So what is Minecraft skinning, and how is it anything worth taking time on?
Well probably one of the biggest reasons would probably be plagiarism! So this is where I'm going to start.
Plagiarism is defined as, "To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own, to use (another's production) without crediting the source, to commit literary theft, to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source."
This does apply to skins, it is art and an image. But worry not, for it is okay to edit a skin and use it personally as long as you do not say you made it. After this though, it gets increasingly difficult to use other players' skins, seeing as many are protective of their work, you can never be sure how far they will take this to get you in trouble for using their skin.
In most cases it is not this dramatic to worry about actual plagiarism, just be aware of what is out there, and what lengths someone might go to get you to stop. It's similar to using images with no credit, not really a big deal, but still a possibility for trouble.
What is not okay;
Posting an edited skin to any website or app.
Claiming a skin as your own when you did not make it.
Removing a watermark inside the skin file by the original maker.
Just because you might not get caught, does not mean you should do it, people get caught all the time. Typically leading to removal from most posting sites.
This is where making your own skins is very beneficial, because you will be on the other side of this. Now you might be a little worried about your skins getting stolen now, there are a few things you can try to lessen this, but from experience it is basically unavoidable. Picking the correct place to upload anything publicly is a good start.
(Yes, this topic is very debatable, just keep in mind how every situation is different and how extreme some can get.)
Editors and Websites:
When creating your own skin, it is good to know what is the best of the best to where you should keep you public content if you want to share, and what to make them with.
Downloadable Editor: Also, the most highly recommended by myself, and what I use personally.
Online Editor: These are really not the best, the best I can find is this one, and it does not even support transparent layers. But it does have a good color selector. I do recommend trying different online editors, because there are many and I don't use them. Or just use the downloadable one above.
Apps: The best app that I could find I believe you have to pay for, the other is loaded with skin stealers. Both of these include editors and communities to post your skins to.
Minecraft: Skin Studio- Pay to use(?)
Skinseed- Do not use community if you are afraid of your work being stolen. There is no moderation.
Communities: Naturally the suggestion I am going to give you is what I know is the top website for sharing skins. It's one of the few that has moderation, and reporting that works. If you want your skin to be public, and also as safe as it can be, use this website.
There are a variety of methods, just because I am showing you one way does not mean it is the right way. This is also very basic but will require you to put work into it for there to be a happy end result.
What I'm going to show you is hue shifting, something most people do not use, but it could make all the difference to a skin. (Again, personal preference.)
Hue shifting is as the color gets darker, you shift the hue to either a warmer or cooler lowlight.
I've seen it done two ways; cool highlight to warm low-light and warm highlight to cool low-light . I have debated with a friend for hours over preferences and what on is more natural, but we could only agree to disagree.
Most of my skins are the right one, warm highlight to cool low-light, just keep in mind that if one shade in your palette is warm-cool or cool-warm, that the rest of the colors are.
When doing this, you should be doing something like this.
As you can see, this is something very easy and can make all the difference. Here is another example of the different ways to do hue shifting.
I am not really doing any justice to the cool to warm, but this is because I use the other method. Again, it is all up to you as to what you like.
For more on hue shifting and color theory, check out these blogs:
When it comes to shading, I like to do it anatomically correct as possible. You can do this with detail, or little detail.
Yet, it still looks like an arm in both! I like to include a fist, because Minecraft characters punch a lot of objects.
Keep in mind, anatomy!
When it comes to shading, you need to find your own style, everyone has one. If you copy a shading, even from scratch, you need to go back and read the plagiarism category at the top again. Because you can be removed from any site for copying another's exact shading.
When I shade, I use light source shading, something most people don't use. This is very advanced, but not impossible.
Starting out, I would recommend keeping it simple. Use maybe four or five hue shifts each color, and find out how you want it to look. But remember, there needs to be shaping that shows that this, for example, an arm and not just a noodle.
Can you tell where the light source is?
Quick overview of my shading:
Now, this is just how I shade my skins, it is very basic, but a large improvement to a majority of skins if you follow even one, in my opinion.
Have questions, or need help, think I could add something or want something added? Want to improve more? Leave a comment here, I will see if I have time to answer it, or private message me on Planet Minecraft.
Also, have any ideas for more skinning tutorials, maybe a separate post more in depth on a topic here, I'm glad to hear those!