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by Ataxia 20 Oct 2014, 22:32
Ladies and gentlemen,

I don't want to toot my own horn, but as you know I've kinda helped out with quite a few liveries for the various series across the PMMF. Unfortunately, as life is rather encroaching on my time I have to downscale. RealRacingRoots suggested that I suggest ways to lighten the loads on all of the usual painters across the forum, and hopefully this thread will encourage you to try some designs yourself, find some feedback and even maybe attract new livery hobbyists!

Firstly, I will mention that I will absolutely be around to design other liveries apart from my own if it's a concept that attracts me, or if it's specifically requested of me to do so. I'll be doing the AR2.0 liveries, of course, and I'd imagine Aerond would still want F1RWRS stuff (although that's something to think about later, when I might have more time...).

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So, livery design. Here's a few basic rules I tend to follow:

- The livery must have a cohesive scheme. If you're using angular shapes, you need to stick to that ethos throughout. If you use different shapes, the livery tends to look messy.
- Try to limit yourself to a minimum of two to three colours.
- Look at existing schemes and see whether they go together well. I've made a red and light blue car before, which really didn't look good at all.
- Try to make any sponsors fit the scheme of the car. If you've got a black sponsor and a dark coloured car, don't just stick a white box around the logo. Try to change the colour to fit.
- Use the wireframe layer! It's a great reference for the shape of the car, and so you should check it to ensure that the colours are going to fit together cohesively.

You've got an idea in your head, and you feel like taking the plunge to make it yourself. How can you turn your dreams into reality?

The simplest way is Paint.NET, quite frankly. It has the added bonus for rFactor users to convert to .dds, which is what all the game's texture files come as. Once you get used to the program, it has quite a simple interface, with the ability to use layers, curves and other helpful things in livery design. Pasta_Maldonado knows more than I about Paint.NET, so he might be able to tell you a touch more about it than I can.

Another way is GIMP, another free tool which is quite similar to Photoshop in many respects. Again, it's not a program I use, so if someone can help out with GIMP a little more than I can that'll be grand. Basically, learn by using I guess is the best way forward.

What I DO use is Adobe Photoshop CS2. New versions are pricey, but since support stopped for CS2 then it was "released" free to those who had previously owned it (but let's be honest, they don't care. You can get it here) and there's a serial key you have to enter on start-up which should be available on the Adobe website. I think...I have it also if you need it and can't find it. It's a really good bit of kit if you know how to use it, which is the only real struggle. Once you've got a good grounding in the pen tool (watch/read some step-by-step tutorials online if you're struggling) then you're going to be flying with it. If you have questions about PS CS2, I'll be happy to try and help.

So you've downloaded the software, and a template for one of the series here. You've drawn some shapes and you think you're ready. What next?

First things first is to decide on the base colour. From there, start a new layer and start building up the designs. You might want to start out simple, but once you've got the taste for it you can start to create more complex liveries and shapes. Once you're happy, then you can start another layer and start sticking on sponsors. I strongly recommend you start to build up a folder of logos, preferably in .png format (if you're familiar with vector graphics, knock yourself out, but I find them a royal pain in the arse for liveries). If there's no .png available, don't worry.

Select a sponsor, and if it's got a white background you need to do one of two things (note: this is targeted for Photoshop. Your experience on other programs may vary.)

1) If the layer is named "background" and has a lock icon next to it, you need to right-click and select "create layer from background". From here, you can either select the white space and delete it or select the letters/shapes in the logo and drag it into the file. You need to use the Magic Pen tool for this.

2) If the layer is named "Index", you must click "Image" in the top menu and click "Mode/RGB Mode". Then follow step 1.

Once the sponsor has been dragged into the car template, you may wish to change the colour. You could use the fill tool on the letters, but that doesn't look so great. Instead, you need to go into "Layer Style" (or equivalent, if there is one) and use "colour overlay". Then you can resize with the "scale" function under "Edit/Transform...". Try not to scale the shape up, because unless it's a vector logo (.svg format, for example) then it'll just look crap.

That's the basics, you've probably just got to type in some numbers and then you're away.

There's a lot more to it, but again, you learn with practice. Just experiment with different functions and tools and see what works for you.

If you've got general queries with the software, or you have a livery that you want feedback on, please drop a post here! Just a final few tips.

- try not to save over the template. Get into the habit of saving as a new .psd before you start (ie. Save As.../teamname.psd) and then go from there.

- different games require different formats, although you can probably get away with sending in as a .png. Try not to send in as low-quality .jpg files. If the series owner uses rFactor, they require .dds files, but if you're not sure on that we have the tools to convert them into that.

- don't use the brush tool. Please. It looks so, so sloppy and it's one of my biggest bugbears. Get used to using the pen tool, it might not be easy but once you master it you can get a hang of it easily. There are tutorials out there, if anyone wants anything explained then please don't hesitate to ask.

- Don't merge the existing layers in a .psd template. By all means, merge the artwork layers together and the sponsor layers together, but if you want help on something and we find you've glued the wireframe to everything else, it's past the point of repair.

- Lastly, have fun! Look at other racing cars, I find GP2 has great livery concepts, and you can adopt, adapt and improve your style. Don't expect to be great overnight, but with the time and effort you'll get a real knack for it.

I hope this works for you, again, don't hesitate to ask if you have queries, liveries that require looking at, or whatever else.

Ataxia.

Mitch Hedberg wrote:I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Man, you really like Tide...
by pasta_maldonado 23 Oct 2014, 21:04
Adding my support to what Messr Ataxia has compiled there, fully agree with what he has said.

Ataxia wrote:Pasta_Maldonado knows more than I about Paint.NET, so he might be able to tell you a touch more about it than I can.

If anyone needs help/advice, I'm happy to help as much as I can!

Ataxia's done a great job of outlining most of the technical and aesthetical points when it comes down to liveries, but here's a few tips of my own that I'd like to add from my experience.

Pasta's (possibly) top tips

1) Three main colours is a strong guideline
Three main (as in, feature heavily on the livery) is a good guideline when it comes to colours. You don't always need three main colours, two colours normally do just fine, and there are occasions where four or five main colours can work too. From experience, you'll normally get a 'feeling' during painting of how the design will turn out.

2) Use minor colours!
You don't have to stick to two major colours throughout your livery! Minor colours can, when used appropriately, transform the look of a bland and generic livery into something much more lively and 'filled-in'. For example, you have designed a predominantly blue and white car, and one of your sponsors is Coca-Cola. Work the Coke red into the livery! Add a flash of red to the airbox perhaps, or dedicate a FW endplate or flap to it and paint it red, or many other ideas.

3) NEVER have sponsors that clash with the background colour!
This one is better explained with an example. You want to apply a purple logo onto a red patch of your livery. The purple will clash with the red, become unreadable, and ruin the overall look of the livery. Change the colour of the logo to white, and things'll look much better.

4) Try to make lines and logos follow the natural contours of the car, where applicable
Pretty self-explanatory really. Long, sweeping lines, or large logos, look 10 times better if they appear to fit in with the overall body shape of the car.

5) Be on the lookout for handy shortcuts on templates
Most templates are arranged with a convenient line of symmetry. To take advantage, paint the livery (NO SPONSORS) on one side of the car duplicate the layer(s), and then flip vertically to automatically transfer the design identically to the other side of the car. This is incredibly useful when elements on the side of the car (sidepods, side of the nose, etc) need to line up exactly with elements on the 'top' of the car. However, if you flipped sponsor logos, they would be in the complete wrong rotation.

6) Neon colours can be your friend!
This could be down to personal preference, but I find that neon colours can look incredible when used as a secondary or minor colour.

7)A good tip to shake things up a bit is to alternate colours on RW and FW endplates. Eg, colour 1 as the RW end plate base, and colour 2 as the FW end plate base.

8) Sometimes sponsors can add a theme or identity to the livery. Use this as much as possible

9) Wheel rims should primarily be black!*
*90% of the time. Silver/white rims naturally draw the eye from the car. They stick out like a sore thumb and distract from the livery. Black rims do not attract the eye, so 100% of focus is drawn towards the livery. However, back to neon colours - neon colours work extremely well on rims, but only if that colour is featured on that livery.

10) Save regularly!
Every 15 minutes or so, save the livery as a .psd or a .pdn! THe amount of progress I've lost due to program crashes is... frustrating, to say the very least. Also, always save your final liveries in layered format (.psd/.pdn ) AND as a 'flat' file (.jpg, for instance!). This allows you to easily go back to correct mistakes, or edit the livery.

11) As a general note, the more you use your software of choice, the more comfortable you'll be

12) Even if you think you can't do it, have an attempt. You may be surprised.

13) To become a good livery painter, you need to: practice, observe liveries that you feel are better than your own, and ask those who you feel are good at livery design for advice.
When you look at liveries, think "Why does that scheme look so good? What's the theme? How could I incorporate that?". I also cannot recommend enough you ask for advice on your liveries. It is honestly the most helpful thing, as it gives you an objective view of your work. Although you may feel a little bad if there is a lot of constructive criticism aimed towards your livery, if you take it on board and utilise it, your work will be so much better on the whole.


As a final note, please, do enjoy it! The best thing about livery design is seeing the completed livery in action, and words of praise from fellow members. Now, get to it! :P

Klon wrote:more liek Nick Ass-idy amirite?
by MinardiFan95 24 Oct 2014, 05:25
Some great advice there Ataxia & Pasta. If you feel comfortable with using vector logos in your liveries, then Brands of the World is a good resource to have bookmarked. If not, a Google Images search will do just fine, especially if you filter the search to large images (Search tools/Size/Large).

Personally, I choose to use vector logos wherever possible, though I'm not entirely sure how Paint.NET, GIMP or earlier versions of Photoshop handle vector images.

This is a cool spot.
by pasta_maldonado 24 Oct 2014, 18:57
MinardiFan95 wrote:Some great advice there Ataxia & Pasta. If you feel comfortable with using vector logos in your liveries, then Brands of the World is a good resource to have bookmarked. If not, a Google Images search will do just fine, especially if you filter the search to large images (Search tools/Size/Large).

Personally, I choose to use vector logos wherever possible, though I'm not entirely sure how Paint.NET, GIMP or earlier versions of Photoshop handle vector images.

As far as I know, Paint.NET doesn't have support for Vector images.

Klon wrote:more liek Nick Ass-idy amirite?
by TomWazzleshaw 27 Oct 2014, 05:06
pasta_maldonado wrote:
MinardiFan95 wrote:Some great advice there Ataxia & Pasta. If you feel comfortable with using vector logos in your liveries, then Brands of the World is a good resource to have bookmarked. If not, a Google Images search will do just fine, especially if you filter the search to large images (Search tools/Size/Large).

Personally, I choose to use vector logos wherever possible, though I'm not entirely sure how Paint.NET, GIMP or earlier versions of Photoshop handle vector images.

As far as I know, Paint.NET doesn't have support for Vector images.


I believe there could be third-party Paint.NET plugins floating around to open vector files, but Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are usually safer bets in that regard

Biscione wrote:"Some Turkemenistani gulag repurposed for residential use" is the best way yet I've heard to describe North / East Glasgow.
by CaptainGetz12 10 Mar 2016, 00:53
Youtuber Empty_Box recently posted a video that helps go through the process and potential techniques for designing liveries using Photoshop. The process can be used in GIMP and other photo editing software as well.

Hope you guys find it useful.

Link Here

Klon wrote:What did poor André do to you for him to be insulted like that?
by Ataxia 30 Aug 2016, 13:46
With people starting to use GP2 for the first time, this is how to get liveries working in-game with the correct colour scheme:

1) Download IrfanView (but for the love of god, DON'T download from CNET) and GP2Edit. You can get GP2Edit here.

2) Open your livery file in IrfanView, and then go to Image > Palette. Open this palette.

3) You might see the livery change. Applying the palette makes sure it's in the 256 colours that GP2 uses. Pro tip: avoid purple, and only use the oranges in the palette given. These are the colours in the palette:

Image

4) Open GP2Edit. Click Car Bitmap > Open... > and then select your file.

5) Open the GP2Edit 3D Car Viewer (from either Window > 3d Car Viewer or by simply clicking the small green car icon, sixth from left on the icon bar). Check it out and make your changes.

Mitch Hedberg wrote:I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Man, you really like Tide...

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