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Virtual gardener
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#1 Old 27th May 2018 at 2:20 PM Last edited by Lyralei : 28th Aug 2018 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Fixing the text formatting
Default TUTORIAL - How to Recolour fast and easy (With tips&tricks!)
Hi everyone!

You've probably seen toooons of recolouring tutorials on the internet, so this might make you go "Ugh... another one!" But! I also made sure to fill it with tips and tricks to make recolouring all those CASparts easier and efficient. So pretty much your need for speed edition of recolour tutorial!

What we will be learning?
  • Finding your true love's CASpart clone!
  • How to easily add solid colours without weird things happening
  • How to keep your highlights and shadows still shiny when adding patterns/colours.
  • What makes a perfect colour? What is the perfect black and white as well.
  • Some Photoshop basics
  • How to add swatches
  • What the hell textures are

What will we be using?
  • Photoshop (Although GIMP and Paint.NET should be fine too as long as you know the basics )
  • S4Studio

Let's get started!

After you've installed S4Studio and any other tool, First thing we want to do is boost it up of course!

Now if we look at "CAS" We see 2 options:

Create a CAS Standalone : Clones a new CASPart and will show up as an individual item in CAS. (You've probably seen that before, were you saw a dress or a shirt that had the same mesh as another in-game item but entirely different colours).
Add CAS part Swatch: Adds colours to that same item! No cloned items in your CAS! Yay!?

Now for easy recolours where you add more colours to something I would recommend Add CASPart swatches (You all probably still remember in the early TS4 days where people added 200 swatches of colours to an existing game item). This would probably be the option you want. Buuut if you're not liking that idea or have a completely different texture in mind to apply to that one mesh, you'd want to go with Create a CAS standalone.

So let's go with Create a CAS standalone because we can! :P

1."We've got so many colour choices we can have here Lyra, why that one?" You might/might not ask. Well, when creating a clone, keep in mind that if we were to grayscale it, it actually has to be a decent gray colour so we don't have to fiddle around with the brightness settings and such. So if we didn't had a beige-y colour, I would recommend looking for pastel colours. NEVER neon or somewhat darker solid colours!
So in this case, the fourth, fifth, sixth and 8 would have been a no-no. Also make sure to choose for a non-patterned version unless you're really sure on to what you're doing.

2. Let's click next. If you really want to you could click multiple colour swatches from the list but I'll skip that bit since we don't really need that for this tutorial.

So we have a few goodies that can be really helpful when creating recolours here. (You can skip this bit if you know what you're doing)

1. Add swatches. These are the little box thingies you see when in-CAS you want to click on a new colour. So it would be really important to keep adding swatches as well as the correct colours.

2. In Swatch Thumbnail you can easily alter those colours (And even pick the right colour with this awesome tool!) to get people to recognise the swatch and what colour you'll be selecting.

3. Textures. This one is a little complicated when you're really new to this (AS well as to meshing ) So I'll try to explain as well as I can and how they'd be helpful with your recolours:

Diffuse: This is the texture that we'll be using the most. It's the one that shows the colours and pretty much the main texture you'll always be seeing when selecting a CAS item.
Shadow: This is a texture that shows shadows on a sim's skin. (So never on your own diffuse map) So if we keep in mind Bella's red dress for example, the cleavage part would have the white bits. (You'll probably see what I mean when clicking on it) If you're recolouring a dress with a slightly different texture, you would want to alter this for more realism. The darker the colour (So gray or black even), the more shadow there will be.
Specular map: Ever seen that really super shiny latex suit or whatever shiny thing you might have downloaded? The specular map adds some highlights to your recolour! This does not mean you don't have to add shadowing to your diffuse map! Here's a great tutorial and explanation on Specular maps:
Normal: Also known as the bump map! This is the one you really want to alter when creating unique new textures as well:
Emission: As far as I've looked into it (And if it ahd the same meaning for other 3D stuff) This is only useful if you want to create super bright stuff, as in... light things up... as in lights! However this needs a specific shader to work.

1. Click on the diffuse map

2. Click on export and save it to your workfolder. I usually call these textures just Diffuse.

Here we have a texture in it's normal habitat... One thing to keep in mind is: Do not crop the texture! At all! OR give it a background... Why? Well, this is basically the entire texture of the sim body. If you change this, you'll end up with a dress on a sim's face or at places you've never thought a texture could appear. With the background... your sim will appear like that colour and there's no other way around for it. So... never alter it at all unless you know what you're doing!

1. Image>Adjustments>Desaturate.

This is the shade you want. Not anything darker or lighter. Since else it really won't work with the colours you'll be making with it! This technique is actually a technique from back in the TS3's old days (*winks at old ts3 creators like me*). Where with CAST you'd be able to change the colour of an outfit into whatever you want. How and why? Well, EA would first make a gray texture, and let the tool do his work! If it were to be a red diffuse texture instead of a gray one, you wouldn't be able to get the right colours you wanted or even any of the opposite colours of the colour spectrum!

Now that we covered that. Let's select the dress bit without the straps and such. I did this with the quicktool but if you're new to all this, these tutorials could really help like these ones:

1. Right+Click and refine edges.
NOTE: This option does not appear in the latest Photoshop options. They sort of hid it somewhere so for that you want to do Shift when clicking on Select>Select and Mask.

2. Now a Dialog popped up. We want to set the Smooth to 10. Why? Well as you might noticed there are these super pixel-y edges as shown by refine edges. If we smooth it, it won't look incredibly hard once you get to the colouring bit

3. Click OK.

You might have used it before, and if so, that is exactly the technique you want to use when recolouring! But if you haven't, You ALWAYS want to use the adjustment layer tool. This is the small circle with 50/50 white and black that is at the bottom of your layer panel. Let's click that! Make sure the dress is still selected.

Now we see that a mask appeared on top of our texture. This is good! The black bits are actually the bits that are still altered but basically hid. The white one however still appears To read more about masks, here you go!:

I highlighted a few that you'd probably be using in any circumstances but the ones you might use the most (And we will be using) Is the:
  • Brightness/Contrast
  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Hue/Saturation
  • Color Balance
  • Solid Color (Not highlighted but a pretty neat tool. Can be found in the same list)

All these tools have all sorts of tutorials on them as well. So I won't go too much into depth of them when we're using them in this tutorial. But let's give Hue/Saturation a try!

Hue/Saturation way

The Hue/Saturation tool has a 3 sliders. 1 that defines the colors, the second how much gray you add to the color and 3 speaks for itself. I wouldn't recommend touching 3 at all. Have you also noticed an additional black/white layer appeared on top of our layer? That's good! We can re-use that anytime. But if we really hate the changes we can simply delete it and our gray old textur-y friend will be back and you can start all over again.

Good examples!

Why: Because The shadows, highlights, details and such are still visible! It just has their own colour!

Bad Examples

Why: This is waaaay to bright. Most of the highlights, shadows, details, etc. You can't even see anymore, which is a real shame given how they were so well done in the first place! Besides, this specific brightness will make you want to grab sunglasses as well and surely won't look good in-game.

(More on how to work with hue/saturation, click this: )

Color Balance

For this one my advice would be to only change the midtones, unless in any rare occasion you have to change the highlights or shadows whichif that's the case... it's not a good one. So let's take a look at the colour sliders. Just fiddle around as much as you want with it!

Good examples!

Why: Highlights are a little less here but still really nicely! This is actually a really nice one for somewhat less shiny fabric types. (Again when recolouring, looking at your own closet and studying the highlights and such is probably the best thing to do. The internet tends to add a lot of brightness to their images because products gotta be pretty and sold!)

Bad Examples

Why:... because it looks as if it's straight from a horror movie... And it makes me cry from the inside. Especially since shadows are NOT brown. And on the green one... just don't. please.

(More on colour balance, see this link: )

Solid color (Alternative could be Gradient color)

While this technique is pretty much the same as creating a new layer and bucket fill it, the reason why we're doing it this way is because it 1. Saves time! 2. It's how the professionals do it. 3. You don't have to fiddle around with just about getting the right selection and deleting stuff... Now you're probably thinking "Geez! It's... all flat! D: RUN!!" But that's why layers are a thing :D

1. Make sure you got the mask (black and white) layer selected.

2. For the Solid Color option that you applied I would always recommend to go with Overlay. Multiply could... work but it's usually so freaking dark and it just doesn't work well. So overlay it is!

Say you're not happy with the colours, then you can always double click on the colour thumbnail and change it into something else by using the dialog that will show up

Good colours to use - Examples!

Why: Because they're not too Bright or dark (Although dark could be allright, just... not too dark) And will look realistic! Again, it's always good to look at references!

Bad colours to use - Examples

Why: Because solid red like that just is... no. It never looks good, and it always turns things into crap. (As a designer you always want to aim for unique colours as well) So best thing to do here is just to go with either soft pastel colours and colours that are from this Red(255,0,0) This Blue(0,0,255) Or This Green(0,255,0). So as long as the other zeros are at least close to 20-50 and the 255 is around 100-200 you're good on the colours!

(More on solid colors, this is a really helpful video: )

The straps! What about the straps!!

Lemme tell you this awesome super duper trick I figured out not too long when in the progress of saving my coffee and keyboard... (Tip, don't hold 2 things and try to type, it doesn't work)

1. Hover your cursor over the Black and white layer (Mask).
2. Hold the CTRL button on your keyboard (For MAC this is the command button)
3. Click on the mask while holding CTRL And voila! You got yourself a selection without any trouble, and super quick too!

Hold that Selection! Let's invert it!

4. Right click on your texture (So not the layers) And select "Invert selection" From the list.
5. Click on the layer adjustments button we've used before and click on brightness/contrast. Now our dress won't be affected by the changes for the straps!

Given how ours already had a quite a dark coloured strap (It wasn't actually black, but we'll see how to do it EA's way in a sec ) We now want to change the colours to that same gray shade as we did with our dress bits. So like this.

How not to do it:

Yeah not even if you're thinking of making a white recolour... we'll get to that soon.

Add your preferred technique to your layer and voila! Some good rockingly looking straps:

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Virtual gardener
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Original Poster
#2 Old 27th May 2018 at 2:20 PM Last edited by Lyralei : 14th Aug 2020 at 2:12 PM. Reason: fixed broken vantablack image
Default TUTORIAL - How to Recolour fast and easy (With tips&tricks!) - Black and white
In this part we'll be covering Black and whites. Why? Why in a separate part and not just in the first post. Well, this is something that needs quite some explanation to why and what and why to do this and not that. Especially since white and black actually aren't colours and with that... don't exist if you think about it.

What is proper white/black and what isn't?

When looking at the black dress, we don't see any pitch black, not even in the shadows. That's, well... black in real life! Black, despite being such a dark colour according to our language, is actually still bright in the concept of things. That is, because black actually does attract lighting. That way there is always going to be shadows and highlights but they're never ever pitch black. Probably when you're wearing a black dress or skirt or shirts, etc. and focus on the wringles it's never pitch black. But what is considered pitch black? Let's compare it with the darkest black that exists till this day:

This colour is called Vantablack. It only absorbs about 0.035 percent of visual light. Now as you can see, you're probably really annoyed by the fact that you can't see the skin details like you can on the golden version. This is what it will feel like if you use pitch black, especially on your textures. You're constantly looking for those shadow-y bits and try to figure out where they are and look pretty much... well flat! This same thing counts for white. Imagine if there was a super white colour... you'd still be searching for those highlights. I guess this same thing applies for all colours but black and white are the trickiest colours to recolour, hence why I'm giving myself more to type! :D

What does it look like?

Let's try to show how it's done and how it really isn't with your own textures! Of course you can apply the right shade the same way with either color balance or solid color. Hue might give some issues but it's worth a try if you really want to use that technique!

Don't do this....

Let's start off with what is considered a bad shade. You might think "But this is black? What are you talking about Lyra!" But in reality (And I pretty much only wear black :p) when looking at any black clothes myself, i've never seen a pitch black shadow. Same counts for white. So using the white rgb(255,255,255) and black rgb(0,0,0) Is the wrong way of doing it because shadows and highlights are not pitch black/white

But how do I recognize it's too dark/bright?

One way to figure this out as well is to see if you can still see the seams. In this case, it's so dark you can't. And as explained before, the shadows are pitch black which also shows that it's just waay too dark.
On the white bit, on the belly bits, if we focus on our gray texture we can clearly see there's quite a lot of wrinkles on the skirt bit but don't show up because the white is simply to bright.

Myeah getting there!

These are all right shades to start with. They don't have as many pitch black/white highlights and shadows as shown in the wrong shade of black/white right above this section. They're not perfect but also not bad. you're probably wondering why I'm also sharing the "in between" version of black and white. Well, the thing with TS4 is that there are specific shades of black and white and this one actually just about breaks the rules of white-white and black-black but also isn't too dark or bright to not see what we've discussed before. But what are considered right shades of whites/blacks and why? I'll explain more about the right shades riiiiight now:

Yay realism!

Ever bought a clothing piece and in the store they looked the right shade but when you're wearing them they're completely different and feel that great betrayal of not actually buying that colour clothing piece you intentinted to buy? As someone who wears black a lot, finding out that your pants are actually navy blue makes you wanna scream at the cloud Because... black! But, why is that? It's because as I've said before, black and white aren't colours. They're also really hard to re-produce onto fabrics as well hence why black is never black-black Unless Vantablack is going to be the new clothing thing... that would be kinda cool to be honest :p

Anyways! Black for example, on clothes especially, is always close to blue (And sometimes to the darker brown side). White on the other hand is very close to a more brownish colour. We've all seen white objects slowly turning brown or yellow-y right? Or maybe you own a white dog but when it's snowing it looks kinda vanilla-y? If you're ever recolouring white colours, think about this good doggo!

But I still am a bit scared to use black and white, what do I do now?!

We've all been there, which is why I made a colour scheme! If you're not feeling like downloading the entire image I added a photoshop save file that should work with older versions. if you're using Gimp or Paint.NET or something else, it's okay to use the BMP or PNG version, open it up and just eyedrop the colour of your liking

If you don't want to download anything, I listed the potential colours right here:

RGB(37, 36, 34) HEX: #252422
RGB(27, 26, 24) HEX: #1b1a18
RGB(21, 24, 29) HEX: #15181d
RGB(31, 33, 36) HEX: #1f2124

RGB(201, 209, 213) HEX: #c9d1d5
RGB(219, 229, 230) HEX: #dbe5e6
RGB(230, 209, 227) HEX: #e6e3d5
RGB(207, 203, 198) HEX #cfcbc6

If you're wondering what Hex (#) means, if you look at the colour screen that pops up you want to add the hex right here:

But why are the whites pastel blue?! Well, they... are blue but not blue blue. The gray texture that we use to recolour pretty much turns it into a decent white colour. So nothing to worry about I tested it as well on my better monitor which I use for my own graphics work so trust me :p

Another way to check it would be to import it to S4Studio, which I will talk about a little bit later. But here would be the end result for a bad shade and a good shade:

Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: zip Color schemes black and white - (90.5 KB, 17 downloads) - View custom content
Description: Color schemes! If you like :)
Virtual gardener
staff: administrator
Original Poster
#3 Old 27th May 2018 at 2:20 PM
Virtual gardener
staff: administrator
Original Poster
#4 Old 27th May 2018 at 2:20 PM
Virtual gardener
staff: administrator
Original Poster
#5 Old 27th May 2018 at 3:22 PM
Mad Poster
#6 Old 30th Jan 2019 at 12:23 AM
This was really interesting to read. Will the later parts ever be added?

My deviantART, MTS Yearbook Origin ID = Alistu
The Plutonite Prosecutor
staff: senior moderator
#7 Old 30th Jan 2019 at 5:12 AM
Totally good tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to write this.
#8 Old 4th Feb 2019 at 8:39 PM Last edited by Victor_tor : 6th Feb 2019 at 10:57 AM.
Good tutorial! Thank you. Is there any part about normal, specular and shadow maps edition?

Here you can see more of my creations and conversions for sims 3. ;) I`ll glad to see your comments in.
Virtual gardener
staff: administrator
Original Poster
#9 Old 2nd Mar 2019 at 11:42 AM
Woops! Totally late to see these replies, but thank you @Menaceman44 , @AdonisPluto and @Victor_tor !

I'll try to update it, so it also has some tips regarding patterns and such but life has gotten in the way a lot these days, so I'll try!

Regarding the Normal/specular and shadow maps, I might include those? But it really depends on if I get time to work on it
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