How to Make Skins for The Sims
Part 17: Tracing the UV Map: Fixing the Notch in the Toreador Pants
"Back in part 15 when Caddy first tried on this skin, our B970 mesh handed us a real surprise!
"Even though I put a perfectly straight hem in her pants legs on the texture map, this notch showed up just below her knees. For a different skin that would be a really interesting detail, but it's all wrong for my toreador!
"So now the challenge is to figure out where to put the pixels so that I'll get a nice straight hem for her pants cuffs. I'll do that with the same technique I used to figure out where I wanted her dimples to be. I keep the same .bmp file open and add little red dots until it comes out right.
"I'm editing right on the .bmp file. Remember that my master Photoshop document with all the layers is in a separate file, so I don't worry about making a mess in this one. I'm using bright red for the marks so that I can clearly see the effects of changes as I go.
"Each time I add some red, I save the .bmp file and then switch back to SimShow and reload the texture. It can get to be a little tedious, but really it goes quickly.
"It helps to turn on the layer with the UV Map because that gives me a guide to how the texture maps onto facets of the mesh. I turn the UV Map on and off all the time when I'm looking for these fiddly little details.
"I saved the image at the left as a full-size 256x256 gif file, so that you can save it to disk and try it out in SimShow for yourself. Just covert it to a .bmp file in 8-bit Windows format, and rename it to b970fafitlgt_something.bmp. Then put it in your SimShow Textures directory and load it up!
"Much better!" says Caddy. "It feels like my pants will stay over my knees now."
"Look at the neat triangles formed by the red marks I filled in on the texture map. They are symmetrical, left to right. It looks like when the original mesh-maker calculate the UVMap, he moved on vertex on the leg's UV Map out of place, and then duplicated this artifact on the other leg.
"For our purposes, it's important that we found out where we need to put the pants so that the hems will come out straight in the final skin, but we learned a lot about the mesh and its UV Map in the process!
"While I was editing the skin, I also shortened the pants a bit to come a little closer to the knee. Toreador pants have just enough fabric below the knee to hold them in place."
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