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Skin

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Steve Alex
The default player skin, "Steve", as it appears in-game.

The Steve skin when directly opened in an image viewer.

The alternate default player skin, "Alex", as it appears in-game.

The Alex skin when directly opened in an image viewer.

Skins refer to the textures that are placed onto a player or mob model.

Properties[edit]

Skins are divided into areas that act as the surface area of the character (for example, 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. If a skin with transparent pixels on the first layer is uploaded, the transparent pixels will render as black pixels in-game. The second layer can be used to give the character glasses, hats, or other accessories (even a bigger head).

World textures[edit]

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 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.)

In order to use the player skin for zombies and zombie pigmen, the user must align it to the correct place on the .png or the texture will be broken.

Changing or installing player skins[edit]

Java Edition[edit]

A player can only change their character's skin if they have purchased Minecraft. This is done on the profile page by uploading a valid .png or .jpg 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.[1]

The steve.png and 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.

Legacy Console Edition[edit]

A variety of Alex skins available in the Legacy Console Edition. Left to right: Tennis, Tuxedo, Athlete, Default, Swedish, Cyclist, Prisoner, and Boxer.

There are currently 18 default skin types (with the exception of the skin packs), 9 of which are based on the Steve model and the other 9 based on the Alex model, wearing different outfits and skin colors. The skins are available to be chosen in the 'Change Skin' area of Help & Options. There are also a few other skins with the name of Alex or Steve, but they aren't default, such as developer Alex or party Steve. The Legacy Console Edition allows transparent skins, because the player cannot create their own skins. This prevents issues with completely transparent skin users "haunting" other players. The player can add custom skins to the Legacy Console Edition via hacking; however, this will void the warranty of the console, and the player risks a ban from either Xbox Live or PlayStation Network for an illicitly modded game or console.

Other versions of Steve and Alex in officially-released skin packs exist:

Bedrock Edition[edit]

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 will then be prompted to choose between the two main models. Players can also buy skin packs which are purchased with Minecraft Coins. 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.

In addition, Bedrock Edition has the option to use skins with double the resolution of a normal skin. This means the skin template can be up to 128x128 instead of just 64x64. The normal templates still apply, but players get 4x 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.

Character creator[edit]

Information icon.svg
This feature is exclusive to Bedrock Edition.
The character creator menu.

The character creator is a feature exclusive to Bedrock Edition that allows players to customize their skins with the use of free and paid cosmetics.

Skin packs[edit]

One example of a skin pack available in the Legacy Console Edition.

Skin Packs are available in the Legacy Console Edition and in the Bedrock Edition as downloadable content. Skin Packs add additional skins that players may choose from along with the 16 default skins (2 in Bedrock Edition) packaged with the game. They often feature characters from other video games, alongside original designs.

Creating a skin[edit]

Many players prefer their own unique skin, something which describes them. 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 steve.png or 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 steve.png or 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 will allow them to have 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 will still need 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 will also be able to see this skin. Note that players will not be able to see the custom skin if they are not logged in or when playing offline.

Note: The Java Edition 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 skin is for Java Edition 1.7, the old system must be used exactly.

There can be up to 3.06×1023,581 unique Minecraft skins.

History[edit]

Java Edition Classic
?Custom player skin test.
0.0.18aCustom skins released.
0.24 SURVIVAL TESTThe player skin originally had a beard, which was removed in this version.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.2Player skins can be modified.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 PrereleaseAll "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, 2014On 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.
1.814w03aSkins 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 up to 3.06×1023,581 unique Minecraft skins instead of 2.29×1011,328 previously.
14w04aNow displays the right arm's second layer in first person view.
pre1Added a new player model with smaller arms, and a new player skin called Alex.
1.915w47aOverlay layers (hat, jacket, sleeves, and pants) correctly render semitransparent pixels, instead of only fully opaque and fully transparent pixels.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.11.0build 1Added skins. Players can choose 'Steve' and 'Alex' models or their own custom skin (uses the same format as in Java Edition).
build 10Added the first two skin packs: City Folk and Town Folk. Each skin pack has 5 free skins, and purchasing the skin pack will unlock the rest of the skins. Skin packs cost USD $0.99.
0.12.3Added the Halloween Costumes skin pack.
0.13.0build 5Added the "Biome Settlers" skin pack.
0.13.1Added the Holiday Festival 2015 skin pack.
0.13.2Added the Journey to The West skin pack.
0.14.0build 7Added the Redstone Specialists skin pack.
0.14.1Added Minecraft: Story Mode skins.
0.14.3Added Biome Settlers Pack 2 Skin pack.
0.15.4Added Villians Skin pack.
0.15.9Added MineCon 2016 Skin pack, available for a limited time.
30 September 2016The Minecraft twitter starts tweeting out teasers for skins planned to be added in the Campfire Tales Skin pack in 0.15.10
0.15.10Added Campfire Tales Skin pack.
4 October 2016The last 'teaser-tweet' for the Campfire Tales Skin pack is sent, after the skin pack was released.
7 October 2016The 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.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0alpha 0.17.0.1Added Festive 2016 Mash-up pack.
1.0.4Added Strangers "Biome Settlers Pack 3" Skin pack.
1.0.5Added Power Rangers Skin pack.
1.0.6Added Chinese Mythology Mash-up pack.
1.0.7Added Fallout Mash-up pack.
1.0.8Added Magic: The Gathering Skin pack.
1.0.9Added Greek Mythology Mash-up pack.
1.1.0Added Minecraft Marketplace, which has the community skin packs.
Added Skyrim Mash-up pack.
1.1.3Added Adventure Time Mash-up pack.
Bedrock Edition
1.7.0Added "Pirates Of The Caribbean" Mash-up
1.8.0Added "The Nightmare Before Christmas" Mash-up
1.9.0Added "Steven Universe" Mash-up
1.11.4Added "Toy Story" Mash-up
1.13.0beta 1.13.0.15The character creator has been added in-game.
Legacy Console Edition
TU3CU11.0Patch 1The first skin pack is available as downloadable content.
TU24CU121.168 'Alex' model skins added to default skin pack.

References[edit]