Make sure they
know how to get it! You can also make it available to the whole community
by sending it to NolfGirl.com.
How to create a new variation of a character?
Variations are additional skins which are selectable in the "Player
Setup" screen in multiplayer (please read the paragraph just above this
one about multiplayer). You can use them too if you are making a single-player
mission (and you can then add new skins and still use the original ones).
All you need to do is to create you new skin file(s) and define them.
The character variations are defined in the Modelbutes.txt file located
in the Attributes folder. This way of defining variations was introduced
in version 1.002, so you'll have to use the Modelbutes.txt file from version
1.002 or up, not the one from v1.001 that is already extracted in your Nolf
folder. Extract Modelbutes.txt from the rez file Nolfu003.rez (you have installed
at least update 3, right?), and open it. Go at its end, you will see how
the variations are defined. Simple hey? There's a title line for each character,
and one line for each skin file. Add your line(s) there, put Modelbutes.txt
in your rez file at the right place (in an ATTRIBUTES folder) and you have
created a new variation!
How to get the answer to a question about skinning not mentioned here?
If you have questions unanswered left, do not hesitate to ask your questions
in the forum here.