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#1 Old 14th Jan 2007 at 11:39 AM Last edited by HystericalParoxysm : 21st Jan 2007 at 3:23 PM.
Default Using Milkshape to Preview Body Shop Textures

Body Shop will allow you to create your own skintones, but it has a few drawbacks:
- You cannot see the entire body, as females are covered by a bra and underwear, and males are wearing a tank top and boxers. This makes doing the texturing for those parts of the body pure stupid guesswork.

- The lighting of Body Shop is dark and muddy, making it hard to judge your shading, contrast, and colour without finishing the project and opening the game.

- Even if you just change a few pixels on one of your textures, it takes a looooooong time to click "Refresh" to see your changes, as it has to reload every one of the textures for the whole skintone.

Because of these drawbacks, you may wish an alternate method for working with skintones, to improve all of the above points and make your skinning easier. You can use Milkshape for this purpose, which alleviates most of the problems you may find with doing skins in Body Shop.

This tutorial will show you how to preview your textures on a Sims 2 body mesh in Body Shop. It will also introduce you a little bit to the use of Milkshape and some of the terminology used in meshes. This makes it a good tutorial for people who have been working on Body Shop recolours for a while and would like to make the transition to meshing... it's a good intermediate step.

Down below I will also explain how to do the same thing for clothing and specific sim faces. Do the skintone part first as it's a good introduction and has all the pretty pictures and stuff.

You will need:

Milkshape 3D. Milkshape is a 3d modeling program, the most common used for Sims 2, especially Body Shop meshes. It has a free trial, and is $25-30 to register, depending on how you buy.

Example Bodies and Faces. You will need a Sims 2 body mesh to put your skintone on. And there are some already extracted, which is handy. You will need to download

SimPE. If you want to work with specific sim faces or clothing, you'll need SimPE to export the 3d models for them. You don't need SimPE if you're just doing skintones.

Managed DirectX Extensions. Again, if you want to work with specific sim faces or clothing, you'll need this too. This is a plugin that you'll need if you want to use SimPE for meshes (which you do). There's a link to it on the SimPE download page under "Needed Software to run SimPE"

Unimesh Plugins for Milkshape. If you want to import a specific sim face, you will need to get Unimesh. It's a different way of importing 3D models into Milkshape. We're mainly using this because .obj format faces exported from SimPE seem to lose their mapping - meaning the texture won't look right on it, defeating the purpose of using Milkshape to preview textures. You only need Unimesh if you want to use Milkshape for specific sim faces.

Get a Body Into Milkshape:

1. Get and install Milkshape. It's a standard install. You should be able to handle this yourself.

Get and extract the example bodies from their zip file. Put them somewhere you'll know where to find them. Mine are on my Desktop in Templates, a subfolder of my Sims 2 Projects folder.

2. Run Milkshape. It will have created an icon on your Desktop when you installed it.

3. Now you need to fix your Milkshape settings. By default, they'll be set a little bit wrong.
a. Window - Show Keyframer. Uncheck that option. You'll lose the grey bar at the bottom of your screen. That's used for animations, which we don't need.

b. In the right panel with all the controls, click on the Groups tab. Then look down at the bottom of that tab's controls for Auto Smooth. Uncheck that box.

The triangles (or polygons) that make up a mesh can be made to look smoother by the use of what is called "smoothing" or "normals" - we don't want Milkshape to change the normals on our mesh when we import it, so we'll uncheck that option to keep Milkshape from ruining the mesh.

4. Now we need to import the example body. File - Import - Wavefront OBJ

Navigate to where you extracted the example bodies and find the file called AdultFemExample.obj - select it and click Open.

You should now have an adult female body and head showing in Milkshape. Congratulations! You have just imported your first 3d object!

Import Your Textures:

5. In order to import a texture, first we need to create a new material which we can apply to our 3d model.
a. Click on the Materials tab in the controls panel.
b. Click New to create a new material. It will call it Material01.
c. With Material01 selected in the list box above (it should be selected already), type a new name into the text input box. This will be the material for the body skin, so let's call it Body Skin.
d. Then click Rename. The text for the material should change in the list box from Material01 to Body Skin, as shown in the screenshot.

6. Let's go ahead and create the other materials we'll need to fully texture this sim. You may not need to use all three textures each time, but it's worth knowing how to do so if you feel you need to.

Create two more materials the way you did the Body Skin in step 5. Rename the materials so you know which is which. Call the first new material Scalp, and call the second new material Face.

You don't necessarily -have- to give your materials names, but if you're using more than one like we are here, it can be helpful to keep things straight as you're working.

Your Materials list should now look something like this:

7. Now that we have our three materials created, we need to import textures for each of them.
a. Click on the Body Skin material to select it.
b. Then click on the top button that says "<none>"

You'll get an Open dialog box. Here, you need to choose the image you want to apply to the body skin. This texture will likely be in My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Projects\(YourProjectName) - whatever skintone you've exported as your base to work on. Open the normal adult female body skin, afbodynormal~top~stdMatBaseTextureName.bmp

When you click open, the dialog box will close, and you will see the sphere above the Ambient, Diffusive, Specular, and Emissive buttons go flesh-coloured.

Import the textures for the scalp and the face the same way - click on their names in the materials list, then click on the top <none> and select their textures. For the face I'm using afface~face~stdMatBaseTextureName.bmp and for the scalp, afhair~hair~stdMatBaseTextureName.bmp.

For a full listing of all the skintones used for the different ages and genders, see Tiggerypum's tutorial, "Making a New Skintone for Beginners."

When you've got your textures imported, you should be able to click on any of your materials in the list and see a flesh-coloured sphere displaying the texture.

Apply the Textures to the Model:

8. Now it's time to get the textures on the model. To do this, we will need to tell it which Material to assign to which group of the model.
a. Click on the Groups tab.
b. Then select Example_body in the list of the mesh's groups.
c. Now click Select down below to select that group. You will see the body of the sim go red in your view panels. This shows that the body group is selected.

d. Click on the Materials tab.
e. Select the Body Skin material.
f. Now click Assign.

If you go back to the Groups tab you'll see that next to Example_body it now says <Mat.: Body Skin>... This means you have successfully assigned the Body Skin material to the Example_body group. Yay!

Click on the Example_body group in the Groups tab and click Select again. It should turn back to normal in the wireframe views - no longer bright red. Remember to deselect your groups after you assign a material to them.

Apply the textures for the scalp and face to the scalp and face groups the same way. Before you assign a material, make sure the only group selected (in red in the wireframe views) is the one you're wanting to assign to.

It probably looks like nothing has happened... but you just need to do one more thing before you can see your textures.

Right-click in the 3D view, the pane at the bottom right. Look in the top block of options. Smooth Shaded will be checked by default. Under that, select Textured instead.

You should now have a textured sim in your 3D view!

Refreshing Textures:

9. Now that you have your skintone imported, you may want to make changes to one or more of the textures. This is one of the places where Milkshape excels over Body Shop for previewing changes for skintones. Where Body Shop may take over a minute to reload all your textures, you can do it in just a few seconds with Milkshape.

Click on the Materials tab. Select the material you wish to refresh. Then click on the top button (it used to say <none>) to get the Open dialog. Select the texture you want to use (often the same file) and click Open. It will refresh your texture on the 3d model.

Unless Milkshape hiccups (which it sometimes does) it should refresh just fine and you shouldn't have to reassign the material to the model.

Milkshape's 3D View:

Now that you can view your skintone in 3D, you'll need to be able to move around and zoom in on the parts you want.

Moving in Milkshape can be sort of tricky. There are a couple ways to do it.

The first is using your mouse and keyboard to actually drag the camera view around the 3d model.

CTRL-click and drag to move up, down, left, and right.
SHIFT-click and drag to zoom in and out.
Click and drag to change the angle of the camera.

If you click on the Model tab and click on the Select button, you can select parts of your model by dragging a box around them in the wireframe panes. Then you can right-click on any of the panes (including the 3D view) to Frame Selection and zoom in on that part.

If you get lost and lose your model, don't panic! Right-click in the pane and choose Frame All.

If you would like to be able to view your texturing a little closer, click once in the 3D pane, then right-click in that pane and choose Maximize. That pane will now fill your whole screen (except for the control panel) so you can get a closer look. To get back to the 4-pane view, you can either right-click and choose Maximize again, or just press the spacebar on your keyboard.

The blue background that Milkshape uses as a default is less than ideal for working on skintones. The human eye can be influenced by colours in close proximity, and the blue background next to a natural skintone with a warm hue to it can cause you to overcompensate with saturation and shading. To give yourself a neutral background, you need to change the background colour of the 3D view. To do this, choose File - Preferences. Click the Choose button next to where it says Persp View. It will bring up a colour chooser. Input values of 128 into the Red, Green, and Blue fields. This will give you a truly neutral grey.

Having Trouble?

Milkshape just disappears when you put your mouse cursor over a file in the Open dialog when importing a texture or .obj file...

... Yeah... that's a bug. An annoying bug. Don't know why it does that but it does it to me fairly often, especially when I put my mouse cursor over a file I've just saved in Photoshop.

You can work around it by typing folder names and file names in the text input box and hitting enter, rather than using the mouse. If you start typing a filename ("afface...") it should pop up a list of files in the folder that start with that below where you're typing, and you can use the down arrow on your keyboard to select the one you want without having to type the whole thing.

Milkshape crashes when importing a texture or .obj file...

... Again, a bug, I think. But we're not doing anything with this tutorial that, once you've done it once or twice, you can't redo in about 30 seconds. You still save yourself more time overall than trying to use Body Shop for it.

If you keep experiencing crashes, you can save your imported body and materials as an .ms3d file, Milkshape's file format. You will generally lose the textures associated with the materials when you open the file again, so you may have to re-choose your materials, but you won't have to import the .obj and set up the materials again if you save your work.

The texture applied to the sim isn't right...

If you have a face on the body or some other incorrect texture, one of several things has happened. Check each of these to make sure you haven't made a mistake:
- When importing your textures for each material, you may have used the wrong texture for a certain material, like imported the face texture for the body material. Double-check that you have the right textures associated with each of your materials.

- When selecting and applying your materials to the body, you may have had more than one group selected, or otherwise applied the wrong material to that group. Check the Groups tab to ensure that the right material is associated with the right group.

- If both of the above are okay, check your textures. Maybe you accidentally saved the face texture over your body texture and it's your textures that's wrong.

my simblr (sometimes nsfw)

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
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world renowned whogivesafuckologist
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Original Poster
#2 Old 14th Jan 2007 at 2:04 PM Last edited by HystericalParoxysm : 14th Jan 2007 at 2:55 PM.
Default Related Applications
Very similar techniques can be used to apply a texture to just about any Body Shop content. Here's how things differ for the other things you might want to do:


If you just absolutely hate Body Shop's muddy, ugly lighting and you would prefer to preview your textures in a more neutrally-coloured and lit environment, you can do so using these same techniques.

The main difference is that you will need to export the 3d model for the clothing you would like to use yourself. This is a bit more complicated a process, but it is totally doable, and I have a lovely tutorial with pictures, that explains how to get .obj format 3d models exported for both Maxis and custom meshes.

You would do the very same thing as explained on this tutorial about Exporting UV Maps for Better Clothing Recolours but you can stop at just exporting the Maxis or custom .obj - you don't need to do the "Viewing and Exporting the UV Map" part.

You are going to need SimPE, and the Managed DirectX extensions as linked on that tutorial... and to have both of them installed and working. I do trust you can handle that.

For that tutorial on exporting UV maps, when you get to exporting the .obj file, where it says "make sure there's only one group here" - you can sort of ignore that part. Certain meshes will have alpha parts, reflectivity, etc., and you can still preview textures for them in Milkshape... it just may be a bit more tricky, but if you're already recolouring that clothing, you should be familiar with how its textures are working anyway, so I think you can figure it out.

Once you have your .obj exported, import the .obj for the clothing into Milkshape the same way you did the example bodies. Create and apply your material(s) to the clothing's group(s) the same as for skintones.

Milkshape can use .pngs, and it can display transparency (to do alpha cutouts), but it's not perfect at it. It displays kind of strangely, and .pngs seem more likely to make Milkshape crash when importing them.

If you want to see the results of alpha cutouts in 3D I would generally recommend just using a neutral contrasting colour behind your texturing - it renders quicker, more accurately, and will show you that everything matches up, etc., without using Milkshape's crazy alpha system, which is a bit much to explain here.


It can be very frustrating working on facial texturing for a character or celebrity sim in Body Shop. That damned Body Shop mannequin rarely has facial features that are close to whoever you're working on, so you end up with stretched eyelids and distorted brows and things just generally wrong, and difficult to judge how it will look without finishing the project and putting it on the sim. Doing makeup is also a pain for the same reason, especially when you want to get a nice eye shadow that works on more than just the Body Shop mannequin.

Exporting a particular sim's face can be a little more complicated.

For that, you are going to need the Unimesh plugin for Milkshape, and you will also need SimPE. Because we are working with meshes, you also need to get the Managed DirectX extensions, which are linked on the SimPE download page. Get and install all that. Remember, readme files and reading the instructions will go far.

If you're wanting to make the jump to meshing, this will be REALLY educational for you so pay attention!

1. Go into Body Shop and save the sim you would like to use for facial texturing. If you already have them saved, make a copy. If you want to use a sim that you only have in-game, you need to follow this tutorial to extract an in-game sim using SimPE so you have the sim's file accessible, then make a clone of them in Body Shop.

2. Go into My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\SavedSims. Right-click in your SavedSims folder and make sure the View is set to Details. You should have a Date Created column. Click it to sort by Date Created and look for the newest file in your SavedSims folder.

The reason you export a new copy and sort by date is because sim files are named something random (like 80b08c7_2f5e8719.package), and it's easiest to find your sim if you can just find the newest file in the folder and know for sure that's your sim.

Double-click on the newest package file in your SavedSims folder to open the sim's file in SimPE.

3. Select the Geometric Data Container (GMDC) resource in the file. There will generally be at least two. Most likely you'll have an adult sim, so you'll want age3 - not the one that says LOD15.

Right-click on that resource and choose Extract. You'll get a dialog to save the file. Don't worry about changing the file name. Save the file somewhere you can find it.

4. Now open Milkshape.

File - Import - Sims 2 Unimesh Import

Find the file you exported in SimPE for the face and choose Open. If you get any questions asking you if you want to create blend groups or correct weights, say No.

5. You should now have a face mesh in Milkshape. If you have a bunch of crazy blue lines and circles all over the place, look here to get rid of those.

Create a material for the face skin and select the texture you want to use for the face material. Then select the face group and assign your material to it. Make sure Textured is checked for the 3D view, and you should be able to preview any sort of facial texturing in Milkshape on whatever face you choose!


my simblr (sometimes nsfw)

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
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#3 Old 15th Jan 2007 at 3:55 PM
Thanks a lot! I have milkshape. But havn't opened it yet. And want to play around with skins and hair for own use. This is too advanced for me at the moment. But it would be fun using the creativity with this tools. Bodyshop is horrible with it's light, even if the tab F3 works for me, it's far from good enough.

This url will go into my favorites. It's very usefull with such lessons :D

1st place in SimCity's Most Eligible Bachelor 2009
2nd in Wicked/Angel male models
2nd in The Ultimate Maxis Sim Makeover
2nd in Bollywood's Next Idol
3rd in Miss Curves
Lab Assistant
#4 Old 17th Jan 2007 at 6:05 AM
i don't understand the import your texture in the 7b part.where should i click the top button?i 've been searching for that top button but to no avail.pls help.
Lab Assistant
#5 Old 17th Jan 2007 at 6:29 AM
oh,nvm..i think i found it
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
Original Poster
#6 Old 17th Jan 2007 at 9:52 AM Last edited by HystericalParoxysm : 17th Jan 2007 at 10:48 AM.
Ah, thank you for pointing that out to me, acid_gurl. The darn thing is interpreting what I typed as HTML rather than just displaying "<none>"

I'm pretty sure I intended that step to have a pic, as I'd lettered its parts... so that's fixed now too.

my simblr (sometimes nsfw)

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
Panquecas, panquecas e mais panquecas.
Test Subject
#7 Old 5th May 2007 at 10:21 AM
My milkshape 3D has expired, how do i make it so i can use it again without paying for the registration?
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
Original Poster
#8 Old 5th May 2007 at 10:51 AM
You can't. And even if you could, we wouldn't support that sort of thing here. Milkshape's a cheap program, well-supported, and developed further all the time (including improvements made specifically to make Sims 2 modding easier!) - go pay the $25 for it if ya like it and plan on using it.

my simblr (sometimes nsfw)

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
Panquecas, panquecas e mais panquecas.
#9 Old 4th Jul 2007 at 2:50 PM
Wow! thanks HP So easy!
Test Subject
#10 Old 3rd Mar 2008 at 6:47 PM
where are the files? <<<<<< ???
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
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Original Poster
#11 Old 3rd Mar 2008 at 7:06 PM
TokyoElbow - Click on the "Examples Bodies and Faces" link in the first post. They're attached to the thread that links to.

my simblr (sometimes nsfw)

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
Panquecas, panquecas e mais panquecas.
Test Subject
#12 Old 27th Oct 2008 at 5:44 PM
so.. do you have to get UV mapper classic to make clothing? you cant just use milkshape? im starting to think milkshape is for more advanced users and i just got started. what program should i use do you think?
Field Researcher
#13 Old 24th Jun 2010 at 4:22 PM
Thanks!It's great!
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