First read the information on the Making Skins page.
Download a template. There is one for the Acc to download here . Then unzip the template file to a subfolder. You should find hull.psd, sails1.psd, sails2.psd, spi2.psd, TeamMate.psd, and icon.psd.
Now copy all the template files to a new folder with the name of your skin. eg 'MySkin'.
b. The Hull. Start Photoshop, browse to the ‘MySkin’ folder and open hull.psd. You will see in the layers window that hull.psd has a background layer at the bottom, containing the original Nadeo skin (usually) and that higher layers are used to vary the appearance of the end product.
For example, to change the hull colour, select the hull shape layer and select the hull shape by using the magic wand (initially set the tolerance to 30 but vary this if the outline is not correct) and fill with colour using the paint bucket with a new colour.
To add a name or design to the hull, create a new layer, using the small icon at the bottom of the layers window.so that it’s easy to remove or alter later. Once you’re happy, save it.
Now use the top menu [Layers] / [Flatten Image] and save the file again - this time as hull.dds, selecting 'DTX5 format', 'generate mipmaps' and '2D Texture', when the dialogue box appears.
c. The TeamMate is treated in the same way as the hull. The final file is called TeamMate.dds
d. The Sails:
The pictures below show the RBG and the Alpha Channel for Sails2.psd
Sails1. Open sails1.psd. New designs and lettering are put on separate layers in the same way as the hull.
Transparency. To be able to see through your sails, you need to create transparency, using the alpha channel.
At the moment you are working by default on what is called the 'RGB Channel'. The 'Alpha Channel' is seen by selecting the 'Channels' tab on the layers window. Select the alpha channel & make it visible. You will see that the background is dark grey & the sail fibres & details are light grey. You can only use shades of grey in the alpha channel and the idea is that the darker the tone, the more transparent the object.
When you have finished your new designs and lettering in the RGB channel of the template, use the magic wand to select the shape (one layer at a time), then go to the Alpha channel and paint the shape in a very light shade, using the brush or paint bucket tool. You can see that I have done this with the sail seams and cup logo in the picture on the left. You won't really know how it looks in VSK till you have created the skin and seen it in the game, so be prepared to come back & adjust the grey tones later.
Once you're happy, save the file as sails1.psd file in your MySkin folder. Now use the top menu [Layers] / [Flatten Image], and save it as a file called sails1.dds, selecting 'DTX5 format', 'generate mipmaps' and '2D Texture', when the dialogue box appears.
Sails2. Open sails2.psd and treat exactly in the same way as Sails1.psd, saving as Sails2.psd and Sails2.dds.
The Spinnaker. Open spi2.psd and treat exactly in the same way as Sails1.psd, saving as Spi2.psd and Spi2.dds.
The Icon. Open icon.psd. Highlight the top layer in the layers window and click over the Type Tool. Place the mouse arrow at the end of the White Rabbit name and it should turn into an Type Cursor. Use backspace to delete the letters and type MySkin (or whatever) in its place. Save as icon.psd . Now use the top menu [Layers] / [Flatten Image], and then save as a file called icon.dds, selecting 'DTX5 format', 'generate mipmaps' and '2D Texture', when the dialogue box appears. Close the file.
Create the Zip File. Once you are happy with the design & want to see it in the game, use Winzip to create a new Zip file with the name of your new boat, (MySkin.zip in this example). Include all the six .dds files that you have just made. (Hull.dds, TeamMate.dds, Sails1.dds, Sails2.dds, Spi2.dds and icon.dds). Dont change the .dds files' names. Put the MySkin.zip file in Documents\[your game version\Skins\Boats\Acc.
Check the Effect. To see the result, start VSK5 and go to Settings to select your boat and admire your efforts in the game! Each time you update your Zip file with any change to a .dds file, you may need to reselect the boat in Settings, depending on where you were in VSK when you did it. You will find that it speeds up making changes if you quit the race but leave VSK running then restart the race after you have changed the zip file to see the alteration in the game.