Skins in Gimp

Skins in Gimp

From BeamNG

(written by DuneWulff on 9/26/17 - version .10 hotfix)

Materials Needed

It is recommended to use GIMP 2.8.16 and the GIMP DDS Plugin for 2.x.x. In addition, download Winrar. This guide is assuming you are using from Steam and are on a Windows machine. It is HIGHLY suggested that you watch a few tutorials on using the basics of GIMP. It will make this much easier to understand.


This tutorial is written in layman's terms - it is designed so that everyone can understand it. Follow the tutorial line-by-line, word for word and you will end up with your own skin! In this tutorial, you'll be making a skin for the H-series. Other vehicles are identical in the steps, with the only difference being the names. You will likely notice a pattern in how skins are made.

How To Make Your Skin

This may look daunting, but the process is actually rather straightforward and simple. Don't be afraid :)

  1. IF YOU'VE NEVER OPENED GIMP - Open GIMP and, once it loads, close it back out. This will make sure GIMP is ready to launch.
  2. If your version of the GIMP DDS .zip doesn't come with an installer, open the .zip with Winrar and copy "dds.exe"
  3. Minimize the Winrar tab
  4. Navigate to C:\Users\YOURNAME\.gimp-2.8\plug-ins and paste the "dds.exe" file there
  5. Close back out of both the Winrar tab and the tab you opened in step 4.

Now onto making the skin:

  1. Navigate to Steam\steamapps\common\\content\vehicles
  2. Scroll down until you see the .zip file titled "van" and open it with Winrar
  3. Click through the folders until you arrive at the page with numerous files in it.
  4. On this page, find the "van_skin_UVs.png" file
  5. Copy this file
  6. Minimize the tab
  7. Now navigate to C:\Users\YOURNAME\Documents\
  8. Create a folder titled "vehicles" (you may already have one)
  9. Within that folder, create a folder titled "van" and open it
  10. Paste the "van_skin_UVs.png" file in the "van" folder
  11. Make a new folder and title it whatever you desire (remember what you titled it!)
  12. Within this folder create a new text file
  13. Copy and paste the following code into the text file:
singleton Material("")
    mapTo = "";
    overlayMap[2] = "vehicles/van/example/";
    diffuseMap[2] = "vehicles/van/";
    specularMap[2] = "vehicles/van/";
    normalMap[2] = "vehicles/van/";
    diffuseMap[1] = "vehicles/van/";
    specularMap[1] = "vehicles/van/";
    normalMap[1] = "vehicles/van/";
    diffuseMap[0] = "vehicles/common/";
    specularMap[0] = "vehicles/common/";
    normalMap[0] = "vehicles/van/";
    specularPower[0] = "128";
    pixelSpecular[0] = "1";
    specularPower[1] = "32";
    pixelSpecular[1] = "1";
    specularPower[2] = "128";
    pixelSpecular[2] = "1";
    diffuseColor[0] = "1 1 1 1";
    diffuseColor[1] = "1 1 1 1";
    diffuseColor[2] = "1 1 1 1";
    useAnisotropic[0] = "1";
    useAnisotropic[1] = "1";
    useAnisotropic[2] = "1";
    castShadows = "1";
    translucent = "1";
    translucentBlendOp = "None";
    alphaTest = "0";
    alphaRef = "0";
    dynamicCubemap = true;
    instanceDiffuse[2] = true;
    materialTag0 = "beamng"; materialTag1 = "vehicle";
  1. Change wherever it says "example" to whatever you titled your folder in step 11.
  2. Click save as
  3. Save the file as materials.cs
  4. Close out of the text editor
  5. At this step you may have a file named "new text document" - you may delete this file
  6. Create another new text document in the same folder and open the newly created document
  7. Paste the following code into the newly created document
"example": {
        "authors":"YOUR NAME GOES HERE",
    "slotType" : "paint_design",
    "globalSkin" : "example",
  1. Change where it says example what you titled your folder in step 11. Change "YOUR NAME GOES HERE" to your name.
  2. Click save as
  3. Save this file as "example.jbeam" (replace example with what you named your folder in the first step 11)
  4. Close out of the text editor
  5. Now navigate back to where you pasted your "van_skin_UVs" file
  6. Right click on this file
  7. Go to where it says "open with" and choose GIMP.
  8. At this point GIMP will open up and present you with the image of a wireframe (white and green lines on black background) H-series
  9. Reduce the opacity of the "van_skin_UVs.png" layer to roughly 50%
  10. Make a new layer below the layer titled "van_skin_UVs.png"
  11. On the new layer you made, feel free to paint and experiment as you see fit.
  12. Be careful to not allow any items to extend of the page - GIMP doesn't like this when you go to export your work. If you have something that extends off the page, use the Crop Tool and "crop" the outermost boundaries of the image. This will get rid of any excess items that extend off the page. (but don't actually crop the image itself, make sure the file dimensions (found at the top of the tab stay the same as when you opened it!))
  13. Once you are finished making your skin, there are a few VERY important steps to follow for exporting. If you don't do these steps exactly, your skin may not work.
  14. Delete the layer titled "van_skin_UVs.png"
  15. On the remaining layer, right click and select "layer to image size"
  16. Go to file -> export as...
  17. Replace where it says "van_skin_UVs.png" with "" (replace the "example" with the name you chose in the first step 11)
  18. Make sure you are exporting the file to C:\Users\YOUR NAME\Documents\\vehicles\van\example (replacing example with your name from the first step 11)
  19. Click "export"
  20. In the window that opens, click on "compression" and select "BCT / DXT3"
  21. You may now close out of GIMP. If it asks "would you like to save?", click "no" unless you want to have an .xcf file for your skin (it is not necessary to have an .xcf file)
  22. At this point, open
  23. Open a map and spawn an H-series
  24. Open the parts menu and you should find your paint design (skin) in the dropdown menu

Prepping The File For A Mod

  1. Navigate to C:\Users\YOUR NAME\Documents\
  2. Right click on the "vehicles" folder
  3. Select "send to"
  4. Select "compressed (zipped) folder"
  5. A .zip file titled "vehicles" should appear now
  6. Rename the .zip to whatever you want
  7. Delete the old "vehicles" folder
  8. Place that .zip file into your mods folder
  9. Your skin is now good to go!
Example H-series Skin.png