With only one more day left for the Circus skin contest, I thought I would review one last entry before the results are in. As of this post, there a 404 entries; this one was submitted by Ludicrous, a forum moderator, and is still fresh on the first page of entries. I chose to review the Circus Runaway skin because it has become one of my favorites in general – not just for this contest.
I should start by saying that I am particularly fond of cute female skins. Especially in Minecraft, since the model was meant to be male – it is more difficult to depict a female. It helps that Ludicrous used the Alex model – and on that note, it is kind of amazing how much more feminine the model looks by simply slimming down its arms.
Anyway: this character’s backstory is a classic tale. A girl lives at home with her parents; her parents “mistreat her”; girl runs away from home to join circus; girl has fun at circus for a while; circus ends up actually mistreating her and keeps her captive so that she must work for them forever. Finally, it ends with the girl realizing that her parents were not so bad after all – but of course it is too late.
If you have a moment, I definitely recommend heading over to the skin’s page to read the backstory – it was written in a poem, and is quite entertaining.
With the backstory out of the way, let us talk about the actual skin. The details on this skin are wonderful – the dual colored dress with matching wristbands and shoes was a nice touch, and the bow in her hair is adorable. There was some judicious use of layering to add subtle details (ears and part of the bow).
In terms of shading, this skin is nearly flawless. Every part of the body is appropriately rounded out by well-placed highlights and good gradient transitions. The only area I would try to improve would be the dress – while the detail masks some of the need for shading, it could use some more shifts in value.
Being perfectly honest, while I understand the skin’s backstory and recognize the outfit as a circus performer’s, I don’t see this skin winning the contest. There are other skins that are much more obviously and intensely circus-themed. However, this skin is fantastic on its own – the character is adorable, and it exhibits excellent technical execution by Ludicrous.
The Circus Runaway skin is awarded nine out of ten riskily short dresses.
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.
Do you feel that this skin deserves a high place in the results tomorrow (or if you are seeing this after the judging, deserved)? Or do you think it stands better as its own skin, not part of any contest? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.