How to Make Skins for The Sims
Part 13: Saving the Skin in a BMP File
"I have all the parts of the costume roughed in, so now it's time to test it on a mesh. First I need to save the skin in a BMP file.
"Here I have turned on all the layers that I want to appear in my toreador's skin.
"There are a couple of ways to go at this point. I could just flatten the image at this point, squishing all the layers into one image, and save it under a different filename; but I want to keep this file open so I can keep working on it.
"So instead I'm going to create a new file to use as my BMP file. To do that, first I Select All and then pull down under Edit to Copy Merged.
"Then I create a new file, which Photoshop automatically sets to 256x256 pixels with RGB color because that's what's in my clipboard, and paste the merged skin into the new file.
"Sims skins use the 8-bit indexed color format, so I have to convert to that.
"Just pull down under Image to Mode and then Indexed Color. Make sure you're working in your new file when you do this, so you don't lose all those convenient layers and colors in your master file.
"Photoshop might ask if you want to merge layers. If so, say 'Yes'.
"When you switch to Indexed Color, this dialog box comes up. Note I have selected Perceptual for the color palette, and that I have turned on Preserve Exact Colors.
"You want to preserve exact colors because that keeps Photoshop from messing up you skin tones. The perceptual palette lets Photoshop calculate the best colors to use in the final image. Don't choose the Windows or MacOS system palettes; that would give you a dithered mess.
"Finally I'm ready to give it a file name and save the file. I chose Save as... to get the save-file dialog box. I've chosen BMP format from the Format: pull-down menu. I entered the filename I want to use in SimShow, which you probably recognize as a standard body skin filename.
"Here's the breakdown for the filename:
b970 -- body #970
f -- female; could also be m for male
a -- adult; could also be c for child
fit -- fit body shape; could also be fat or skn
lgt -- light skin tone; could also be med or drk
_toreador -- the underscore before the name is required
.bmp -- the file extension
"Before it saves the file, Photoshop brings up the BMP options dialog box. The defaults are usually what you see here -- Windows and 8 bit -- and that's what you want. So just click OK and it will save your file.
"In this example I saved the file in the directory on my machine for this tutorial, but while you are making a new skin you will normally find it much more convenient to save the file directly into your SimShow Textures folder, and then leave the file open. As you tweak things you will be repeatedly saving this same file.
"And that's it! Now we have our first test of the new skin ready to go! So, where can I find a nice, compliant model who just might look good in this new outfit?"
* * *
"Cad-deee! Oh, Cad-deeee!"
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