View Full Version : Clothing Mesh Help (newbie)
21st Dec 2011, 07:37 AM
It's been a while since I've been on here and my have things changed. I used to know how to mesh fairly well with the Sims 2 but I must admit Sims 3 seems a bit out of my league even for what appears to be the simplest of tasks. I decided to bite the bullet and ask for help.
I have a pretty decent understanding of how to use CTU, s3pe, and postal but the finer concepts of creating a custom mesh that works in-game continue to escape me. I've read through a number of tutorials but my mind gets lost once I get into Milkshape. Playing around with meshes isn't a problem. It's all the tricky slight-of-hand that has to be done behind the scenes that kills me. Let me explain what I want to do:
I want to have the adult male jersey mesh as a base (amTopShirtTeeHighV_athletic) and add a more defined and chunky collar crafted from the full body Ninja outfit (amBodyNinjaOutfit collar) and save it as a new mesh.
While I would probably fall over in appreciation if someone could just make that mesh for me I'd much rather know how to do it myself so I never have to ask again. You know the whole "teach a man to fish" analogy. If someone is willing to help me out on a one-on-one basis I'll be more than grateful and certainly credit you properly in any meshes I develop. I have the actual files I've worked on ready and available to share with potential tutors. I can also work at this via email as to not clutter the boards (if prefferable). I know it's a lot to ask but I'm just a blockhead when it comes to wrapping my head around things sometimes but rest assured when I do get it, I run with it. I also remember this being the most creator friendly community online so I figured I'd ask and see what came of it.
I was Sims 2 meshing stupid when I started and ended up producing some decent work before I went on my hiatus. I just want to bring what I was doing previously to the next level of Simming and would appreciate a little guidance.
Light me up with the "You should read this..." and "you should go here..." comments. I'm ready for it. Just looking for one (or a couple) merciful souls who are willing to work with the Meshingly Challenged. ;)
Thanks in advance.
21st Dec 2011, 01:34 PM
What you want to do is called Frankensteining - taking hunks of two meshes and putting them together. If you're using CTU (CAS Texture Unitool) I can walk you through. There are other tools available - TSR Workshop (which is usually great for beginners but one of the tools described below can't handle the meshes it produces) and s3oc which I've barely looked at. Others will probably chime in with more advice.
The way I'd do it using CTU is basically similar to the method used here: http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=447671, but skipping all the stuff about transparency and texturing two separate meshes. Basically, the process is to extract the two base meshes and their morph meshes, chop off the parts of the base meshes you don't want (looks like you've already done this), use MorphMatcher/Toolkit to make new morphs for the chopped meshes, and renumber the second mesh. Modify your texture to match the new mesh. Then use CTU to load up the new texture and the two modified meshes and make a new clothing package. You could also regroup the two meshes into one. Finally, use MorphMaker to make new morph files and add them to the package.
What's your level of familiarity with the basic stuff like s3pe and texturing? Looks like you already know Milkshape pretty well. You might benefit from starting with a couple of basic tutorials - take a look at the ones here: http://simswiki.info/wiki.php?title=Tutorials:TS3_CAS_Tutorials
21st Dec 2011, 02:11 PM
Thanks for the speedy reply CmarNYC. I really do appreciate the step-by-step breakdown. I think I see where I was going wrong.
I'll give it a whirl again and brush up on those tutorials you mentioned and see if I can come up with something that doesn't make the sim exlode. ;p
I'm good with texturing. Lord knows I devoted more hours than I wanted to toying around with that aspect. I'll post about my results when I get something done.
23rd Dec 2011, 09:18 AM
It would appear that I am a bit more blockheaded than I expected.I've gone though a number of articles and tutorials here but I still can't wrap my head around where I'm going wrong. I'm thinking I'm super confused about base meshes, morph meshes, lods, etc. There seems to be so many compenents it mixes me up. Can I try this step-by-step and provide a breakdown pf what I'm doing? By all means correct me when and where I'm botching this.:
Select the amTopShirtTeeHighV_athletic and extract the meshes
Select the amBodyNinjaOutfit and extract the meshes
Import the amBodyNinjaOutfit and chop off most of it and pretty much leave just the and collar. I manipulate it to resemble a collar more than two folds of a uniform (as shown in the graphic in the original post). I even remove the neck portion so that it's just strictly a collar. (I don't weld anything though... is that good or bad?)
Finish up and export is as collar.simgeom
Start a new Milkshape window and import the amTopShirtTeeHighV_athletic mesh
I make no changes to the mesh and basically just export it with a new name of shirt.simgeom
Is that correct so far? If so the next step is to make morph meshes of these two? How exactly do I accomplish that with the latest version of MophMaker? I often run into errors because I'm a flaming idiot.
23rd Dec 2011, 03:04 PM
LOL, you're not an idiot. :D All your steps are right so far except you don't need to import and export amTopShirtTeeHighV_athletic in Milkshape. I don't think you need to do any welding in the other mesh.
Base meshes are the meshes you get when you export with CTU - the basic clothing mesh without any fat/fit/thin/pregnant morphs. Morph meshes are the meshes with one of the full fat/fit/thin/pregnant morphs applied. There's a _fat, _fit, _thin, and _special (pregnant). They're not full meshes; instead of vertex coordinates they contain the distances to move each vertex in order to get the morph. Using Milkshape and Wes's import/export plugins, first you have to import the base mesh and then the morph mesh 'on top' of it, and you get two mesh groups - one normal and one fat, etc. You can import all three fat/fit/thin/pregnant morph meshes on the base mesh so you have the base and the morphs in Milkshape as separate groups. In this case, you won't have a pregnant morph.
Okay, next you need to find and export the morph meshes for both the ShirtTee and the NinjaOutfit. Go to your game installation folders (normally C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\GameData\Shared\Packages, or C:\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\GameData\Shared\Packages on a 64-bit system) and make a copy of FullBuild0.package and put it in a work folder somewhere else. (Don't ever change or remove the original FullBuild0.package or your game may be messed up.) Open it with s3pe and display the filenames. (In the lower part of the screen, make sure 'Display Names Tags' has both boxes checked.) Sort on the filenames by clicking the header of the File column and find the meshes. Extract the meshes with the clothing name and '_fat', etc.
Run MorphMaker and click Mesh Examiner / GEOM File Info. Select the ShirtTee base mesh lod1. About halfway down the data it'll display are the first vertex ID and last vertex ID. Make a note of the last vertex ID. Then run the tool I've attached (it installs just like MorphMaker - extract both files into a folder and run the .exe, or you can put the .exe in the same folder with MorphMaker.) Click Mesh Tools / Morph Mesh Updater. Import your chopped collar mesh lod1 and the lod1 morph meshes for the NinjaOutfit you made it from. (Leave Special blank.) Leave 'Renumber vertices' checked and for starting number add 1 to the last vertex ID of the ShirtTee. You'll be prompted to save out a renumbered base mesh for the collar and its new three morph meshes.
Rinse and repeat for lod2 and optionally for lod3.
Now, you have a choice:
Option 1. Go back to CTU, select the shirt, then in the meshes import the shirt lod1 as LOD1 and the collar lod1 as LOD1_1, same for lod2, and just the shirt for lod3. (Don't forget to give it a new mesh name and click Commit.) Add at least one design in the Designs tab - don't worry about how it looks at this point. Save a new package, then reopen that package and you should see your modified mesh. Import your new textures and set up your designs, then save the package again.
Run MorphMaker and fill in a project name - whatever name you're giving your new shirt plus "_fat". Click the arrow button to generate an Instance ID. Click Adult Male, and import the ShirtTee lod1 fat morph mesh in the first space in the LOD 1 section, and your new collar lod1 fat mesh in the second space. Do the same for LOD 2. In LOD 3 import just the ShirtTee lod3 fat mesh. Click the "Clothes/Hair" button on the bottom of the left side. Click 'Create BGEO' and save the file it makes. Repeat the process for the fit and thin morphs, each time changing the "_fat" to "_fit" and "_thin" and clicking the arrow button for a new Instance ID. (I really should change that to be automatic.)
Finally, still in the Clothes/Hair section, click Add Morphs to Package. Select your new clothing package and import each of the BGEO files you made. Leave Special blank. Save as a new package. Now your morphs should be correct.
Option 2 (which I have not personally done so I can't swear it'll work correctly) is to Import both base meshes and all the morphs for each lod in Milkshape - first the ShirtTee base, then all its morphs, then import the collar base, move it to the top of the group list, and import its morphs. Be sure to rename each group so you can keep track of what's what. Then select the two base meshes and regroup them into one, and do the same for the two fat meshes, the two fit, and the two thin. Now you should have one base at the top of the group list and three morphs. Export them all. Repeat for lod2 and lod3.
Run CTU the same as above, except import the single lod1, lod2, and lod3 meshes.
Run MorphMaker the same as above, except in lod3 import both the ShirtTee and collar morph meshes.
The advantage of Option 2 is that the collar will appear in lod3 of the game whereas it won't with Option 1, but since it's a very low-detail view and the collar is pretty small, IMO it doesn't really matter much.
You may find you need to go back into Milkshape and tweak the edges of the collar so it fits nicely with the shirt, but as long as you only move vertices you shouldn't need to go through all the conniptions above. The quick way to update a mesh (or any other file) is to open your clothing package in s3pe, find your file, right-click and click 'Replace'.
I'll be busy and away from my computer the next couple of days so I may not be able to help much, but give it a try and let me know!
23rd Dec 2011, 09:36 PM
You're a gem. I'm pretty busy as well so I can definitely appreciate the time you've taken out to write this. Thanks so much. I'll peck at it and see what I can accomplish.
Didn't see the attachment you were referring to but no worries. I'll dig around for it. Thanks again and have an enjoyable and safe holiday break!
24th Dec 2011, 01:54 AM
Crap, forgot to attach it. It's attached a few posts down in this thread: http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=461800 - mesh Toolkit.
Have a happy and safe holiday yourself! :)
29th Dec 2011, 06:39 AM
Okay I've been doing a lot of fiddling around, testing and experimenting. I'm able to extract from, replace and update packages with a better understanding. The MeshTools app is intriguing. I'm definitely learning something but I'm also coming up with more questions:
Just to clarify, lod1 is basically the base mesh correct?
What is the significance of lod2 and 3? I understand their purpose in terms of necessity for proper game functionality but with regards to frankensteining how does it apply (relates to my next question)
When creating a chopped up and manipulated piece from lod1 (that's to be added to another mesh later i.e. my collar from the Ninja base) I obviously have to create lod2 (and possibly 3). Do I just use what was created in lod1 or do I have to do something else?
Just to wrap my head around how many items are needed, in option 1 the collar needs lod1 and 2 plus the fat, fit and thin morphs for a total of 8 items in total including the lods for just the collar? The shirt would be lods 1, 2 and 3 plus their respective morph meshes for a total of 12 items including the lods?
Thanks for your help thus far. I hate when I actually do start to understand things because my brain wants to take leaps and bounds before I get the basics down packed. :)
29th Dec 2011, 06:12 PM
Don't worry, modding is like learning a language - confusing as hell at first until things start to fall into place.
The lods (Levels of Detail) are three different versions of the mesh: lod1 is for close views with high detail, lod2 is medium zoomed-out with less detail, and lod3 is the view from a distance with little detail. (I'm explaining the whole thing since I'm not clear on how much you already understand.) Using less detail/fewer vertices and faces saves processing time for the game. All clothing has to have lod1, lod2, and lod3 or you can get the situation of the mesh disappearing when the player zooms out. Obviously it's best to have the lods as similar as possible, except for number of vertices/faces, so the transition between them while zooming is smooth. The exact distances of transition between lods depends on the game setup - very high sim detail means lod2 comes in when zoomed to a pretty fair distance from the sim and lod3 is used only for very distant views, while low sim detail means lod3 may be used for fairly medium distance. OT for clothing, but hair and some accessories use lod0 (very high detail), lod1, and lod2, and some things may use all four lods - I don't remember offhand. So no, lod1 and the base mesh are different concepts. The base mesh is the mesh with no morphs applied.
Ideally, all three lods should be frankensteined the same way when creating clothing. Certainly lod1 and lod2 should be - for lod3 you can get away with omitting smallish details and features. In this case, I don't think the absence of a collar mesh would be noticeable, especially when the texture will show a collar.
Ideally, you'd chop up, manipulate, and combine parts from the original lod2 meshes exactly the same way as for lod1. Depending on what you're doing, it might or might not be necessary for lod3 as well. In the case of the collar maybe you could use the same mesh for all two or three since it's not a lot of faces.
Number of meshes - yeah, it's a LOT of work for even a seemingly simple thing like adding a collar, unless you use the same meshes for all three lods, which works but frankly it's sloppy. Option 1 would be base mesh and three morphs (ignoring pregnant) for each of lod1, 2, and 3 for the shirt, and base mesh + three morphs for each of lod1 and 2 of the collar = 20 meshes. Option 2 would be the same plus base and three morphs for the collar lod3 = 24 meshes. (In practice, the game seems not to apply the morphs for lod3, at least not for low sim detail which is the only setting at which morphs would be really visible, so you could omit the lod3 morphs or maybe do only the fat morph since thin and fit aren't enough of a change to be visible anyway.) This is why being able to update and use the original morphs is a big timesaver. In your case, of course, you only have to actually modify the collar meshes = 8 meshes or 12 if you're a total perfectionist and decide to do lod3.
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