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View Full Version : Caster - Create a Style for The Sims 4! NOW WITH DDS SUPPORT!


Zerbu
2nd Aug 2014, 3:27 AM
http://media.tumblr.com/68306e59e2148474d6494b6c5b3980b0/tumblr_inline_n9opa5sWQ41sknlub.png

Caster is an image editing tool allowing players of The Sims 4 (and of course, the Create a Sim demo) to quickly and easily create patterns and recolours for CAS parts and - hopefully in the future - build mode objects. Caster is based on the Create a Style tool for The Sims 3. You just input a PNG or BMP version of a specular file, select a pattern, and you’re ready to go! You can also adjust brightness, contrast and threshold settings, as well as convert non-grayscale speculars to grayscale.

You can set patterns using either the “1, 2, 3, 4” buttons, or by clicking on the pattern. If you want to use a solid colour, you can quickly generate one by right clicking.

PLEASE NOTE: Caster only edits images, it does not read or write .package files. You will still need S4PE and CAS Recolor Tool to export and import files. Maybe a future version of the program will be able to read .package files, but the current one can’t.

http://media.tumblr.com/a51962999f9dbcd80820b086f29d9844/tumblr_inline_n9opa9VyIK1sknlub.png

By default, the program will create the whole image using one pattern, but this can be changed using a mask of the same size as the specular. The program reads the mask, and determines based on the colours which design to use in which area.

White (#FFFFFF) - Design 1

Red (#FF0000) - Design 2

Green (#00FF00) - Design 3

Blue (#0000FF) - Design 4

Transparent/Any Other - No Design (just copy straight off the specular)

In order to work, the area of the mask must be one of the above solid colours - variations of them (example: darker red) will not work.

http://media.tumblr.com/78c9bbd15c2051b1d20cfb0538806dd3/tumblr_inline_n9opag1QJu1sknlub.png

The program uses an algorithm that draws the entire image pixel-by-pixel using the specular, mask and patterns/colours as instructions. The resulting image will be the tiled design(s), but will retain light and dark spots from the original specular.

The brightness will be determined by the highest colour value (for example, if the pixel of the specular is R100, G200, B100, the brightness will be based on the green value).

A value of 128 will have no brightness effect. Anything above or below that will be lighter or darker.

This is more efficient than using a regular image editing program, and it actually redraws the image rather than just filling over it.

http://media.tumblr.com/e14b57cbffdb2eed664ed9a5d8307e6b/tumblr_inline_n9opamx9oo1sknlub.png

So what are you waiting for?

http://media.tumblr.com/4e1c83d8f7a2f26fdc058d67bbb9ebec/tumblr_inline_n9oqkxL3bM1sknlub.png (http://www.mediafire.com/download/dw0frmkxhjywvy2/Caster.rar)

REMINDER: Caster does not read or write .package files, you will still need S4PE and CAS Recolor Tool for that.

The textures shown in the above pictures are all from grsites.com

The main hub for the tool is on my Tumblr blog: http://zerbu.tumblr.com/post/93595004787/caster-create-a-style-for-the-sims-4

The latest version of this tool uses DDSPanel from s3pi - http://s3pi.sourceforge.net/
Specifically, it uses the version stored with S4PE. I'm not sure if that was modified from the original or not.

~MadameButterfly~
2nd Aug 2014, 3:49 AM
That's incredible, Zerbu!

lewisb40
2nd Aug 2014, 3:52 AM
Good job Zerbu! Seen it on Twitter and thanks for the notice here.

I need to start getting into recolors again, hope I can get this old brain into gear. :)

jacro
2nd Aug 2014, 4:34 AM
This is brilliant. This will make it easier to recolour on the fly. :up:

AmandieLove
2nd Aug 2014, 4:37 AM
Would this be useful to recolor clothing for the sims 2 since it edits images, not DDS files? I know I would have to convert the bitmap textures to PNG for it to work if it did but it would be awesome if it were cross-game compatible like that.

Zerbu
2nd Aug 2014, 4:43 AM
Thanks for the nice comments everyone who responded! :D

Would this be useful to recolor clothing for the sims 2 since it edits images, not DDS files? I know I would have to convert the bitmap textures to PNG for it to work if it did but it would be awesome if it were cross-game compatible like that.

It might be possible :) I haven't tested it though, but if the process for recolouring in The Sims 2 is the same as The Sims 4, then it should work.

Also, if the files are in bitmap then you shouldn't need to convert them. It supports any file format that Visual Studio supports. DDS is a special kind of image so that can't be supported without extra coding.

Miggs1123
2nd Aug 2014, 4:47 AM
Zerbu, you're my hero. <3

ZenGarden
2nd Aug 2014, 10:18 AM
Has the moding/CC community ever put so much effort in a game before it was even launched? Impressed!

Inge Jones
2nd Aug 2014, 10:33 AM
Has the moding/CC community ever put so much effort in a game before it was even launched? Impressed!

Has a game ever needed so much input from the CC community before it was launched? :| .

Katya Stevens
2nd Aug 2014, 10:36 AM
Zen, I think it helps that some people have the CAS demo two months before the game's full release. That helps people understand some of the underlying code, start figuring out what happens when they change this bit or that bit. Combine that with wanting something as major as CAS, and you have the skills and dedication to get something developed :)

Rock Chick
2nd Aug 2014, 10:37 AM
I think I love you! I made so many fully seamless patterns for Sims 3!! (Nearly 2000, mainly from pics of real material) Now I can make use of them again. *bows deeply*

blunote00
2nd Aug 2014, 1:03 PM
Awesome job with this. CASt was a big deal for me in TS3 I used the heck out of it. I have the CAS Demo for TS4 and I'm just not thrilled with how limiting the clothing options are imo. It only sets off my OCD and makes it darn frustrating to actually enjoy the game.

Fuzzlechan
2nd Aug 2014, 2:05 PM
Ahh, someone got to this before I did. Well, awesome job! If you need another team member, you can always give me a shout! =D

Cleos
2nd Aug 2014, 3:43 PM
That's so cool! I just hope it will be just as easy to adjust items in the actual game as it is to do it for the CAS demo. :bunny:

Omenka
2nd Aug 2014, 3:43 PM
Wow! Thank you Zerbu! Can you make a similar tool to make new colors for hair? (E.g. add a purple hair color) Is that possible?

Zerbu
2nd Aug 2014, 4:36 PM
Thanks everyone!

The program has been released!! I'm about to edit the OP with details.

http://www.mediafire.com/download/dw0frmkxhjywvy2/Caster.rar

Wow! Thank you Zerbu! Can you make a similar tool to make new colors for hair? (E.g. add a purple hair color) Is that possible?

I'm not sure that needs a tool, since it's just a simple recolour. :) It would probably be complicated to make though, since there's no way of automatically determining which pixels are which parts of the hair, unlike with spectacular images where all it does is detect how light or dark each pixel is. :(

Suncat
2nd Aug 2014, 4:51 PM
I do not have the words to express how much I love this. Marvelous job!

happycowlover
2nd Aug 2014, 4:52 PM
Silly me, but does this allow you to recolor the items in CAS demo or outside of it?

Enjoji
2nd Aug 2014, 4:55 PM
Thanks for this, Zerbu!! This is pretty cool - I don't have the demo, so can't get into the recolouring-of-clothes, but I sure can create some patterns!! Thanks for the inspiration :)
*ambles off to do so, whistling*

Volvenom
2nd Aug 2014, 6:22 PM
Looks promising :)

Scuse me if I'm being silly, but is it possible to recolor anything according to the HEX color picker with this, or will that be the next version hint* ?

Perhaps I may even buy this game then ...

Tuber101
2nd Aug 2014, 7:35 PM
God bless us, every one.

Zerbu
2nd Aug 2014, 7:55 PM
Silly me, but does this allow you to recolor the items in CAS demo or outside of it?

Yeah it works with the CAS demo! And it should work with the full release as well, unless they suddenly switched file formats which is extremely unlikely. :)

Scuse me if I'm being silly, but is it possible to recolor anything according to the HEX color picker with this, or will that be the next version hint* ?

You can recolour an image using solid colours if that's what you mean. Just right click on the pattern/colour and it will give you the option to generate a solid one.

missshey01
2nd Aug 2014, 8:21 PM
Zerbu We going to really need you for this Sims 4 Career thing this going off the lot disappearing is rubbing me some kind of way. Now Im under the impression that there might be a mix or half and half ambition like careers combined with the off screen disappearing and wait a little time go by then the Sims reappear Sims 2 thing . We just well may need your handy modder skills to do something like you did in the sims 3 in the new sims 4 game. lol Am I asking too much. ;-)

Zerbu
2nd Aug 2014, 9:14 PM
I've updated the program with two changes:

"Spectacular" has been changed to "Specular" - I feel really dumb for that mistake. I'll update the screenshots in not long.
The program will now remember directories individually for speculars, masks and patterns, so it's more convenient to have the files stored in different places.

Marcos_Edson
2nd Aug 2014, 9:31 PM
Thanks a lot, Zerbu! One thing, though, is 'specular' here being used as we use 'base texture' in TS3? If memory doesn't fail me, speculars have something to do with lightning...

Srikandi
2nd Aug 2014, 9:44 PM
Specular is shininess/glossiness. It reacts with in-game lighting to make a material look semi-reflective, like metal or satin. So since this tool modifies the specular mask, it removes any glossiness the item might have had? Right now there's a bug in the CAS Recolor tool that kills specularity too, btw ... wearing a CC item created using that tool removes all glossiness from the sim (you can see this on the metal bracelet for instance). So if you're using that tool to create your package, it's hard to test this. :(

Just to clarify: if I understand correctly what this tool does, to use it today, you'd have to

a) use CAS Recolor to create a package
b) use S4PE to extract the specular from the package
c) convert the dds to bmp or png using Gimp or Photoshop
d) use Caster to tile a texture over the image
e) reconvert the image to DDS in Gimp or Photoshop
f) re-import the image into the package using S4PE and save it

Correct? Some of those steps could be replaced by hex editing or other tools, of course, if you know what you're doing ;) And, I'm struggling right now to understand what the advantage is of using Caster over the tiling/pattern tools and filters in your image editor of choice directly, particularly since you can't bypass the image editor, because of the format conversion requirement. I'm probably missing something though ;) Going to test it and see how it works :)

Edit: Zerbu, the current version of S4PE does not export the specular resource to DDS (just the bump and texture resources). So how are you extracting it?

Volvenom
2nd Aug 2014, 9:56 PM
God bless us, every one.

I can't decide if this is good or bad, good because now I can get something useful out of this game, or bad because I actually have a reason to buy the game now :lol:

lewisb40
2nd Aug 2014, 10:28 PM
a) use CAS Recolor to create a package
b) use S4PE to extract the specular from the package
c) convert the dds to bmp or png using Gimp or Photoshop
d) use Caster to tile a texture over the image
e) reconvert the image to DDS in Gimp or Photoshop
f) re-import the image into the package using S4PE and save it


If this is true, then I can't use it. I don't know how to use these programs. While trying to figure out how to use the Caster, I couldn't see how to import or export to the game and thought it was in need of more steps. Good for the experienced, not for a novice like me.

Srikandi
2nd Aug 2014, 10:34 PM
If this is true, then I can't use it. I don't know how to use these programs. While trying to figure out how to use the Caster, I couldn't see how to import or export to the game and thought it was in need of more steps. Good for the experienced, not for a novice like me.

Well, I may be missing something... apparently I am, because my steps can't even be applied right now, due to S4PE not currently exporting specular to dds.

In any case, longer-term, Zerbu could potentially modify his tool to incorporate features of CAS recolor and S4PE, and a DDS converter, so it could be done in a single step. The tech underlying those tools is in the public domain.

Zerbu
2nd Aug 2014, 11:02 PM
Specular is shininess/glossiness. It reacts with in-game lighting to make a material look semi-reflective, like metal or satin. So since this tool modifies the specular mask, it removes any glossiness the item might have had? Right now there's a bug in the CAS Recolor tool that kills specularity too, btw ... wearing a CC item created using that tool removes all glossiness from the sim (you can see this on the metal bracelet for instance). So if you're using that tool to create your package, it's hard to test this. :(

Just to clarify: if I understand correctly what this tool does, to use it today, you'd have to

a) use CAS Recolor to create a package
b) use S4PE to extract the specular from the package
c) convert the dds to bmp or png using Gimp or Photoshop
d) use Caster to tile a texture over the image
e) reconvert the image to DDS in Gimp or Photoshop
f) re-import the image into the package using S4PE and save it

Correct? Some of those steps could be replaced by hex editing or other tools, of course, if you know what you're doing ;) And, I'm struggling right now to understand what the advantage is of using Caster over the tiling/pattern tools and filters in your image editor of choice directly, particularly since you can't bypass the image editor, because of the format conversion requirement. I'm probably missing something though ;) Going to test it and see how it works :)

Edit: Zerbu, the current version of S4PE does not export the specular resource to DDS (just the bump and texture resources). So how are you extracting it?

I must be getting the definition wrong. I assumed that "Specular" was the correct term since, if I remember correctly, that's what the base in TS3 is called. I'm not sure if it would be inaccurate to call it a "Specular" here though, since it does act as a lighting map in Caster's case, but I'll change the term so people don't get confused about what to import.

The advantage to the program is that it isn't a basic fill tool - it actually redraws the entire image pixel-by-pixel, by tiling the patterns on an empty canvas and using the base image to determine the brightness and transparency of each pixel. Think of how worlds are generated in CAW using heightmaps. Each tile's height is determined by how light or dark each pixel in the heightmap is. Caster does a similar thing with patterns: it tiles them while using the base image to determine the brightness and transparency.

Srikandi
3rd Aug 2014, 1:01 AM
Ahh, ok. You are recoloring the main texture then... the color pixels used to provide the pattern, or in S4PE, the resource that has the same Instance as the CASP, right? The second one here:

http://www.modyourpanties.com/hosting/59577_140727020755s4PE.jpg

That makes a lot more sense :)

In TS3, the specular map is also different from the "base", and provides shininess, just like in TS4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specularity (Disclaimer btw: We are only assuming that the fourth resource in the image above IS the specular map, since we haven't managed to do anything interesting with it yet. Somebody else here may have more information about it.) But color in TS3 mostly comes, of course, from the CaST pattern, not from any of the image layers built into the object... the exception being non-CaSTable objects or regions (like paintings, a lot of small deco items, roofs, ground paint etc).

Now that I understand which resource to use, I'll have another go at using your tool :) Still sounds like what it does is exactly what the "color" layer mode in Gimp/Photoshop does ("uses the hue and saturation of the upper layer and the value of the lower layer to form the resulting image", http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-concepts-layer-modes.html)... but I could be wrong about that ;) interested to compare, anyway!

Am I right in thinking that with your tool, you will need to start with an unpatterned texture to get good results? I've been trying to do something with the Maxidress item from the demo, but that does not come in any solid colors... and since in TS4 (like in TS2 and other games) the shadows/highlights are on the same image as the pattern, I haven't found a good way to remove the pattern and preserve the folds and wrinkles.

Mordecai and Rigby
3rd Aug 2014, 1:17 AM
Doesn't really work for TS2 but whatever, I don't have the TS4 demo anyway :P

Zerbu
3rd Aug 2014, 2:11 AM
Now that I understand which resource to use, I'll have another go at using your tool :) Still sounds like what it does is exactly what the "color" layer mode in Gimp/Photoshop does ("uses the hue and saturation of the upper layer and the value of the lower layer to form the resulting image", http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-concepts-layer-modes.html)... but I could be wrong about that ;) interested to compare, anyway!

Am I right in thinking that with your tool, you will need to start with an unpatterned texture to get good results? I've been trying to do something with the Maxidress item from the demo, but that does not come in any solid colors... and since in TS4 (like in TS2 and other games) the shadows/highlights are on the same image as the pattern, I haven't found a good way to remove the pattern and preserve the folds and wrinkles.

Sorry, wasn't aware of that feature. Either way, I've finished a version of the tool that can import and export DDS files using DDSPanel from s4pi, so that will be two less steps in the process, and will be much faster than using those features in an image editing tool. I just need to test it before releasing.

The tool can't remove existing patterns, so yeah, it will need to be an unpatterned one. :(

metalfenix
3rd Aug 2014, 2:57 AM
I'll just wait until the tools are improved and the tuts "for dummies" come out. I'm very clumsy regarding mods.

Srikandi
3rd Aug 2014, 4:00 AM
Sorry, wasn't aware of that feature. Either way, I've finished a version of the tool that can import and export DDS files using DDSPanel from s4pi, so that will be two less steps in the process, and will be much faster than using those features in an image editing tool. I just need to test it before releasing.

Nice! Good work! That will make this tool seriously useful for non-digital artists :)

Marcos_Edson
3rd Aug 2014, 4:42 AM
Just something quick... :)
I love camo underwear... :lovestruc

http://i60.tinypic.com/hsqn80.png

Simsdestroyer
3rd Aug 2014, 5:38 AM
This is Amazing, Good Job!!!! I still won't be buying the game, but it's awesome you guys are coming up with tools so fast. It actually REALLY makes EA look like douches!!!

MrDensilter
3rd Aug 2014, 6:17 AM
i hope i can download this, co'z i don't have the demo then i can't use this... :(

Volvenom
3rd Aug 2014, 8:42 AM
This is Amazing, Good Job!!!! I still won't be buying the game, but it's awesome you guys are coming up with tools so fast. It actually REALLY makes EA look like douches!!!

Yes, I thought that "cast will never work" was a bit odd.

velocitygrass
3rd Aug 2014, 10:50 AM
This is Amazing, Good Job!!!! I still won't be buying the game, but it's awesome you guys are coming up with tools so fast. It actually REALLY makes EA look like douches!!!
How does this make EA look like douches? If they spent time on releasing tools for custom content creation, people would be screaming that they should be working on toddlers and pools instead (and whatever else will turn out to be problematic in the game).

mithrak_nl
3rd Aug 2014, 5:14 PM
Thats quite impressive to have this now already :)

Just a thought, but is anyone good in making pie or baking cookies? We could use those to tempt Twallan to start modding for TS4.

~MadameButterfly~
3rd Aug 2014, 5:30 PM
Let Twallan have his well-deserved retirement. This is Zerbu's thread...Zerbu's moment to shine.

Srikandi
3rd Aug 2014, 8:20 PM
Yes, I thought that "cast will never work" was a bit odd.

Hm?

CaST will never work in TS4. CaST is, crucially, an in-game feature, and for it to work, the rendering engine of the game (the part that puts pixels on the screen) would have to be replaced. CaST works by adding a step to the rendering of every object in every frame of gameplay, where the textures are composited onto objects and sims. It had a performance cost, which is probably why it was dropped.

Zerbu's tool is great and useful, but it is a CC creation tool, not a game mod. If you remember Bodyshop from TS2, this is more like an addon or plugin to Bodyshop, that makes it easier to do a particular type of texture edit with tiling patterns. It produces modified textures that can be packaged into mods with other tools.

Volvenom
4th Aug 2014, 7:21 AM
Hm?

CaST will never work in TS4. CaST is, crucially, an in-game feature, and for it to work, the rendering engine of the game (the part that puts pixels on the screen) would have to be replaced. CaST works by adding a step to the rendering of every object in every frame of gameplay, where the textures are composited onto objects and sims. It had a performance cost, which is probably why it was dropped.

Zerbu's tool is great and useful, but it is a CC creation tool, not a game mod. If you remember Bodyshop from TS2, this is more like an addon or plugin to Bodyshop, that makes it easier to do a particular type of texture edit with tiling patterns. It produces modified textures that can be packaged into mods with other tools.

You know as well as me that what limits creativity is it's cost. I just don't believe it's impossible, it's just a matter of finding the right solution. When they say it can't be done I read it as "I don't want this discussion". They have decided not to use money on the feature, and that is of cause their right, but I don't believe it's impossible. I can believe it's impossible to stretch your hand to get to the moon, but this is technology, we make it and we brake it.

Srikandi
4th Aug 2014, 7:32 AM
You know as well as me that what limits creativity is it's cost. I just don't believe it's impossible, it's just a matter of finding the right solution. When they say it can't be done I read it as "I don't want this discussion". They have decided not to use money on the feature, and that is of cause their right, but I don't believe it's impossible. I can believe it's impossible to stretch your hand to get to the moon, but this is technology, we make it and we brake it.

Sims modding has done some pretty amazing things, and some things that nobody thought would be possible in the first few weeks after release. But not at the level of altering the game engine :p The same applies to every other game (I've been in a lot of modding communites). There are some things you can't change with a mod. Or if you did, you would no longer call it a mod; you'd call it a remake of the game on a different engine (which people DO occasionally do; witness for instance the remake of Morrowind on the Skyrim engine).

It's like remodeling the second floor of a house vs. replacing the foundation. Rip out the foundation, the house crumbles; you can rebuild it roughly the same, but you're no longer remodeling it, you're replacing it.

In other words, it might be possible to take the TS3 engine (the only game in existence whose engine supports CaST), and with a series of far reaching core mods and scripting mods, create something that would vaguely resemble TS4. It would still be missing features supported by the TS4 engine but not by the TS3 engine (maybe the routing and multitasking, for instance). That would not be a TS4 mod though. And, although in the wider gaming world, mod projects involving remaking an old game on a new engine are started all the time (they very rarely come to completion, and they frequently are stalled by legal obstacles since any such project involves wholesale theft of intellectual property from the original developers)... I have never seen a project involving remaking a new game on an old engine.

You could also, I guess... program a new game engine from scratch, involving a new version of CaST or something similar... and program the whole game on top of that ;) That is also not a mod, though; it's a new game.

It's not just EA saying that you couldn't mod in or patch in CaST, btw. Any modder who understands how CaST works will tell you the same thing.

Volvenom
4th Aug 2014, 7:48 AM
I'm talking about EA, not some modder :) They decided not to make cast, it was too expensive. There is no limit to what creative people can do in my mind, if they have the money for it. A modder is just a part time person trying their best on fixing someone else's mistakes. Not quite the same thing.

JDacapo
5th Aug 2014, 6:43 AM
Now all we need is a men's outfit that includes a Spongebob shirt, a tutu, heart print boxers and fishnet stockings.

SimsError
6th Aug 2014, 7:59 PM
Wow, this is amazing!! :)

Waterwoman
9th Aug 2014, 10:43 AM
Hiya!

Thanks for sharing all of your experiences.I am already in love with this tool ^^ Keep going :)

Just one question (for dummies ^^) if i try to create a new clothing look, i awalys end up with an default version. is it possible already possible to create a non default version of my creation and than how?!

Hope someone can help me out.

blakegriplingph
9th Aug 2014, 2:49 PM
TS4 still uses multipliers to denote pre-baked lighting/ambient occlusion, right? If so, is the colour on patterns pre-made, or are the patterns generated as metadata or instructions on what colours to use, albeit with players being unable to edit it ingame?

growly beast
6th Sep 2014, 9:25 PM
This is awesome, thank you! I have no idea why they thought it would be a good idea to remove CAS. :/

jlambe
11th Sep 2014, 11:51 PM
EA could provide Create-A-Style by generating the textures (by combining the patterns/colors and the mask) prior to rendering (such as when choosing the patterns/colors), though it would use more memory (which may be a problem, especially since it's a 32-bit application).

ItsSimsSa
24th Jan 2015, 2:59 PM
HOW CAN I USE IT??? :cry: :cry: :cry:

green_mau
2nd Feb 2015, 8:02 AM
I know this has nothing to do with this but, i havent found help on it :S
Whenever i open S4PE launcher it doesnt opens it doesnt even loads! Any help? :C