View Full Version : My first time skinning, and I'm horribly frustrated
8th Oct 2008, 07:30 PM
I tried photoskinning a top for the first time last night, and I was NOT happy with the result. I've read all the basic tutorials on this site, including the photoskinning tutorial, and I still had a mess when I was finished. I found the photoskinning tutorial hard to follow, and none of the tutorials explained many basic questions about skinning, such as: How do you photoskin a top when only the front is visible? Do you hand-paint the back, or do you cut and paste? (which looks awful, by the way.) How do you edit an alpha properly? (after I copied the image of the shirt to the texture, and resized it, I couldn't cut and paste the resized image onto the alpha, so the alpha was the wrong size) If the photo is too large, how do you resize it so the logo or print isn't sitting at your sims' waistline? And how on earth do you make the sides of the shirt, and make them match, so there isn't a gap or an obvious line between the front and back?
This is the result of an HOUR of work (see the attachments - I don't know how to put images in the post itself).
Umm... yeah. The alpha is completely messed up (I made it white at the very top, which is why it looks like a turtleneck). I forgot to remove the label on the top, the print is stretched and out of proportion to the body, and you can see why I'm not happy, right?
I really need help with this. Even some basic advice about texture and alpha editing would help.
EDIT: I have no idea why the pictures are not showing, but are direct links to the pics: http://tinypic.com/usermedia.php?uo=wXCjKn0DnZa9UlclvM8SOQ%3D%3D
8th Oct 2008, 08:03 PM
Mkay, let's see if we can pick apart some of this confusion you've got. :)
How do you photoskin a top when only the front is visible?
It kinda depends on the outfit. In the case of the top you're doing, looks like you could probably take a piece from under the logo and duplicate that across the back to get the same basic grey texture and then handpaint details like a bit of a ripple mid-back and some highlights across the upper back. Sometimes you can copy-paste onto the back and it looks okay, but more often than not, it takes using bits of the original texture, plus buttloads of adjusting and fiddling.
How do you edit an alpha properly?
There's two ways to do this, and how you do it depends on the project. Personally, when I skin things, I do my texturing all on separate layers from the background so all of my textures "float" above the background. I often do this on a blank or skintone-coloured background so I can see exactly where my textures end and don't have anything behind it interfering. The advantage to this is that when you're done, your textures are completely separate... and they also should match exactly what you want to do for the alpha.
Now, I don't know what program you're using, but in Photoshop, it's very easy to lock a layer's transparency and bucket fill it white. I do this with a copy of my texturing - lock its transparency, and make it white, so I have a perfect copy of my texturing, only white. A bucket fill black background behind that, and I have a perfectly-matching alpha.
The second way is to do the texturing and alpha separate, and do the alpha on its own, on top of the UV map, using the lines there to lay out your alpha how you want it. I prefer the first method for all but the most simple of outfits as it means you get a perfect alpha that matches your texture exactly, but the second method can work if you're doing something really simple, or to do a really basic alpha while you're editing, and do the first method when you want to clean it up and make it perfect.
If the photo is too large, how do you resize it so the logo or print isn't sitting at your sims' waistline?
This depends on what program you're using, but again, keeping your bits and pieces on separate layers helps a lot here. If you have the logo on its own layer, then you can generally just drag the resize handles at the edges of that layer to position it how you want it. You may have to do some blending to the texture behind too, to fill in any gaps - in your case, filling in some of the grey background anywhere needed.
And how on earth do you make the sides of the shirt, and make them match, so there isn't a gap or an obvious line between the front and back?
I think the key to this (and helpful in a lot of your issues) would be to get the UV map for the mesh you're working on and work on top of that. It will show you exactly where the edges are so you don't get lost. In most cases for a shirt you DO want a visible edge there - shirts have side seams. But if you have the UV map, you can basically blend the edges past the seams so it looks seamless and then add a tiny little darker line on one side, just inside the seam. Take a look at some Maxis shirt textures for how that looks - it's very easy to do if you have the UV map and can just trace the edge with the line tool in your graphics editing program. I have a tutorial (available under my profile) titled Exporting UV Maps for Better Clothing Recolours. It requires SimPE and UV Mapper, but both of them are free.
8th Oct 2008, 09:08 PM
I know you feel frustrated right now, but trust me, it gets MUCH easier with practice. Once you've done this shirt, all following photoskinned tees will be much simpler. So you don't feel bad, I have spent literally days on some skinning projects, these things take time.
I strongly second HP's advice about using the UV map as a guide. There is a repository of Maxis UV maps already made for you, if I can just find the link... Aha!
Look in this forum under Tools and Templates. It is the third thread there, Body Meshes UV Map Templates. If you don't know the name of your mesh, you can find out. Go to your BodyShop Projects directory, find the *.package file for your tee shirt, open it with SimPE. The name of the mesh will show up in a list in there. Look for something like tftop...whatever, for a teen female top, that's the name of the mesh.
HP explained how to make alphas with PhotoShop. I can tell you how to do it with GIMP. Right click on your tee shirt layer. Click "add layer mask". Select "transfer layer alpha" or just "layer alpha". Copy the layer mask and paste it into its own layer. You now have your alpha.
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