If you would rather view this page offline, here is the page and the images that I use for illustration. Unzip the contents of this archive into the same directory, start your browser, and open the file PKIT.HTM in that directory
Use the latest version
If you're using Paintkit, you'll want to upgrade it to version 1.02 right away. This will correct most of the bugs in the original version. If you've already upgraded to version 1.02 you can skip this section.
These are the files you'll need to bring your Paintkit up to date. First download PATCHPKT.ZIP which fixes the problem with painting the spine of the engine cowling. Unzip PATCHPKT.COM and place it in your ICR2 main directory. You can run the patch from Windows or DOS.
The second patch you'll need is PKIT102.ZIP which corrects the problem of painting the sides of the sidepods. Unzip the files into your ICR2 directory. Follow the instructions in the README file to complete the installation.
IMPORTANT: The PKIT102.ZIP patch might modify many of your Paintkit files to "read-only." If you're experiencing problems creating carsets, the most likely reason is that the CARS95 files that came with the sim have been modified in this manner. You can usually correct the problem by changing the attributes of the files through the File Manager or Explorer. Start either application and go to the CARS95 subdirectory of the \ICR2\CARS\ directory.
Use as many enhancements as you can
Marc Nelson has created a terrific freeware utility which greatly improves the Paintkit's interface and adds new work areas. You can download PTKitv3.3 from the Enhancements page at
Use your own car set
You should make a new car set before attempting to create a new individual design for the first time. Anyway, this is what Sierra recommends. Creating a new set is very simple, and after it's done you can alter any or all of the cars in it.
From DOS, change the working directory to your ICR2 directory using the CD command. Then start paintkit with the set where you want the new design to go. You do this by typing:
where "carset" is the file name of the set you wish to put the new design in. This command will either open "carset" or create a new "carset" if it doesn't already exist. If this is a new set, then you will be prompted to create a new directory and a new set. Just answer "Yes" at both prompts.
You can also do this from Windows95. Click on the Start button and select Run. In the text area, type in:
and click on OK. This will open up a DOS window which will perform the same task as if you had followed the procedure for starting the Paintkit from the DOS prompt (above). The path to your ICR2 main directory may be different from my example. If so, replace "c:\icr2" with the correct path.
Working with individual cars
Okay, you've started Paintkit and you're looking at the start-up screen. You can now navigate through the set by clicking on Paint Cars and then clicking on Next Car or Previous Car. The first car is player's car in the sim, so if you want to change your car, this is the design you need to replace. You can also Swap Cars if you want to change a car's position in the set.
It's important to note that each of the postitions in the set corresponds to a specific entry in the set's DRIVERS2.TXT file. If you swap car positions in the set you may also need to interchange entries in this text file. There's one discrepency between the car set and the drivers file. The entry after the player in the text file is actually the position before the player's car in the set.
Importing and exporting
Click on Paint Cars and then Select Car. This is the screen where you can make modifications to your car. Click on Export. This will create a new file in your ICR2 main directory called IND95.PCX (you can check if you don't believe me). You can use this file to transfer your design to another set or another ICR2 user, or you can use a separate graphics program to work on this file.
Conversely, you can click on Import. This will load the IND95.PCX file (if one actually resides in your ICR2 main directory) into this position in the set. This is the method you use to import cars you may find on the internet, or to reload your design into the set after you've modified it with another graphics program. If you're experiencing problems, the most likely culprit is the file name. It must be IND95.PCX if you want to import it into the first position in the car set.
This illustrates an important point about importing and exporting designs. Each position in the set uses a different file name. The position after the player's car uses ALU16.PCX, for example. The easiest way to import a new design into a position different from the player's car is:
Use a template
One thing that can really make a design look right is its shading. This is a tedious process and is a daunting one the first time out. By using a template, you can see where the car should be a lighter shade and where it should be a darker shade. You can then focus on your car's color and the sponsor logos you're going to use. The hardest part is therefore taken care of for you.
Devin Pruzin has generously donated the template for the Reynard chassis from his 97CARS set. If you use this template as a base, be sure to acknowledge Devin as a source. Later on, I'll demonstrate how to use this template and Paint Shop Pro to make an ICR2 car which has my web site as a primary sponsor.
Aaron Martin has also created some great templates for the each of the 1997 CART and IRL cars.
Use Paint Shop Pro to really make your car stand out
Chris Frederick has compiled several files which explain very well how to use this excellent and relatively inexpensive program. This file, PKASSIST.ZIP, is courtesy of Chris Frederick and The Pits.
In my tutorial, I'll show you a couple of tricks you can use in addtion to those that Chris mentions.
Okay, let's get to work. I extract the template file I want to use, Devin Pruzin's DREYNARD.PCX, from the DREYNARD.ZIP archive. I place it in my ICR2 main directory and rename it to IND95.PCX. I start Paintkit with the set I want to use, and I find a car I can do without. I swap it with the first car and import the template into the first position. I then save the car in case I decide to remove some of the changes I might make later on.
|Click on Paint Cars, then Select Car. I'll call this screen the "Detail Car" screen. There's also a Paint Car and a Paint Suit screen. Click on Paint Car and Paint Suit to see for yourself. Hit Detail Car to go back to that screen. You can see that although the car is all white, it's not a uniform shade. I'll show you the changes I make on the Detail Car screen, but I'm also making similar changes on the Paint Car screen. I'll also change the helmet and crewman's uniform. These changes are easy, though, compared to the ones I'll be showing you. Use the ICR2 manual for specific information on how to use each of the paint tools.|
I think I'll make the car all red and have my main logo be white. How do I get this template red while still keeping the shading intact? If you look at the palette, you can see that it's generally grouped by varying shades of different colors. What I have to do is find a color group and correspond its light and dark shades with those on Devin's template. I'll start with this red color (below) being the lightest red and fill in the lightest white areas on the template.
Notice I painted some fairly small areas on the wings and sidepods. Now I select a slightly darker red and fill in the next shade.
Okay, next shade darker.
Well, you get the idea. I'm going to have to change to another color group to put the darker shades on, but the group just above the one I've been working with looks like a good candidate. When I've got the Detail Car area painted, I need to go to the Paint Car screen and repeat the process, and I definitely want to change my helmet, but this is almost trivial. This is how the template looks when I'm done.
Okay, now I want to use Paint Shop Pro to put some cool graphics on the car. I need to export my design to allow me to work on it in PSP. I start up PSP and open the IND95.PCX file. I'll also open up the ICR2PAD.PCX file which comes with the PKASSIST files to allow me to work with the same colors that ICR2 uses.
The first thing I'll do is put the main sponsor logos on. Since I've used a common font for my site's logo, I can just basically type the logo onto the car with PSP. Plus with the anti-aliasing features available, the end result will look very cool I think. In order for anti-aliasing to work in PSP, you need to be using 16 million colors, so I click on Colors, then Increase Color Depth, and then on 16 Million Colors. Next, I pick the text color I want from the palette. I like the shadow effect in my logo and I want to reproduce it on my car, so I'll select black first, and then put the white lettering on top of the black lettering.
I use the text tool (the button with the A on it) and click on the area of the car where I want the logo to be. I'll start with the easiest sidepod. When I click on it, a dialog box opens which allows me to choose a font, a size, and whether the text will be regular, bold, italic, etc. At the bottom of the dialog box is the area where I type in the text I want to use. I type in ICR2 Cars. I want the font to be "ARIAL" both bold and italic.
But what about the size? I'll have to use trial and error. I'll start with the lowest shown setting, 8 point. I click OK and the text appears on the car. I have to move it to the best location, but all I have to do is drag it there. That works, but it's nearly too tall. What if I wanted to use 7 point instead? I'll have to type in a 7 in place of the 8 in the text tool dialog box. Even though that's not a listed size, PSP will still create the text for me. I now need to repeat this step using white as my text color. Here's what I've got so far.
I want to repeat this step for each area where I want the logo to be. I can rotate the text for the wings by placing the text on the car and then clicking on Image and then Rotate. In the dialog box I can choose left or right and I can choose the degree of rotation as well. While I'm at it, I'll put the numbers on my car the same way. I think I'll use #30.
I'm through with the text tool, and let's say I want to keep the car as it is now. I have to reload the ICR2 colors back in or else the Paintkit won't recognize the car. I select Colors, then Load Palette. I find the INDYCAR2.PAL file which came with the PKASSIST files and double-click on it. Choose File then Save. Now I'm almost ready to reload IND95.PCX back into the set. I go back to the Paintkit and I select the first car. There is a small glitch between the palettes for the Paintkit and PSP which causes the white color to become transparent. To correct for this, I select the lightest white shade and then click on Clear. Don't worry, the condition is only temporary. I then select Import and the modified car is loaded into the set. Then I choose Save. Here's where I'm at now.
Let's say I'm a huge Firestone and Ford fan, and I want them represented on my car. Let's also say that I've found some good logos while browsing the web. I can copy and paste them into my design using PSP to do that, too. I start PSP, open my IND95.PCX file and the ICR2PAD.PCX file again. I open up the logo I want to use, and I load the ICR2 palette into it so that it's compatible with the Paintkit. I can also clean up or modify the logo with PSP if I need to. For example, what if the Firestone logo I wanted to use was black on a white background? I really want it to be white on a red background. I can choose Colors then Negative Image which will make the logo white on black and then fill in the black area with the red color I want.
To get it on the car, I use the Selection tool (the button with the dashed rectangle on it), and draw the area around the part I want to copy. I choose Edit and then Copy. I then go to my car design and select the area (with the Selection tool) where I want the logo to go. How about the wing endplates? The important thing to remember here is that I want the shapes of both areas to be roughly the same to keep the image from being altered too much. I choose Edit, Copy, and then Into Selection. I'll do the same for my Ford logo which I'll put on the nose of the car.
I'll save the car here and reload it into Paintkit, remembering to Clear the car again before I do. You'll most likely have to touch up around logos when you paste them into your design, so I'll clean up around the Ford logo. Here's what I've got when I'm done.
That's all there is to it. I'll add a few more logos the same way I've just demonstrated to get this as the final version.
So you can see that it's not so difficult if you can use some of the great utilities which are available. There is a drawback, however. While PSP can help you make a great car, it costs $69.00. If you're just casually interested in designing cars and don't want to take the plunge by buying a fully loaded software package just to paint one car, I'm willing to use my registered version to help. If you'll send me you're basic car and the logos you're wanting to use, I'll put them on the car for you. Since PSP is so easy to use, I can do this fairly quickly.