Skins are, in the Grand Theft Auto games, textures that are placed over a blank three-dimensional model (a DFF file) used for clothing, vehicles, weapons, etc. All skins are stored inside of an IMG Archive, and a TXD archive, except in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where only the TXD archives are present. Not all are the same. While most skins follow the same setup, others don't, because the model they were put on doesn't share the same unwrap. These require the corresponding DFF file in order to be rendered properly in the game; for example the NPC characters in-game some of which are 128x128, 64x64, or anything under 256x256, don't follow the design of the user skins.
User defined skins
A feature in the PC versions of Grand Theft Auto III, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was letting the player create their own skins. These skins have a different layout in each game. All skins created by the user have to be a 24-bit Bitmap (bmp) file, and have to be 256 by 256 in size. The parts of a skin are mirrored symmetrically around the model so you would only have to create half of the body part. These are usually placed in the skins folder in the install directory
(Program Files\Rockstar Games\GTAIII\skins), or wherever the games were installed. While skins in GTA III can be accessed at any time other then when the player has the prison jumpsuit on, skins in GTA Vice City only work with the street outfit. Also all skins folders, and in the game there will always be the default player skin, along with a Read Me.txt file.
Below are the design templates in which the player must follow for the skin to come out properly:
- If there is writing on the skin it may not come out right (could be backwards, upside down, double written, or written in the opposite direction).
- The Japanese version of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City comes with two new pre-made skins for Tommy, named Tache and Wild. The skins could also be found in the files of Vice City's 10th Anniversary Edition, but they, just like the skins feature, remain unused.