Welcome to my Football Manager Blog, the main purpose of this blog is to provide updates on the status of my Football Manager Skins & Guides Website

If you have any questions or queries then I can generally be found in the Skinning Forum at the Official Sports Interactive Forums, though I'd ask you to open a new thread rather than sending me a message.

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Monday, 4 December 2017

Football Manager 2018 - How To Create 3D Kits

So with Football Manager 2018 changing the template for 3D kits now is a good time to release a guide on how to make them.

Before you start you will need a couple of things:

- 3D kit template - I've attached a simple one that includes the generic kits to get people started, eventually I expect the community will release a fully featured one with more templates, but these instructions should apply to community templates as well.

- An Image editing program that can read psd files. The easiest program to use is Adobe Photoshop however it is expensive though you can generally get a free 30 day trial from adobe's site and I'm not sure if it's still available but they made Photoshop CS2 free to download several years ago and that should still have all the features you need, or if you have a program you are used to that will read the files then you can use that. Alternatively The GIMP is an open source alternative which I will use for this guide.

- Another thing you might want to do is extract the 3D kits included with the game as you can use these as a guide and if your editing skills are good enough you can pinch bits from them for your kits. The Licensed Kits are found in the graphics.fmf and once you have extracted that they will be located in \graphics\pictures\kits\3d\ folder. Whilst the Generic Kits are found in the simatchviewer-pc.fmf file and once extracted are located in the \simatchviewer-pc\textures\generic_kits\ folder.

The Template

Attached below is an image of the template

The above template includes the following files:

- The above Preview Image.
- xcf format template for use in The GIMP.
- psd format template for use in Photoshop.
- blank config file used to get your kits into the game.

For the 3D kits you'll see that the various kit parts are split into pieces, this is because unlike with the 2D kits the game uses this file as a mesh to wrap-around the 3D player, and whilst it might look a bit daunting at first the advantage you have with 3D kits is you don't need to be as exact or detailed as the 2D ones as the game will discard the unneeded parts of the file (the black area).


Starting at the top the Shirt is the first part of the template on the left is the Shirt Front area (orange) and next to it is the Shirt Back (yellow) which wraps around to form the shirt. The Blue bit is for the Collar and the black null area is where the sleeves connect to the shoulders.

The circle is generally where the club Badge goes, next to that is a rectangle for the shirt Logo and underneath where the shirt front text is where the Sponsor will generally go but I'll come back to these in more details later.

Underneath this on the left we have the Under Armour (grey) area this is the thermal clothing players wear underneath their shirts and is generally seen when players were short sleeves, so for the most part you want this to use either shirt colour or the sleeve colour depending on the kit.

Next to that we have the socks (purple), on the left is the Right Sock with the right half of this being the front of the sock, whilst to the right we have the Left Sock with the front of that being on the left side. Note that the socks are mirrored not duplicated so remember this later.

At the bottom we have the shorts (pink) and again like with the shirt the left side is for the front with it wrapping around to the back and again I've put some markers in for the general position of the badge and logo.

Finally taking up the right side are the sleeves and one of the new features of the new template is that you can now set the short and long sleeves separately.

At the top are the Short Sleeves, the shoulder area is in the hump at the top with the bottom of the sleeve being near the elbow and like with the socks you'll noticed they are mirrored - the right hand side of the Right Sleeve is the front of the player with the left area being on the players back, whilst for the Left Sleeve the left side is the front of the sleeve and the right side is the back.

Below these we have the Long Sleeves and they are largely the same as the short ones the shoulder area is at the top with the bottom being near your hand. With them again being mirrored the Front of the Right Sleeve is on the right and the Front of the Left Sleeve is on the left.

How to Edit the Kits

After downloading the file from the above link you should have a psd file and xcf file, open one of these files in the program of your choice, if using  GIMP open the xcf file, if you have Photoshop open the psd file (the contents are the same, GIMP just doesn't save to psd well) if using another program open which one plays best with that program, you may also want to re-save the file into the native format that supports layers for the program you are using. For this guide I will be using The GIMP.

The first thing I would do in GIMP is from the Windows Menu is tick 'Single-Window Mode' so it acts more like a normal windows program. The other thing I would do is close the Brush dock in the bottom right hand corner, you can do this by clicking the arrow and from the menu select 'close tab' repeat until all three tabs are closed and the bottom dock disappears freeing up more room for the layers dock which should now take up the right hand side.

Now you have set your program up you want to look in the layers panel which should be on the right hand side of the screen and should be full of various different layers. Bascially each part of the kit is split into it's own layer which makes it easy to recolour and switch various patterns and bits on and off.

At the Bottom of the layers panel should be a Base folder, expand this if it isn't already expanded and you'll find a layer for each part of the kit - Shirt Front, Shirt Back, Sleeves, Socks, Shorts and Under Armour.

Above the Base Folder you'll see other folders called Shirt, Sleeves, Socks and Shorts these contain the various patterns stripes, hoops etc...

How to Recolour the Layers

To create kits the main thing you'll be doing is recolouring the various layers to match the colour of your teams kit.

To recolour in the GIMP first you want to select the layer in the layers panel on the right. For example first we are going to recolour the shirt front and back.

To do this expand the Base Folder in the Layer panel and then select the Shirt Front Layer, then at the top of the Layers panel make sure the checkerboard next to the Lock text is locked (should have a blue border around it) as we want to lock the transparent areas so they stay transparent when recolouring.

Now on the left hand side in the Tools panel select the 'Bucket Fill Tool' then just under that is a black rectangle and a white rectangle these are the currently selected foreground and background colours. Click the Black rectangle and in the colour popup select the colour you want to use, as we are doing the shirt colour you'll generally want the teams main colour, in this example I've picked Red. What you can also do is click the White rectangle and assign the teams secondary colour here, which saves you having to manually select the colour each time (though if your kit uses more than two colours you'll need to change one eventually).

Underneath this is the Tool Options box and you'll need to make a couple of changes here first under Fill Type select 'FG color fill' or 'BG color fill' depending on which colour you want. Then in Affected Area select 'Fill whole selection' as we want to recolour the entire layer.

Now just click on the Shirt Front area in the image area and the shirt should be recoloured to red.

NOTE: If using Photoshop these instructions are slightly different, to Recolour you still select the Layer in the Layers panel but instead of selecting the fill tool right click on the layer and select 'Blending Options' then in the popup window tick and select the 'Colour Overlay' option and in the colour (red) box click it to select your colour. Then click ok and your layer should be recoloured. If using another program you'll need to find that programs equivalents to either of these options.

Next we want the Shirt Back, Sleeves and Socks all to be red as well so repeat the above steps - select the layer in the layers panel and as the bucket tool settings should be saved click on the area to recolour. (Remember you need to have the layer selected to recolour it).

For the Shorts we are going to make them Black, so select the Shorts layer, now on the colour selector on the left select the BG Colour (which should be the white rectangle) and change that colour to Black. Now if you press Ctrl and Click the shorts will take the BG colour without you having to switch them in the Tools Panel.

One thing I would recommend when colouring the kits is don't use the full basic colours, they tend to look a little bright in game so I tend to mute them a bit so when using black instead of setting the RGB values to 0,0,0 I'd use 18,18,18 for Red instead of using 255,255,255 use 248,0,0 etc...

Finally don't forget to recolour the Under Armour, for this I'd used the sleeve colour as that is where it would generally show in game, you can also make it slightly darker or lighter to differentiate from the actual sleeves.

How to Add a Design to your kit

Now you know how to recolour the layers, next we need to add the shirt design, so if you expand the Shirt folder you will notice ~60 layers.

These layers contain the basic shirt layouts from the games Default Generic Kits. From the name and the thumbnail you can get an idea of what each layer looks like, whilst the number corresponds to the generic kit number they were taken from, so if you look at the Default Generic 3D or 2D kits you can match the patterns up.

To turn these layers on you need to make them visible, and what we are going to do is create a striped shirt.

So what I want you to do is select the layer called '3 Shirt - Stripes' and when you hover over the layer you'll notice two boxes appear to the left, if you click on the left box an eye icon should appear which denotes the layer is visible and one your shirt some Green Stripes should have appeared.

Next we are going to make the Stripes White, so from the left click on one of the colour boxes and change the colour to white then click on the stripes and they should become white.

What you can also do is combine layers to create other shapes and patterns, for example we want our shirt to have a solid area where the number is on the shirt back so next select the 'Shirt - Number Box' layer make it visible and recolour it to the same colour as the main shirt front.

The next thing you need to be aware of is the Layer order. Items at the top of the layer panel list appear on top of the layers below them. For example as the Number Box is above the Stripes it appears above them whilst the Stripes are above the Base Shirt so they appear on top the shirt.

To rearrange the layers you can either drag the layer from the layers panel or click the up/down arrows at the bottom of the panel, for example move the Number Box layer below the Stripes and notice how it disappears. For the most part you shouldn't need to re-order the layers but it is a handy tool for creating advanced patterns and also saves you from having to be too accurate about the stuff that is hidden behind other layers. So before you go any further move the Number Box layer back to the top of the Shirt sub-folder.

For the Sleeves you do the exact same thing, this time have a look in the Sleeves folder and turn on the patterns you want. To go with the Stripes we are going to turn on the Stripes option and make that white and turn on the Short End and make them black.

Notice with the sleeves all four are linked so recolouring one re-colours the others, if you want one sleeve to be a different colour then select the Half Layer and recolour. And again you can also combine several patterns, for example you can turn on the shoulder stripe, Half and both End layers.

Now pick the shorts and Sock patterns you want. And to finish off the basic kit design set the collar colour and as the collar should always be on top of the other kit patterns make sure the Collar layer stays at the top.

The other thing you don't need to both about is the designs of the various layers spilling into the unused Background area, as this stuff doesn't get populated in game it doesn't matter how messy your actual graphic looks like.

Adding Logos

To add logos such as Badges, kit logos and sponsors you follow the same pattern. If you look in the logos folder I have included some placeholder graphics to give you the rough position of where to put them, with the sponsor generally going over the 'Shirt Front' text, though the exact positioning will depend on the pattern you use and the shirt you are creating as the positions tend to be slightly different.

To move the item first select the layer, then select the Move Tool and either drag it with the mouse or use the arrow keys.

To source the various logos you'll need to find them yourself, for badges getting them from logo packs is the easiest way, kit logos can either be sourced from the internet or you can take them from other 2D/3D kit templates, for sponsors you'll need to search the internet for them.

Once you have you logos open them into a new file, if you cannot find a clean version then you can follow this old logo guide to clean them up. Next adjust the canvas side of the image so it reaches the edge of your logo, then you need to resize the images (Image -> Scale Image in GIMP) with the exact size depending on the shape and style of the logos you are using but you can use these sizes as a guide:

Badges - Maximum dimension of 48 pixels.
Logos - Between 25 and 35 pixels.
Sponsor - Maximum width of 150 pixels.

Once you are ready to copy your logo onto your kit, select the layer for the logo then goto Edit -> Copy. Then go back to the your kit image and select Edit -> Paste As... -> New Layer. Or select the logo layer and drag it over to the Kit File and drop it onto the kit. This should create a new layer in your Kit file. For best results make sure the layer is in the Logos folder and then drag it around until it is in position, then repeat for the other logos. If you want extra logos for the shorts, socks or sleeves then right click on the layer and select duplicate layer. To rename layers right click and select 'Edit Later Attributes' doing this should help you keep track of the items. Once you have positioned the logos hide the example logos by clicking the eye in the layers panel.

Finishing Up

Now your kit should be looking how you want we just need to do a bit of housekeeping. First hide the top layer called 'Text - Hide when done' so the various bits of layer text is hidden.

Next select the Background Layer right at the bottom of the file and recolour it to the Shirt Colour, this isn't that important but it just ensures any gaps between the layers are filled in.

Now we need to save the file to use in Football Manager 2018, first just save the file normally as we'll want a version of the file with the layers preserved, but before saving if you are still working with the initial template file use the Save As option and give it a different name.

To save as a png file you need to Select File -> Export As. Then in the bottom right of the dialog box where it says 'All Export images' select the PNG image option, and click Export and in the popup just leave the options as default.

If using Photoshop then select the 'Save For Web' option and select png-24 as the file format.

And congratulations you have just created your first 3D kit. Now you need to do it all again for your teams Away and Third kits.

How to Get Your Kits into the Game.

To get your kits into the game you will need to create a config file or add some entries for your kit to an existing file. To save you some trouble I have included a blank config file with the templates.

So open up the config with Notepad (or your preferred xml editor) and you will need to paste in the following line for each kit you want to add:

<record from="FILENAME" to="graphics/pictures/team/UNIQUE_ID/kit_textures/KIT_TYPE"/>

FILENAME - is where you enter the name of your graphic, for best results use short simple names in your kits for example alt_home.
UNIQUE_ID - is the ID of your team, you can get this from the editor from the the titlebar in game with ID's turned on.
KIT_TYPE - will be either home, away or third.

For example I made an Altrincham Home kit called alt_home so my line looks like:

<record from="alt_home" to="graphics/pictures/team/601/kit_textures/home"/>

When done save the file and copy the config file and your kit(s) into the graphics folder inside your User Data Folder which by default is located at:
\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2018

If the graphics folder doesn't exist at that location that just create it, where within the graphics folder you put them doesn't matter as long as they are in the same folder, though it is generally good to have some order to your graphics folder so the various config files don't overwrite each other with most people sorting by type, nation and then division.

Then load up the game and go into Preferences and turn off the Skin cache and reload your skin. If the Skin cache was on you might need to exit and restart the game for the new kits to be loaded. Then when you next play the game should be using your new kits.

For a quick test if you have already played some matches with the team then you can use the View Match option on the Main Menu to quickly test your kits are working, just load a pkm of a match where you were wearing the kit type you replaced and if you did it correctly the match should use your kit.

And below you can see my Altrincham kit in game and whilst the new templates are more detailed than in the past you still cannot see as much detail as the 2D kits even at the best zoom so their isn't that much need to bother about them getting all of the intricate patterns exact.

Advanced Options

This template is just a basic one to get people started, if you have experience (or want to learn) you can alter the various layers to add new templates, the other thing you can do is take bits from the licensed 3D kits and cut out and recolour the bits you want using the above information you've learned. You should also be able to reuse some bits from 3D templates from past versions, though you'll likely need to mess around with them to fit the new template.

Also once the wider community has released a more detailed template the instructions here can be applied to that and with the extra options and experience you should be able to create some better kits.

This guide should also give you the basic information to create 2D kits as the instructions are generally the same you've just working from a different template, though for them you need to be a bit more careful as the game shows everything in your graphic.

If you have any questions then the best place to ask them is in this thread in the Skinning Forum at the Official SIGames Forums where I can be found most days.

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