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Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
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#1 Old 10th Apr 2006 at 12:42 AM Last edited by tiggerypum : 10th May 2007 at 9:15 PM. Reason: updating
Default Skinning FAQs
How do I make clothes?

To customize clothing for your sims you need to use Bodyshop (came with your game) and a good graphics editor. You will also need time and patience, making a good clothing recolor requires attention to detail and graphics skills, some of which you will learn in the tutorials.

How do I get Body Shop?

Body Shop is included with your game. Open up My Computer, select your C: drive, and double click on Program Files. You'll see an EA Games folder - double click on that, then double click on The Sims2. This will bring up a bunch of folders - the one you want is CS Bin. Double click on that, then double click on the newest sims ep you have installed. There's a package installer for Body Shop that will open up in installation wizard for you. You'll probably want to create a desktop shortcut for this. This thread is for Q&A on Body Shop. If you learned something helpful, add to it here.

What graphics editors can I use, are some free?

You need a graphics editor that supports LAYERS and has some filters for them. Aside from getting the editor, if you have never used it before, I highly recommend you go and do some tutorials from the web specific to your graphics program, so that you can learn the basic tools and how to work with layers. The tutorials here on site focus on instructions and techniques specific for working on sim clothing or hair, and do not cover basic use of the editors.

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. It does just about everything that can be done, and it's what Faylen uses to make my skins and tutorials. The full price for Photoshop is very high, but you might find that a friend has an older copy, or might purchase one on eBay or get an educational copy. Photoshop 7 is actually sufficient for doing pretty much anything you would like to do. The thread for discussing Photo Shop is here

Paint Shop Pro is another pay program that is popular, and the price tag is lower than the full price for photoshop. Unfortunately there are not currently many paint shop pro specific tutorials on site, but if you have psp and know how to use it, you should be able to follow along with the tutorials from another program.

The GIMP is a freeware image editing program with many features similar to the programs above. There are tutorials at the site, and some tutorials here that use it.

Paint.NET was developed as a free alternative to commercial paint programs. It has tutorials onsite and instructions in multiple languages. We have some basic tutorials which use paint.net.

For a list of free image editing programs, check out this site .

If you're just starting out, and not sure how far you want to go, a free program might well be the way to go, but keep in mind that many skinning tutorials use commercial software, so you're going to have to play around with yours to see what it can do for you, and what tools it has in common with the commercial ones. If you want to buy a program, you can often get it used or in a previous version on auction sites or elsewhere online, so you can save some money and still get the basic functionality you need.

Where are the clothing tutorials?

The Tutorials Section is loaded with great advice. Faylen covers the basics in these tutorials that use Photoshop (click the name to go there):

Recoloring: This tutorial covers the most basic function of Body Shop, selecting an outfit, changing its color in Photoshop, saving the new outfit, and exporting it into your game.

Selective Recoloring: shows how to select different sections of an outfit and color each one separately.

Adding Textures: is a step-by-step tutorial showing how to take images and lay them over your garments to create new textures for them. The 4th tutorial which adds how to draw a new texture entirely onto a mesh and is here.

And here are similar tutorials for 2 other graphics programs:

Making Clothing with GIMP: There is a series of tutorials for the free image editing program GIMP.

Making Clothing with Paint.Net. A couple of tutorials to get people started with Paint.Net.

How do I Make Hair?

A hair recoloring tutorial can be found here It uses tools described in the clothing recoloring tutorials, so you may want to refer back to those if you don't understand something.

If you want to make your own new hair textures, you'll find various pointers with links to an assortment of tutorials here

How do I make eyes/skin/makeup?

It's exactly the same as clothes, you just use a different section of body shop. In the case of skin and hair, you'll also have many more texture files to alter, because you have all ages in each gender. If you want to get creative, here's a tutorial on a custom eye method. Once you have made eyes and skins, you might want to use them as your defaults. Morague explains how to replace Maxis default eyes here.
And there's a tutorial on replacing default skin textures here.

My Body Shop doesn’t have all the outfits!

You are using a pre-release version of Body Shop. Follow the steps above to get to the one that came with your game.

I downloaded a mesh, and I can’t find the outfit in Body Shop!

If you downloaded the mesh only, it will not show up. You must also have at least one recolor of the mesh for it to appear in Body Shop.

My custom clothes are blurry / pixelated!

For some people, the resolution on their projects divides in half when they upgrade. Your image size for your clothing projects should be 1024 x 1024 pixels. Callum91 has also explained how to do a fix here.

I got an expansion pack, and now Body Shop keeps crashing!

You may be seeing this error: Direct3D returned an error: D3DERR_INVALIDCALL. This happens with Intel video cards if you have only The Sims 2 or The Sims 2 and University installed, when Body Shop calls a function the video card doesn't understand. Some users reported that their games stopped working entirely after installing the pre-release Body Shop on the same computer running the game, and would not work until the pre-release Body Shop was uninstalled, the game uninstalled, and fully reinstalled. In addition, the content available for the pre-release Body Shop is extremely limited, and it creates skins wrong, so the best solution is to try purchasing and installing one of the newer expansion packs (any from Nightlife onward) which will likely fix the problem. (This information taken from a post by a former moderator. Links to pre-release Body Shop downloads were removed because they might cause more problems than they solve.)

I want to turn an outfit into only a shirt/only pants, or turn separates into an outfit.

This can be done only if the part you’re deleting or adding to is the exact shape as the thing you want it to be. Otherwise, you will need to learn to mesh. The tutorial “Skinning from the Inside Out” will explain to you the skeleton, mesh, alpha and texture files so you can get a better idea of the potentials and limitations of recoloring. You will find it here.

I made clothes/eyes/hair/makeup and want to upload it to you. How do I do this?

Your skins/clothes/eyes/hair are all in your Saved Sims Folder (My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Saved Sims), and in order to package them, you find the filename in that folder, compress it with WinZIP (included with Windows, just right click and select Send To>Compressed Folder in the pop-out box) or fire up WinRAR (available for download all over Google) and navigate to the Saved Sims folder (see path above) and click on the filename and select "Add". Then go to the downloads section, follow the guidelines, follow those, and you've shared your creations. Make sure also that you have a large, clear, in-game screenshot of your creation.

How do I get an outfit to show up in different categories?

In Body Shop, you have the option of reassigning almost everything you create by selecting one of the category icons that show up to the right. However, some outfits or age groups are limited and need some outside help from SimPE. Check out this thread.

I want to make a really realistic face/clothes!

This is called photoskinning. FreneticFanatic wrote a concise post about doing faces here, and HystericalParoxysm shares her methods here. Bluesims has a tutorial for clothes here.

How do I make shiny clothes?

The information, discussion, trial and error that led to Roscoe's latex catsuits is here. SomeSimmer also posted a mini-tutorial on changing the reflectivity. This changes the entire skin of the sim, not just the clothes. Tiggerypum and HystericalParoxysm explain a lot in the thread, as well.

How do I change clothes to different genders/ages?

Converting clothes between age groups is here
Converting clothes between genders is here

How do I get the maid's/gardener's/repairman's (etc.) outfit?

Morague's tutorial on unlocking career clothes is here. and you can also get a hack that unlocks them all for your game here. Look for "Buyable Work and NPC Clothes.zip"

What is a bump map? How do I use it?

Bump map tester: semloh posted this, and many people have found it helpful to see how much bump-mapping their systems can handle, and how they can enable bump mapping. This is a 3-d effect that causes skins and garments to reflect light in such a way that it looks like they have more shape and detail.

Adding bump maps (nude skin) semloh provided this tutorial with the actual skin of the sim in mind, but it's a good introduction on how bump mapping works in general.

Adding bump maps to clothes without them: Some outfits do not have bump map files, and people were having trouble figuring out how to add bump maps to these articles. This thread is a mini-tutorial on how to do that.

And after you've done that, you can follow Nebulosa's tutorial on creating bump maps for clothes.

What is a UV map?

It's a geometric guide that shows how the image of the flat texture is wrapped onto the 3D shape of a sim, object, or outfit. Here is an advanced tutorial for exporting UV Maps for users familiar with more complex skinning and SimPE.

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
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