Skinning software is frowned upon by the Hardc0re skinners out there. Why? Because it means people just create skins that look exactly like each other. Why is that bad? Because it takes hours to trawl through skin archives looking for a good skin that isn't just a picture resized and processed with a skin tool.
But skin tools aren't all bad. No no no. A skin tool can be a good way of learning what makes a skin tick. It can help you explore the components of a skin and ease the learning curve for you.
So where do I get a skin tool? Hmm Nullsoft have even given you a list:
Some of the tools are freeware, Skin Master
Personally I think Skin Master is best since I wrote it. And I wrote it with the learner in mind. It can/will be able to do all the work, or it can just slice a template image. So it allows you to ease into the process and gradually phase out the cheating bits.
But a skin tool is not the only software to use.
need to create some of your own graphics at some point in the process. And for this you need a graphics application.
There are two main choices. There are others but these two are arguably the most used:
Paint Shop Pro
- from Jasc
Paint Shop Pro started life as a screen grabbing application, and evolved through the realm of share ware to become a pretty darn powerful graphics application. It is easy to learn by exploring. And can do most of the stuff that it's main rival can do, but not quite all. It's not as powerful. BUT
it is reasonably priced! Version 7.0 is in beta (you can get it to test) Version 6.0 has a 30 day trial. 5.0 is not around anymore. And version 4.x PE (Personal Edition) while somewhat outdated is available as freeware, from a place I shall try and track down for you, but eludes me for now.
This gives you a cheap, good, usable option.
- from adobe
is pretty much the standard application for proffesional graphics designers, and the favoured tool of many of the real top-notch skin makers. Adobe is VERY powerful indeed. It's hertiage is adjustment of scanned photographs. It's a lot harder to get into using. You need either a good book, or a good website dedicated to teaching Adobe to get the most out of it, and it has a HEFTY price tag. But it's worth it if you're making a lot of pictures.
So for the occasionaly skinner who wants to make a skin out of a photo of his girlfriend for personal use, you can't go far wrong with a skin tool and 10 minutes work. If you're learning skinning, a skin tool can help, but a graphics package is what you need if you're going to be making skins for the world to see.
And if you're a Hardc0re graphics proffesional then just jump straight into photoshop and the winamp skins guide in the developer section.
[Edited by ElChevelle on 12-17-2000 at 08:51 PM]