Windows Paintshop

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 PSHOP.HTM in that directory

Windows ICR2 has several advantages over the DOS version when it comes to managing cars and car sets. File names can be determined by the user, importing and exporting individual cars is greatly simplified, and there is an excellent preview feature which is very handy when you want to quickly view any changes you've made.

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.

Start ICR2. From the Options menu choose Car Sets. Highlight the CARS95 set and click on Duplicate. You will be prompted for a new name for this set. Enter the name you wish to use and then click on OK. You can now change to that set from the Car Sets dialog box. Very easy, eh?

IMPORTANT: If you're experiencing problems creating carsets, the most likely reason is that the CARS95 http:/ that came with the sim are set with "read only" attributes. You can usually correct the problem by changing the attributes of the http:/ through the File Manager or Explorer. Start either application and go to the CARS95 subdirectory of the \SIERRA\ICR2\CARS\ directory.

Working with cars in a set

Start ICR2. From the Options menu choose Car Sets, select the set you wish to modify, and click on OK. Then from the Options menu choose Driver Info. From this dialog box, you can import cars, swap cars, or change the information for the drivers in the set.

Importing and exporting

To import a car:

To export a car:

Swapping cars in a set

If you want to swap cars in the set, you can perform a series of exports and imports to get the cars in their new positions. You'll also need to edit the information of the drivers, but this is very easy to do with the edit boxes which are provided.

Painting a car in a set

If you want to modify a car in a set yourself, start ICR2, and open the Driver Info dialog box for the set you want to use. Highlight the position, in the edit box in the upper left corner, of the car you wish to modify. The player's car is the top position. Choose Paint Car to start up the Paintshop.

Working with individual cars

You can also work on individual cars by starting the Paintshop directly from the Start menu. I know on my system ICR2 takes a while to load, so this is a quicker way to get started on a design. I'll explain how to paint your own car in my tutorial.

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 http:/ 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.CAR, from the DREYNARD.ZIP archive and place it in my SIERRA\ICR2\SAVED directory. I'm just going to run Paintshop without starting ICR2 since importing the finished car into a set is so easy. I start Paintshop and select File then Open. I find the DREYNARD.CAR file and click on Open to load the car into the Paintshop. As I work on the car, I'm going to save it in stages in case I decide I don't like some of the changes I might make later on.

You can see that the Paintshop's main window is divided into two parts. I'll call the left half the "Detail" section and the right half the "Base" section. 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 screen, but I'm also making similar changes on the Base screen. You can also change the helmet and crewman's uniform by clicking on Window and then Pit Crew and Helmet. 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.

You can also see that certain sections of the car are missing some color, such as the area I've pointed out. This is a result of converting Devin's original DOS .PCX file to a .CAR file. As I paint my design, I'm going to also paint these areas.

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. If you don't see the palette, click on the Window menu and check to see if the Colors item is checked. If not, select it to open up the palette window. I'm going to describe the color I'm using by giving you its position in the Colors window as (row, column). I'll start with (7,2) 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. Also notice that I painted the Base parts to correspond with the light areas that I painted in the Detail section. Also, you can experiment with the Copy and Paste features in the Edit menu if you only want to paint one side of the car. You can then copy it to the other by "flipping" it with the tool in the Paintshop.

Now I select a slightly darker red, (7, 3), and fill in the next shade.

Okay, next shade darker, (7, 4).

Next shade, (7, 5).

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 and Base areas painted, I need to go to the Pit Crew and Helmet window 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. To do this I choose Export Decals from the File menu and save the Detail section of my design as a .PCX file. I'll call it ICR230.PCX. I start up PSP and open the ICR230.PCX file. I'll also open up the ICR2PAD.PCX file which comes with the PKASSIST http:/ 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, I 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 http:/ and double-click on it. Choose File then Save. Now I'm almost ready to reload ICR230.PCX back into the Paintshop. I go back to the Paintshop and I select Import Decal from the File Menu. 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 ICR230.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 Paintshop. 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 .PCX here and reload it into the ICR2 Paintshop. 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.