Dependent Celebrity Skintones Tutorial: Unique-Faced Skins in Tiny Files!
What this tutorial is for:
For literally years now, sim creators have been making new skintone files for their celebrity sims - these usually have just the faces changed, and the bodies the same as commonly used non-celebrity skintones - so the faces breed true to any subsequent offspring. This creates a massively bloated Downloads folder, with anywhere from 4-9 mb per skintone file. The alternative is to do the face as a mask, as makeup, but then the celebrity's look doesn't breed right into their children.
So what's the alternative? I can't believe it took me (and heck, anyone else) this long to figure this out! Yet it's simple: create a skintone file which only has the face textures you need, and then have the rest of the file pointing at the body skin in another file!
This takes you from 4-9 mb per skintone file to, well, in my testing... 4 megabytes went down to 245 kilobytes. A tiny file in comparison! AND it's easy to do!
This tutorial is NOT a beginner's skintone-making tutorial. This assumes you have already made a couple skintones, have used SimPE a few times, and are comfortable doing both. This is mainly a quick description of the method to make smaller skintone files for celebrity sims - it is not designed to hold your hand through making normal skintones.
You will need:
SimPE. I am using v.0.62a but this technique should work fine in any version.
The finished skintone file which you would like to use as the body skin.
About 20 minutes spare time to do this in.
How it's done:
What we're going to do, basically, is grab the values from the skintone we want to use as the body and paste them into the material definitions in the face skintone, pointing the face skin's material definitions at the file for the body skin.
Step 1: Prepare the Face Skin:
For my example, I have used a face from one of Jirka's beautiful Glance models (specifically, his Tiiu Kuik sim) - now only available from The Sims 2 Graveyard. I edited out the brows, smoothed the face a little, removed the birthmark, and overall edited the tone so that it will match with my anatomically correct Idolatry of Flesh skintone in the Light tone. I also edited the top of the forehead to match the scalp of my skin, and the bottom of the face texture to match the neck seam of my skin.
As I do not have Jirka's permission to redistribute this edited skin using his face textures, I will not be sharing this - it's only for my personal use, but is a good example of a good use for this (as Glance skins all have the same bodies, but different faces).
Step 2: Create the Face Skintone:
Once you have the face complete, you need to make a skintone file that contains your face textures.
Open Body Shop, and create a new skintone project. Use your edited face skin for the ages/genders you would like it to show up for. You can always use different versions for the different ages/genders, but for my example, I'm just going to have the main face used for all ages except baby, which will look the same but be toothless. Set up your skintone as you like and don't worry about any of the scalps or bodies - just leave them Maxis or whatever your defaults are - it doesn't matter as we're just going to delete those textures anyway.
You -can- edit the bodies or scalps if, say, your celebrity sim needs tattoos or something, but you only have to edit the ages/genders that you want changed, not all of them.
Make sure to create your swatch and tooltip as well.
When you're all ready and you have all the faces set up properly, click Import to Game to copy your finished face skintone file to your SavedSims folder.
Then, close Body Shop.
Step 3: Get Body Skin Values:
Now, we need to go and find the unique values assigned to the textures of the body skin and write them down.
I have created a template txt file which you can open in Notepad which will help in recording all of your values. You can download it here (right-click and Save Link/Target As): Body Skin Template TXT File.
Go ahead and open that file in Notepad. You'll see lines for each of the textures in a skintone.
Also open your body skintone file in SimPE.
Once it's open, in the Resource Tree (top left pane) click on "Material Definition (TXMT)". Then click on the first entry in the Resource List, which will say "afbodycut" in the name. Make sure you're in Plugin View, and then look at the list of values you can see down at the bottom.
You'll see a line that says "stdMatBaseTextureName:" - click on that line.
Now, over on the right, next to Name: it will change to say that "stdMatBaseTextureName" and next to Value: the blank will change to say the value for that line. This is the texture used for your body skin for the adult female fit/cut skin (afbodycut). Select that whole value line, including the ## part, and copy it.
Then switch back to your text file, and paste it on the line next to afbodycut.
Now, you're going to do the same thing for all of the other material definitions in the file - open each one, select the stdMatBaseTextureName line, and copy the value onto the associated line in your txt file.
You don't necessarily have to do all the face values since you won't be using all of these values, but if you're, say, just wanting to replace the face texture for adult female and no other ages, you'll need these values, and I like to do them anyway just so I have all the lines filled in and I'm sure I didn't skip anything.
When you're done copy-pasting your body skin values into it, save your txt file with a new name.
Step 4: Edit Values in Face Skin File:
Okay, now that you know what you need to point the face skin file at, you need to go actually edit up the face skin file to point at the body skin.
Open your face skin file (which should still be in SavedSims) in SimPE.
Again, click on the Material Definition line in the Resource Tree, and the first material definition in the list (afbodycut) and look at it in Plugin View. And again, click on the line that says "stdMatBasetextureName."
Now, flip back over to your txt file, and copy the line that you got from the body skin for the afbodycut entry. Then, paste it into the Value blank for the material definition, replacing the value that's currently there. Then, click the Commit button. You'll see the name of the material definition in the Resource List go italic, indicating it has unsaved changes.
Repeat this for all of the other textures that you want to use from the body skin, copying the value from your txt file and pasting it into the corresponding material definition, skipping any of the textures that you do not wish to change with your new file. Make sure to click Commit after changing each one. The name of the file will go italic so you can easily see which ones you have done.
Now, when you're done and have replaced all the values you need to, don't save yet! Go back and copy the stdMatBaseTextureName values for any material definitions you have not changed, and paste them at the bottom of your txt file (you don't need to label these or anything). You need to have a list of what you haven't replaced!
Step 5: Remove Unneeded Textures:
Now, click on Texture Image (TXTR) in the Resource Tree. You will see a large list of resources without labels. This is why you copied the values of the textures you need to keep.
Select the first TXTR in the list, and look at its value. Check your list at the end of your txt file and make sure that it's not one of the ones listed. If it is listed there, don't touch it - move on to the next file. If it is not listed as one of your needed textures, right-click on it and choose Delete. Then move on to the next TXTR.
When you have gone through all the TXTRs in the file and deleted the ones you don't need, double-check your work: verify that the TXTRs you still have left (the ones that aren't crossed out) are the same ones that you needed to keep. If you accidentally deleted one you needed, right-click on it and choose Restore.
When you're sure you've deleted only the right files, leaving the ones you need, File - Save, to save your work.
Step 6: Check Your Work:
Now comes the cool part. Go into your SavedSims folder. If you don't already have your folders set up this way, click on the View menu and then select Details. Look at the size of your skintone package, vs. the .bak file with the same name - it's probably dramatically different in size! That's all the space you saved by using this technique! Cool, huh?
Now go into Body Shop or load the game and take a look at your skintone. Check all the ages and both genders to make sure it's working properly. If this is for a big project it's probably worth it to breed two sims wearing it and make them have a baby to make sure the infant skin works properly too.
If any of the ages have white patches with writing where their skin should be, or their skin has their clothing texture with "black gloves" on it... i.e., if they look anything like this...
... then you messed up somewhere. Go back and check your work and see if you can see where you went wrong. If you majorly screwed up (like are off one on all your copy-pastes) then you can just delete your file and rename the .bak with the same name to .package and start over (that .bak is a backup that SimPE saves of your previous version when you save, so you can just restore it and have your old file back).
Step 7: Distributing Your File:
If you are going to be sharing your finished work, there's one thing you need to make VERY clear to your downloaders: They must have your file as well as the body skin file for yours to work! Put it in bold. Put it in caps. Make it 42 point flashing red! Make it very very clear that they will need to get your skin AND the body skin which your skin points to in order for it to work right. And they -still- won't get it so you will have to remind them when they cry and say that your skin doesn't work. People don't read very well, so be prepared to have to kind of beat it into their heads - but remember to do so nicely.
I hope this tutorial will help anyone looking for ways to keep file sizes down, and to limit their impact on peoples' downloads folder (*shoves the Fanseefem Project under the rug and smiles innocently*). Please consider using this method whenever making a celebrity skin: it's well worth the time and effort involved to do this, and as long as you make sure to make it VERY clear that downloaders need the body skin file as well as yours, it is a much better method than making big bloaty skintone files for each celebrity, or doing makeup face masks.
Great thanks for your tutorial, it helps a lot. Besides, I find it a way to resort tons of my favorite skins and save my diskspace uh! (Should speed my game a little? Since there's less texture to load:P)
Hmm ... I just made a skintone this way, was very easy! Thank for the great tutorial, easy to follow.
Something I did that (somehow, not sure why it worked) made this a gazillion times easier when removing textures:
When I was editing the skintone, still as a Projects file, I simply flood-filled all the textures I *didn't* need with pure white.
Then, when I went to remove textures, I found I only had 12, instead of 30-whatever!! And no comparing values necessary, just click on each one, if it's white, remove! If not, don't touch! That was nice.
(Oh, and it was 12 because of multiple factors in the creation of this skintone, not because 12 is some magical number. It wouldn't always be 12.)
"Jean-Luc, we're only moving six hundred people." ~Admiral Dougherty
"How many people does it take before it becomes wrong? Hmm? A thousand? Fifty thousand? A million? How many people does it take, Admiral!?" ~Picard
steve7680768 - Google has lots of Photoshop tutorials. This really doesn't have much to do with Photoshop, tbh, and there's other tutorials on this site (and elsewhere, as I mentioned) on using Photoshop.