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Default & Non-Default Explained

Ok so I get quite a lot of questions regarding Default and Non-Default skins. I figured it would be best to address them in a post, rather than answer the same questions every week ;)

Most of the people who enquire about my skins want to know the difference between Default and Non-default so I shall attempt to answer below. *takes a breath*

DEFAULT

Ok so in order to understand default custom skins I need to explain why they are called ‘defaults’ in the first place.

This is the definition of the word default:

Computers –  A value that a program or operating system assumes, or a course of action that a program or operating system will take,
when the user specifies no overriding value or action.

Okay, so when we are using the term ‘Default Skin’ in regards to the sims, what we mean is it’s the skin that your game will apply to all sims – unless told to apply another (by “another” I mean a non-default skin but we will cover those later).  So, when you open up your brand-spanking new sims game your sims start out with the boring, ugly EA skins. Any sim you create will automatically have that skin applied to their body. This is your current default skin. Now, thanks to the brilliant minds out there, we are able to create custom skins that will overwrite those EA skins. These are referred to as “Default Skins” but what we really mean is “Default REPLACEMENT Skins”. Once you overwrite your ea skin files the ea skin disappears and is replaced by your new custom ones – the custom ones become your new ‘Default’ Skin.

Any sim that was made using your old default – in this case the EA skins – will automatically be using the new custom Defaults you installed. It’s like you just removed the EA skins from the game and replaced them with fancy ones.

Now you’ve probably heard me, and others, say a million times “You can only have one set of default skins”. This is because there is only one set of EA skin files in the game. You can only overwrite it once. If you install more than one your game won’t like it because you will have conflicting files. Basically you’ll have multiple files wanting to overwrite the same files in the game. Which one takes precedence? The game doesn’t know so it has a sad.

One thing to note is that when we say you can only have one set of default skins, we mean just that… one full set.
Basically this means you can download various default skin packages from various creators as long as none of them overlap or conflict with one another.
Just remember that in game there are skins for:

Male & Female Toddlers
Male & Female Children
FemalesTeen to Elder
MalesTeen to Elder

So, you can install my toddler skins and aikea’s male skins and there will be no problem. You can even install someone’s male elder skins and someone else’s male teen – adult skins and there will be no problem or someone’s heads and another person’s bodies for different ages/genders. It’s only if you overlap any of the skin files that there will be an issue.

Hopefully you understand Defaults now.

.

NON-DEFAULT

Obviously Non-Default means ‘not default’. Which, of course, means that non-default skins are not standard. They will not overwrite anything in the game. They are ‘extras’ and you can have as many installed as you like.

We have Rez Delnava to thank for the ability to use non-default skins in our games. He created the UI Mod, which allows us to see them in cas. We can also thank CmarNYC for the ability to create non-default skins very easily using his Skininator program. :)

So… basically non-default skins are skin files that are their own entity. They are entirely separate from your default skin… an optional extra. They will only show up in cas if you have Rez’s UI mod installed. You can have one default set installed AND a gazillion non-defaults.

As an example, this is my current setup:

DEFAULT:
Naughty and Nice – All Genders/Ages

NON-DEFAULTS:
Silk Full Package
Velvet Full Package
Aikea’s Faces
Subaxi’s Males
Peggy’s Females/Males YA-Adult

etc

Hopefully you understand Non-Defaults now.

<3

Tutorial ~ Neat Sim Shots using Photoshop

While I am sitting on the couch coughing up what is left of my lungs, I thought I would make a tutorial for you guys. This is just a simple one to show you how I make my sim photos nice and clean. It’s long but it’s easy.

Before we proceed, a word about screenshot-taking

You must take your screenshots in a very well lit room (see my photo studio guide for help if you need it). The walls need to be a flat colour, no patterns. It doesn’t matter what colour you use. I use white because I like it, it looks clean and bright. The main thing is that it’s flat, and that the lighting is good; this will make selecting bits from your screenies in photoshop a lot easier.

STEP 1

Cut a hole in a box…
Wait… wrong tutorial *cough*  Ok so, assuming you have your screenshots all ready to go and Photoshop is open, open up your first screenshot.  Make sure the layer tab is open and visible. My screenshot is below:

screenshot1

You can click on it to enlarge it. Those poles are just the light stands I use in my photo studio home.

Right-click on the Background layer and select “Layer from Background” (see image below)

screenshot2

Then click on the New Layer button. You can see in the image below that your old background layer has become Layer 0 and the new layer you just created is called Layer 1.

screenshot3

Then, lastly, drag the empty Layer 1 down to the bottom so it’s underneath Layer 0.

screenshot4

STEP 2 – Selecting Unwanted Areas

Click on Layer 0 – your screenshot layer – making sure it’s selected. Using the Magic Selection Tool (or whatever the eff it’s called) I want you to select all of the area directly surrounding your sim. You do this by holding the shift button on your keyboard as you click on areas with the wand. You don’t have to get pedantic about the outer areas of the screenshot, just make sure that the area touching your sim is selected. You can see below that I haven’t bothered with the light stands. Once your selection is nice and neat you can proceed to step 4.

screenshot5

Step 3 – Contracting Your Selection

Don’t deselect anything!
With the area still selected, Click on the Select menu up the top. Then click on Modify, then on Contract. A little box will pop up and ask you to enter a number. Enter the number 2. This will contract the selection by 2 pixels. By contract I mean it will move the selection away from the sims body by 2 pixels. You can play around and try 1 pixel if you want. It’s up to you.

screenshot6

Below you can see how it ends up looking once the selection has been contracted.

screenshot7

Step 4 – Feathering Your Selection and Deleting Unwanted Areas

If you screw up and accidentally deselect your area just remember you can Edit > Undo at any time. Now, with your area still selected and contracted I want you to go up the top and click on the Select menu again but this time I want you to click on Feather. Once again a box will pop up asking for a number. Type in 1. This will feather (blur) the edges of your selection by 1 pixel.

screenshot8

Once you have feathered your selection I want you to hit the Delete key on your keyboard. The area remains selected but you’ve deleted the coloured area around your sim! You can see your transparent Layer 1 underneath. You can also see that there is a tiny outline around your sim. That’s the 2 pixels of colour that you left, the edges of which will be blurred nicely. Hard to see with a transparent lower layer so you’ll have to take my word for it.

screenshot9

Step 5 – Cleanup

Ok it’s cleanup time. Click on the Select menu and hit Deselect so that the area you were working on is no longer selected. Choose the Eraser tool. Make the eraser quite large so it doesn’t take too long to erase everything and make sure it’s a hard brush. If the brush is soft you may inadvertently erase a bit of your sim.
Now erase everything else apart from your sim!

screenshot10

You will be left with a nice, clean transparent background. The only thing on your Layer 0 now will be your sim.

screenshot11

If you choose the Selector arrow tool and grab your sim , you can move it around the page. You can also resize your sim using the corner squares. Just remember to maintain the aspect ratio as you resize the sim (more on that in the image below)

screenshot12

Step 6 – Dragging From One Document to Another

If you only plan on using the single screenshot of your sim you can skip to step 15, otherwise continue.

If you plan on using multiple shots of your sim in the one picture then you need to repeat the above steps on all the screenshots you want to use. So, edit the layers, select, contract, feather, delete, cleanup all your screenies.

Then you will be left with multiple edited sim shots you can play with. I have an example below. I have another shot of my sim boy that I want to move to the document we are working on. So I just grab him with the selector arrow, and drag him next to the boy on the document we were playing with earlier:

screenshot13

Once he’s dragged over you end up with something like this:

screenshot14

So, as you can see, once your screenshots are cleaned up it’s as simple as grabbing and dragging your sims onto the document you are working with. Then you can arrange them however you like.

Step 7 – Bottom Layer

Now we go back to that first empty layer we created. Layer 1. It’s been sitting there having an existential crisis.
Why am I here? What is my purpose? I feel empty inside.
Poor thing. Anyway…
Now I want you to select that empty layer. Once it’s selected use the bucket fill tool and fill it with white by using the tool to click anywhere on the document.

screenshot15

Your bottom layer is now white!

Step 8 – Placement of Your Sims

Now you can move the sims around and put them wherever you want. There are two ways of doing this. One way is to right-click using the arrow tool on the sim you want to move then select his layer when the little window pops up. Once his layer is selected you can move him about. The other way is to click on the appropriate layer in the layer window then grab and move the sim using the arrow tool.

screenshot16

I’m going to grab the boy on the left and move him so he looks like he’s standing in front of the original boy. So I just select his layer and move him with the arrow tool

screenshot17

If you want to add some text, move to the next step. Otherwise you can end here.

Step 9 – Adding And Styling Text

So I usually have some text on my pictures. Text is pretty easy, all you have to do is select the Text tool then click on the document and type. The text can be edited once it’s on the page. I’m going to type “Yeah, Bitches” and move it so it’s in front of the boys.

screenshot18

When you click on your text using the text tool and select it, you can edit it using the options that appear in the top menu. Things such as font/colour/size/style.

Ok now my “Yeah, Bitches” is kinda hard to read because it’s in front of my sims. There’s an easy way to fix that. Make sure your text layer is selected. Then go to the Layer menu up the top and select Layer Style. Then select Outer Glow.

screenshot19

A box will pop up. Now you can play around in here, I’m just going to tell you what I usually do with my white screenies. Change Blend Mode to Normal. Opacity to 100%. Make the little colour square White. Take the Spread slider to just under 50% anywhere in the 40′s will do. Check the anti-aliased box. If you have the preview box checked you will be able to see how every step changes the text in your document.

screenshot20

This is the end result:

screenshot21

TIPS

  • If you have multiple text layers and want them all to have the same layer style such as the Outer Glow I showed above, you can add the layer style to one of the text layers then go to the Layer menu, Layer Style, then click on Copy Layer Style. Then all you have to do is select each text layer the go back to the Layer Style menu and click Paste Layer Style.
  • Your layer window is quite handy. You can double-click on the layer name and change it to whatever you want. This is very useful for big jobs that require a lot of layers.
  • Layer Arrangement is important. If a layer is at the top of the layer list then it will be in front of every other layer on your picture. If it’s on the bottom of the layer list then it will be underneath every other layer on your picture. You can drag the layers around to order them in the layer window.
  • This tutorial can be done in different colours. If your photo studio walls are black, then you would just replace any instance of white in the tutorial with black. The same goes for any colour walls.
  • Remember to crop your images and resize them so they aren’t too massive. When you resize your images make sure the quality is still decent, try not to make them crunchy and pixellated.
  • If you are uploading sims to a website or somewhere like MTS remember to be consistent with the size of your images. Posts and submissions look a hell of a lot better if the layout is neat and the images are all the same size.
  • If you are making a collage, keep all the images the same size and try placing them onto a larger layer so they have a nice border. You can also play around with Outer Glow and Inner Glow, they will give your pictures a nice border or edge.

I hope this helps someone out there!

<3

Tutorial by Daluved1 - Glossy Lipstick

So the ever-wonderful dal made this awesome tutorial on how to make glossy lipstick. It’s really quick and easy to follow so if you are thinking of trying your hand at lipstick, I suggest you have a read!

You can find it here

Cutie Pie!