View Full Version : Mixed Method Skintone Defaults - Smaller Skintone Packages by Dependent Defaults

7th Mar 2007, 12:01 PM
:here: Mixed Method Skintone Defaults?

For a long time, people have been making default replacement skintones for the Sims 2 by creating a package that overrides the default textures. Because these packages are all made by importing the textures into the .package file in SimPE, they often end up quite a bit larger than a non-default skintone file compressed by Body Shop, and generally are duplicates of skintones that users already have as non-defaults.

However, there is a better way: use material definitions as the default replacement files, making for much, much smaller packages. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for all the textures: faces still have to be replaced via texture replacement, due to an error in aging if you do it with material definitions. Even so, this "mixed method" still makes for MUCH smaller files than the traditional method of default replacements for skintones.

:here: You will need:

SimPE (http://simpe.ambertation.de)
A complete, working non-default set of four skintones which you would like to make into a default replacement set.
A mixed method default set, which you will use as your base for creating your own mixed method defaults. The easiest thing to do is to just use an existing package and replace all the important info in it - you are welcome to use my Idolatry of Flesh (http://www.modthesims2.com/member/showthread.php?t=221480) default package for this purpose.
Preexisting knowledge of SimPE and of making default replacements "the old way." This is NOT a tutorial for an absolute beginner, but for people who have done it by the full-texture-replacement method and are looking for something better. I will not be explaining every little thing here with pretty pictures - you are expected to know what you're doing enough to read the text and get it from that.


You MUST make it clear to people who are downloading your defaults that it is REQUIRED that they have the non-defaults to work! You are merely pointing the game at the non-defaults to use as defaults, so if downloaders don't have the right non-defaults, they'll get flashing blue, patchy, or white with writing textures on their sims.

Make it big, bold, and clear that they have to have both the defaults and non-defaults if they want to use the defaults at all!

:here: How it's done:

1. First, you need to find the info for each texture file in your non-default packages. To do this, you'll need to open the non-default packages in SimPE and get the info from the Material Definition.

Start by opening the skintone you intend to use as the Light version.

A. Click on the Material Definition type in the Resource tree.
B. Then, sort the Resource List by Name by clicking on the Name heading. This will arrange the resources nicely so we can see what's what.
C. Click on the first one in the list. It should say "afbodycut" in the name.
D. Make sure you're in plugin view.
E. Now, in the Material Definition's properties list, look for the line that starts "stdMatBaseTextureName" and click it to select it.
F. Over on the right will be a box with the Value. The hex string you see there points to the texture that the skintone uses for the adult female fit/cut body. Select it and copy it.

Now open Notepad and make a new text document. This document will hold all of our values that we get from the Material Definitions. It's REALLY important that you use the exact right value for each thing, so make sure you're really careful when setting up and editing this document.

Now, you need to lay out the document according to how your skintone works. Many skintones share textures for certain things... For example...

My skintone uses the same textures for all the faces except babies, who have no teeth, so they use a toothless face texture. Teen females and adult females share body textures - elder females get their own because their boobs sag. Teen, adult, and elder males also all share body textures. For those ages that have fit/fat/normal textures, fit and normal are the same - fat has a separate texture. Everyone uses the same scalp.

So, with that in mind, I lay out my text file thusly, and paste the first value, for the adult female fit/cut into the first blank:


AF/TF Cut/Normal: ##0x5fae7629!0x4cccd2f3
AF/TF Soft:
EF Cut/Normal
EF Soft:
AM/TM/EM Cut/Normal:
AM/TM/EM Soft:


AF/TF Cut/Normal:
AF/TF Soft:
EF Cut/Normal
EF Soft:
AM/TM/EM Cut/Normal:
AM/TM/EM Soft:


AF/TF Cut/Normal:
AF/TF Soft:
EF Cut/Normal
EF Soft:
AM/TM/EM Cut/Normal:
AM/TM/EM Soft:


AF/TF Cut/Normal:
AF/TF Soft:
EF Cut/Normal
EF Soft:
AM/TM/EM Cut/Normal:
AM/TM/EM Soft:

If your skins share textures for all fitness states, have a separate fat state, don't share between ages, or otherwise, yours may look somewhat different.

Look through the rest of the material definitions, and copy the appropriate values for each one, pasting them into your text file.

When you're done with the first section, it should look something like this:


AF/TF Cut/Normal: ##0x5fae7629!0x4cccd2f3
AF/TF Soft: ##0x5fae7629!0xd31345dc
EF Cut/Normal: ##0x5fae7629!0x6aaf2d7a
EF Soft: ##0x5fae7629!0x17d6311a
AM/TM/EM Cut/Normal: ##0x5fae7629!0x9de31349
AM/TM/EM Soft: ##0x5fae7629!0x5b5ac378
Baby: ##0x5fae7629!0x1f488cd9
Toddler: ##0x5fae7629!0x4c3dc820
Child: ##0x5fae7629!0x6d8301bb
Scalp: ##0x5fae7629!0xec0c12d8

2. Now that we have all the body and scalp textures, we need to export the facial textures to do that part of the mixed method - you should know how to do this if you've done the full-texture-replacement method defaults before. Make sure you name the exported files something descriptive so you know which is for the right gender/age.

If you have made the base skintones yourself, it's better to skip this step and just use your original, uncompressed .bmp files once you get to importing textures.

Close the non-default package without saving - you don't need to change anything about it, just get stuff from it.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each of the other three non-default skins: go in and get the values for each of the body textures and scalp, then export the images for the facial textures if needed.

4. Now you need to put all the information and textures together into a default package.

A. Click on the Material Definitions in the resource tree.
B. Then click on the Name heading over in the resource list to sort everything by name.
C. Click on the first material definition in the list - it should end with "afbodynaked_nude_s1"
D. You should still be in Plugin View.
E. Click on the line in the material definition's properties list that starts with "stdMatBaseTextureName"
F. Switch back to your Notepad document, and copy the value that you pasted there before, for the adult female body texture, normal fitness level, including the ## part at the beginning - so I would copy ##0x5f49483a!0xdd6a449 and then paste it into the lower blank over on the right.
G. Make sure to Commit so your changes are saved.

Now, you're just going to repeat the same thing... 276 times, until you have changed every material definition in the file. :P

A few things that you need to keep in mind as you do this:
There will be top, bottom, and body textures for adults, elders, teens, and children. You will need to paste the same values three times for each age group and fitness level - more if you're sharing textures for different fitness levels/ages... but you'll always be using multiples of threes for the body textures for those ages, so if you count to yourself as you paste "one, two, three (four, five, six)" it can help you make sure you've pasted enough times.
Babies have a little weirdness with their textures - "buheadbald" will use the BODY texture, not the face or scalp, so you'll use the baby body texture twice... "buheadbald" and "bubodynaked_nude"
It's easiest to do all of one age/gender, all four tones, and then move on to the next age/gender - than to work by tone.
When you Commit, the text for that line will go italic. That way, you'll know you're done with that one - lines that aren't italic haven't been changed yet. When you save, though, all the lines will go back to normal, so either wait to save till you're done (risky, SimPE can crash) or, as advised above, do all of one age/gender so you can, say, get all the adult female textures done, save, then start on the adult male, save, etc., and know you haven't skipped anything.

When you have changed all the material definitions, you're almost done!

5. The last thing to do is go in and replace the 32 textures in the face files with the textures you want for the faces on your default replacement, the same as you would for a normal default replacement package.

You may notice the teen female face textures are missing. This is because teen females use the adult female face textures by default. If I had a dollar for every time Maxis default setups made me go, "Huh?" I'd be a rich girl.

6. Now, you should be done with all your changes! Pat yourself on the back, and go take a break - that was tedious, wasn't it?

7. You're still not done yet. Now you need to TEST YOUR DEFAULTS!!! This is very important - you probably did screw up one or two things.

8. Remember: if you share your defaults with others they need to know that they have to go download the originals for your defaults to work!

9th Mar 2007, 1:17 PM
Woot! Its up! Thanks for this!
Ill try it,but it might be the death of me,lol!
Im gonna have to print this as this pc is for internet and mines for sims2,and upstairs,lol!
So, your default package should be fine for this,Ill try it!
Thank you :)
Ill post if I have problemos,lol!

9th Mar 2007, 2:04 PM
Thank you HP! I will be trying this method next time i decide to make default replacements.It looks a tad bit complicated at first read but i'm sure it isn't because that's what i thought about angelyne's tutorial too and in practice it was easier ( although a bit too time consuming and eye torturing). lol

9th Mar 2007, 7:18 PM
Hey there HP,
I have finally done it! Simple,but time consuming&at times, fustrating,lol!
I wish I hadn't attempted this now, and youre right,I screwed up,lol!
The darkest skintone (your S4) shows up on your S3,if you get what i mean, and youre right,the Pale is way too pale to be light s1...
So,what Im gonna try do,try fix it up, then edit your ones,so S3 is lighter,and s1 is slightly lighter also....They wont be released :)

I figured out what I did wrong, I forgot to change the S4 faces,lol!


HP,I did it! hehe! well,sort of....:o
it got TOTALLY confusing,so I had to redownload your Idolatry skins again, and replaced your S1,S2,S3 with my edits...they look pretty good :)
S3 is significantly lighter though,and s1&2 are slightly lighter

13th Mar 2007, 10:42 AM
callum, dear, just tell me you went and got my original textures from my site, rather than editing from the packaged versions. Texture degradation through multiple generations is bad, bad, bad! I'm glad you got this method working, either way. :)

13th Mar 2007, 10:58 AM
HP,dont worry,I got them from your site,it took ages,but worth it!
I edited them,then imported them into your packages. I had to import using DXT3,as they went soo fuzzy with DXT1 :)
I did manage to get it to work,but it made me go crazy,I had 3versions of the textures on my computer,and I get confused quickly,lol! I looked in-game and they were soo screwed up! lol!
I did back up my versions incase I ever go back to them,lol! When Im sane again,haha
And I made your Blasphemy eyes defaults too,just got a set of defaults from here and imported the textures.I made a grey from them,and made the Green and Light blue colour replaced,so it was all the same colour
My sims look wonderful :)

19th Mar 2007, 10:28 PM
Another way to get smaller replacements packages with Sim-PE, not so small as yours but much smaller than the normal way and works with any kind of texture replacements:

1) Open Sim-PE and go to resourse view.
2) Filter Resources so you only get to see textures.
3) Select all texture files.
4) Go to the "compressed" box and if it says "both" or "no" then change it to "yes" and all textures will get automatically compressed (If it already says "yes" then it's already compresed and you won't be able to do anything).
5) Save your new compressed and smaller package :).

With this method I got a 30Mb pale skin replacement to 5.58Mb.
Also works to keep the file size when you replace the texture of an already made recolor.

19th Mar 2007, 10:57 PM
I suppose that could work too. I just like this method as it requires a minimum of texture duplication, and it seems clever. Good tip though - might help with importing the facial textures, too.

28th Mar 2007, 6:03 AM
I'm working on reorganizing the defaults in my story/contest folder (all Enayla pixie skins) and perhaps trying to add alien material definitions to shrink that default as well -- as alien skin, too, has all ages (other supernaturals do not and probably wouldn't be shrank much using this method).

I'll report back with results once I'm finished.

13th Apr 2007, 7:00 PM
Hi all!

And what's up, when I want to change the default nude MESH? Is it possible? (I want to use the high-res mesh, from Warlokk)

21st Apr 2007, 8:21 PM
Thanks! This was very hepful, as I was looking through the Material Definitions section, I was like "Huh? What do I do with the Bottom and top parts?" But as I continued reading, you answered those questions. I had actually been trying to use ParastieX's version, but my S2 male bottom halves on cut were.. odd, and not what the textures were supposed to look like.

It's funny really, because I'm actually using your Idolatry set but wanted the defaults set to the lighter four skintones instead of the darker four. I also editted them to make some nice alien and zombie replacements so they would match with everybody else. And I put a little more muscle definition on the cut skins, since I don't like when normal and cut look the same. I like a sense of accomplishment when my sims get fit ^_^.

Edit: Ok, for some reason the Cut male texture I created for S2 simply doesn't work properly >_< at the waist it seems to cut in half and go lo res below the waist while still high res above the waist. It's rather bizarre, and it only happens with that particular skintone and fitness level, but the bmp looks just fine O_o

6th Jul 2007, 6:50 PM
Update: I tried making an alien default replacement package in this manner and it's working like a charm. I also experimented with splitting the TXMT package into four segments -- one for each skintone -- and it's working nicely so far.

12th Jul 2007, 5:49 PM
Miss HP, any chance you can point me out to a noob version like of this thread? :anime:

28th Jul 2007, 3:15 PM
great!! :)

12th Mar 2008, 12:51 PM
Hi HP! This tutorial was very good - I understood what I needed to do straight away. :)

As you know I am working on making a default replacement for the alien skintone using Anva's beautiful skin. I tried using your method with the default lizard skintone found here (http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=261604) as my default base as it was the first one I came across that had material definitiions and textures.

I used textures where textures were available. Did the material definitions thing where necessary and for ALL scalp textures. I checked everything twice, then saved.

The child textures are now fine but I'm still experiencing the same problem as mentioned over at S2C with the elder heads - both the male and female elder scalps use the adult texture. I checked and rechecked my work again. I copied over the material definitions from the original skintone again. I've definitely got the correct material definitions in the correct place and yet the default still persists in using the adult textures. The original uses the correct textures.

I don't know enough about the technical stuff but could Anva have have made a mistake when specifying the material definitions for these textures. I know nothing about actually making skins. Would fixing the material definition so that it points to the correct texture be possible? Or perhaps the problem is with the default used as base in the first place.

Your offer to make an alien default base for use with this method was most generous and I would gladly accept it. I would love to try this again knowing that I'm not working with something that was made specifically to work with this method. Thank you so much for offering to do this.

Edit: Just wanted to say that I now officially give up on making Anva's alien skintone into a default. Absolutely no method, including this one, works because for whatever reason the elder material definitions and textures always point to the adult material definitions and textures. I have checked and rechecked my work. I am not doing anything wrong. It's just that nothng works. Pity...

26th Mar 2008, 10:02 PM
Is texture degradation normal in Step 5 (manual face replacement)?

I'm using the latest version of SimPE, 0.66. I only have one face for each skin. I opened up my original, uncompressed .bmp's in my editing program and converted all four faces to .png's. (with no noticeable difference in image quality). I then opened up my default package in SimPE and imported the new faces over the old in the texture section.

After importing the new .png, updating all image sizes and committing, my face looked like this:
http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/5893/beforezq6.th.png (http://img246.imageshack.us/my.php?image=beforezq6.png)

But once I moved on to the next skin/age/gender and returned to the previous one, I found it had degraded to this:
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/7567/afterwe5.th.png (http://img145.imageshack.us/my.php?image=afterwe5.png)

Clearly, this makes me a sad panda. Can this be avoided at all? I couldn't find any option to turn off re-compressing -- is there one? HP mentioned above that faces couldn't be changed via material definitions due to an aging issue. I wonder, would that affect me if I'm using the same face for all ages and genders?

TIA for any help. :)

26th Mar 2008, 10:16 PM
wandersfar - Don't use Import. Use the legacy nVidia DDS Utilities and Build DXT. There's info on that stuff and links to the utilities on Numenor's object recolouring tutorial in Object Creation & Texturing. You won't get near the texture degrade that way.

26th Mar 2008, 10:16 PM
Thanks for the quick response! :)

EDIT: Just curious: does the number of mipmaps matter at all? I set mine at 10 (since that's what HP's original default package had) but does the game even use mipmaps for bodyshop items, or is it just for zooming in and out on objects?

2nd Sep 2008, 6:24 PM
Just curious: does the number of mipmaps matter at all? I set mine at 10 (since that's what HP's original default package had) but does the game even use mipmaps for bodyshop items, or is it just for zooming in and out on objects?

I've removed all the smaller mipmaps and just have the full size ones at 1024x1024, also reduced the compression from DXT3 to DXT1, bringing it into line with the format Bodyshop uses for custom skins. The loss of quality is minimal, but the file size comes down hugely: my version of the overrides package is now only 4,488KB for all four of the defaults.

One other thing I changed: I split the override package into four - one for each of the defaults. I don't really know if it matters but I figure there's no point in forcing the game to load stuff into memory when it doesn't need to.

BTW, I'd also like to thank HP for sharing this information and letting us use her override package as a template.

3rd Sep 2009, 7:03 PM
Would it be ok if i used skins that are all from different sets?

3rd Sep 2009, 7:06 PM
Would it be ok if i used skins that are all from different sets?

* or do I have to use ones from the same set?

12th Aug 2011, 9:46 PM
HP, can you explain what you understand the issue with the faces to be? I've been working on making a set of skins that uses part of this technique and was wondering if I'd just lucked out into not having the same issue, or if I found the fix or just haven't experienced the bug yet.

30th May 2014, 8:26 PM
I hope it's ok to post here. I realize this is a quite old thread, but I figure it makes more sense posting here than asking about it in a new thread.

I created my own defaults from a wonderful set I downloaded using another technique, and only afterwards I found this tutorial... but decided to give it a try anyway.
Because the idea of not fiddling with the textures (which I've heard may be a bad idea) seemed great, and now that I'm done I must say I found it easy (despite being quite a boring task) and that the tutorial is very well explained.

I was just wondering if a method to make it possible for face textures has been found?
And, also, would it be possible to use this kind of method for eyes default replacements?

Thank you in advance for your replies!!