Replies: 17 (Who?), Viewed: 51947 times.
Ms. Byte
Original Poster
#1 Old 23rd Jan 2011 at 2:44 AM Last edited by CmarNYC : 4th Jun 2013 at 3:46 PM.
Default Tutorial: Converting an image for tattoos using Tattooinator convert
I've added a Convert function to Tattooinator, and a quickie tutorial may be helpful to people using it. Here it is.

What this tutorial will do:
  • Show you how to convert an image using Tattooinator using three example images.
  • Show you what kind of results you can expect and suggest a couple of ways to improve them.

What it will not do:
  • Teach you how to use a graphics program.

Tools: I'm going to be using GIMP for image editing, but it's the same process if you're using Photoshop or anything else that can make .dds files.

Let's get started. First, I'm going to use a line drawing and add some color to it. I found a nice drawing of a tiger, pasted it into GIMP, and resized it.



Now to prepare the image. The background may look pure white, but in the pasted image it's probably a slightly off-white. We need either pure white or pure black for the background, the part of the image that will be transparent and have the sim's skin showing through. So first, use the fill tool and fill the background with white just to make sure. If necessary raise the threshold a little to get all the white areas really white. Then save as a .dds image with no compression.

IMPORTANT - save your image with NO compression. Mipmaps or not doesn't matter, but don't compress or the blacks and whites won't be pure anymore and the conversion won't work.

This would make a pretty nice tattoo just like this - lines with the sim's skin showing where the white is. Let's do that first. Run Tattooinator and click the Convert / Convert Image menu option. Select the image you just made. In the conversion options, select to 'Copy black to R channel'. 'Make pure white transparent' and 'blank alpha' should be selected. Click Convert Image and give your new image a name.



Now click to preview. The drawing should show as red lines over the background color. You can change the presets by making the R channel black and whatever other colors you like, enable only the R channel for recoloring, and make your tattoo.



Now let's try the same drawing with some color added. Use the fill tool again to fill the inside of the tiger with red. Again you may have to fiddle with the threshold to minimize the border you'll get between the red and the black lines. Just for fun, let's also color the claws green and the eye blue.



Now use Tattooinator Convert again, this time with 'Copy black to Red' unchecked, and with options 'Make pure white transparent' and 'Copy black to Alpha' chosen. After changing the preset to make the R channel orange, the G channel red, and the B channel yellow, this is the converted result. Make your tattoo with the R, G, and B channels enabled. Leave the A channel not enabled so the black lines will not be recolorable.



Okay, now let's try a more complex image. This one has a black background, and the first thing we do after pasting and resizing it is to again use the fill tool to make sure the background really is pure black. Then I'll increase the contrast because tattoos don't do subtle very well.



Run Tattooinator convert, and this time the options should be 'Make pure black transparent' and 'Copy white to Alpha'. The presets should be the default shades of red, green, and blue. Note that the preset alpha will change to white. You can see it's not a completely accurate conversion. Depending on your image, the default preset 2 or 3 may look better than 1. You can play with the presets to find the best results, and you can change the order of the presets using the crossed arrow icons between them. Again, make the tattoo with R, G, and B enabled.



And last, we'll convert the Mona Lisa. This would make a terrible tattoo but let's see what we get, as an example of converting a photographic image. After pasting and resizing, I filled the areas above and below the pasted image with black, but left the very dark background of the painting itself alone.



The convert options should be 'Make pure black transparent' and 'Copy black to Alpha'. (Only pure black will be transparent - shades of gray will be transferred to the alpha channel.) Here's the result - in this case preset 1 looks greenish, preset 2 looks pale, and preset 3 looks black and white. Again, playing with the presets may improve the appearance.



Important notes:

Blended colors don't generally come out well in a tattoo because of the way the game layers the color channels. Convert will do best with images that consist of pure white, black, red, green, and blue. You may or may not be able to get a usable result from a photo or a drawing with a lot of colors. You also may be able to improve the appearance by editing the converted image, but that's beyond the scope of this tutorial.

When making a final tattoo, you should first open the converted image in your image editor of choice and save it with compression to save space. DXT5 is the best choice, especially if anything has been converted to the alpha channel.

Oh, and Tattooinator will now accept any image size up to 1024 x 1024, as long as it's square. Frankly I don't think a larger image gives any better results, but 1024 x 1024 may be useful for whole body or whole face tattoos.

Notes for Photoshop users:

Uncompressed formats: "8:8:8 RGB 24-bit" or "8:8:8:8 ARGB 32-bit"
Use DXT5 when you compress the converted image.
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Lab Assistant
#2 Old 3rd Feb 2011 at 10:26 AM
Thank you for this!
I've been using the tattooinator for a while now and I'm going to try this today!
Test Subject
#3 Old 4th Feb 2011 at 8:41 PM
Oh my, thank you for pointing me towards this tutorial - I have completely overlooked it, since I've been using browser history to reach the other one :]. It's all working now for me! Thank you so much, you're really awesome. Just look at my sim - all pimped out 'n' stuff ;D. Hardest one from these four was the spidey arm, since I've used photo of a real tattoo on skin :D

The new possibilities, that this tool provides are just amazing. I guess the biggest problem now is not to overuse it :D

Thank you very much again
Screenshots
Lab Assistant
#4 Old 6th Feb 2011 at 1:24 AM
Wait a second... Is the tattooinator a program that needs to be downloaded, or is it an in-game thing that came with one of the updates? B/c it's making me a little confused.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller
Test Subject
#5 Old 6th Feb 2011 at 10:47 AM
It is a separate program, written by CmarNYC. The download link is provided in this tutorial. Read the tutorial though, since you need to understand the tattoo format used in game.
Test Subject
#6 Old 4th Apr 2011 at 1:47 AM
Hey everyone, not the best time and place for a first post, but anyway:

Thank you a ton for the program and the tutorial, I've got everything running smoothly with one-color tattoos, but I can't seem to get the multicolored right.

I'm using photoshop CS5 and the NVidia DDS plugin to save my files, and maybe I'm just blind (or stupid) but nowhere while saving does it say "no compression". There's the whole list of availble compressions, and a nice checkbox for the level of compression, but I can't just turn it off. I fugured one of the listed "compressions" must be codename for no compression, so I tried them randomly but had no success. After that I tried using the DXT5, but it still didn't work.

The problem is, while I got the color channels to work right, the transparency doesn't work. Instead, it displays an even mixture of the other three colors. (like, if I set R, G, and B to blues and yellows, the background will be all green)

Before you ask, YES, my background is entirely, purely white. When it comes to photoshop alone I'm pretty experienced, so I know how to make sure of that.

Anyway, thanks in advance. Even the parts I got to work so far are extermely useful and fun to play with, so once again thank you for the tutorial
Ms. Byte
Original Poster
#7 Old 4th Apr 2011 at 7:31 PM
Hi - I'm glad to see a first-time poster here! We all start somewhere!

What's happening, as you probably know, is that pure white background is no longer pure white when Tattooinator expands it from a compressed format. This is largely the fault of my program which doesn't correct the error introduced by the compression and expansion processes, but I'm not as good (and don't have as much time to put into it) as the people who wrote Photoshop or GIMP. Unfortunately I don't use Photoshop myself, but I found what appears to be a listing of the DDS compression formats the NVidea plugin uses. Look for the following:

8:8:8 RGB 24-bit
8:8:8:8 ARGB 32-bit

If I'm right, both of those are uncompressed, and either should work. Please let me know!
Test Subject
#8 Old 15th Apr 2011 at 12:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by EratoTiaTuatha
Hey everyone, not the best time and place for a first post, but anyway:

Thank you a ton for the program and the tutorial, I've got everything running smoothly with one-color tattoos, but I can't seem to get the multicolored right.

I'm using photoshop CS5 and the NVidia DDS plugin to save my files, and maybe I'm just blind (or stupid) but nowhere while saving does it say "no compression". There's the whole list of availble compressions, and a nice checkbox for the level of compression, but I can't just turn it off. I fugured one of the listed "compressions" must be codename for no compression, so I tried them randomly but had no success. After that I tried using the DXT5, but it still didn't work.

The problem is, while I got the color channels to work right, the transparency doesn't work. Instead, it displays an even mixture of the other three colors. (like, if I set R, G, and B to blues and yellows, the background will be all green)

Before you ask, YES, my background is entirely, purely white. When it comes to photoshop alone I'm pretty experienced, so I know how to make sure of that.

Anyway, thanks in advance. Even the parts I got to work so far are extermely useful and fun to play with, so once again thank you for the tutorial


hi ... i also play a game called "18 Wheels of Steel - American Long Haul' and that uses dds files ... the only way to get a dds file in 18WoS is to zip it into a *.dds (i use 7zip) and if you (R)Click on image you get a sub menu with "add to archive" ... clicking on this gets you into the zip programe where you can set the compression rate of a file ... once you are satisfied with choices then you go and name the file as *.dds NOT *.zip

hope this helps
Test Subject
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31st May 2011 at 8:33 PM
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Test Subject
#9 Old 1st Aug 2011 at 7:51 PM
Yay! Thank you so much. I am going to try it right now.
Test Subject
#10 Old 3rd Jun 2013 at 7:36 PM
Wow, this tut was so helpful to me, thank you CmarNYC. I am using Photoshop Elements 11 with the Nvidia .dds plugins. Using what Nvidia plugin compression formats you listed, I was able to create a tattoo without that funky background color. Thanks so much for this!
Lab Assistant
#11 Old 7th Sep 2013 at 11:47 PM
Would these steps apply if I just wanted to create an all-black tattoo?

~Welcome to the Satellite of Love...~

Ms. Byte
Original Poster
#12 Old 8th Sep 2013 at 6:35 AM
The first example, of the tiger line drawing, shows how to make a single-color tattoo. So, yes.

Please do not PM me with mod, tutorial, or general modding questions or problems; post them in the thread for the mod or tutorial or post them in the appropriate forum.

Visit my blogs for other Sims content:
Online Sims - general mods for Sims 3
Offline Sims - adult mods for Sims 3 and Sims 4
Lab Assistant
#13 Old 12th Sep 2013 at 6:00 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CmarNYC
The first example, of the tiger line drawing, shows how to make a single-color tattoo. So, yes.


Oh, crud. Yep, I'm just slow and technologically impaired... Thanks for the tutorial! ^_^

~Welcome to the Satellite of Love...~

Test Subject
#14 Old 28th Oct 2013 at 8:47 AM
Question: I made 10 tattoos using this method, and it's great! Only issue I had is that 3 of the tattoos didn't show up in game; no thumbnail or anything. Apart from that I've had no other problems, but I just thought I'd ask is you could tell me what I could have messed up on, if anything. I did the same thing for all 10 tattoos.
Ms. Byte
Original Poster
#15 Old 29th Oct 2013 at 12:15 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by voiceofthefell
Question: I made 10 tattoos using this method, and it's great! Only issue I had is that 3 of the tattoos didn't show up in game; no thumbnail or anything. Apart from that I've had no other problems, but I just thought I'd ask is you could tell me what I could have messed up on, if anything. I did the same thing for all 10 tattoos.


Most likely you gave them the same name as another of your tattoos. Tattooinator uses the name to generate a unique ID for the tattoo, so every tattoo must have a different and unique name.

Please do not PM me with mod, tutorial, or general modding questions or problems; post them in the thread for the mod or tutorial or post them in the appropriate forum.

Visit my blogs for other Sims content:
Online Sims - general mods for Sims 3
Offline Sims - adult mods for Sims 3 and Sims 4
Test Subject
#16 Old 28th Jan 2014 at 4:46 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by EratoTiaTuatha
I'm using photoshop CS5 and the NVidia DDS plugin to save my files, and maybe I'm just blind (or stupid) but nowhere while saving does it say "no compression". There's the whole list of availble compressions, and a nice checkbox for the level of compression, but I can't just turn it off. I fugured one of the listed "compressions" must be codename for no compression, so I tried them randomly but had no success. After that I tried using the DXT5, but it still didn't work.


I found a brilliantly easy way to fix this... I edit the image in Microsoft Paint, making sure my reds are red, greens are green, blues are blue, blacks are black, whites are white. Then, I go into GIMP, and save the file as a .dds without editing or compressing. GIMP is free so just for this purpose I would download it. Then, when i open the file, there's no problems. I suggest this method as I have created 5 unique tattoos and have had no problems.
Test Subject
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11th Mar 2014 at 11:32 AM
This message has been deleted by mirabellarose.
Ms. Byte
Original Poster
#17 Old 12th Mar 2014 at 3:56 AM
As you probably suspect, this isn't the right place for this problem. This tutorial is for actual tattoos, not the accessory-type tattoos. They work differently. The only things I can tell you about your problem I'd that when a sim wears more than one accessory the textures blur like this, plus you should be using a 1024x1024 texture and make sure you're using the same DDS compression as the original socks you cloned.

If you have more problems, please post in the Create / CAS Parts forum: http://www.modthesims.info/forumdisplay.php?f=597

Please do not PM me with mod, tutorial, or general modding questions or problems; post them in the thread for the mod or tutorial or post them in the appropriate forum.

Visit my blogs for other Sims content:
Online Sims - general mods for Sims 3
Offline Sims - adult mods for Sims 3 and Sims 4
Test Subject
#18 Old 14th Mar 2014 at 7:09 AM Last edited by mirabellarose : 14th Mar 2014 at 7:40 AM.
Thank you for your help. It's nice to get some solid answers for something. I've been asking everywhere for help. I even asked at Yahoo Answers! And no one answered. No one at all.

Sorry for posting this in the wrong place. I'll move it if you'd like. Thanks again.

Edit: Original post is deleted and moved.
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