Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY: Scar Your Sims

This download is for MissAnne, author of Sims 3 story Dark Heresy. Her pictures are breathtaking and the story is really captivating.

The download today is 2 tattoo scars complemented with a tutorial on creating them. The task is very easy and you will have your custom sim scars in half an hour (+ what it takes to start up the game twice and download the needed tools). So go ahead and create your first custom content today!

To tattoo sim's face, download Tattoo Locations mod from NRaas or MTS

and click read more to see the tutorial

Tutorial: Scar Your Sims

There is already a Custom Tattoo Tutorial on MTS, but dealing with alpha channels in GIMP is tedious. This tutorial will teach you how to do same things, but is easier for a beginner. I did not come up with this myself - Inge's TextureTweaker3 uses the same method and I just noticed the DXTBmp supports it too. As I don't have Photoshop (easier alpha editing) I use this method to create all my CC DDS files.

You will need following tools:
Gimp (any graphics editor will do)
DXTBmp DDS converter (download link is at the bottom of the DXTBmp page)
Tattooinator by CmarNYC

Finding The Perfect Location For The Scar

Download the Tutorial Files and install misu_grid_tattoo.package. Start the game and go to CAS. Find the grid tattoo and place it where you want the scar to appear.

You will find that the grid will be more or less distorted depending how you place it and how you scale it. Try to find a position where there is not much distortion and imagine how the scar would be located in the grid. Now you know where you need to draw the scar.

Needed Images

To create any custom content you will need a DDS image of it. We will create 2 ordinary images first and then combine them to create the final DDS image with DXTBmp. Here are the images needed for this scar.

The image on the left contains the red, green and blue channels. It is important that you have black background and only use pure red, green and blue in this image. Each of those colors will become a recolorable channel in the game.

The image on the right contains the alpha channel. For tattoos, it defines where the black color will show up. Alpha channel is a mask that is applied over the image. It is like a black paper where the white parts are the holes in the paper. So whatever is white here will appear black in the game. If we would be doing some other CC, this image would define which parts of the image are transparent (black being the transparent part).

These are both just plain .bmp files so it does not matter how you create them and with what image editor. Only the size and used colors are important. When we are doing The Sims 3 custom content, the image size will be 256x256, 512x512 or 1024x1024 pixels. I'm using 1024x1024 here.

Drawing The Scars With Gimp

Open the Gimp and then open ScarTemplate.xcf. It contains the graphics for this scar and when you open it, it will look like this.

Look at the Layers view next

You can hide and show the layers by clicking the eyes on the left. Hide the ALPHA layer for a moment by clicking the eye in front of it. Select RED-GREEN-BLUE layer. This is where we will draw the scar.

Select everything (CTRL+A) and press delete to get rid of the template scar.

Select Pen or Pencil tool and set opacity to 100%. Select pure green (RGB:0,255,0) as the color. Now draw your scar to a correct position. If you cannot draw anything you can use brushes to create your scar. Obsidian Dawn has a huge selection of free brushes. Her crack brushes make wonderful scars and lightning brushes look like veins. Just remember that you should use only pure green and keep the opacity up. If you don't, the transparent parts will be transparent in the game too.

When you are ready, make the background layer visible.

Now you have the first image ready. Save it as scar.bmp by selecting File->Save a Copy...

Next we are going to do the alpha, the black color. If you want to do a scar with one color only, you can just create a full black image as your alpha.

Select the ALPHA layer and draw your scar details with pure white (RGB:255,255,255).

I did not bother to draw mine, here is what I did:

  • I right-clicked the RED-GREEN-BLUE layer and selected Alpha to selection from the popup
  • I selected Select->Shrink... to make my selection 2 pixels smaller
  • I selected ALPHA layer
  • I painted the whole selection white with Pen tool

I also added some light ripple (Filters->Distorts->Ripple...) to make it look more irregular.

Quick and easy!

When you are ready, hide the RED-GREEN-BLUE layer.

Now you have the alpha image ready. Save it as scar_alpha.bmp by selecting File->Save a Copy...

Creating The DDS File

Open the DXTBmp and open scar.bmp.

On the right side you can see the Alpha Channel view. Click on the Import Alpha Channel button and open your alpha.bmp to the Alpha Channel view. Now save as DDS texture. Select DDS DXT5 as file type.

Creating The Tattoo Package

Open the Tattooinator

Give your tattoo a name and select the DDS file we just created. I had some problems using the file selection dialog in Windows 7 and I had to copy the file path to the dialog, but otherwise it worked fine.

Tick the checkboxes for the channels that you used. We used G(green) and A(Alpha) channels, so I ticked them. Pick good colors for the scars. I used following colors:

Preset 1 (fresh scar):

G RGB: 122 10 10
A RGB: 168 118 87

Preset 2 (old scar)
G RGB: 230 182 163
A RGB: 170 135 121

Preset 3 (old scar, darker)
G RGB: 181 134 112
A RGB:166 123 103

Preview your tattoo to make sure it looks like you meant to.

When you are ready, click the Create Tattoo Package button and you are ready. Go see your scar in the game.

When you are trying out the scar you will notice that the edges are shown darker when you pick light colors. This is normal and happens for all tattoos. It is also the reason I picked green and black instead of red and green, as I noticed the the edge does not appear inside the scar with those colors. You may also find out that the tattoos look pixelized at some locations/scales, but this is also normal. If you take a look at the EA tattoos, you will find them behaving similarly.

Have fun with your new creations!


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