Somehow, in the many months I have been reviewing skins, I have yet to stumble across the user Contrast of PlanetMinecraft. This user is an incredible skinner with nearly 150 skins posted and many, many badges. This skin, titled simply 1.8, is fairly old (about seven months old) but nonetheless is worth a mention.
First, stating the obvious: the shading on this skin is phenomenal. It is not often that I can find a skin with zero logical errors in terms of light direction, and even less often when I come across one with as much dimension as 1.8. My favorite part of the shading is easily the face – it is a small area to work with, but Contrast uses each pixel thoughtfully and efficiently.
The detail in this skin is also quite excellent. There is enough detail to keep your eyes moving through the model constantly, but not too much to the point where it becomes cluttered and chaotic. Once again, the face is the most detailed part, packing all of the features in nicely with some softened shading to make the inner forms more believable.
Finally, I’d like to mention that this skin makes extensive use of the layering system. To see what I mean, take a look at the model without the upper layer toggled:
Not only is this a little disturbing, it also shows the thought process behind Constrast’s work – rather than painting clothes onto the model, he is literally putting the armor on it.
All in all, this is possibly the best skin I’ve seen in many months. I award Contrast ten out of ten creepy gingerbread-man-esque figures.
Installing the Skin
For online play, skins can be installed by simply uploading the file to your profile on Minecraft.net. Skins posted on certain websites can be uploaded directly from their page, including this one; click on the button on the right-hand side labeled “change my skin” to be taken directly to the appropriate page.
For offline play only, the process is similar to installing mods:
Download the skin’s .png file;
Hold Windows key and press R to bring up the Run… dialog, or go to Start > Run.
Type %appdata% and press enter, then navigate to roaming/.minecraft/versions.
Open the folder containing the version you use for offline play and view the .jar file using WinRAR.
Create a backup of the meta.inf file contained inside the .jar and store it in a separate folder.
Navigate within the .jar file to assets/minecraft/textures/entity.
Rename the image file titled “steve” to anything else (such as steve_backup).
Change the name of your skin’s .png file to steve.png and insert it here.
Remember to keep your meta.inf and original steve texture backed up somewhere just in case.
Seeing as Minecraft is several years old, it only makes sense that there are many skinners I have yet to see. If I have missed any hugely significant (and still active) skin artists out there, please leave a link to their profile(s) in the comments section of this post. Otherwise, feel free to just post links to skinners you enjoy!