Car Painting

First get the paint template for the car you want to paint. For the GroupC mod's cars for example this is the GCSC-Templates

  1. Open up the template for the chosen car. We'll be using the GroupC Porsche template as an example and load it to Gimp. You can use any graphics manipulation program of your liking though, but Gimp is for free and does all we want it to do :)

    This tutorials is not about how to use a graphics program. It's assuming you are familiar with at least basic graphics manipulation techniques.

  2. Once you have loaded the template to the graphics editor, have a look at it's layer stack.

    You will notice that the template has several layers:

    • shadowing - this one is for emphasing 3D effects
    • unpaintable - typically this would be engine parts or alike
    • lining - fake 3D effects such as door frames
    • mesh - how the image is mapped to 3D mesh
    • background - paintable area

    You should only work on the background layer or on new layers that you have added !
    On templates for other mods things may be different. Sometimes there ain't even layers at all. That case I strongly suggest to add layers on top of of the template and only to work on these.

  3. Adjust the mesh layer to about 20% opacity to make it just even visible on top of the background layer. Switch to background layer.

  4. Always only use one color on one layer. This means you need to add additional transparent layers on top of the background layer, naming them "color#2", "color#3", etc. Especially at working on color transitions this will ease up things.

  5. Add a transparent decal layer on top of the color layer. Don't ever place decals in a color layer. You'll probably have to move the decals to make them be placed on the car where you intended them to be. With decal borders not already being aligned to any color this will be easier done.

  6. Once you have finished painting the template, adjust the mesh layer opacity to 0%. Make in invisible.

  7. Save the paint. Then export it to uncompressed TGA format. You'll probably get a warning message that there's no layer handling in TGA. Ignore it.

  8. Rename the your saved TGA to "carXXX.tga", where XXX has to be a number. Lets say its 123 for example

  9. Now convert the car123.tga to Heat TEX format. For doing this you need to have the MKTEX utility. Start notepad (or any other editor) and add in that line:

    mktex.exe car123.tga car123.tex

    Save as mkcar.bat in the same folder where your car123.tga file and are located. Now you can simply double click on the file mkcar.bat (probably it will show up as "mkcar"). If things went well, now there should be a car123.tex file show up in the folder. If not, you most probably have not saved the paint as uncompressed TGA. Start over then.

  10. Open up drivers.txt with notepad (or any other texteditor) in the mod's folder that you have made your paint for.

  11. Copy a table entry and edit it to make it fit your needs:

    table Driver
        number 123 <- change the number to match the number of your carXXX.tga file
        name Painter <- change the name to what you want the car to show up in Heat
        chassis porsche <- change the chassis entry to the chosen car type you made the paint for
        rank 1 AI skill
        race_image 100
        body_style fcar

  12. Copy your car123.tex file to the mod's main folder.

  13. Start the mod. Your paint now should show up on the car selection screen. Load it and go to Garage track. By using F4 view you now can take a close look at your paint. If you want to do additional work on it, you won't even have to shut down NHeat. Just switch back to your graphics program.

  14. After having done additional work on the paint, continue at point 8., but without starting NHeat again as it's already running. Just switch over after having copied the altered carXXX.tex file to the mod folder. You will notice that any changes now show up in Heat even without having restarted.

paint.res update

Typically there'll be more than just one car paint for each car type in a mod. All those car paint's TEX files could be placed in the mod's main folder; Heat wil find and use them. But that would make the mod's main folder look a little unorganized. So it would be smarter to put all the car paints to one RES file.

As it happens, this is exactly what PAINT.RES is for. So we'll want to put any and all car paint to PAINT.RES. You yould either use WinResTools, WinresToolsWizard or Heat Batch Tools to do the job. Either will do fine.

We'll be using WinResTools on this example, just for a change ;-)
  • Once started, you'll see the program's main window. There a 2 options available:
    1. ResCrack - extract an existing RES-Archive's contents
    2. MkRes - add contents to an existing RES-acrhive or build a new RES-archive
    First thing to do to build a shiny new paint.res for your mod is to extract the existing one. So choose the ResCrack option in WinResTools and open your mod's paint.res ("Enter File to Crack:")

  • Make a new directory somewhere to put in the res file's contents temporarily and point "Enter Destination Directory:" towards that directory.

  • Now just select "Crack". You'll find the paint.res file's contents in your tmp/car-directory then.

  • Put the carXXX.tex files you want to add to your new paint.res to the directory where you've just extracted your old paint.res contents to.

  • Select MkRes option in WinResTools.
    "Enter Directory" should be the directory that now has all your carXXX.tex files you want to have in your new paint.res. "Enter Res File" should point towards a yet nonextisting file in an extisting temp directory. For example: c:\tmp\paint.res.

  • Now select "Make Res File". When it's done, you'll get a success message.

  • Copy your new paint.res to your mod directory. You should rename your old paint.res before to prevent overwriting it.

[ Painting Cars ]