Nikki's Marking Tutorials & Tips
Hello friends, I am going to teach you to make markings. I am fully aware that some people may make markings differently than this or use different methods, but these are the ones I have refined to work the best for me.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
-Sims 3 Object Cloner (S3OC)
-Sims 3 Package Editor (S3PE)
-a version of Photoshop with 3D enabled (you can make markings without Photoshop but this tutorial won’t be very helpful for you)
-the Photoshop DDS plugin
-My 3D model with pink shading channels (Edited from Farai's amazing full body marking base. Download her original here.)
-a 3-channel package to clone (here's mine)
-a working folder to save your files for marking projects in
STEP ONE: CLONE YOUR THING
- Open S3OC. Click File > Open Package. Find the base package you just downloaded and open it.
- Select the item in the left panel of S3OC. Once it's highlighted, click "Clone or fix" on the bottom right of the window.
You will then be taken to a window to select all the options for you new package. First, click all the checkboxes on the left. Under "Rename and number internally", you need to name your new package. I named mine "NikkiCalvaria_ZAnnella_markings"- the horse I'm making is called Z Annella and these will be her white markings. You can name your package literally anything. I suggest putting your name on it and the name of the horse or what type of marking you're making, but it doesn't matter. Next to "Unknown 1" I paste the name of the package to ensure it's unique.
Next, you need to tell the package which area of the horse to assign itself to. The package you downloaded from me will be in Back by default, but you can change it to whatever you prefer. I left mine in Back. The assignment will not affect how the markings show on the horse- a head marking could be assigned to the front left leg and it will still show up on the head when you add it to your coat.
The areas highlighted in orange are the ones you need to edit.
- Once you are sure your package is set up the way you want it, click "Start" and then "Okay" when the dialog box tells you your package is ready. You can then close S3OC.
STEP TWO: MAKE THE THING
- Open Photoshop. Open the 3D model you downloaded above.
This is my edited and personalized model with all 3 channels showing on the whole body. The green channel shows as yellow and the blue channel shows as white.
- Looking at the Layers panel of the 3D model, double-click on the one labelled "ONLY REPLACE THIS". This is your flat map. You should see what looks like the grey skin of a horse stretched out flat. It's slightly gross, you'll get used to it.
Smashed horse on the flat map.
- Now, look at your layers on the flat map. You should see a handful of clipping masks. These are what is going to give your marking it's channels- What shows as red on the model will be white in-game, the other two layers, blue and green, will be pink.
- You should also see a layer which all the clipping masks are clipped to named Marking. You will see that when you draw on this layer, it will display the channels over the marking you draw. Only draw your marking on this layer.
BE SURE to do the actual drawing of your marking on the 'Marking' layer (the one that all the clipping masks are clipped to.)
- Some tricks for using the 3D model:
- Draw on the 3D model with the flat map CLOSED. Drawing on the 3D with the flat map open can cause them to become de-synced, which is super annoying. You can draw on the flat map with the 3D open without worrying about de-syncing.
- It's best to just block out where you want you marking to be on the 3D and then do the majority of your painting on the flat map. Drawing on the 3D model can cause some interesting tears and blurring of the texture, but the flat map doesn't have this distortion.
- Use the 3D model to figure out where the seams are going to be on your marking to avoid ugly sharp lines on your marking (the legs and chest are the most important places for this)
- For this marking, I am only drawing a few small leg markings and a blaze. However, this method will work for any white markings you want to draw.
- I will make a tutorial for getting realistic and interesting edges on markings at a later date. Play with your brush settings until you get the look you want for your marking.
Here is my marking- a sock, a coronet band, and a pastern marking, plus a face marking. The orange and white on the nose will later be the pink on the marking.
STEP THREE: SAVING AND THUMBNAILS
Now that your marking is drawn, it's time to save it. While looking at the flat map, click the little eye icon next to the layer named "Black Bakground" to make it visible. You should now see a red marking on a black background.
Select File > Save As. Find your working folder and save your marking image as a DDS with a unique name so you know which one to use later.
When prompted, make sure your DDS settings match these.
Now, onto the thumbnail. Open a new document in Photoshop that is 256 x 256 pixels.
Make your thumbnail! There is no right or wrong way to do this; however you want to make the icon for your new marking appear in game is up to you.
Once you've made your thumbnail, save it as a .png in your marking folder, again with a unique name. You can now close photoshop.
STEP FOUR: PACKAGING
- Open S3PE.
- Go to File > Open and find your cloned package.
- You should see something like this:
- Now we need to replace the files in this package with our customized ones with the marking on it.
- First, select the item with the IMG tag. (It is the one at the bottom in the image above. It may be in a different place for you, that's okay.)
- Right click it and select "Replace." Find the DDS with your marking on it in the window that pops up. (Remember, the DDS is the one with the black background with the marking on it.) If you are having trouble with the DDS not showing up, make sure "All files" is selected in the dropdown box on the right. (Highlighted on the photo below.) You should then see your marking image load into S3PE on the right panel.
- Now, for thumbnail, find the item with the THUM tag. (Third from the top in my package above.) Do the same process you just used the replace the DDS, except select the png that you made for your thumbnail. You should see it load into the right panel now.
With IMG selected with THUM selected
- Finally, go to File > Save. Congrats, you just made a marking! Make sure to throw it in your game before you next launch it, and go make a beautiful custom pon.
Leave any questions you have below
Oh thank you! now I'm tempted to make markings again!
Thank you for this! I was going to try to learn how to make markings in the new year and this will make it so much easier!
I really look forward to seeing a tutorial (if you make one) on how you get nice crisp - but not pixellled - edges. This tutorial is very helpful
Using Wireframes To Your Advantage
The easiest way to ruin a beautiful marking is to pay too much attention to your gorgeous edges and striking patterns... and forget to pay attention to seams. Seams are any place the texture of the horse skin meets itself on the horse, and if ignored while you paint your marking, they can create ugly, jarring edges on an otherwise breathtaking marking.
Seam on a back leg Seam on the chest
Fortunately, if you draw on the 3D model, its easy to see where you've created a seam, but when drawing on the flat map, how to you know where to draw to ensure your marking lines up? And if you can't use the 3D model in Photoshop, perhaps you've always struggled to make sense of seams. I have a very simple solution for both of you!
If you use the 3D model in Photoshop, simply open the flat skin, then while viewing the flat map, go to 3D >> Generate UV Overlays >> Wireframe. Viola, the wireframe is automatically generated for you. You should be greeted with something like this:
And your horse has been transformed into a grid system, with lines that meet each other and make it obvious where seams will be. Furthermore, its easy to see where the texture will 'distort' around the 3D horse- places where the squares are larger are where your marking will be stretched, places where the are smaller are where details will be compressed. Now, if you want to be sure your marking will be seam-free, you only need be sure the edges of your marking meet each other at the same point by drawing the edges at the same point on the gridmap. Here's a visual example:
By drawing along the lines created by the wireframe on the flatmap... You can ensure the 3D rendering will be seamless. You can begin by creating a seamless block... And then create your marking's texture within that area... To ensure the final result will be seamless.
BE SURE TO NOT DRAW YOUR MARKING ON THE SAME LAYER AS THE WIREFRAME. I recommend leaving the wireframe on the top layer of your document with its transparency locked so you can avoid accidentally ruining a marking.
For those of you who use GIMP or otherwise don't have access to the 3D model, I haven't forgotten you- below is a transparent copy of the wireframe. Its resolution is 2048 x 2048, be sure to resize it if you create markings at a different resolution!
Thank you! I'm going to be losing access to photoshop soon, (worst part about leaving uni is no longer having access to expensive programs!), and this will make the switch to making markings on GIMP so much easier!
Thanks so much. That wireframe will help me so much, since I use my iPad for markings.
Alexa la Coupe
Thanks so much!! Fixing seams in Gimp takes wayyyy too much time, but not anymore I guess!
Thats so helpful and cool! Thank you!
This is very helpful! Thank you for sharing your tutorial!!