Moon Sims
Tech

How to Make Skins for The Sims
Part 3: Gathering Tools and Reference Data

"Now that I know what clothing I want to make and what body mesh I'm going to use," says Carla, "I need to get my tools and references ready to to. Here's a shopping list of the programs I use when I'm making new skins."

Graphics editing programs It's possible to make some adjustments to skins with GraphicConverter, but to make a complex custom skin from scratch you really want to use an editor that supports layers like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or Canvas. I use Photoshop almost exclusively for making skins, and sometimes I use Canvas when I need to do some vector graphics work.

Sim viewer program SimShow from Maxis is the classic, available for both MacOS and Windows. You can also view sims with Simpose-ium and BodyWarp.

UV Mapper I use Keith "Spanki" Young's BodyWarp to make UV Maps. If you are more adventurous, most 3D meshing programs will do this if you want to take the time to convert from the Maxis .skn format to a more standard 3D mesh format. You can make really nice clothes for your sims without having a UV map available, but as you'll later in this tutorial using the UV map as a reference makes it a lot easier to get things lined up right when you're working on a complex skin.

Note: Spanki's Bodywarp site is off line, but I've heard that Bodywarp is available from The Sims Resource. (See page 14 of our links for our notes about The Sims Resource.

Another note: We've heard that you might have difficulty getting a good download from TSR. The good news is that you can find Bodywarp in the Utilities section of The Sims Hangout. (See page 14 of our links for our notes about The Sims Hangout. Thanks for telling about this, Ben!)



Text Editor
Carla
Most of the time you won't need to use a text editor, but if you want to modify the CMX and SKN files you will need a plain-text editor, such as SimpleText (MacOS), BBEdit (MacOS and Windows), or Notepad (Windows). I've heard that Wordpad works, too, but you have to be very careful to save the files in the correct format.

Speaking of which, we learned the hard way that if you do edit CMX files and want them to work on the Windows version of The Sims, you must save them with DOS line breaks. Don't use MacOS or Unix format.


"And that's all I need! Most of my skinning adventures involve a lot of switching back and forth between Photoshop and SimShow, so let's get started."

Forward Back to Part 2 | Continue to Part 4 Forward

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