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TUTORIAL: How to combine a prop with a body mesh
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ruthml
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:16 am    Post subject: TUTORIAL: How to combine a prop with a body mesh Reply with quote

Quite often props are kept separate and attached via the cmx file to a specific body mesh. Paladin Placeís program CMX Maker does this easily so that any player can customize existing skins for their game. Instructions on using CMX Maker are found here: http://simblesseoblige.com/viewtopic.php?t=3128

Skinners can also use this method however, it does result in lots of extra prop files to be packaged up with the skin. Potentially there is the risk of a player accidentally deleting a file, simply due to the extra numbers of files now existing for one skin.

Instead of keeping all the prop files separate, the props can be added to the body mesh and the UV coordinates remapped on the bmp, so that the prop textures can be fitted onto the body bmp. Having it all in one like this means itís less confusing for the player and less chance of accidental deletions.

However before you attempt to combine any meshes together, you should check whether it is permissible Ė if you plan on distributing your work. What you do for your own personal game is your business.

By attaching a prop mesh to a body mesh you are essentially changing 2 meshes Ė and thus if you are going to distribute the new mesh, then you must take care that the original creators of these meshes permit their meshes to be edited. Maxis props and skins extracted from the game are of course free to edit anyway you choose.

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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:53 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting started

The following programs will be needed :
1. Milkshape. This is a 3D meshing program for skins. It is available on a free 30 day trial before you have to pay for it. If you want to edit meshes, then the purchase is well worth it.
http://www.swissquake.ch/chumbalum-soft/

2. Lithunwrap.
This is a program that allows you to remap the UV coordinates of a mesh. It is free and can be downloaded here: http://files.seriouszone.com/download.php?fileid=198

3. BodyWarp -
http://www.simprograms.com/?page_id=32
BodyWarp has many useful functions, but there are 3 that are important here. It allows you to check what the skin looks like outside the game, it will make a UV map of a mesh which you can paste into a bmp, and it will write the cmx files.

N.B.
On the Simprogram website, it says Bodywarp only works up to Hotdate - this is false.
If you have upgraded to Vista you will need to install a Windows file d3drm.dll in C:\Windows\System in order for Bodywarp to work.
More information about this can be found here in Gookabee's post.

4. SimPose - http://www.simpose.com/ This is another viewing program to check out what skins look like. It is very useful when you are repositioning props and you want to check your progress before finally combining the prop with the body mesh as you can add and subtract props easily in the program. A tutorial guide to using Simpose is found here: http://ts1depot.hfguide.net/simpose_tute/index.html

Both BodyWarp and SimPose are free.

5. A graphics program such as PSP, Gimp or Photoshop will be needed to edit the bmp files.

For more information on skinning tools, see this thread: http://simblesseoblige.com/viewtopic.php?t=123

You may also need Far Out or Skin Doctor so you can extract meshes and props within the gameís far files. Far Out is available at Paladinís Place: http://www.simwardrobe.com/ Skin Doctor is still available at The Blarney Stone: http://theblarneystone.org/

_________________
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:13 am; edited 6 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This tutorial will make a new formal dress using these files:
Body mesh Ė Maxis - xskin-F401FAfit_champange-PELVIS-BODY
Props - Sim Accents- xskin-b00Rfafit_feathers-RHAND-FAN and AC_wrap

Body bmp - F401FAfitmed_champange (Maxis)
Prop bmp - feathers_pink (Sim Accents)

As I wanted a white fur look to the wrap, a new texture was made (picture below shows the wrap and fan using the pink feathers texture)

In case you'd like these Sim Accents props they can be downloaded here, as the site is no longer open.



1idea-for-new-formal-dress.gif
 Description:
Left: Maxis dress
Middle and right: dress + props
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1idea-for-new-formal-dress.gif



CLfeathers.zip
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  CLfeathers.zip
 Filesize:  42.03 KB
 Downloaded:  440 Time(s)


CLwrap.zip
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  CLwrap.zip
 Filesize:  24.52 KB
 Downloaded:  452 Time(s)


_________________
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:34 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Step 1: Editing the bmp


Open Bodywarp and open your body mesh (for this tutorial it's xskin-F401FAfit_champange-PELVIS-BODY remember). Donít worry about the right bmp, just select skinblank. Copy the UV map to the clipboard. (Ctrl + U) Make sure 256x256 is selected.



2UVmap.gif
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_________________
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:23 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Open your graphics program. Open the body bmp (F401FAfitmed_champange), convert back to RGB mode/16 million and paste the UV map onto the bmp as a new layer. You can now see where the body mesh sits on the bmp.

The inside and outside of both left and right arms are spread over the left side of the bmp. We are going to move the circled arms in the lower part of the bmp so that space will be created in the lower left corner for the prop textures.



3UVmap2.gif
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_________________
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:02 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Open your prop bmps (feathers_pink) and add them to the body bmp (F401FAfitmed_champange) as new layers. You may need to resize them down. Donít merge the prop textures to the body bmp. The UV map will show where the textures can be positioned.


4addingtextures1.gif
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4addingtextures1.gif



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For this project the pink feathers texture was scaled down, the black background deleted and the pink feather colour made more peachy to coordinate better with the dress. A new texture was made for the wrap on a separate layer.

Hide the UV map layer, save the bmp as a working file in the graphics program and save as a bmp. Donít forget to convert the bmp back to Index mode (photoshop) or 256 colours (PSP/Gimp). Because you are making a new outfit, give the bmp the correct name according to Maxis skin naming conventions. This new bmp was called F401FAfitmed_fabfrock



5adding-textures2.gif
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5adding-textures2.gif



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Step 2: Editing the mesh

The new bmp (F401FAfitmed_fabfrock) was put into the Simpose subfolder Ė TexF/Body. The meshes (xskin-F401FAfit_champange-PELVIS-BODY, xskin-b00Rfafit_feathers-RHAND-FAN, AC_wrap were already placed in Simpose and when using Milkshape it is easier to navigate and save the files in the Simpose folders rather than your game Skins folder.

Open Milkshape.
File/Import/The Sims SKN
Navigate to the xskin(xskin-F401FAfit_champange-PELVIS-BODY) and click ok.

In the upper right hand corner are a group of tabs Ė select Groups, then select the mesh (it will now turn red).


(Note: some of the screenshots in Milkshape have been edited for image size considerations thus may not be exactly what you see on screen.)



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:24 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Click on the tab Materials.
Under this tab:
1. Click on the New button
2. Click on the button labeled <none> which will allow you to navigate to where you put the new bmp (F401FAfitmed_fabfrock).
3. Click on the Assign button and the bmp is now assigned to the mesh.

If you like you can name the material by clicking on the Rename button, typing the name where it says Material01, and clicking on Rename again before step 3.



7applying-material.gif
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7applying-material.gif



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:07 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the window of Milkshape which shows the 3d model, right mouse click and select Textured. Youíll now be able to see the bmp on the model.

Oops, both arms are supposed to be bare. Let's fix that now.



8texture-on-model.gif
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This is the 3D view.
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8texture-on-model.gif



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the toolbar File/Save.
Save as a Milkshape file (.ms3d)
You can call it anything. I named mine fabfrock.

Close Milkshape.

Open Lithunwrap.
On the toolbar: File/Model/Open
Navigate to the Milkshape file (fabfrock) and open it.
You will see the mesh on the bmp background.

Note: You see the bmp as the background because you assigned it as a material to the mesh in Milkshape first. If you do not assign the material before editing the mesh in Lithunwrap, then you will have the default blue background instead. Sometimes it is easier to see when moving vertices to have the blue background.



9lithunwrap.gif
 Description:
See how the arm UV Mapping is in the feather and fur section? This is what we want to move.
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9lithunwrap.gif



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:09 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the toolbar: Select/Face
Then with the mouse draw a box around the lower arm parts. When selected they will be red.
On the toolbar: Edit/Flip/Vertical
With the mouse drag the lower arm meshes over the top of those upper arm meshes. Try to get the vertices aligned as closely as possible.
Draw the box around the 2 sets of arm meshes to select both.

On the toolbar: Edit/Weld/Apply/Ok/Close. It will tell you how many UV coordinates were welded. For this project it was 212.

Click anywhere on the bmp and youíll see that youíve made the 4 pieces of arm mesh into 2.

On the toolbar: File/Model/Save
Make sure you save it as the Milkshape file (fabfrock).

Close Lithunwrap.



10editing-arms.gif
 Description:
Left: showing the lower arm parts selected. Middle: showing the lower arm parts flipped and positioned over the upper arm pieces. Right: showing the 2 sets of arms selected prior to welding.
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10editing-arms.gif



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:11 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Step 3: Texture mapping

Open Milkshape.
Open the Milkshape file (fabfrock).
Bring in your prop files - on the tool bar: File/Import/The Sims SKN
Navigate to the prop files Ė AC_wrap and xskin-b00Rfafit_feathers-RHAND-FAN.

After reopening Milkshape, you will have to refresh the texture for the body mesh by clicking on the <none> button (which will now say the bmp name F401FAfitmed_fabfrock), navigating to the bmp then clicking on Assign.

On the tab Groups, select the prop mesh for the wrap.
On the tab Materials, click on Assign.
Do the same for the fan prop.

Remember to right mouse click in the 3D view window and select Texture.
You will now see the bmp texture on the entire model. Notice both arms are bare again.
On the props, however, the texture will be misplaced - we have to now redo the props' UV Mapping so the correct textures appear on them.



11before-and-after.gif
 Description:
Left - no texture assigned to props
Right - texture incorrectly assigned to props
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11before-and-after.gif



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:36 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the toolbar: Window/Texture Coordinate Editor (or Ctrl + T)
A new window will open. It will probably be too small to work with.
On the right hand side down the bottom there is a Scale button with a box next to it. Type 4.0 in the box and click on Scale. Click on the maximize button in the top right corner. Or else drag out the corner of the box until itís the size you want.
(Note: you can experiment with different numbers to get the size you like, eg 3.0, 2.5)

Under the Region button is a drop down menu. Select the fan mesh (xskin-b00Rfafit_feathers-RHAND-FAN). It will appear oversized for the bmp.



12-fan-rescale.gif
 Description:
UV Mapping for fan mesh too big and misplaced
 Filesize:  98.56 KB
 Viewed:  7783 Time(s)

12-fan-rescale.gif



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"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." Dreams, however, are a different matter - you should have a whole stable full of those.





Last edited by ruthml on Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Click on the Scale button that is above the Region button. Drag the mouse to scale the mesh. Moving from right to left will compress everything horizontally-make it narrower, from left to right will expand horizontally-make it wider; moving from the top to the bottom will expand everything vertically-taller, moving from the bottom to the top will compress everything vertically-shorter. Moving on a diagonal from the lower right towards the upper left will make everything smaller. Moving on a lower left towards upper right diagonal will make everything bigger.

Click on the Move button to move the prop mesh over to where the prop texture is. Scale and Move until it fits the texture.



13-fan-done.gif
 Description:
fan mesh scaled and moved into place
 Filesize:  73.32 KB
 Viewed:  7782 Time(s)

13-fan-done.gif



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