Skins are divided into areas that act as the surface area of the character (for example, the front head area, left leg area, etc.). There are a total of 3,264 pixels that can be customized, with 1,632 on each layer. The second layer can be used to give the character glasses, hats, or other accessories (even a bigger head).
In Java Edition, a skin allows only a 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. If a skin with transparent pixels on the first layer is uploaded, the transparent pixels render as black pixels in-game. There are about 9.571 656 652 × 1031441 possible skins in this edition, with 5.412 073 956 × 1027511 compatible online.
In Bedrock Edition, skins can have double the resolution of a normal skin. This means the skin template can be up to 128×128 instead of just 64×64. The normal templates still apply, but players get 4× the amount of pixels to work with, since both dimensions have been doubled. Transparency can be used, even on the first layer, though there needs to be at least one visible pixel on five body parts, so a fully invisible skin can't be made. The transparency must also be 0% or 100% as translucent colors are not allowed in either layer.
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 a zombie and its variants 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 do not appear skinny.
In order to use the player skin for zombies, the user must align it to the correct place on the .png to avoid a visual break in the texture.
Changing or installing player skins
Only players who have purchased Minecraft can change their character's skin. This is done on the
.jpg image file, which then replaces 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 (Old launcher) or Minecraft _version.jar (New Launcher) can also be changed and replaced via a resource pack, but the effects are visible only to players using the resource pack, and affects all players with the default skin.
Legacy Console Edition
There were 18 default skin types (with the exception of the skin packs), 9 of which were based on the Steve model and the other 9 based on the Alex model, wearing different outfits and skin colors. The skins were available to be chosen in the 'Change Skin' area of Help & Options. There were also a few other skins with the name of Alex or Steve, but they weren't default, such as Developer Alex or Party Steve. The Legacy Console Edition did not allow transparent skins, because the player could not create their own skins. This prevented issues with completely transparent skin users "haunting" other players. The player could add custom skins to the Legacy Console Edition via hacking; however, this voided the warranty of the console, and the player risked a ban from online play for an illicitly modded game or console.
|Skins in Default Skin Pack|
Other versions of Steve and Alex in officially-released skin packs exist:
|Other default skin variations|
Since Pocket Edition Alpha 0.11.0, players can choose one of the two default skins either Steve or Alex, and can apply their own custom skin. (Uses the same format as the Java edition). The player must select a valid skin image from their photo library, and must choose between the two main models. Players can also spend Minecraft Coins to buy skin packs. The Legacy Skin Pack was also implemented in Bedrock Edition, but the player has to sign in to Xbox Live to access all the skins. It also includes five anonymous skins. Players can also make their own skin packs, which must include a manifest.json file, a skins.json file, and all the desired skins. An additional .lang file can be added inside a folder labeled texts to display the skin names, but the game can register the skins without it.
The character creator is a feature in Bedrock Edition and Minecraft Earth that lets players customize their skins with free and paid-for cosmetic items. It can be accessed by selecting the character profile button on the main menu. It can also be used to equip capes. Many clothing items cost Minecoins (Tokens on PlayStation 4), or can be earned by completing certain achievements.
Skin Packs are available in Bedrock Edition as downloadable content. Skin Packs add additional skins that players may choose from along with the 2 default skins packaged with the game. They often feature characters from other video games, alongside original designs.
Creating a skin
Many players prefer their own unique skin. While many premade skins can be found online, many players prefer to create their own.
A custom skin is a way to personalize the player model and can be done either by using a variety of community-made skin editors, or by editing the
alex.png file manually with an image editor like Photoshop, GIMP, Paint.net or similar image editors. The
steve.png file can be downloaded here and the
alex.png file here. When editing the
alex.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 may find it easier to use a program, either downloadable or in-browser, which provides a live view of their character on a three dimensional model as they are editing the skin. For example, programs may 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 still needs to upload the
.png file at the Skin section of the Profile page on Minecraft.net (found here) before the skin is applied. Other players in multiplayer can also see this skin. Note that players cannot see the custom skin if they are not logged in or when playing offline.
deadmau5's skin is located here.
The Java Edition 1.8 templates can be used for pre-1.8 skins on the skin server, but only the top half of the image is used. (i.e. not the individual arms and legs on the bottom and no overlay on any layer except the head) If the skin is for Java Edition 1.7, the old system must be used exactly.
To 6 significant figures, there are 3.06013 × 1023,581 possible unique Minecraft skins.
|Java Edition Classic|
|?||Custom player skin test.|
|0.0.18a||Custom skins released.|
|0.24 SURVIVAL TEST||The player skin originally had a beard, which was removed in this version.|
|Java Edition Alpha|
|v1.2.2||Player skins can be modified.|
|1.0.0||Beta 1.9 Prerelease||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.|
|April 1, 2014||On April 1st, all skins applied to players were changed and locked to Villager skins as an April Fools' prank. 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. This means there are now 3.06013 × 1023,581 unique Minecraft skins instead of 2.29507 × 1011,328 previously.|
|14w04a||Now displays the right arm's second layer in first person view.|
|pre1||Added a new player model with smaller arms, and a new player skin called Alex.|
|1.9||15w47a||Overlay layers (hat, jacket, sleeves, and pants) correctly render semitransparent pixels, instead of just fully opaque and fully transparent pixels.|
|Pocket Edition Alpha|
|0.11.0||build 1||Added skins. Players can choose 'Steve' and 'Alex' models or their own custom skin (uses the same format as in Java Edition).|
|build 10||Added the first two skin packs: City Folk and Town Folk. Each skin pack has 5 free skins, and purchasing the skin pack unlocks the rest of the skins. Skin packs cost USD $0.99.|
|0.12.3||Added the Halloween Costumes skin pack.|
|0.13.0||build 5||Added the "Biome Settlers" skin pack.|
|0.13.1||Added the Holiday Festival 2015 skin pack.|
|0.13.2||Added the Journey to The West skin pack.|
|0.14.0||build 7||Added the Redstone Specialists skin pack.|
|0.14.1||Added Minecraft: Story Mode skins.|
|0.14.3||Added Biome Settlers Pack 2 Skin pack.|
|0.15.4||Added Villians Skin pack.|
|0.15.9||Added MineCon 2016 Skin pack, available for a limited time.|
|30 September 2016||The Minecraft twitter starts tweeting out teasers for skins planned to be added in the Campfire Tales Skin pack in 0.15.10|
|0.15.10||Added Campfire Tales Skin pack.|
|4 October 2016||The last 'teaser-tweet' for the Campfire Tales Skin pack is sent, after the skin pack was released.|
|7 October 2016||The limited-time offer for the MineCon 2016 Skin pack is over, it has been removed from all app stores and its redemption code is now expired. Players who obtained it while it was available are still able to use it.|
|1.0.0||alpha 0.17.0.1||Added Festive 2016 Mash-up pack.|
|1.0.4||Added Strangers "Biome Settlers Pack 3" Skin pack.|
|1.0.5||Added Power Rangers Skin pack.|
|1.0.6||Added Chinese Mythology Mash-up pack.|
|1.0.7||Added Fallout Mash-up pack.|
|1.0.8||Added Magic: The Gathering Skin pack.|
|1.0.9||Added Greek Mythology Mash-up pack.|
|1.1.0||Added Minecraft Marketplace, which has the community skin packs.|
|Added Skyrim Mash-up pack.|
|1.1.3||Added Adventure Time Mash-up pack.|
|1.7.0||Added "Pirates Of The Caribbean" Mash-up|
|1.8.0||Added "The Nightmare Before Christmas" Mash-up|
|1.9.0||Added "Steven Universe" Mash-up|
|1.11.4||Added "Toy Story" Mash-up|
|1.13.0||beta 184.108.40.206||The character creator has been added in-game.|
|Legacy Console Edition|
|TU3||CU1||1.0||Patch 1||The first skin pack is available as downloadable content.|
|TU24||CU12||1.16||8 'Alex' model skins added to default skin pack.|