Trading Paints Blog

Trading Paints Downloader Update Notes: Painting Mode (July 23, 2018)

by Steve Luvender · July 23, 2018

We released an update to the Trading Paints Downloader that adds Painting Mode, a way to preview your work-in-progress paint schemes in iRacing without manually refreshing, if you use Photoshop, GIMP, or other third-party design software (sort of like Sim Preview in Trading Paints Pro Paint Builder).

Painting Mode detects changes to the car_xxxxxx.tga file in your Documents\iRacing\paint*vehicle* folder and reloads the paint automatically in the iRacing sim upon the change.

This means if you use a program like Photoshop to create your paints, you can save your paint file (or, better yet, set up an action to automatically save your paint file) and have it automatically reflect updates in an iRacing test session.

Painting Mode will not download any paints besides yours when enabled. It’s best used in a test session.

To use Painting Mode:

  1. Open Trading Paints Downloader. In the advanced options, click the Painting Mode checkbox to enable Painting Mode.

  2. Launch an iRacing test session with the vehicle of your choosing.

  3. Drive out the pits and onto the track. Get out of the car.

  4. Move your replay to the point where your car is out of the pits and before you got out of the car. (iRacing will not reload paints on cars in the pits.)

  5. Without leaving the iRacing test session, switch windows (Alt+Tab) and create your car in the design software of your choice using iRacing’s PSD templates available on the iRacing Members Site.

  6. When you’re ready to preview your paint in the iRacing sim, save your paint as a 24-bit TGA file named car_xxxxxx.tga (where xxxxxx is your iRacing Customer ID number), to your Documents\iRacing\paint*vehicle* folder. (Alternatively, you can preview a decal layer by saving your 32-bit TGA file with an alpha channel as car_decal_xxxxxx.tga in the same location.)

  7. Switch back to your iRacing test session (Alt+Tab) with your replay still paused at the same point. Your car should flash white briefly, then show your paint. You shouldn’t need to press Ctrl+R since Painting Mode will detect the change (or addition, or replacing) of your paint file.

Repeat Steps 5–7 until you’re finished painting. (If you’re painting to upload your work to the Trading Paints Showroom, don’t forget to take a screenshot!)

When you’re finished painting, upload your completed TGA file to Trading Paints. Since Painting Mode does not interact with the Trading Paints servers — only your local files — you’ll still need to upload your finished paint file so everybody else can see your work.

You can make the most out of Painting Mode by creating a keystroke-activated action that saves your paint file using a program like Adobe Photoshop. With Painting Mode enabled, create a Photoshop action that saves your paint file to the paint directory with the car_xxxxxx.tga filename, assign a keyboard shortcut to perform the action, then use the iRacing test session as essentially a live 3D paint preview tool that updates each time you press the action key command in Photoshop—it’s as close as we can get, at least!

We hope to continue evolving Painting Mode with your feedback and input. Hopefully, for painters who want to quickly preview changes, this will save a few seconds and keystrokes (or more than that if you were one of the poor souls uploading every iteration of your paint scheme to Trading Paints after each update while painting—yes, really).

Within the coming days, we also plan to roll out the addition of a shiny new server to handle the downloader. The goal of the new server is to improve downloader performance and speed, and also minimizing impact on the Trading Paints website during high-traffic events and peak times (like, say, during this past weekend’s 24-hour race). We sincerely thank you for using and supporting Trading Paints, which allows us to continue to improve features and reliability.

Now, go grab the latest downloader and give Painting Mode a spin!