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Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#1 Old 26th Mar 2005 at 4:10 PM Last edited by Faylen : 31st Mar 2005 at 6:08 PM.
Default Paying attention to details
One of the things I wish would be done better (especially with photo skins) is that textures are applied without thought to where they would be IRL. I'm trying not to rant, but I just saw, the other day, a photo skin made from a pic of a shirt that was laid out flat on a table with strange bumps and bulges, applied just like that to a sim shirt. It made me think about how skinning should be about more than just copying and pasting.

Think about how a real article of clothing is assembled - I applied the texture to this outfit in a number of spots - the cuffs and yokes on a man's shirt are separate, and often a pattern is laid across them horizontally. A collar and its stand are separate pieces from one another. The inside that shows when the collar is open is going to have the pattern on an angle. If I'd really wanted to go nuts, I could have put the placket on as a separate piece, and the pockets as well (on a cheap shirt, the pockets might not line up with the shirt, or be cut on the bias so there's no obvious mismatch of the print.)

Some things will be less perfectable - back seam on sleeves and side seams can change depending on the shape of your sim - but attention to details like that can make your skins look better.
Screenshots

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
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Lab Assistant
#2 Old 26th Mar 2005 at 5:11 PM
I am all with you lady. I think photo skins should be the exception rather than the rule, occasionally one comes around that works quite well but usually the funky bumps and pant pockets that reach the knees kill it for me.

I am working on an outfit based on a shirt I bought at Abercrombie in a rare moment of ultra-consumerism. :evilnod: I used some basic clothing textures from the original and some careful appilcation of a ribbed pattern before copying and pasting the embroidary from a scan. I had to sharpen it up because of the limitation to the detail but I think it looks all right even up close, now if I can only get the alpha for the capped sleeves to look right...

Anyway, I 100% agree. I am proud to be a content snob, because most of whats out there is :censored:.
Screenshots
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#3 Old 27th Mar 2005 at 1:11 AM
The biggest problem with photo skins is that they look wrong in the game - the only thing that looks photographic in every scene. Completely out of place, IMO. However, I also hate to see (or see tutorials) that simply copy a texture in a single swath over the entire garment, because that's not only unrealistic, but sloppy. I will use my polygonal lasso and healing brush for days to get things in the right place, and I'm a lot happier than I would be if I just slapped on a texture. Maybe it's time for another tute.

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Lab Assistant
#4 Old 27th Mar 2005 at 6:13 PM
Not naming any names, but there is a prominent featured artist at TSR that is guilty of the 'slap-one-texture-across-the-whole-damn-thing' skinning method as well as object texturing. It makes my eyes hurt to even look at them. :P
Lab Assistant
#5 Old 27th Mar 2005 at 6:39 PM
What bothers me the most, and I hope this isn't off-topic, is when someone does an amazing recolor of a hairstyle - but only for teens and adults. :argh: It's kind of understandable if the recolor is purple or something, but it bugs me to no end when it's a normal color. I'm not much of a skinner, and I'm the first to admit that. But at least I take the time to recolor for all ages! :mad:

"It's better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not."
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#6 Old 28th Mar 2005 at 2:03 PM
Geekess, I'm pretty certain that I'm thinking of the same person as you are. . .and I agree wholeheartedly. It's hard to say whether photoskinning, with the shadows and highlights in the wrong places, is better or worse than slap-dash copy and paste, with none at all. BTW, I'd love to see something from you about your personal methods - I've found there are a lot of different routes to good results, and I'd love to see an exchange of ideas here from people who put a lot of time into producing quality work.

And drumwench, I'd like to see more of entire hair files recolored, too. However, I don't expect it with the new meshes. I spent a good long time making all the styles I liked in all ages for both sexes into a new color, and since that. . .well, let's just say I have a lot of pale blondes in my neighborhood!

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Test Subject
#7 Old 28th Mar 2005 at 2:53 PM
I'm not a skinner, but I appreciate those who are. I'm impressed with the hard work that goes into quality skins. (Feylen and Geekess, y'all stuff is quality!) I wish there were some kind of rating system for the quality of the clothing that can be downloaded. I want to be able to find and acknowlege the creators of good, quality, pain-in-the-neck-to-make outfits. Y'all deserve some cred.
Cheers,
Slim
Instructor
#8 Old 31st Mar 2005 at 10:40 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faylen
Maybe it's time for another tute.


Oh yes, please!! I make my skins from scratch (with the occasional use of embroiderie or lace) and, as I cannot make real clothes I get stuck sometimes...
I usually do ethical clothes, so there can be no copy/paste and I'd love to learn new techniques and improve my work.
Please... :D
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#9 Old 31st Mar 2005 at 6:07 PM
There are plenty of sites where you can get textures. You can take pictures of swatches from fabric sites (I'm sure there may be some lawyer out there that would take on the cause of you stealing the fabric image and using it on something that exists only in cyberspace and is not made for profit, so make enough changes that it's not really the same - there's some kind of rule about a percentage of change making it not the copyrighted image anymore) and I've found pictures of other textures - metals, plastics, pieces of photos or drawings - that can be made to work on clothes. I have a file of all these images titled (duh) "textures" and I delve into it when I'm skinning. Sometimes the clothing idea comes first, and I look for a texture to use, sometimes the texture inspires the clothing (just as in my real life sewing!) You can open up the image of the texture in Photoshop and use some of the filter tools to see what kind of different results you get, too, and if you like them, save them as a different file to use later.

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Test Subject
#10 Old 31st Mar 2005 at 11:34 PM
Faylen - I understand what you are saying. However, I am not much of a skinner, but I enjoy making clothes, (for my sims). I sometimes even read tutorials. But when learning to walk each step is clumsy so if my garments are not as fine as yours, that is because I am not up to speed on everything my humble psp can do, or everything that i should be looking out for on skins. But I am learning. But there is a lot to learn. I still make about 10 skins for every 1 I keep. (apart from the recolours)

All I'm asking is that you not be too harsh on us mortals who are only learning the tricks of the trade.
Faster kill pussycat
#11 Old 31st Mar 2005 at 11:46 PM Last edited by nova-storm : 31st Mar 2005 at 11:58 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faylen
There are plenty of sites where you can get textures. You can take pictures of swatches from fabric sites


Here is so skinner candy I found thoght you might like it faylen
nova
http://www.craftconn.com/Main.asp?T...om&Step=Fabrics

[quote=misty]Faylen - I understand what you are saying. However, I am not much of a skinner, but I enjoy making clothes, (for my sims). I sometimes even read tutorials. But when learning to walk each step is clumsy so if my garments are not as fine as yours, that is because I am not up to speed on everything my humble psp can do, or everything that i should be looking out for on skins. But I am learning. But there is a lot to learn. I still make about 10 skins for every 1 I keep. (apart from the recolours)

All I'm asking is that you not be too harsh on us mortals who are only learning the tricks of the trade.[quote]


I dont think she is talking about the ppl that are just learning like you and me. I think she means ppl the will up load the9 skins that you would toss out. They will up load them to here with out any thought as to how the look. It is great that you are that hard on your self. I think that you will become a great skinner if you stay that picky. I have made lots of cloths..... and tossed them all out. I have made 2 beddroom sets that I love and U/L to here. I am and will always be far behind what ppl like Faylen can and have done. But I have only been doing this for 1 week.
I think the best thing you can do Misty is go to amazon.com and look for psp books USED I got the ones I needed for psp and ps. I think I got 4 books in all and I spent...$20.00. I have gotten alot out of them. Look for psp 8 for dummies.
Faylen. PLEASE do a tut. I have looked for a good one but as you have stated there are all about copy and past. I have learned how to do the eyes with copy past and wow that is way better!. Now I am trying to fig out how they do the pale wet lips that look so real. And I have all but given up on cloths! If you did a tut I know it would be woth reading.
nova :P

Now I'm not looking for absolution. Forgiveness for the things I do. But before you come to any conclusions. Try walking in my shoes. You'll stumble in my footsteps.
Lab Assistant
#12 Old 1st Apr 2005 at 12:01 AM
Misty Fied - I can't speak for everyone but I am most critical of skins that have little to no effort/attention/love in them, this hardly seems the case with you! Please keep skinning, 6 years ago I taught myself PSP and Photoshop by skinning for TS1 and today I work as a graphic designer thanks to what I learned. Remember, YOU are the first and foremost judge of your work!

Faylen - I have been thinking about doing a tutorial on my methods but there only so much free time to spend and I keep coming up with other 'little' projects that end up taking days. Mostly I am addicted to the clone tool and clipping masks, there is also a very groovy technique using displacments maps that I use frequently. Here I'll just link to a tutorial for it, you can see how it can be applied I am sure:

http://www.polykarbon.com/tutorials...isplacement.htm

Okee, keep skinning!
Faster kill pussycat
#13 Old 1st Apr 2005 at 12:12 AM Last edited by nova-storm : 1st Apr 2005 at 12:14 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geekess
Misty Fied - I can't speak for everyone but I am most critical of skins that have little to no effort/attention/love in them, this hardly seems the case with you! Please keep skinning, 6 years ago I taught myself PSP and Photoshop by skinning for TS1 and today I work as a graphic designer thanks to what I learned. Remember, YOU are the first and foremost judge of your work!

Faylen - I have been thinking about doing a tutorial on my methods but there only so much free time to spend and I keep coming up with other 'little' projects that end up taking days. Mostly I am addicted to the clone tool and clipping masks, there is also a very groovy technique using displacments maps that I use frequently. Here I'll just link to a tutorial for it, you can see how it can be applied I am sure:

http://www.polykarbon.com/tutorials...isplacement.htm

Okee, keep skinning!



Geekess I love your work that is awsome that you now work in the area that you learnd in sims! I have spent last month trying to get you freckels to show up in my game and after hr.s reading tut's and fixing my d/l fileI have them NOW. I love them I have been looking for a brush on the internet that I can d/l so I can make some. I have one I use in PH 7. bout it is not great and I cant find one that works in PSP 8.0. They were not cheap programs as you know, and I want to learn them so my hubby feels better abut me getting them. One thing I dont undersand is what makes/does not make them genetic? (so sorry I skin better then I spell.) I see alot of maskes out there but that is just paint. I want my babies to be born with spots.
Thank you for you great work! My mom d/l tons of your stuff 2.
Nova

Now I'm not looking for absolution. Forgiveness for the things I do. But before you come to any conclusions. Try walking in my shoes. You'll stumble in my footsteps.
Lab Assistant
#14 Old 1st Apr 2005 at 9:32 AM
I'd love to see what other non-photo skinners do. I use photoshop and mostly draw patterns and everything by hand. I don't know what all the pretty buttons do. heh

~Gigge
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#15 Old 1st Apr 2005 at 5:52 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misty Fied
Faylen - I understand what you are saying. However, I am not much of a skinner, but I enjoy making clothes, (for my sims). I sometimes even read tutorials. But when learning to walk each step is clumsy so if my garments are not as fine as yours, that is because I am not up to speed on everything my humble psp can do, or everything that i should be looking out for on skins. But I am learning. But there is a lot to learn. I still make about 10 skins for every 1 I keep. (apart from the recolours)

All I'm asking is that you not be too harsh on us mortals who are only learning the tricks of the trade.


Oh, no, I'm not being harsh on people who are learning - only on the folks who skin and upload without thinking or putting any real effort into it. You're taking the right approach - experimenting and learning.

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#16 Old 1st Apr 2005 at 5:55 PM
Oooh, Geekess, I just looked at that link. I know what >I'll< be doing this weekend. . .

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Lab Assistant
#18 Old 9th May 2005 at 9:34 PM
The technique and skill of Photoshop was never my problem... nor is getting the edges to properly align and look good. No, my problem would be with the vision of the piece. I could do better work were I inspired by something. I need the time and the energy to make something worthy of this community. XD I just hope that someday I find it.
Feeder of Cheesecake to Llamas
retired moderator
Original Poster
#19 Old 10th May 2005 at 2:39 AM
I'll tell you - one of the great places to get inspiration is clothing catalogues. We're limited somewhat by the meshes, unless we also learn how to mesh, but if you fill your texture with a solid color and really look at that shape as a blank canvas, you can come up with some great ideas.

Now, I've been seeing a few things coming through with the same problem - the scale of the texture relative to the sim. It's important to remember that you >can< take your texture, scale it down, copy and paste it into itself until you get a smaller >scale< image that's large enough to fill the area you're pasting into, and use this better-proportioned texture image.

Another thing that's time-consuming, but worthwhile, is copying the UV maps onto your image temporarily if you're changing an alpha or painting something new onto the texture.bmp. What looks perfectly curved or straight on the image and get strange jags and bumps when it's laid onto a sim. The UV map not only makes it easier to find where the corrections are needed, but also can give you a better idea of meeting points in various areas of the skin. They're stickied at the top of this forum, and I highly recommend them.

"Living well is the best revenge. . ." George Bernard Shaw
Lab Assistant
#20 Old 10th May 2005 at 3:39 AM
I find the UV maps more frustrating and time consuming than trial and error. They don't line up correctly at some of the seams, which is where I would want to use them the most.

For me, I've found it advantageous to limit myself to one age group. I know these meshes and how things fall on them really well now.

Catalogs are also a great source of inspiration, just don't get too married to a style. Adjustments always have to be made to fit the mesh. But, picking up an element or several elements you like and working them into a design works really well.

The biggest thing is just to keep creating items. No matter where you're starting from improvement is almost guaranteed with persistence. Just keep a failure bin. Mine is overflowing, but I learned alot from everyone of those items. Might be funny to start a blooper thread.

~Gigge
Test Subject
#21 Old 10th May 2005 at 3:55 AM Last edited by JasmineVs : 10th May 2005 at 3:56 AM. Reason: because i'm a bit of a duuuuh
People like Gigge (yeah you!) and Mummysim have really opened my eyes up to Skinning from scratch and having the ability to create my own textures and I am having SO MUCH fun!!

I never really photoskinned anything before, just a few outfits when I first started out. Then I began to learn a lot more about photoshop with the help of others in the community (Mummysim in particular from Spiffy Sims) and I make my own textures now, Gige even gave me some tips on bump mapping. Though I still use pictures for small details eg: buttons, or some jewelry.

The overall result to me is just so much better than that of a photoskin. To me it looks more realistic than a photoskin, and when i say realistic i mean SIMS realistic. It just fits in with the game better in my opinion. Though I do think some photoskins are gorgeous. I think people like to look for something a little different, when I make skins from scratch they are MY OWN creations, they came from MY OWN mind! (god forbid!) I ( hopefully) will never see my creations on someone elses website, because it's not on some stores site like guess or forever 21.
Lab Assistant
#22 Old 10th May 2005 at 4:23 AM
hehe..good for you Jasmine..way to assert your creativity. Psst...buttons are really easy. That's why I put them on everything. It takes three to six mouse strokes.

~Gigge
Test Subject
#23 Old 10th May 2005 at 5:22 AM
I dunno if my brain can deal with buttons!!
I have been trying to get a decent texture for a skin tone tonight! Driving me nuts, I have all these brushes to use for skin textures but it just doesn't look right yet! I'll have to keep practicing! I am determined to make a pretty realistic looking skin tone with brushes only! Wish me luck erm.. it may take a few weeks haha! I can't get away with hue saturation tool now lmao!
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
retired moderator
#24 Old 10th May 2005 at 5:30 AM Last edited by HystericalParoxysm : 10th May 2005 at 5:47 AM.
I've started using Photoshop's "Pattern Maker" occasionally to get some interesting effects, usually in texturizing an otherwise "flat" image... Make a texture out of something (I did it with a picture of some fake fur from a textiles website to give a set of leopard-print lingerie a slight furry texture without blurring the actual pattern on it). Use the Pattern Maker to distort the image some... Which I find works well to make it have smaller "chunks" - you're working with a rather small area, pixel-wise, and the original fur texture would've had a single strand of fur being about 1/2 inch wide, from the sim's perspective... Sized it down some still, brought contrast up by around 20%, downed the brightness by around the same, put it on another layer, and changed the blend type to Luminosity at about 50%... It gave it just a little hint of fuzzyness, without blurring my leopard print texture... Just the effect I wanted. This would probably work well with velvets, etc., any highly-random pattern.

Speaking of, Luminosity blends are my absolute favourite to add just a bit of texture/shape to something, without overdoing it. I'm (still) working on a pale nude skin, and I've got a lot of photos of real people that I was trying to incorporate into the images to get some realistic musculature and such, especially for the "fit" body texture. I found layering about 5 different ones of these, with a nice fuzzy edge, at about 15% and a Luminosity blend added just enough texture to the original Maxis skintone that it looked somewhat less flat, but not -too- realistic... I don't want anything that clashes with the simish cartoon style, but I like them to have some dimension and realism to them. I also like using photos of people for skin tones and the like...

For this I use one of two methods. If I want the actual body features, I'll use the lasso tool to grab the piece I want (say, the upper back) and copy-paste it onto the skin. Do some resizing, erase the hard edges to smooth (I prefer this than the less-exact method of feathering when I do the selection to begin with), and lay it on top correctly. Then, in small areas, start using the 5x5 sample eyedropper to pick up color, and then use a soft brush of about 15 pixels at around 10% opacity to "smooth" the texture of that area. When I find I'm noticing a difference toward the edges of the small area, I take a new sample. This gets rid of the look of graininess or pixellation from a photograph, and allows me to fine-tune the tones and shading to wrap around a 3D form. The other method is similar... Just keep another image open, and flip to it to sample from now and then while painting on another document. I've used this in non-skinning art pieces and I find it's very successful to get realistic tones and highlights. If I just pick myself, I find it's either too far to yellow or red (in the case of skintones) or the levels I choose of shadow aren't quite right. Just find a photo of someone with beautiful skin (Elijah Wood and Gackt both immediately come to mind). This method could also be used to add colors to a piece of clothing very easily... Have an image with the colors you like together in it? Just eyedropper them out and you'll have an exact recreation of the colors with no guesswork. This may seem obvious and simple, but it took me a while to figure out, but useful it is!

I found the copy-pasting pieces of an image method works for texturizing some areas, though, with certain parts, nothing beats pulling out my tablet and pen and drawing them in; Using the tablet instead of a mouse is equivalent to the difference between painting with a fine sable brush, and a brick duct-taped to the end of a broom handle. I ended up drawing the non-barbie bits myself on my nude skin, both because I found they looked too realistic by pasting in photos and trying to edit them, and it was way too much trouble to sift through dozens of pages of nasty pr0n trying to find something suitable.

My current main problem is trying to figure out how to correctly apply a flat texture to the 3D image. I have a picture I'd like to put on the front of a form-fitting tank top for adult females, but obviously just plopping the picture on and expecting it to look right on a sim doesn't work. I'm drooling heavily over that Displacement Map tutorial, which looks very much like what I'm needing... Or at least will get me much, much closer.

I totally agree on the need for a good artistic eye, and some attention to detail on clothing. I've seen some really hideous clothing (like... just used a solid brush to color over in a solid color the entire piece of clothing, no other changes or shading whatsoever), some that's entirely too realistic (like the photo stuff) and luckily, some amazingly talented creators who know how to balance realism and sim-style.

A careful combination of filters can do wonders (especially when used in combination with the "Fade" undo)... The "Poster Edges" filter, maybe used in combination with the "Gaussian Blur", looks like it'd be extremely useful for taking a very hard, defined texture and softening it just a bit that it looks properly sim-ish, but without losing too much definition of the original texture.

My current pet peeve, though, is similar to the original observation... I've noticed a lot of skins that are obviously from photos of real clothing that have like... a front part with a LOT of pleating and drape to them, that are just pasted on a completely flat mesh. To some degree, bump maps and careful application of dodge and burn can make this work, but if a piece is obviously very fluffy with pleating and gathering and such and would stick out from the body more than just a bit, it drives me nuts to see it just slapped on a flat mesh with no thought to how the actual garment would lay. Similar with some hair textures I've seen... They're obviously pulled from a photo, and look magnificent from one angle, but if you view the sim from a different angle, it's horrid! Furthermore, obvious pixellation in the texture applied... Even with anti-aliasing, I very rarely size a texture up much more than 50%, and even in that case, I would spend a long time repainting to get it just right... It also makes my eye twitch to see someone slap a Tommy Hilfiger logo (or other recognizable designer logo) on a rather badly-done set of jeans or a shirt, as if the addition of a designer logo somehow makes the garment more desirable or better for it. It all costs $200 to the sims, and if it looks bad, it looks bad, no matter what designer label you put on it.

I design real clothing as well (mainly Renaissance faire garb and corsetry) which I think is extremely helpful in thinking about how different parts should lay (especially when reading Faylen's original post about how the texture/pattern should go across the different "pattern pieces" of a garment). Come to think of it, that makes me want to browse some of the major pattern manufacturer's sites (McCall's, Butterick, etc...) to get some ideas. Especially in recent years, some of their stuff is very young and hip, and if nothing else, gives some interesting ideas for color and fabric choices, as well as some ideas for interesting cuts and putting in realistic details like darts, correctly-placed seams, etc.

Just this discussion is one of the most helpful and interesting threads I've seen in a long time, and the tips and ideas I'm seeing here are great! Keep it up, guys! You're inspiring me in all sorts of ways!
Lab Assistant
#25 Old 10th May 2005 at 6:48 AM Last edited by Gigge : 13th May 2005 at 5:52 AM. Reason: Moved the Image
Easy buttons, studs, and beads from scratch....

(I'll probably take this down in a day or two unless nudged by a mod to do so earlier.)

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