[TUTORIAL] How to Make Skins using ETS2studio

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27 May 2015 20:16

This tutorial is ProMods developer approved! (No I didn't make that up)

Hello everyone!

With the release of this new handy sub-forum, I had a brainwave. Having tried to create skins myself several times before and failing, I finally cracked it a few months ago. The complexity of tutorials and the lack of information given on positioning within the paint program really flustered me at times. I will aim to make this as simple and enjoyable as possible so you can create your own skins much quicker than I learned!

Important note: This tutorial requires use of ETS2Studio, which is a good program for basic skin work. It will not allow you, for example, to combine trailer skins into one cargo file or replace in-game trailers. For further information on advanced skins, perhaps post a new topic in this forum for help, as even I don't know these skills yet.

You will need:

ETS2 Studio (This is what we will use to export your final skin and choose certain preferences)

paint.net (Used to design and polish your skin. Note: you can use any program for this such as Microsoft Paint or PhotoShop, but I find paint.net the best free program available for this kind of thing)

WinRar or similar

A pack of truck templates (More can be found online for your desired truck model)

Trailer templates

Around half an hour of spare time initially


So then, let's start!

Step One: Setting out your Workspace

First, install and then open paint.net. The screen should look fairly familiar to you as it is a simple art program. When you begin, it will probably look like this:


If you started to work on a space like this, the final skin would be heavily out of proportion. A few important steps must be taken beforehand.

Firstly, create three more layers using the 'Add New Layer' option in the bottom left of the layer panel. When you have clicked the button, double-click the new layer and change its opacity setting to '100'. This will make the layer more see-through than the other layers. The name of the layer will not be coded into the game so it doesn't really matter, but for now call it 'Template'. Create two more layers; 'Colour' and 'Logo'. Do not change their opacity. You can create as many layers as you want, for example to add more content to a trailer without erasing some colour. You can also re-arrange the layers by clicking and moving the desired layer. This is only really used for final checks, however.

The box should now look like this:


Un-tick the background layer. We won't need this until the saving of the file. You should now see a chess-board-like chequered design area.

It is important to note that in the top right of the screen there are four clickable icons. If you ever seem to lose one of your instrument panels, don't panic; it's probably here. The clock icon is called 'History' and you can use it for un-doing pieces of work.


Now for the proportions of the canvas. In the top-left, click 'Image' then 'Resize', or just use CTRL+R. Here, you should, for a truck skin, use 4096x4096 resolution, and for a trailer, 4096x2048 resolution. This is usually the limit for a small enough file size. Your canvas should now have a slightly different shape.

Next you should import your template. It is important to do this step after resizing the canvas because it is easier to ensure correct proportions. Go to where you have saved your templates and open the correct folder. Copy and paste the correct template onto the template layer in Paint.net. For trucks, make sure that you have chosen the right cab and pasted the template onto the correct layer. A is the largest cab and C the smallest. This part is easier to mess up than you imagine.


Ensure you drag the template so it covers all of the workspace and as close to the corners as possible. Use the edges of the space to line up the nodes. This helps accuracy.

The space should now look like this:


Congratulations, you are now free to design!

Step Two: Designing the Skin

This is generally the easiest part of the process. Esentially, you get whatever the hell you want from the internet and plant it on your truck. Well, not whatever the hell you want from the internet. No, actually please don't do that. Certainly don't put pictures of it on the ProMods forums. Or anywhere. You'll probably be banned. You have been warned. Yeah...

Use the colour layer to 'dye' with your chosen background colour (leave blank if you want changeable colour) and logo for everything else.
There are, however, a few great tools that you can use to get the most out of your skin.

The Magic Wand:

About as magic as it sounds. All credit to LoaderSaints for introducing me to this tool. It basically allows you to isolate two multicoloured parts of an image from each other. Say for example I want to remove the blue letters from this IKEA logo or change their colour.


All you need to do is select the letters by using CTRL+click until all the letters 'twinkle'. Then you can do whatever you want. If it seems the tool has selected too much or too little, try adjusting the 'tolerance' using the bar in the upper middle of the screen. This tool will really help you with every skin.


Remember one of the basic principles of paint.net is that it requires you to select the area you want to paint before your tool. This makes it tricky to grasp at first but it will smoothen out very quickly.

Another thing about paint.net is the number of plugins you can download to improve it. For example, outlined text and text in a circle have really helped my trailer skins.

When your skin is done, (yes, I know this one is s***) it's time to process it. The most fun part. Yay!


Step Three: Saving, Processing and Packing your Skin

You will have to save your creation twice. This is to ensure you can edit it more easily later on if need be.

First save as a .pdn and then a .dds.


REALLY IMPORTANT: For saving as a .dds, make sure you select these options; clarified below: DXT5, Cluster Fit, Perceptual, Generate Mip Maps, Fant. Then flatten the image to one layer.


Save your file somewhere you will remember to access it. Whenever an edit is needed, just edit the .pdn and overwrite the .dds using the same settings.

Now on to ETS2studio...

For Trucks:

After opening the program, select the truck you created the skin for. In another tutorial I will cover how to add more trucks to the program. Now, on the 'Skin properties' tab, choose a name for your skin. This will be the one which will appear in the showroom. The second one down can be whatever you like as long as it's less than twelve characters, as this is the one used by the game to 'read' the skin. You can then edit the price of the skin and the level at which it is unlocked. The set as stock button determines whether this skin is shown in the showroom and paint shop or just the latter, stock meaning the showroom. Don't worry about the rest of this page because none of it matters or works! It should now look like below:


Now, in the next tab, just import your skin from the file you saved it to by clicking 'browse'. If it doesn't appear, you don't need me to tell you you've probably done it wrong.


Next just go to workshop icon. Press 'use default' next to 'browse' for now, but you can always make your own by creating one in paint.net. It must be in 256x64 resolution, however. Just use the 'resize' tab as before. Here's an example:


Now you're almost done! Select 'export mod' further up, not forgetting to lock the mod file if you plan on distributing it and don't want it tampered with. Usually this option is not necessary. You can export to either an .scs file or .zip. However, in my experience, stick with the .scs as surprisingly few people know/ believe you can use a .zip in your mod folder! ;)

Now just sit back and relax. Hopefully. Plug the file into your mod folder, activate it and see if it works. If it doesn't, don't give up! It's always the smallest mistake that causes the biggest problem. Here's how it should turn out (or not depending on your opinion):


For Trailers:

It's actually a very similar process. Just select the trailer you made the skin for, then import it in the next tab. Next, you can set the internal name of the trailer and its mass (note: without cargo), as well as whether it appears in AI traffic. Then comes the most different part; cargo. You can experiment with whatever you like here. To add a new cargo, click the button and set the name and internal name, mass, fragility and price coefficient. For the last two, the higher the number, the more fragile/ valuable the cargo is and both will increase the amount you earn. You can also set whether the cargo comes under a particular class of ADR substance.

Then set which companies you want the trailer to spawn to/ from. Tip; to make the trailer appear more often, select more companies. You can select whichever you want from both sides. Now save your cargo. To choose which cargo you want for the trailer, just tick the boxes in the main menu. The cargo will be saved when you close ETS2studio so you can add it whenever you want.


Now just export the file as before. You should then be able to see the trailer in the trailer browser in-game.


Well, that's pretty much it. I hope this helps anyone trying to gain a new skill in ETS2. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!
Last edited by KubaJAM on 01 Jun 2015 16:23, edited 6 times in total.

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27 May 2015 20:22

Thanks for this! I can finally maybe do something ;)
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27 May 2015 22:30

This is great! Nice job uk_daf_fan!
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27 May 2015 22:37

Awesome! Definitely going to try it! :D
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Elmer BeFuddled
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27 May 2015 23:20

Nice work UK_DAF_FAN. Will definitely be giving this a try. I've only ever done trailers before.

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28 May 2015 10:07

Damn very nice and detailed tutorial! I'd say developer approved!
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Michael Rosen
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30 May 2015 00:07

Great! I will try to make some trailer to have a try.
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30 May 2015 08:01

I'd like to help you by making a guide for how make one cargo file of multiple *.scs files, if it's okay to you?
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30 May 2015 15:11

If you can I don't see why not ;).

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31 May 2015 05:27

Awesome post, finally someone has dumbed it down enough for us noobs to get a handle on it, top job! :)

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