Moon Sims
Tech

How to Make Skins for The Sims
Part 7: Isolating the Pieces of Clothing

Save Photoshop file "Before we go any farther, let's save our work. When I save a skin file, I give it a name almost identical to the name the final skin will have. That makes it a lot easier to find it later when I want to come back to this skin.

"Eventually I'm going to produce a file named b970fafitlgt_toreador.bmp, so I use that same file name and just give it Photoshop's .psd extension.

New file in Photoshop "I'm a couple of steps ahead of you here. You probably recognize Richard R. Ward's Rogue skin here, the one that he distributes with his B970 body mesh at The Wage of Sim. We are looking at the little icons of two new layers in the Photoshop Layers pallette.

"First I copied Richard's Rogue and pasted that skin into my Photoshop file as a new layer. Then I duplicated that layer and renamed it vest pattern. My goal is to create a layer that has nothing on but the vest.

"I could use the lasso tool to laboriously draw around the pattern of the vest, and then copy and paste the vest to a new layer, but here's an easier way to do it. I'm using a layer mask.

"At the bottom of the Layers, the little button with the dashed circle adds a mask to the layer I have selected. Note that the vest pattern layer is highlighted with blue. That's the active layer, so when I click on the button it adds a layer mask to the vest pattern layer.

Select mask

"Layer masks sound complicated, but really they're easy as pie. Just remember this:

black -- erase picture
white -- show picture

"In other words, if you paint on the layer mask with solid black, you will erase (or 'hide') the picture that's on the layer you're working on. If you paint with white, it will show the picture.

"See the white square next to the little image of the Rogue skin? That's the mask for this layer. It has a bold black square around it indicating that I have selected it. That's really important: Don't forget to click on the mask to select it before you starting painting on it. Otherwise you'll just be painting ugly stripes all over your picture.

Painting the mask

"The image at the right shows my main image window. This image is a little smaller than life size, but in reality when I do this I zoom up the window until it fills my screen from top to bottom.

"Here I have turned off the layer that has the original Rogue skin by clicking on the eyeball icon next to that layer. So as I paint the mask with black, the underlying nude skin shows through. I'm almost done at the point I made this image, with just a little bit of yellow from Rogue's costume to mask away.

"I am painting solid black with the paintbrush tool, and have set the paintbrush's opacity to 100%. For this operation I am using a small circular brush with hard edges so I can get precisely up to the edges of the vest.

"If I wanted to have some of the background show through I could set the paintbrush's opacity to a lower value, but that's a trick to keep in mind for a different kind of operation. Our goal for this step is to completely isolate the vest.

"By using a layer mask to do this, if I don't like the results I can always come back and paint out part of the mask with white. If I had used the lasso tool to select the area of the vest, I wouldn't have that option, and instead would have to start all over or go through a lot of steps to meticulously adjust the area I have selected.

"The drawback to using layer masks to isolate bits of clothing is that the Photoshop files can get pretty big; but I have lots of disk space and lots of RAM, so I'm not worried.

"Once I have the vest completely isolated, I can start adjusting it to look like the one I want my toreador to wear. I'll start on that in the next lesson."



Forward Back to Part 6 | Continue to Part 8 Forward

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