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corvidophile2
8th Jun 2007, 12:00 AM
UPDATED:Tuesday 12 of June 2007 Please re-read.

DARK skintones-Alternative importing method+TEMPLATE

Introduction

This is not a tutorial on how to make darker skintone recolors.Usually I just play with hue/saturation , brightness/contrast and then apply a photofilter to balance colors if needed.There is a photoshop tutorial on making recolors by navetsea here (http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=221826)

This is a tutorial on how to get your DARK skintone recolor to game and avoid fugly pixelation which happens almost always (unfortunately) when you import via bodyshop.

This is a tutorial to use if anything else has failed and your skintone is very pixelated when importing via bodyshop.

I have been trying to make a non-pixelated dark skintone recolor for a while , I once asked HystericalParoxysm if i could do it with SimPE and she said it's possible of course and it will reduce pixelation.I didn't got around to trying it until recently.However,when you open a skintone package in SIMPE the only way in knowing which texture is which is to "look at the Material Definitions to see what's what - those are labeled by age and gender and will point you to the TXTR they use" quoted by HystericalParoxysm.

I found that switching from textures to Material definitions is a bit confusing for beginners and then the idea of a recolor template popped.

What is the tutorial skintone template?

A skintone template package which when you open in SimPE you will be able to see what each image is because it's typed(i typed it i mean) on the texture itself! So you will just need to browse and find the appropriate BMP/or PNG to replace with the BuildDTX method.

Level of Difficulty:

Medium if you aren't familiar with SimPE and very easy(though a bit time consuming) if you are.It is worth it however .(Look at a comparing picture in the attached files on the end of this post to see the difference.)


What you will need

1.Your finished skintone recolor.( not an already imported and extracted from bodyshop one because the pixelation damage has already been done there)

2.SimPE which you can download here (http://sims.ambertation.de/)

3.The "TUTORIAL_SkintoneTemplate_corvidophile2 " package in the end of this post in the attachments.

Let's start!And please read carefully!

The pictures provided aren't exactly step by step ones, obvious stuff are excluded, because well it's obvious.Pictures are to help you if you have trouble following the tutorial.Also i will be able to help you if you have trouble so feel free to post your questions here.

:alarm:STEP 1: PREPARATION IN BODYSHOP :alarm:

Do not ever use the "TUTORIAL_SkintoneTemplate_corvidophile2 package" directly. Then your recolors will not work and you will only end up with duplicates.This template is just for use with the tutorial and for re-importing it to bodyshop to create a unique file and not a duplicate.

Here is how:

1. Unzip the TUTORIAL_SkintoneTemplate_corvidophile2 package in your downloads folder.
2.Open bodyshop and start a new skintone project using the skintone recolor template one.This is its swatch exactly:
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images8/MTS2_547718_corvidophile2_swatch.jpg
3.Export it and give your project a unique name eg: DarkSkinREC so you can find it easily later in your saved sims folder.
4.Go to your projects folder and ONLY change the swatch of the template skintone with the one you will be using for your recolor.
5.Import back to bodyshop ( give again your project a name while importing, eg. skintone recolor by "Your name" ) and then exit .
6.Go to your saved sims folder and right click on the package you just created eg: DarkSkinREC(step3) , select open with SimPE and wait for SimPE to load.

:!!: if you want to create a second or third recolor without overwriting the previous ones ,repeat STEP 1 accordingly and then proceed.

STEP 2-Replacing the files in SimPE

Go to texture images(TXTR) then click the first file in the resource list on the left.

Then click plugin view.

You will see the skintone template texture image with the name of the file written on it.Right click then click BUILD DTX.

Open your Skintone project folder and select the matching BMP file.What you see in the texture template is what you pick there.

Then set format to DTX3format and sharpen to NONE and click BUILD.Wait a few seconds if it is a body texture ( which is huge) it will take a while.

Click commit and don't save (saving here will remove the italics from the text and you might get confused, so it is better not to save if you are a beginner, save away if you know what you are doing.)

With exactly the same steps above BUILD DTX for all 39 texture files.

Then of course go to File> Save .

http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images4/MTS2_547747_corvidophile2_1.jpg
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images1/MTS2_547748_corvidophile2_2.jpg
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images10/MTS2_547749_corvidophile2_3.jpg
STEP 3-Compressing the files

If you now check the saved skintone package you will see that it might be a whooping over 20mb one lol We need to compress the files to reduce the file size.

How to do that:

in TXTR , click on resource tab in the bottom of SimPE and select the first one on the resource list on the right above. Wait a second till it loads, then where it says" compressed" use the drop down menu and change it to "yes".Some numbers will start changing and the file text will become blue bold italic.You know then that it's changed. On to the next one and follow the same procedure for all of them!

After you have finished all 39 TXTR's Save again . This time it may take a minute or two(or more didn't count but it seemed like forever), just wait and don't worry, your SimPE is not frozen.

Now if you check your saved package file you will see its filesize reduced dramatically.It will still be a bit more higher than your average skintone package but you will get a nice non-pixelated DARK skintone in return.

Now it is time to close SimPE and load game to see your recolored skintone.

http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images2/MTS2_547750_corvidophile2_4.jpg

IF YOU FORGOT TO GIVE YOUR SKINTONE PROJECT A UNIQUE SWATCH AND NAME IN THE PREVIOUS STEPS YOU CAN DO NOW LIKE THAT:

Changing the swatch image

In the resource tree go to jpg/tga/png image (IMG).Right click and select replace (use open all files extension). Use the swatch you made for your skintone. Save.
http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images13/MTS2_547751_corvidophile2_5.jpg

Editing string and package name
To do that go to Text lists and in plugin view simply edit the text where it says "string". Save.

http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/images9/MTS2_547752_corvidophile2_6.jpg

LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
I don't suggest doing this for lighter skintone recolors because there the pixelation is most of the times not even noticeable and we DON'T want big file sizes unless absolutely necessary.

Then again who would want to repeat all these for so many skintones? I wouldn't.

Hope you found this tutorial and the recolor template useful.

Many thanks to everyone at MTS2 who share knowledge and allow it to be shared.I've learnt so much from the tutorials here and i'm so happy when i manage to do one of my own!


Corvidophile2

Gnaff
11th Jun 2007, 11:44 AM
Afraid I had a bit of a problem here. Hopefully it is just me being silly as a first time SimPE user but here we go. I got through up to the bit in part one where you right click on the image with the filename on it and click Build DTX... I see the option in the menu that comes up with the rightclick but for reasons unknown the option is greyed out and disabled!

Um... help? Maybe I have to change some option someplace to enable it?

Gnaff
11th Jun 2007, 11:55 AM
Heh. Okay don't worry it was just me being a newbie. I explored the preferences and found the link to the Nvidia DDS utilities which aparently I didn't have and seem to be what I was missing as the option is enabled now.

Onwards with the rest of the tutorial!

corvidophile2
11th Jun 2007, 12:32 PM
Yup that was it.Glad you found out before i was here.

If you have any problems lemme know.

Gnaff
11th Jun 2007, 2:04 PM
Well I got through it and the results are nothing short of spectacularly better.

Clicky for picture (http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a97/turbogaijin/DarkSkin.jpg)

Very helpful tutorial thanks!

corvidophile2
11th Jun 2007, 6:07 PM
First off let me say i should have been more clear in the tutorial .By saying alternative method i meant something to try only if the regular method failed.(That is you imported your skin with bodyshop and it was severely pixelated).

In your skintone there are no highlights and shadows it looks solid black and all detail is lost.Either that or your picture is too dark.So i wouldn't expect to see any differences.

Thanks for the input and sorry of missing to clarify this part on my side.

I'm glad you managed to follow it however without any problems.Then if in the future you need it you'll know how to do it ;-)

Gnaff
12th Jun 2007, 9:11 AM
The skintone is indeed rather dark, sorry if it's hard to tell the difference in the picture. Turning up your screen's brightness a bit might help. Anyway the problem I had was more about shading than pixelation to be honest, in the left picture you can see that the texture has edges where the colour gets lighter on the cheeks and forehead, looking like lighter patches got painted on her face. On the right one one the colour gradient is far smoother in those areas and looks more natural and less like face paint. :) There was some awful pixelation around the neckline too which this method quite happilly got rid of so me = happy. Heheh.

It is actually a Maxis one that I darkened considerably after I one day decided that the darkest maxis skintone wasn't really that dark at all, so that also means that the shadows and highlights are lighter than alot of custom work that is around too I suppose.

tiggerypum
12th Jun 2007, 2:54 PM
Gnaff, I can see the difference - it's quite visible where the one is pixelated and isn't in the other.

La_exotique
1st Dec 2007, 9:46 PM
Afraid I had a bit of a problem here. Hopefully it is just me being silly as a first time SimPE user but here we go. I got through up to the bit in part one where you right click on the image with the filename on it and click Build DTX... I see the option in the menu that comes up with the rightclick but for reasons unknown the option is greyed out and disabled!

Um... help? Maybe I have to change some option someplace to enable it?

ok i'm having the same problem except i can't figure out what changes i need to do, maybe someone could explain and to help other viewers in the future


i

corvidophile2
2nd Dec 2007, 4:24 AM
La_exotique you need to read the beginning of the recoloring tutorial by Numenor here http://www.modthesims2.com/showthread.php?t=102356

Where it says: 'what you need'

Basically you need to install the Nvidia DDS utilities and that's why this option is grayed out.

La_exotique
2nd Dec 2007, 4:51 PM
Thank you for going out of your way to answer, my true problem was an easy fix and i'm ashamed to say, in the preference section -- my path was not correct, and i warn any future users, USE YOUR BROWSE option lol

instead of D:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\DDS Utilities
i had it automatically say D:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\ NVIDIA DDS Utilities

:/
just that extra text ruined it for me because it claimed it couldn't find the DDS Utilities

*dumps head in a bucket and drowns my stupidity*

La_exotique
2nd Dec 2007, 5:52 PM
I just want to thank you VERY much for this tutorial, it is friggin AWESOME! It works so well!

Now i can make a full set of skin without worrying about the darn pixelation.
:gjob:

corvidophile2
3rd Dec 2007, 12:59 AM
I see, i 'm glad you sorted it all out and i'm glad you find the tutorial useful.

However i'll suggest using this for darker toned skintones only as the files always end up bigger. Personally i am willing to sacrifice a couple of mb's if i am to get a pixelation free (or almost free anyway) skintone than the opposite lol But others might not.

ScorpioMaurus
21st Nov 2008, 10:26 PM
I found this amazingly useful when I needed to make default replacement Skins. The Darkest one pixelated badly and it was my first time ever making a skintone I had no clue why it looked so horrid in game. So I used the build DXT and all worked out well. This was quite a while ago and I forgot to stop back and say Thanks.

J. M. Pescado
21st Nov 2008, 10:44 PM
Actually, the easier answer is just to set the datatype to "RAW32". Instantly gets rid of all the lousy compression artifacts. Crappyass DXT compression can DIAF.

Remy Luv
6th Nov 2009, 9:05 PM
I'm new to blending/creating skintones, and I've been searching for a way to reduce the God-awful pixelated mess that attacks every darker recolor I make. Everyone seems to sing high praises for this tutorial, so I thought I'd come check it out.

My question is regarding what J. M. Pescado wrote, though: Is he saying that if just alter the format type when I get to the 'plug-in view" part of the tutorial, that there's no need to build the DXT after that? Would I also be able to skip the compression portion then?

Aside from that bit of confusion, I should be fine. Trial and error, that's the way I tend to learn.

lilleza87
15th Feb 2012, 6:16 AM
Hi! Don't know if you still read this, but my Saved sims folder is not working anymore, so I can't export the skins made in bodyshop. I thought of the idea to use your teplate instead, but just change the name. I have five different skintones, but only one shows up in body when I use the temlate, even though I've renamed it. Is there anyway to change the tepmlates so bodyshop reads them as five different skins and not just one? Since I can't use my saved sims folder I can't make my own :(