Modding the Sky
Published : 12th January 2002
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How to create your own skies in Ghost Recon

I decided that I wanted to be able to make my own skies after looking at some pictures I took in France of sunsets there this New Years. This is a very advanced tutorial, and you will need a very good graphical skill and be somewhat familiar with the Ghost Recon mod system.

Note: This tutorial is written for Paint Shop Pro 7 – but if you can work out how to use Photoshop 6 then this will suffice.

What you will need

  • A high-res picture of a sky [take a photo]
  • Paint Shop Pro 7 or Photoshop 6 [Grab PSP here]
  • RSB export plug-ins [Grab them here]
  • RSB Converter [Grab it here]
  • SkyBox Editing Kit by Firestar [Grab it here]
    • This kit contains the Bitmap files used in this tutorial, together with this complete webpage for reading and working through off-line if preferable.


Get your pictures ready

Decide which map you are making a sky for. For example, we will choose m07 – River. Browse to <ghost recon folder>\Mods\Origmiss\Textures\ and locate the following files:

  • m07_river_LF.RSB : Left side of skybox texture (west)
  • m07_river_FW.RSB : Forward of skybox texture (north)
  • m07_river_RT.RSB : Right side of skybox texture (east)
  • m07_river_BK.RSB : Back side of skybox texture (south)
  • m07_river_UP.RSB : Looking directly up

These files are quite obvious and easy to find, arrange the folder by filename and you are set.

Copy these files to a temporary folder that you have easy access to, i.e. something like “Sky” on the desktop.

Now use Mike Schell’s RSB converter to convert them en mass to Rogue Spear format RSBs – the format that the RSB plug-ins were written to handle.


Making a seamless sky

Open up your sky picture in your graphics editor – I am using PSP7 because that’s what I know how to use best, and I believe has the best tools for the upcoming job.

Cut a 1024x256 pixel chunk out of the sky of your photo – if you do not have such a large chunk then you should use the clone brush to fake areas of the photograph – practice in this case DOES make perfect and you will need the clone brush a lot in this tutorial so get used to it now.

The image in PSP

Using the clone brush to fake the sky

Once you have a solid 1024x256 chunk of sky, make a new image in PSP 2048x256.

The New Image dialogue box – dunno why the hell it is pink.


This is double as wide as your last one. Copy the chunk of sky from your previous picture using Ctrl+C and then paste onto the new canvas once so it is aligned left using Ctrl+E and then pasting again so that the right hand edge of the first picture aligns with the left hand side of the floating image that you just pasted.

The first half of the image pasted into the very large canvas

The image pasted twice – with an obvious join line in the middle.

The final join – seamless.

Now you are going to mould the two pictures so that the transition between far right edge and left edge is seamless. This is to be done with the clone brush but only so that you are modifying the left hand side of the image that you pasted secondly, cloning from the right hand side of the first image. This process is very difficult to write down, so follow the pictures.

When the connection looks good, copy your new image back into a 1024x256 canvas and SAVE.

The final product – make sure the dimensions are correct.


Splitting up the files into each side

Load up “Skybox Lineup.bmp” from the Skybox Editing Kit into your graphics program. Now load your saved sky – although it will probably already be open. Hit Ctrl+C to copy it and then move to Skybox Lineup. Hit Ctrl+L to paste it as a new layer. Now go Layers -> Properties and change opacity to 50%. Hit OK and now you can see through the image to the backing which is split into 4 segments, left, centre, right, and back.

Layers menu

Layer properties box

Seeing the clouds mixed with the template.

At this stage, load the 5 RSB files that you converted earlier into PSP.

On the lined up skybox, bring up the selection tool, making sure that in the tool options palette Antialiasing is NOT enabled.

Antialiasing disabled


Now drag along the outline of each square until you have selected 1 square. Copy this square and paste it into the corresponding RSB file, above the existing image in that file and resaving it.


Soon you should be left with 4 RSB files with images like this in them:

The first four skies together

You should also save these files as PSP files for future editing, mine were called (cunningly) left.psp, centre.psp, right.psp and back.psp. You will need these to create the UP image.


Creating the UP image

Open “Skybox Template.bmp” from the Skybox Editing Kit into your graphics program. Now load in each of your 4 images, rotating them as appropriate (press Ctrl+R to bring up Rotation menu) so that the top of each image points inwards towards the green box labelled“UP”.


Create a new 256x256 pixel image – black backgrounds work best. Arrange the two windows so that they are tiled and one can be drawn upon while the other is in sight.

Now, clone from the template to the new blank file a chunk of sky that blends all the sides to a central point. This is the up image, and when complete can be saved as m07_river_UP.rsb.


Putting them in to the game

Now that you have got all your images, the problem is getting them into Ghost Recon. Create a new folder in <ghost recon folder>\Mods\ with a subfolder called Textures. Into this put in your new RSB files, and then enable it from GR (don’t forget to create a ModsCont.txt file in your mod folder). You will have to restart GR before changes will take effect. Play the map and see your beautiful photos in action.


Thanks to SPRAY from for proof reading this tutorial from the eyes of a graphics genius!
Thanks to Daywanderer from for proof reading this tutorial from the eyes of a skilled writer!

© 2002 Charles Amick