Assetto Corsa

Assetto Corsa

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How to make custom liveries in Assetto Corsa (2D Method)
By shadow_jar
Ever wondered how you make those custom liveries? Well, here's how it's done.
   
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Getting started
In Assetto Corsa, the livery making system is not like the ones like in Forza and NFS which generally uses a livery editor. Instead, liveries are textured onto parts. This process is called skinning. Before you start skinning, you need a photo editor that can handle DDS files. This guide recommends Photoshop and will cover the steps using Photoshop. To prepare your Photoshop copy for DDS files, the NVidia DDS exporter is mostly recommended around the community. Links are down below for both new and legacy version:

https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

https://developer.nvidia.com/gameworksdownload#?dn=texture-tools-for-adobe-photoshop-8-55 -> Author's recomendation: old plugin is preferred

Install the plugin if you don't have it.

Author's note: This plugin is the most recommended for skinning, due to its abilities on saving DDS files with 8.8.8.8. format properly. Do note that its DXT5 compression can be bad.

[LATE UPDATE]: NVidia made an update on the new DDS plugin, and it claims that it should've fixed the issues plaguing that version. Feel free to use either Legacy or the new version if you want. This guide will still focus on the Legacy version, so keep that in mind.

Extra author's note: If you prefer video then reading a bunch of text, a good friend of mine, itsDraik made a video that could explain the process better than this guide on skinning. You are more than welcome to watch his YouTube video:


Extra extra author's note: If you are interested on 3d-skinning, the same man who made the guide above also made this:

Video creator's note:
"read the info section, i tell some important stuff".








Q&A on itsDraik's videos:
Getting the AO
After you've followed the steps, you will need the layouts for your skinning. You can find the layouts at
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\assettocorsa\sdk\dev\skin_templates.
The folders you see there contains your livery layouts.

We will be taking the Supra Tuned. So, we navigate to the ks_toyota_supra_mkiv_tuned folder. This is the result:

So, there are two files. The one we will be focusing on is exterior_drift2_body.psd file. That is the main layout for the car.

The other file, exterior_carbon.psd will alter the carbon parts of the car. You may need it, if you want to edit the carbon stuff of the car.

Bad thing is, you can't get 4096x4096 (very recommended resolution for most skins) via Kunos, unless you upsize it.

Not all folders have the same template. Some may not have the carbon template, but all have the body template and so on.

The way you just read above is rendered useless for cars you got from mods, however, as the skins folder ONLY includes Kunos car templates. However, fear not, because this is where the Content Manager Showroom stars on AO generation. How do you do that exactly?

As obvious, select a car, then open up the CM Showroom.

Click on a part of a car you want to paint on the CM Showroom from Content Manager. Select the three dots besides the txDiffuse name, and then get the wireframe and the generated AO with their AO generator (Calculate AO button). I recommend the Body preset for generating AO for car body, and Rims for car rims. Recommended file size is 4096x4096 (2048x2048 is the Kunos pipeline minimum for decalized liveries, by the way.)[/i]

Save the result on a folder (recommended if in a Pictures or Documents folder).

Once you're done with it, you're all set.

Some of you may be thinking, why is Ambient Occulsion important on not just your skins, but any texture in Assetto Corsa? The main reason is AC itself runs on an old engine, and can't handle dynamic AO. Therefore, a static one is required: which is the method of putting in a texture with baked shadows in it.

You can read more about Ambient Occulsion from this guide made by UolterUait#6813 on this link:
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1J6fmTRUCIMhJwWzhM2YtmtApjU0P9T-O

Making the livery
Open the format file, which will be the "exterior_body_drift2.psd" file. This will show up on Photoshop CS2:

There are 3 layers. The one we will be working on with is the "PAINT" layer, for the base color. That is just a recommendation. You can put other layers on top of the "PAINT" layer, as long as it isn't on the wire or/and AO layer/on top of these layers.

Let's say, we want to make it green. EZ katka. Select the "PAINT" layer, use the Paint Bucket tool, select a color (let's make it green for the moment), then LETS PA-PA-PA-PAINT!

I know that was ridiculous, but hey, it should look like this:
Hide the "wire" layer first.
Ta-daa! Now your car's green!

What, you want to prove your car's green? Only one way to find out:

First, you save the file as a DDS onto C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\assettocorsa\content\cars\yourcarfolder*.
*That will be the folder of the car you'll be saving at. This time, it's ks_toyota_supra_mkiv_tuned.
Once you're in the car folder, head to the skins folder. That's where your skins (a.k.a. liveries) are stored at.
Make a new folder. Name it up!
For example: 14_my_first_livery
So, the layout (so there won't be any errors) will be:
Number_name
Since the last livery number is 13, you make it 14.
Then, you make a name on it.

Turns out, you dont need the numbers. Just name it as you like.
*Don't use spacebars on the space. Use underscores instead.

After that, you MUST name the result exterior_drift2_body_diffuse.dds . (or you can cheat the name by heading to another folder, clicking on the body livery name, then move into your new livery folder, then save it with that name.)

Once you've hit Save, this will pop up:

This is where you get creative.
Every setup is possible, as long as it's 2d.
Here is my setup for the dds file:
DXT5 ARGB 8 bpp | interpolated alpha or 8.8.8.8. ARGB 32 bpp | unsigned

MIP Map Filtering
Filter type : Blackman
Gamma Value : 2.2
Blur factor = 1
Filter Width Override Value = 10

*For Photoshop CS2, before saving the file as a DDS, you should uncheck the "Alpha Channels", or else it won't save.

IMPORTANT: Some fellow readers may be using the new NVidia Texture Exporter tool or whatsoever it's called. Fellow readers can set the DDS format to BC3 RGBA 8bpp | interpolated alpha for DXT5 format and 8.8.8.8 BGRA 32 bpp | unsigned for 8.8.8.8 format.

_______________________________________________________________________________
Author's note:
If you are looking for 'quality' of your skin go for the 8.8.8.8. fornat. It is a lossless format and because of that, there will be no compression on the colors.

HOWEVER:
There are times when DXT5 format is required. This format compresses your skin file, hence loss of quality. However, as a result you get smaller skin file sizes. This is useful for events where a low file size is required. (for example: Republic of Simracers with a maximum skin file size of 10MB)

Here are some comparison shots of the same skin with both formats.

Left: DXT5 format. Right: 8.8.8.8. format. Notice the 'compressions' around the body.
*Do note that these screenshots were taken on the Retrolux showroom. I will show you what it would look like in-game on a future update.
_______________________________________________________________________________

Want to edit other stuff in the car but you're looking for the file name? Sorry, but the livery folder doesn't contain the file names to it.

But dont lose hope: there's a solution to it.

Get Content Manager (all versions). Using their CM Showroom feature, you could just click on the part that you want to mod then you have figured the file name, type and size. You could also get the wireframe, if you want to. Ambient occulsions too.

Here's an example on my Splatoon 2 86 LCD mod:

I modded the LCD into Splatoon 2's music minigame area, and the gearshift to Cuttlegear logo (y'all folks who play Splatoon 2 should know this). That's the power of modding!

Totally a fun fact that everyone needs to know: You could ALSO find the file name of other parts, including the car body, at the same time of ripping the AO off![/1]

For the skin info, you need a ui_skin.json file. Rip one off from a skin that existed, open it with Notepad, overwrite it, and you're all set. Or if you have Content Manager...

Left-click the car to mod, click Manage Skins, click the skin you made, then click Create JSON-File. Simple like that.

Content Manager Lite was used for skin modding. The paid version could do it too, obviously.

Creating the ui_skin.json file

The ui_skin.json file contains the skin parameters, which includes its name, car driver name, car number, etc. There is a hard way to do it, which is by literally typing the whole thing. Good news is, there is a super easy way to do it via Content Manager.

First up, you select the car which skin you want to edit.

Secondly, hit the Skins button (right side of Drive button).

After that, click in the Create JSON-File button. That will generate the ui_skin.json file.

Now, to give the skin a name.

See the blue circle there? The text there is the skin name. Click on it, and type its name.

Fun fact: you could also edit other elements.

These are basically mandatory, so not that really important (unless you want to add it).

Don't worry, the free version of Content Manager works too.

Viewing the livery
Wanna see the proof? Start Assetto Corsa up.
Select Drive.
Head to the car selection.
Then, find the car.
Select the color selection button.
Search the livery.
Then, hit the Showroom.

Here's your green beauty.
Or, want a shortcut?
Head to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\assettocorsa.
Find the "acShowroom.exe" file.
That's the showroom file.
But, you must view the car through AC app first.

Or, you could use Content Manager's CM Showroom feature to view it. No need to use the Alt+Tab trick for it!

Not satisfied yet? ADD DECALS! AND OTHER STUFF!
But first, save the file as a .psd file on your livery folder(not the one in the AC folders, but your personal folders).
Then, go creative with it.

Here's my memetage livery:
Yep, you can call this rice. Or not. At least you let your imagination go wild.
Glass skinning / Alpha channel skinning
What is "Glass Skinning"?
Glass skinning (or Window Decals, yada yada, whatever you call it) is just like basic skinning, except... you have to play with Alpha Layers (if it's a .dds file). There are also .png versions of these, which I'll cover up later.

Again, this process of skinning will require you a Photoshop version which is higher than CS2, as CS2 doesn't support alphas upon .dds file savings.

What do I need to skin glass?

I'll explain my technique to skin glass:

-Firstly, you need to "rip" the AO off the glass.

The process is JUST the same as ripping off your body AO, except this time, it's on the glass.
(Take note that you have to rip it on a bigger size than usual, recommended 4096x4096)

There are two types of these "window decals":

1. The decal with its own texture file as I'd like to call it (can someone who makes car models clarify this?)


One thing you could see is, that it instantly also affects the glass from interior, instead of the glass.dds files.

2. Straight-up skinning on the "glass" file (depends on every car, naming could be different)


Notice how it doesnt really affect the "inside" part of the glass, except on the outside.

However, the way you skin these two are basically the same.

1. Rip the AO off

Ripping it off is just like ripping the body AO off. However, you MUST rip it in a high-sized map (4096x4096 is ok, but 2048x2048 is fine too).

Once you got the AO, simply save it then load it in your favourite photo editor.

2. Alpha Layers (as I'd like to call it so)

For Photoshop, in order to make decals on windows, you need an alpha layer. How do you make one exactly?

Take a look at your Channels window. It could be located besides the "Layers" window usually.


Notice the blue circle there?

That is the button to create a brand new channel. That channel would be your Alpha Channel.

So, what's next?

GO PAINT THE AO BY YOURSELF REEEEEE XD Actually, just put stuffs there, either drawn or pasted.

Quick tip: Use the "Multiply" blending tool on AO.
Important quick tip: Do the decals/paintings on another layer.

Once you're done with it, select the painting

OR...

Ctrl+Left Click the decal thumbnails to select them.

Right click on the canvas, then hit Save Selection.

Then this window will pop up:


Notice the blue circles again? There's the circle on the Channels. This is important, as if you selected any other channel, you might end up breaking the whole thing. It's a MUST for it to be done on the alpha channel.

There's the one with the 4 selection stuffs.
What does those mean?

-Replace Channel: that stuff will be the brand-new alpha channel. Must-use for a first-time decal apply on the AO.

-Add to Channel: useful for adding later decals (select it first tho).

-Subtract from Channel: useful for deleting existing decals (select it first tho).

-Intersect with Channel: no use whatsoever, dont use it

For the new alpha channel, hit Replace Channel, if you done this err... decal-additions on the AO once. Then, hit OK.

After that, deselect the selection. Save it as a new file (accordingly to its name) on the skin folder.

Voila, window decal!

.png Decal Skinning

So, what's the difference with this? It's just same as .dds skinning, except you don't have to play with alpha channels (it's already transparent without the AO, duh).

Even better, the AO could be instantly edited (dont forget to set it to Multiply).

But, try to err... not to get that much opacity on the AO, please?*
*only on some cars where there are... stuff on the window, e.g. Nissan GTR GT3 (Kunos)

That's it for window skinning. Now, feel free to put anime waifus anything on your glass.

Livery dump
Psyyched's RX7 RE Amemiya w/ SDVX V itasha livery

Street Heroes Miata (PS Duce kit)


Street Heroes 180SX Dmax Type III

World Drift Tour Street S14s (the cover cars of this guide!)
Tips
  • You could also get the wireframe via Content Manager. This will aid with adjusting positioning on your designs.
  • Sometimes, [stripe]AO[/stripe] UV mapping can look like... some object that doesn't even look like a car (see: Toyota MR2 Wangan Spec from Shuto Revival Project). That is not for you to blame, as you, the skinner, have no way to readjust the UV mapping without breaking the mod as a whole.
  • Getting inspired by various designs are a good way to get you ideas on your skin... or maybe doing a replica would also be good.
  • Get your Pen Tool trained (mouse users). It's pretty much the Swiss Army Knife of making shapes. No, I'm not kidding, it really is a must-use for stuff like this:
  • Not really important but very important to look good: make sure the car model you use is good!
Ending
Thank you for taking your time to read my skinning guide. Hopefully this ol' guide helped with your livery making problems.

Any questions? Just hit me a DM on my Discord: shadow_jar#7925

I will expand this guide as I could. Anything I missed on this guide? Leave it on the comments.
Credit
Credits to whoever made one of the skinning guides on the Web:
http://www.simracingpro.com/threads/assetto-corsa-skinning-guide.2727/

If it wasn't for this guide, I wouldn't have started experimenting skinning.

Special thanks to itsDraik#0765 for making a video guide on the whole process.

Special thanks to UolterUait#6813 for making a great guide regarding AO.

And a very special thanks to the entire AC community for helping out on skinning methods.
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40 Comments
dexilify Dec 22, 2021 @ 5:23am 
really nice guide! :steamthumbsup:
.com Jun 19, 2021 @ 5:57pm 
@grlap Try unchecking the "Load mipmaps". GIMP 2.10.24 mine gimp will give me error as I try to open file, Photoshop 2020 works right for me
shadow_jar  [author] Jun 19, 2021 @ 8:47am 
@Pharaoh this should work for texturing other games too.
Pharaoh Jun 17, 2021 @ 12:47pm 
currently learning vhiecle modeling my self
this will come in handy even though it will be for ATS
atanasije Mar 17, 2021 @ 1:13pm 
Thanks for the fast response!
shadow_jar  [author] Mar 17, 2021 @ 1:08pm 
@Angel Eyes yes, it works on any GPU.
atanasije Mar 17, 2021 @ 1:02pm 
Stupid question, but can you get Nvidia thing for dds files to work on AMD?
shadow_jar  [author] Feb 18, 2021 @ 8:03pm 
@Tobisen -iwnl- Hmm, can I check the cars and textures personally via Discord? This one seems fishy, I'll have to look at it with my own eyes
Tobisen -iwnl- Feb 18, 2021 @ 10:48am 
i did it is .dds but still black ingame
shadow_jar  [author] Feb 9, 2021 @ 5:05am 
@Tobisen -iwnl- check file format and naming scheme. Sometimes the diffuse wont be a .dds.