So, you've installed a vehicle mod, and you've found a texture you'd like to install on it. Don't worry, it's just a few more mouse clicks away.
I'll assume you already know how to install the vehicles themselves, using SparkIV. If not, read Soucy's tutorial "How to Import Vehicle Mods into GTA IV" .
Many texture artists (myself included) release their skins as .png images, instead of being pre-installed on the car. I do this since there's many different versions of each car, with different lightbars, etc.
Be aware, though, that the texture must be made for that specific car. for instance, a texture from one CVPI will fit another CVPI, but not an Impala, Charger, or anything else. Even many San Andreas vehicles can mix-and-match textures with IV ones, including the CVPI and 2011 Taurus.
Open SparkIV, and just as you did when installing the vehicle, click browse, and navigate to Grand Theft Auto IV\PC\models\cdimages. Open "vehicles.img", and find the vehicle you'd like to edit. I'll use the car called "police" as an example.
We'll only need the "police.wtd" file, notice that it says "(Texture)" instead of "(ModelFrag)" beside it. Hilight "police.wtd" and click "Edit". Resist the urge to double-click "police.wtd". Doing so will open it, but we won't be able to edit it.
Clicking "Edit" will open this window. There's many different textures here, but we're after the main body paint texture. (* There may be more than one body texture. See note below re: multiple liveries) The main texture's usually called "police_sign", "paint", "decals", or something similar. We can preview the existing texture, here we can see "POLICE" written on the hood.
Click "Import Texture", navigate to the new texture, click "Open".
SparkIv will now import the new texture. Depending on the file size, and your PC's speed, it may take a second or two. You should now see the new texture in the preview:
Unless you'd like to import more textures to this vehicle, click "Save And Close", and it will close that window. Now you will see the window that was open before. Click "Save", and then click "Rebuild"*.
*Thanks to Bxbugs123 for adding this important step:
Originally Posted by Bxbugs123
That's it! It will likely take less time and effort to install your first skin, than it did to read this paragraph.
I should mention, you can also extract the texture from one car, in order to install it on another. Because sometimes, the texture you want is already installed on a car (let's call it "Car A"), you might want to install it on a different one ("Car B").
With SparkIV, install "Car A". Don't bother saving it, it'll only be there temporarily.
Hilight "police.wtd" and click "Edit". Find the texture you want, and this time, click "Export Texture". Save it to somewhere convenient, such as the desktop.
Exit SparkIV without saving or rebuilding. Re-start SparkIV, and install "Car B". If "Car B" was already installed before you installed "Car A", then "Car B" will still be installed, since you didn't save "Car A".
Open "Car B" and install the texture from "Car A" that you previously saved to the desktop.
*Note regarding multiple liveries.
Many vehicle mods have the ability to display up to four different main body textures, or "liveries", with each one spawning randomly in traffic. To enable this feature,
- Navigate to the folder where the game is installed (e.g. C:\Games\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto IV or similar).
- Open common\data.
- Find vehicles.ide (it may be set to "Read-Only". Right-click, select "Properties". In the "General" tab, under "Attributes", un-check "Read-Only", click "Apply").
- Open it with notepad (to make it easier to read, under the "Format" tab, un-check "Word Wrap").
- Find the vehicle you'd like to edit, and add the following to the end of the line, without spaces:
For example, here's what "police" should now look like:
police, police, car, POLICE, POLICE, VEH@STD, VEH@STD_RI1, 100, 999, 0.2345, 0.2345, 0.2, 2, 1.0 ,1, ext_requi+ext_strong+livery
Have fun, and enjoy your new texture!