A skin refers to the texture that is placed onto a player model or mob.
The skin is divided into areas that act as the surface area of the character (For example, there's the front head area, left leg area, etc.). A skin will only allow solid color; transparency is not allowed on the skin file except on the second layer, which is transparent by default; playing offline, pixels can be left free resulting in "holes" in the skin. The second layer can be used to give the character glasses, hats, or other accessories (even a bigger head).
A skin can also refer to other textures in the game, such as block textures, item sprites, mob skins etc. A list of these can be found here.
It is worth noting that Pigmen, Zombie, and Zombie Pigmen mobs can use typical player skins (and vice-versa). Skeleton mobs can use typical player skins as well, but keep in mind that they have their skinny arms and legs. (If a skeleton mob skin is used as a player's skin, their legs and arms will not be skinny.)
Changing player skins
A player can only change their character's skin if they have purchased Minecraft. This is done on the
.png image file, which will then replace the default skin.
Skins also have the option of having 3 or 4 pixel wide arms, which can be changed on the profile page as well.
alex.png files in minecraft.jar can also be changed and replaced via a resource pack, but the effects will only be visible to players using the resource pack, and will affect all players with the default skin.
Xbox 360 and PS3
There are currently 8 default skin types (with the exception of the skin packs) all of which appear to have Steve's face, but wearing different outfits and skin colors. The following are available through split screen and online only. The skins are available to be chosen in the 'Change Skin' area of Help & Options. The Xbox and PS3 (Playstation 3) allows transparent skins, because you can't create your own skins on the Xbox or PS3 edition. This prevents issues with completely transparent skin users "haunting" other players.
Skin Packs are available in the Console Edition as downloadable content. Skin Packs add additional skins that players may choose from along with the 8 default skins packaged with the game. They often feature characters from other video games, alongside original designs.
Creating a skin
Many players want to have a new look, something which describes them. While you can always search the internet for a previously made skin, many players prefer to create their own.
A custom skin is a great way to personalize your player model and can be done either by using a variety of community-made skin editors, or by editing the "steve.png" file manually with an image editor like Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.net or similar image editors. The "steve.png" file can be downloaded from here. When editing the "steve.png" file manually, be sure to keep the original image dimensions and make the background of the skin (the unused pixels) completely transparent. Otherwise, Minecraft may fail to recognize the skin as intended.
Alternatively, some people find it easier to use a program, either downloadable or in-browser, which will allow them to have a live view of their character on a three dimensional model as they are editing the skin. For example, a program called Skincraft will further assist players by providing them with a wide variety of pre-made selections (such as hats, boots, sweaters, etc.), to give the skin creator exactly what they want, even if the creator has little to no artistic skill.
After making a custom skin, either by using a skin editor or by editing the "steve.png" file directly, one will still need to upload the .png file at the Profile page of www.minecraft.net before the skin is applied. Once completed, start up Minecraft and enjoy your new skin! Other players in multiplayer will also be able to see your skin. Note that you will not be able to see your custom skin if you are not logged in or if playing offline.
Note: the 1.8 templates can be used for pre-1.8 skins on the skin server. Only the top half of the image is used, e.g. not the individual arms and legs on the bottom, and no overlay on any layer except the head. If the skins is in resource pack for 1.7, you must use the old system exactly.
Prior to 1.8, there are approximately 2.29×1011,328 different unique skins. As of 1.8, there can be up to 3.06×1023,581 unique Minecraft skins.
Capes (previously known as cloaks) are vanity items and are worn in addition to the player's skin. There is currently no way to obtain a cape on one's own, however there are various client mods that allow players to obtain one, only visible client-sided. On the Xbox 360 Edition some skins from various skin packs, such as the Grim Reaper in the Halloween Pack and Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Skin Pack 4 have capes. Players on PC who legitimately have more than one cape can choose between which to wear by going to the mojang website.
|The Mojang Cape||All Mojang AB employees have Mojang logo capes.|
|The Christmas Cape 2010||On December 24/25, 2010, all users were shown with this Christmas tree cape. This cape was not added to user accounts.|
|The New Year's Cape||On New Year's Eve, 2010, all users were shown with this fireworks cape. This cape was not added to user accounts.|
|The Bacon Cape||Miclee was given this cape by Notch, due to his idea of the Pigman. However, later it was removed from him due to other users asking Notch for personal capes. The cape was made by Miclee.|
|One Million Cape||This cape was made for akronman1, the lucky buyer of the 1,000,000th copy of Minecraft. The cape was made by @Kinten.|
|dannyBstyle's Cape||This cape was given to dannyBstyle.|
|JulianClark's Cape||This cape was given to JulianClark in return for bringing Notch the TV presenter and actor Ray Cokes.|
|Crowdin Translator Cape||This cape was given to 29 translators on the Minecraft translation project at Crowdin using a fair dice roll. There were plans to give more capes to translators from time to time, but jeb later said that he canceled those plans after seeing abusive behavior from some translators like using auto-translation and down-voting legitimate translations.
Translators that received this cape include 26583571, 77pali, a_mason, ahmetrcagil, aritzh, bogeymanEST, Brownd, ctrl_z, devil188, Dushmursts, FerdErik, Forfal, FumblerX, Gucci_Mane_Burrr, Jokubolakis, JonnnLeee, jvith, Milhooz, moomoohk, MPlaneswalker, rayball36, Remixz, Remora, sa3dany, Space__man and Svajoklis_.
|MINECON 2011 Attendees Cape||This cape was automatically added to all MINECON 2011 attendees' registered username.|
|MINECON 2011 Xbox Cape||A card was given to all MINECON 2011 attendees and contained a redemption code for Xbox Live. It uses the same design as the in-game cape from the PC version of Minecraft. The cape was then put on Minecraft: XBOX360 Edition as avatar downloadable content.|
|MINECON 2012 Attendees Cape||A redemption link for this cape was emailed to all registered MINECON 2012 attendees.|
|MINECON 2012 Xbox Cape||A card was given to all MINECON 2012 attendees upon check-in that contained a redemption code for Xbox Live. It uses the same design as the in-game cape from the PC version of Minecraft.|
|1st Birthday Xbox Cape||From May 9 to May 13, 2013, all players of the Xbox 360 edition were shown with this birthday cake cape (except for players using skins that have their own capes) to celebrate the 1st birthday of the Xbox edition of Minecraft. A PC version of the cape currently does not exist.|
|cheapsh0t's Cape||In October 2013, the user cheapsh0t received this cape for helping jeb and the Mojang team in Tokyo. The cape is identical to the Crowdin cape except for the Japanese flag on the reverse side of the cape.|
|MINECON 2013 Attendees Cape||On October 30, 2013 Tobias Mollstam of the Mojang Team tweeted out an image of the 2013 MINECON cape. The cape shows an extended piston on a green shaded background.|
Unused MineCon 2011 capes
These capes were featured in a poll where MineCon 2011 attendees could vote for their cape of choice. The red creeper cape won MineCon 2011, and the blue cape with the pickaxe was for MineCon 2012. These following capes are still unused though may appear in the future. The 3rd Minecon cape may have been based off of the green cape below.
|0.0.17a_02||Custom player skin test.|
|0.0.18a||Custom skins released.|
|1.2.2||Player skins can be modified.|
|1.0||Exclusive cloaks (later renamed capes) were added on December 20, 2010.|
|1.6.6||The player skin originally had a beard that was commonly mistaken for a smile. The beard was removed in Beta 1.6.6.|
|October 2011||Notch renamed the cloak to the cape mentioning that the name was already wrong in the first place.|
|1.0.0||Beta 1.9-pre1||All "bottom" textures (including hand and foot) have been flipped 180 degrees. It's worth mentioning that the textures were specifically flipped and not rotated because an updated texture with the bottom surface rotated as opposed to flipped may display incorrectly depending on the intended alignment with relation to the rest of the skin.|
|On 23 November, 2012, the MineCon 2012 Cape was leaked out when Curse was showing off the MineCon Goodie Bag. The Cape that the Avatar had was the Golden Pickaxe and Blue Background. Then revealed to also be MineCon 2012's Official Cape.|
|April 1, 2014||On April 1st, all skins applied to players were changed to Villager skins as an April Fool's prank, and trying to edit or change the skin will not work. Capes were still shown, however, if the user had one.|
|1.8||14w03a||Skins have received an overhaul; right and left legs/arms can now be edited independently and the hat layer now counts for the whole body, meaning overlays can now be added on skins.|
|14w04a||Now displays the right arm's second layer in first person view.|
|1.8-pre1||Added a new player model with smaller arms, and a new player skin called Alex.|
|TU3||The first skin pack is available as downloadable content.|