Skip to main content

Changing the finish style of Paint Builder layers

Paint Builder includes the ability to change the finish of each layer on your project, unlocking spec map features like metallic or chrome styles normally only available through advanced editing in specialized design software.

But first, the caveats

So, why isn’t the Finish feature turned on by default?

  • iRacing only accepts proprietary MIP files for opponent cars’ custom paints, unlike the standard TGA files used for normal custom paints. That’s why Trading Paints can only accept MIP file uploads for spec maps when you upload to My Paints or the Showroom. iRacing-compatible MIP files can only be generated using the iRacing software, so Trading Paints can’t generate those for you. However, you can generate these MIP files for use yourself by selecting Download from the project actions menu and choosing Spec Map TGA. Then, place the downloaded TGA file into your Documents\iRacing\paint\[vehicle name] folder, open the iRacing UI, and then a MIP file should appear in the folder. You can then upload that MIP file to Trading Paints. (Until there’s an easier and more seamless way to generate the iRacing-compatible MIP file, unfortunately this feature will be opt-in by default!)

  • We’d like to offer more granular controls for dialing in the finish of your layers as much as possible—and offer ways to save presets—before this is a full-fledged feature.

  • We’d like to offer a simpler way to select multiple layers and change the finish at once.

  • We’d like to offer an easy-to-understand visualization of your entire current Finish state at a glance at the project level.

  • A limitation of iRacing’s spec maps is that they don’t always play nicely with Sim-Stamped Number paints.

Enabling Finish options on a Paint Builder project

You can enable this feature by opening a project, selecting the Settings button (gear icon), and then checking the Show Spec TGA/Finish option.

Enabling this feature adds a Finish option to the properties panel for each layer you select in your project, including base paints, graphics, logos, shapes, text, and car parts.

The Finish selection includes several preset options:

  • Normal: the default setting; the standard iRacing appearance with an average amount of shine

  • Glossy: a very glossy, shiny, but non-metallic appearance

  • Flat: a rough, dull, non-metallic, not-so-reflective finish

  • Matte: a slightly less rough version of Flat

  • Semi-Metallic: a subtle bit of metallic shine with minimal dullness or darkening

  • Metallic: a bit of metallic shine with some darkening of the color

  • Chrome: as shiny as it gets; use sparingly

  • Custom: manually adjust levels of metallic, roughness, and clearcoat

Generating a spec map MIP file from a Paint Builder project

In order to use a Paint Builder project with Finish options set, you’ll need to generate a spec map MIP file using iRacing based on the spec map TGA file provided by Paint Builder.

You’ll need iRacing installed and running on your computer to do this.

Option 1: Using Sim Preview to obtain a Spec Map MIP file

If you’re using Sim Preview to check out your work in progress on a Paint Builder project with Finish options enabled, iRacing generates the spec map MIP file needed with each Sim Preview command.

Navigate to your Documents\iRacing\paint\[selected vehicle] folder and look for a file called car_spec_[some number].mip. That’s the file we need to upload to Trading Paints and assign to our custom paint.

If you find this file after using Sim Preview, you can skip to Putting your Spec Map MIP file on Trading Paints below.

Option 2: Download TGA and convert in iRacing

Alternatively, you can export the Spec Map TGA from Paint Builder and convert it in iRacing yourself.

Generating the Spec Map TGA file from Paint Builder
  • Enable Finish options on your project in Paint Builder if they're not already enabled. (Project Settings gear icon, then check Show Spec TGA/Finish)

  • From the project actions menu in the top-right of the screen, select the Download menu and choose Spec Map TGA.

  • This will initiate a file download of a file called car_spec_[some number].tga.

Generating the Spec Map MIP file in iRacing
  • Place that file in your Documents\iRacing\paint\[selected vehicle] folder. (If you want, delete the contents of that folder first.) Don’t close your file explorer window as we’ll need to return here in a moment.

  • Open the iRacing UI and navigate to My Content, Cars, then Car Model for the selected vehicle.

  • When iRacing loads the car model while your car_spec_[some number].tga file is in the above folder, iRacing generates a spec map MIP file based on that TGA file; it’ll be called car_spec_[some number].mip. That’s the file we want!

Putting your Spec Map MIP file on Trading Paints

  • In Paint Builder, assign the car as your custom paint on Trading Paints by clicking the Race button, or submit it to the Showroom by selecting Share and then Submit to Showroom.

    • If you selected Race—you’re assigning the car to your own account for personal use—go to My Paints, navigate to the vehicle that needs the spec map, select the Paint Options dropdown and choose Add spec map. Browse to your Documents\iRacing\paint\[selected vehicle] folder and choose the newly-generated car_spec_[some number].mip file.

    • If you selected Submit to Showroom—you’re sharing your creation with the public community so that they can race with your car—choose the Add spec map or decal layer option, then browse to your Documents\iRacing\paint\[selected vehicle] folder and choose the newly-generated car_spec_[some number].mip file.

If you make changes to your Paint Builder project, you’ll need to complete this process again to generate and upload a new Spec Map file.