uv image

Tutorial: How to bake shadow map for CAS items

The shadow map draws shadow on the underneath meshes (which could be either a sim body mesh or another CAS item) covered by your item. It adds depth and makes your item a little more realistic. 

Instead of hand-painting it, this tutorial will show you how to use the blender baking to create a ‘correct’ shadow map with just a few steps. 

Please read my tutorial of How to bake shadow for clothing to make sure you understand the basics of baking. This tutorial will not cover some similar steps again.

NOTE: 

  • This method only works on the mesh where it’s able to tell the sim body from the clothes or accessory you’re making.
  • It does NOT work if your item is painted on the sim body mesh.

Pt. 1 Your mesh includes part of the sim body mesh, e.g. tops, pants, dresses.

1. Open your mesh with blender, go into Edit Mode and select the faces which belong to the sim body. 

2. Press P key to separate the selected faces into a new mesh. 

Step 1&2 isn’t a must. But it makes the baked result easier to edit later.

3. Select the sim body mesh you just separated.

4. Open the World panel with a globe icon.

5. Check Ambient Occlusion and Environment Lighting.

6. Increase Environment Lighting to 2.5. This will make the shadow darker and shading of the mesh itself (which we don’t need) lighter.

7. Set Samples.

8. Add a new image in 1024x2048 in the UV/Image Editor and Bake in Ambient Occlusion Mode.

9. You should get something like this.

10. Save the baked image.

Pt. 2 Your mesh does NOT include the sim body mesh, e.g. necklaces, acc clothing.

11. Open your mesh in blender, expand the rig tree and select the sim body mesh where the shadow should appear. Note you need to highlight the Eye, the Arrow and the Camera icon to be able to select and bake an invisible sim body mesh.

12. Bake the selected sim body mesh the same way above. And save the baked image.

13. Open the baked image in Photoshop. Add a new layer under the baked image and fill in with pure white.

14. On the baked image layer, use the Eraser tool or Select tool to get rid of the shadow that is not from the item you’re making, e.g. between the fingers and legs.

15. Reduce the Opacity of the shadow layer. You might need to test in game for a few times to get a best result. Please never use a pure black shadow map.

16. In the Channel panel, add an alpha channel. Fill with pure white on the area where your shadow is. The range doesn’t need to be accurate.

17. Save your shadow map into a .dds file and import into your .package file with sims4studio. Test it in game.

simduction  asked:

Hello! you know how i can make a texture look better like less pixelated, thank you. btw your content is awe!

Pixelation is the main reason I hate the DDS format hands down. Since it compresses textures to save space and cut down on rendering time but artefacts and general pixelation are a common issue with it. There are a few things you can do to mitigate it, but you will never get rid of it all, its mainly about minimisation rather then complete removal. 

1. Never EVER edit a DDS image multiple times. Each time you open, save, then close a dds image its like resizing an image up and down repeatedly, ruining its details over time. Always keep a .psd of your texture if you run Photoshop or a .xcf for Gimp to edit the texture if needed. 

2. Saturation: this can affect grey scale and highly saturated colours. If you have a dark grey and its pixelating, consider increasing the saturation from 0 to about 3-5% and see if it makes a difference. Usually does for me. You can also mess with the brightness as well as very dark colours do not play well with the format. 

3. Adding noise: The way DDS compression works is it averages the colour over 4 pixels so if your textures have very soft, subtle gradients and shadows, that can lead to weird lines and pixelation. Consider adding some subtle noise to a white layer above your texture and setting the mode to ‘multiply’ to see if that helps as well. Patterns also do a similar job when applied to objects and clothing.

4. Prey to the DDS gods: I am serious here, sometimes its just dumb luck not getting pixelation then other times you try everything and it wont go away. I swear they are out to make people crazy. 

5. Image and UV Map sizes: The larger the map, the greater the texture size you can have which reduces the size of pixelation. This is great trick for artwork but its not a solution for everything. With bigger textures comes longer load times ingame so it needs to be done with moderation and consideration. I generally map the area that will be the artwork larger then other parts since thats the focus of the item. 

6. Don’t punish yourself: This is a big one. Don’t expect to get rid of pixelation completely because you wont, it is impossible. You need to know when to compromise and say “that’s as good as its going to get” because it will save your sanity. 

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New 3-D Printer Uses Light to Build Objects in Minutes

The next generation of desktop 3-D printers might do away with the excruciatingly slow process that current units use. Researchers have unveiled a printer that replaces the current extruder nozzle that squeezes out melted plastic one layer at a time with light and oxygen. 

The makers of the Carbon3D printer have demonstrated a technique they call continuous liquid interface production (CLIP), which grows 3-D printed parts out of a liquid resin bath. Ultraviolet light and oxygen work to build a stronger part in layers just tens of microns wide. Build times can be reduced from hours to minutes, they say.

Their work builds on the process called stereolithography, an additive manufacturing technique developed in the 1980s that builds parts layer by layer with liquid resin cured by light. 

“By rethinking the whole approach to 3-D printing, and the chemistry and physics behind the process, we have developed a new technology that can create parts radically faster than traditional technologies by essentially ‘growing’ them in a pool of liquid,” said University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill chemistry professor Joseph DeSimone, who coinvented the technique and is also Carbon3D’s CEO. See more images and learn more below.

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ikarisims  asked:

Hey simlicious :D. I'm trying to convert some SL stuff for sims 3. I need to re map SL objects, cause they have many textures and the uv map is a mess, all the textures are overlapped. I know it is possible with Blender but I don't know which tools I can use, so if you can help me will be great, thanks in advance ^^

Hello! I suspect that there are a lot of people out there wondering how this works. I am toying with the idea of making some video tutorials for blender, but I’d have to find time for that first, but I think it would help a lot!

Let’s see what I can gather right now.

Learn the basics.
I don’t have the time right now to explain every tool in Blender (and I don’t know them all, either), there are a lot of useful shortcuts such as r for rotate, g for grabbing/moving stuff around, s for scaling, e for extruding and these can be used in conjunction with the axes (x,y,z), so you can type rx to rotate something on the x-axis, or you can make it even more precise by typing rx180 - that would move the mesh piece you have selected by 180 degrees on the x-axis.
There is a search function for the different tools, if you hit the spacebar it opens up. You can type in anything and it will look for it and you can click/use the tool directly.

Getting familiar with zooming, panning/moving around in the 3d space and learning basic shortcuts by heart is the first step.

I recommend checking out the merge tools, the snap to cursor/snap cursor to selection tools, the remove doubles and edge split tools.
As for modifiers, check out the mirror modifier, the decimate modifier and the solidify modifier, these are the ones I regularly use to mesh.

There are some really great blender tutorials from Neil Hirsig (just google him) that explain certain tools in detail. They are really helpful and they are in a chronological order, too so you start with easy stuff and go on to harder stuff. I highly recommend those video tutorials! He has his own website, but his videos are also on vimeo. Definitely check out the two videos on unwrapping a mesh, they are really insightful :)

Now some short tips (I copied them out of many messages that I have sent, saves a lot of time instead of typing everything anew, sorry for any typos):


Setting up blender for Sims 3 meshing:

Make sure you setup the workspace so that you have the meshing window and the uv/image editor both visible. I don’t have the pm anymore where I explained this in detail, I might cover this in another tutorial, but there is atutorial by Cmomoney at MTS explaining how to change the viewports like that, too (“setting up blender” or something like that). You don’t need to do all the steps in the tutorial by Cmomoney, mainly the steps where you will get the two parallel windows with 3d viewport and uvmap. The others aren’t necessary and some tips are obsolete.


Remapping Parts in Blender:

In blender, you can select those polys that you want mapped separately, then press u und choose “unwrap”. the unwrapping function uses seams to determine how to unwrap. You can add manual seams for the uv-map with the “mark seam” options in the toolbar on the left (creating regular seams in the mesh works as well, just select the edges you want to split apart and press spacebar and type in “edge split”). With the edge select tool, select the edges you want and then press “mark seam”. If you want to delete a seam, use “clear seam.” The seam-tool won’t create a seam in the mesh itself, it just adds a “guide” for the unwrapping tool. To determine where the vertex- seams of a mesh are located,  just select one or more vertices from your mesh area in the 3d-viewport and press ctrl+L. This selects all linked faces. That comes in really handy for all sorts of things :) Once you have unwrapped a part, you can scale, rotate and change the position on the uvmap pretty easily using the same commands you use for the 3d-viewport (except there’s no z-dimension)


Untangling UVmaps in Blender:

In blender, you can select the uv areas pretty easily in the following way: right click on the mesh area directly on the mesh you want so select and select one vertex with a right-click (or select more, if you want to grab more uv areas at once. Selecting one vertex is to make sure you don’t grab more areas accidentally). With one or more vertices selected, press strg+L. this selects the entire mesh area. This will also select the corresponding piece of the uvmap. Now just move your mouse cursor into the uvmap window and press g to grab that uvmap piece and move it out of the way :) There is also a sync mode that lets you only see and edit the uvmap of the mesh piece that you have currently selected. It is a small button in the toolbar of the uvmap window, next to where you can change the selection methods. It’s called “Keep UV and edit mode selection in Sync”. Sometimes this helps as well :) Happy untangling!


Using the Decimate Modifier to reduce Polycounts

Especiall mesh conversions often have high polycounts and need to be reduced. As to how much, it is best to load a similar EA mesh and check their polycounts. Remember, if you check the polycount in TSR Workshop, divide the Polygon count by 3! For some reason, it shows triple the amount of the actual polys (vertex count is normal, though).
There is a modifier function called “decimate” that reduces polys. The modifiers are represented by that wrench symbol on the tabs to the right. Just click on it and choose “add modifier”, then click on “decimate”. You’ll get a new set of tools specifically for the decimate function. Simply drag/change the “ratio” bar to the left. It shows a percentage of the polycount below. The more you drag the slider to the left, the fewer polys your object will have. You can only see it’s work in object mode. Below the ratio is also a polycount so you can see how much polys the object would have. If you’re satisfied, just hit “apply” and the changes will be permanent. You can also leave it un-applied to be able to make changes; then it will be applied when you export the object. BTW, the modifiers “solidify” and “miror” are modifiers I love to use as well. “Solidify” creates backfaces automatically for you and mirror mirrors the mesh and/or uv coordinates.


Baking textures and using images as a reference for mapping

In the scene tab (the little icon with the camera underneath the tree structure where all meshes are shown), there is a “bake” button. Chose “ambient occlusion” and hit “bake”. If there is an error “no images found to bake to”, try loading a new texture: Go to the uvmap editor, hit the image button, chose new, type in the texture size and hit ok. This gives you a completely black texture (good for baking). For reference purposes, you can also chose to get a checkered map (change the generated type from blank to uv grid) before hitting the ok button). With that, the baking process should work (highlight the mesh just in case). If it still doesn’t work, you can try to save the texture first (in the uv editor, chose image ->save as image). Sometimes, it won’t bake at all, then exporting the mesh, closing the program and importing it back again helps sometimes, but I hope you won’t have those troubles :) The blender tools by cmomoney at MTS have a baking function as well, you might check that out, too. The image function is pretty nifty by itself as well. As said, you can use the checkered uvmap for reference purposes and even load your own textures (for example, the multiplier, like you do in milkshape). The cool thing is, you can easily switch between loaded textures with one click without importing allover again. To do that, click on the longish button that displays the name of your texture in the uvmap editor and you get a list of textures (if you first added them, of course). To make sure the textures are displayed on the mesh, chose “textured” instead of shaded in the 3d viewport and make sure that in the panel that pops up if you hit “N” in the 3d viewport, the shading method (look for the display menu) is “multitexture”. BTW, there is also a function called “backface culling” there. With that enabled, the backfaces will be transparent and you can more easily see where you might need to turn or add backfaces.


Also recommended:

Splitting Groups in Blender to make sure the normals are correct (preventing dark spots on meshes): Read Tutorial Here

Tutorial: Creating two-sided meshes (2)

You might realize in Marvelous Designer that one side of your mesh is always darker. These are the backfaces. Backfaces are actually see-through, as a face only has one side. Some clothing however needs to have a second side, fo example a dress, loose sleeves or a hood. This tutorial will show you how to add a second side in 3 cases.

Edit: Part C is good for dresses or items where you only need maybe the bottom of a shirt solid.


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How to UV map the KL way

Aka the super lazy way.

I got a message from an anonacutie asking if I would show how to UV map and how to add joints. I figured, “eh, why not” so, here ya go anonacutie! I’ll do the joints in a separate tutorial.

Just a quick dislclaimer: I am 100% sure that there is a better way to do this, but I am lazy and very easily frustrated, so this works best for me.

Some background info:

It really depends on what you’re UV mapping. Accessories and objects don’t have a template they have to fit in, so those are the easiest. But clothes, you have to fit them into pre-sectioned areas, making sure that they don’t touch the body or over lap any of the other UV pieces.

I’m most definitely not the best person to ask about how to do clothes because more than half of my clothing projects fail (exhibit A). Instead, you should take a look at @cakewafflesMeshing Master List. Also, @eliavah​ and @chisimi​ are really nice and really helpful on that front as well.

mmmk, let’s get started:

So you’ve got your object that needs to be UV’d opened up in blender. Make sure it’s selected, then press TAB to get it into edit mode, then click A on your keyboard until the whole thing is highlighted in orange.

Next, go ahead and open up another window. To do that, click and drag the shaded corner in the top right of your viewing field. Then change it to UV/Image Editor

In the window with your object, press the space bar and type in “UV’ And then select “Smart UV Project”

I usually leave the top number as 66, but I change the middle one to 3 because it leaves more space between the UV islands.

Just a quick tip if you’re working on something that has more than one group: (say a necklace for example) I’d UV each piece individually before joining them together if you’re going to UV them the way I do. If you use the smart project UV on a large group, it’s hard to tell which piece goes to which part of the mesh, and that becomes a pain in the ass when you’re trying to do the mask. UV each piece individually first, then move them outside the grid box. When you’ve UV’d each piece, go ahead and join them all together and then you can move each UV island on the grid to where you want.

Originally posted by lumpy-space-princess-blog

Contratulations, you’ve now successfully UV’d something!

If you need more clarification, feel free to send me an ask and I’ll give a more thorough example! C:

so ok I took some screens of this for @fearpixels but it’s a good thing to know so I’m gonna just post it. I’ll tell you how I fix my clothing edges:
edge split that shit

q: what am I looking at?
a: notice the dark shadow around the rim of the collar. this is a problem with the normals. tbh, I don’t know the specifics of how 3d programs calculate this and all that, cept that it’s ugly. this seems to happen whenever you have a very harsh edge and it tries to make it appear smooth, you get this ugly shadow. so basically if you have a top that doesn’t have thickness, this will not appear. but as soon as you export the mesh from md as thick, apply a solidify modifier, or extrude the edge, this will happen.

q: ok, so what do I do & how?
a:
so first off, I don’t export my meshes from md as thick. it makes it a lot harder to bake and stuff, so if you’re doing that, I don’t really know if that causes any changes. alternatively, I would check thin and then use a blender solidify modifier to thicken it, or extruding the edges to give it the appearance of thickness. which to use depends on the area, but not gonna get into that right this second.

but from there, open up your uv/image editor view while your mesh is in edit mode. on the bottom of this window, there will be a button in that says “keep UV and edit mode mesh selection in sync”. this will make what you select in the uv view select in your edit mode as well.

click c and the selection brush will come up in the uv window. it should be very easy to select the edge this way. from there, in your 3d view hit space to search, and search for “edge split”

voila, goodbye shadow.

okay goodbye now

8

Meshing Tutorial: How to create a UVmap in Blender that looks good with patterns

UV-maps - there is no easy formula for them, because every shape has different needs. Rectangular mesh shapes are pretty easy, but organic shapes and bended shapes can cause headaches. Automatic mapping methods often do not produce satisfying results. Don’t be afraid to go in and pull those UV’s into shape yourself! Here’s a bit of guidance to do this. I used my cute Owl Earrings as an example project to show you what I mean :)
I highly recommend to work with different UV background textures. the built-in UV Grid texture of Blender is a good start. To help you understand how pieces need to be mapped in order for the pattern to follow the shape, I created an arrow texture. You can simply imitate this and make a texture with arrows in your favorite image editing program ( the arrows should all point in one direction, straight down from top to bottom). It should tile seamlessly. Try 1024x1024px as a size for your texture  (that’s the size of clothing textures in Sims 3) but it can also be smaller or bigger, as it is just a guide for you.

Step-by-Step explanations along with the pictures


Image 1: The first picture shows how the finished earring looks in Blender. You can see the mapping and a preview texture so you’ll have an idea of how it will look in-game.
Image 2: To check your mapping, use the built-in UV-grid texture that Blender offers.

Image 3: If the grid texture looks rectangular/elongated or squished on your mesh, then the uv-mapping is not ideal, but stretched.

Image 4: Look at the vertex rows and faces of the mesh. How are they structured? What are their dimensions, their ? Try to keep the shape/ geometry of thems on the uv-map.

Image 5: Use the arrow texture you hopefully created by now as a guide to see the pattern flow (how the patterns will be tiling and showing up) on your mesh. You can load it in the uv-map window. Click on Image -> open image and load your arrow texture.

Image 6: Let’s show you how to modify a uv-piece that you created automatically. Here, I automatically remapped the metal earpiece of the earring to be able to show you the process of manual adjustment.

Image 7: As you can see, the automatically mapped piece does not offer a natural pattern flow.

Image 8: By grabbing, rotating ad moving areas on the uvmap, you can put them into a shape that fits the pattern flow.

I hope you are now motivated to try it out yourself on your own meshes. It is not that hard! :) If you screw up completely, you can always remap the piece and start again.

Magnetic Field Lines Visualized

Many people may not be aware that scientists produce graphical representations of the Sun’s magnetic field lines everyday in all of the AIA extreme ultraviolet images as well as for the HMI magnetogram image (lower right). They indicate how these field lines emerge, reach high above the Sun and connect the two magnetic poles of active regions (which appear brighter in the extreme UV images and black and white in the magnetogram image) and with other active regions as well. These images are identified as PFSS (Potential Field Source Surface) in a range of sizes under the images presented on The Sun Now section of the SDO home page. Viewers do not automatically see them unless they click on those links. We assembled a collage of four of these images to showcase what they look like. We invite you to go ahead and explore them!

Image Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA. Mission: SDO Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

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in the air tonight: Mercury transits the Sun, photographed by STEREO, 12th December 2013.

Unlike the Mercury transits seen from Earth in 2003 and 2006, this spectacle was only visible from STEREO A; the spacecraft, in an orbit around the Sun about 150° ahead of Earth, happened to be in the right place to create a Sun-Mercury-spacecraft alignment.

26 images in UV light; 1 every 15 minutes for 6.5 hours. Top gif shows the transit sequence; bottom gif superimposes the slice of the Sun with Mercury in it from each frame, showing the path of the transit. 

Mercury’s next transit of the Sun visible from Earth will take place on 9th March 2016.

Image credit: NASA/STEREO. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.