Moon Sims

How to Make Skins for The Sims
Part 6: Setting up Your Photoshop File

New file in Photoshop "It all starts here," says Carla. "I'm creating a new file in Photoshop. All body skins are 256x256 pixels. Head skins are 128x128, and hands are 64x64. Note where it says the mode is RGB Color. That's really important. Although the final skin is an indexed-color image in 8-bit BMP format, we want to work in full color until we get the point where we are actually saving a skin.

"Also note that I'm using a transparent background. I like to work with a transparent background because some Photoshop effects only work if the bottom layer is transparent.

New file in Photoshop

"In fact, I'm so fond of having a transparent layer at the bottom of the stack that I habitually start right out by creating a new layer. This is as good of at time as any for you to learn to do that. You could pull down under Layer in the menu bar to create a new layer, but it's even easier to just click on this little button in the Layers pallet.

"What? You don't have a Layers pallet? Then pull down under Windows to Show Layers, and there it is!

Base nude layer

"Now to add our first bit of skin. In fact, we're adding a lot of skin! The first layer you want to put into your Photoshop file is the nude base skin. All the clothing we're going to add is just coverings for this lovely epidermis.

"I'm using the standard nude skin that comes with The Sims for this one, but eventually I might customize the nude skin to look more like the picture of the toreador on the Biba card. For sure, if I were making clothes for Caddy, I would use her own unique skin tones with her own unique sunburn.

Base nude layer "I have my own custom nude skin, too. Did you get a good look at my tan lines and the sunburn? Note the richer skin tones underneath. They comprise five or six layers in my own Photoshop file. If you look closely at my left arm, you will see a spot where I could have done a better job of blending the place where the outside of my arm merges into the inside. See why UV maps are so important? They help you find those pesky edges.

"I like all my sims to have their own, unique skins. I've never met two real people who have the same skin, so I don't see any reason why sims should all look alike.

"Here's an important tip. Name every layer as you go. This nude skin is from the nffitlgt_01.bmp file from Maxis, so I'm noting that in the name for this layer. If you take a few seconds to enter a name for each layer, you will save yourself a lot of grief later when you try to figure out where all the little pieces are hiding in your Photoshop file.

"I got nffitlgt_01 in here by just copying from the original file and pasting it here. If you don't have a set of nude base skins handy, you can download them from the Default Skins section here on Moon Sims.

"I think it's about time we saved our work so we can get on with adding some clothes to our Toreador. That's next!"

Forward Back to Part 5 | Continue to Part 7 Forward

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