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The Pathfinder
retired moderator
Original Poster
#1 Old 22nd Dec 2013 at 6:09 PM Last edited by lidiqnata : 23rd Dec 2013 at 12:07 PM.
Default Highlights and shading tutorial using Gimp
Hello all,this is more like an advanced tutorial for highlights and shading. I’ve been doing Bodyshop stuff for a long time and I learned few things(lately) about making maxis-friendly clothing. It’s my first tutorial,so please if I missed something or you have problem with certain step – just inform me and I’ll fix it. I strongly advise you to read the easy tutorial first and have some experience with creating stuff - Tutorial by Faylen. There are more than lovely tutorials over the wiki for beginners.
Here I’ll cover tutorial for GIMP – it’s easy graphic program that I use and it’s free. So another thing you’ll need it a UV body map,that I included at the bottom as a rar(I’ll explain more about it later). You need to download the Test_ByL_DayDress rar and install it in your game.
*Note: At the end of the tutorial check Exporting UV Maps by HystericalParoxysm to help you find the precise UV for the mesh you want to recolor.

Step 1 – Getting started!
Start Bodyshop and make a new project,using my base texture. Since this tutorial covers highlights and shading,I’ve skipped the “how to create a texture part”. It’s a good idea to start with something easy – such as dresses and skirts. Maxis has some lovely textures,so don’t be afraid to use parts of them – gloves,shoes,scarves etc. Work smart,not hard. It’s no use to work on something for days instead of copy/pasting something by EA already done good. This first image shows my almost no shading texture – I really tried to keep it to a minimum,so we do the most parts here.
*Note: My GIMP is in my home language – bulgarian,so I’ll try and translate everything. But if you’re familiar with it,it’ll be easier for you to just look at the pictures

Step 2 – Start!
*Note: When you open your Bosyshop – keep it running and just refresh the texture when you make something significant.
Ok so the first thing we’ll do is remember that each top part is lighter than the bottom one.This is the way to make layered clothing. Now add as a new layer the uv map – this will be a guide so we don’t do anything in the dark. I always use it,even though it’s not the mapping of that certain mesh,it shows where the arms are,legs,chest and so on. So after you do it,lower it to 20% opacity. Now add another layer – transparent this time.

The thing we’ll do now is make two thin black lines under the belt and above it. Then select that area and use “Gaussian Blur” – make it 15 points and blur once.
*Note: During the tutorial we’ll use that blur twice or more times to make the effect we need,so 15 points is perfect – not too much and not too little.

So now we have separated the belt from the shirt and the skirt,but that's not all. Like I mentioned before,this is not an easy tutorial,we have to make almost every detail and take care of every little thing. Now select the parts where the blur entries the belt area – we must delete it,so the dark parts stay off of it.
*Note: Since now we’re doing the belt,it’s a good idea to lower or turn the uv map off,so you can see clearly what you’re doing.

Right now the layer we're working on is put to “normal”, at times during the tutorial we’ll have to make it soft light.
*Note: I use lots of layers(it’s easier to blur,edit,move etc.),so periodically we’ll have to save it and re-open the file, so we don’t end up having zillions of layers.
Ok add new layer and make two more thin lines – this time,make them white and again where the belt reaches the skirt and the shirt. Select the space in between and blur once,then make that layer "soft light".

Ok – half way there. Make new layer,another black line(this time longer), where the belt touches the skirt. Blur it three times and make the layer down to 50%. As you can see we’re slowly separating it – save all and see it in Bodyshop.

*Note: Don’t forget that we’re doing a belt/skirt – so we need to copy/paste what we’re doing from the front side to the back. We don’t want to get seams mismatch.

Few more details and this part will be done. As you can see we must add another smooth shading to separate the blouse better – keep the opacity low,we want to make it a smooth shading. You see the buttoned part of the belt – it has it’s own shading,but why not add a white line on the left and black line on the right. Separate it again,like you did earlier with the belt/skirt. Make the layer low opacity and soft light.
*Note: Don’t forget that if the white/black seems too contrast – you can blur it once more. You can easily blur only one of them while in selection.

Now do the “separation part” for the skirt – as you can see it has a thin line, that should act as where the fabric layers go on top of each. Do white line on the left and black on the right side – low opacity and make it soft light. Since this is bigger piece – use wider lines.
And another one at the bottom of the skirt – make the same line with black on a new layer and blur once. Save and see it in Bodyshop. This is usually the time I close the file and re-open it again – this way I lower the layers and make sure my GIMP saves everything.

Step 3 – You’ve done something!
Congratulations – you’ve done something! Since we started working on the skirt – lets add some more highlights. Now make a new layer – and make long black figure(like shown below) and use the free transformation tool to form it as a triangle.

Copy while selecting it and paste it over. Move the new triangle and put it one triangle apart and do the same thing over again. Do this until you reach the end of the skirt. Make the triangles at the end a bit wider and copy from one side to the other.

Now do the same thing with the triangles,but fill them white. Put them on a new layer and fill the missing spaces from the step above – delete the unnecessary forms. We wan them only on the skirt.

Blur both layers one time and make them soft light – lower to 50% opacity. Preview in Bodyshop.

Ok – this is more like a hint. Once you’ve done the smoother triangles,copy both layers to new layers – soft light – 10% opacity. Select the highlights and make them shorter – but do not move. This way the bottom of the skirt will have more shading than the top part.

Save and preview in Bodyshop. Sometimes it’s best to make the background black,so you can see clearly.

Time to add the shading/highlights of the butt/back. Remember that the idea is to make light,then dark,then light again and so on. I’ll make squares one on top of the other to show you better.
*Note: Time to turn the uv map back on,so we can see where the what is

Ok Time to blur it all – use blur lots of times – we need to make it smooth and nice. After that lower the opacity level down to 40% and make it soft light.

*Note: Do not copy/paste what we did on the back to the other side – front and back have different shading.
Now’s time to work on the front as well. Start by using the brush tool – make it medium big and freely make white spots on the breasts and stomach area. I usually make highlights on the wing bones as well,but some people thinks it’s not needed. Anyway since it’s my tutorial I’ll show you how to make them as well. After the white brush – make black brush marks on both sides of the breasts. Don’t forget the wing bones as well. Use one layer for all.

Blur few times(some parts like the wing bones use smaller amount of blurring than others like stomach area). Make them smooth and make the layer soft light. Add few more black/white brushes on a new layer and do the same thing. Do not put any more on the wing bones – they are ok at this point.
*Hint: Use the brush with smaller size this time – and make a square of black underneath the breasts. You can add little bit white on the butt as well. This time make the layer “normal” and down to 20%.

Ok – see the collar, we haven’t done anything about it until now. Paint with the brush using smaller size and make it smooth(use black color). We are separating it from the rest of the blouse,do the same thing about the tie(where it meets the collar). Make the layer low opacity – save and preview in Bodyshop.
*Note: Since the shading on the collar is very small and just a detail,the blur should be back to 5 points for this operation(you can blur 2 times if it’s still harsh). After this turn it back to 15 points.

After the blurring add the same details with the black brush where the top blouse layer meets the shoulders. Blur little again. Time to start the arms shading. A good idea is to close and re-open again to avoid numerous layers.

Do the white parts like shown in the picture – make a circle on the front (top part)sleeves and remove it from the back side. Time to add some black brush strokes at the end of the arms(new layer) – use the uv map to guide you.

Blur the white parts and make the layer soft light. Blur the black parts as well,but leave the layer to normal and make it 30% opacity. Preview in Bodyshop.

We’re making things slowly – step by step,but note that if you do something lets say-too dark/bright it’ll be a lot harder to fix it,rather than making a new layer and making the place lighter/darker.
Time for final touches,before Step 4. Add shading at the end of the sleeve and make the top lighter,the bottom darker. Blur until smooth,make the layer “normal” and down to 30%. Save and preview.
*Note: The preview in Bodyshop is the easiest way to see if what you’re doing looks ok or not. Just keep in mind that lighting in game is totally different from Bodyshop.

Step 4 – Final, final touches time!
So the basics are done – good job! It’s time for the final touches. Use the brush and freely make white/black parts on butt/belt/chest. Add a black line at the very bottom of the skirt. Just remember to make new layers for the big parts. Since we’re using Maxis shoes,no need to further edit them.

Blur everything,ease the harsh white/black parts. Time to add like those triangles like before,but little this time - above and below the belt.

Make them not only smaller,but some shorter/taller. We’ll need to blur,but keep the white to 70% - soft light. Blur the bottom white/black parts more than those above. The black layer should be down to 40% - "normal".

After you’re done you’ll see, that we’ve made the effect of the belt squeezing the shirt/skirt. You can always add details painted by hand – small paint strokes. If not – leave it as it is. Since I was looking from a picture, I’ll leave the shoes brown. We’re done with the highlights and the shading! Yeay!

Step 5 – The bump map!
Yes – I’ve prepared a mini-tutorial for the bump map as well. I know many of you have problems with it,so this is an easy tutorial to do it.
*Hint: I make the shading while the bump map(if available) is turned off – it’s easier and less distracting.
Now open the bump map.bmp file in GIMP – should be black. So copy the texture we were editing just now and paste it as a new layer.

So now you have two layers – texture and a black one. Make the black one on top and make it use "color" layer option on the one below. We need everything to be black/grey/white-ish.

Finally make another layer – fill it with white or black(does not matter).Make it down to 80%/90%. Do not go under those percentages – unless you have low quality content. Because photo-skinned clothing has it’s own shading,which in most cases is pretty harsh. This is how it’d look in the end. Save and see it in Bodyshop.

Step 6 - We're done!
We’re done,so test it in-game as well.

This is more than enough shading to a texture. Just some final words: Keep in mind that every mesh and texture are unique – so they need to be treated as such. Like I said above dresses/skirts are the easiest to do,but if you want to improve try making pants – it’s almost the same. From beginning to the end - picture.

Here are two pictures of texture shading i did – as you can see each one requires big amount of time and different/correct shading. So if you haven’t succeed from the first try-do not give up! Improve

Hope this tutorial was helpful - can't wait to see how you do it! Remember that this is the way I do it,try making your own way,using the knowledge here - happy simming!
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: rar Test_ByL_DayDress.rar (314.2 KB, 44 downloads) - View custom content
File Type: rar UV Map.rar (182.7 KB, 54 downloads) - View custom content
Sesquipedalian Pisciform
retired moderator
#2 Old 23rd Dec 2013 at 4:52 PM
Thank you lidi - you make it look so easy. I shall try :D

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#3 Old 1st Apr 2014 at 12:53 PM
I am so impressed!
I am a big fan of your work, and I have wondered how you make such beautiful clothes. Thank you very much for opening my eyes to the work it takes to take a 2D image and turn it into something worthy that my Sims can be proud to wear. I really believe I can do it. Another big thanks for doing the work in GIMP. It has been hard for me - a GIMP user - to find tutorials. I usually have to read the tutorial in PSP or another program and then make tons of notes for how to do it in GIMP. you have saved me so much time and effort, that I feel confident in my abilities to follow your tutorial. thanks again. :D
#4 Old 5th Apr 2014 at 11:46 AM
I can't believe I've only just found this! Thankyou so much, it's perfect for what I want to do! I love how you explained how to actually draw the highlights and shadows, so many tutorials assume you know how and don't say!
Field Researcher
#5 Old 5th Nov 2022 at 8:00 AM
Just now found this tutorial. I know you won't see this, lidiqnata, but thank you! I've always tried to use the dodge and burn tools (in Photoshop) but could never achieve the control I needed. I can't draw a straight line to save my life and making a line taper at the end was an impossible job. Your way is far smarter. This tutorial is a gem.
The Pathfinder
retired moderator
Original Poster
#6 Old 12th Nov 2022 at 4:28 PM
*Lidi leaves the dark...I did see this Glad it helps

Originally Posted by mirabellarose
Just now found this tutorial. I know you won't see this, lidiqnata, but thank you! I've always tried to use the dodge and burn tools (in Photoshop) but could never achieve the control I needed. I can't draw a straight line to save my life and making a line taper at the end was an impossible job. Your way is far smarter. This tutorial is a gem.
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