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The ModFather
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#1 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 2:27 AM Last edited by Numenor : 21st Mar 2009 at 3:35 AM. Reason: Restored German translation
Default Recolouring Objects with Object Workshop (NEW tutorial)
>>> TUTORIAL <<<

RECOLOURING OBJECTS with OBJECT WORKSHOP



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SUMMARY
This tutorial explains how to create an additional recolour for a Sims2 object, using SimPE's Object Workshop. This is an alternative, more complete procedure, than the Wizards of SimPE: the Wizards only work with Maxis objects, and doesn't let you to edit anything else than the textures, while the Object Workshop can be used for recolouring custom objects, add transparency to textures and many other things.
NOTE: in the pictures, the RED references are related to the tutorial, while the GREEN text and boxes are informative only, and refer to the additional HINTS and FAQs provided in this post.
This tutorial is also provided in PDF format. To view it, we strongly suggest to download the Foxisoft PFD Viewer: it's free and small, less than 1Mb!
Added Thai translation by Sweetsnut, in RTF format (readable with Windows' WordPad)
Added Italian translation by MaryLou: it can be found in this web page (EXTERNAL LINK)
Added Spanish translation by Angelskin, in Word DOC format
Added Norwegian version by Ghostsim: it can be found in this web page (EXTERNAL LINK)
Added Czech version by M-I-A: it can be found in this web page (EXTERNAL LINK - Select the czech flag)
Added Brazilian (Portuguese) version by Topz: it can be found on this forum (EXTERNAL LINK - Free registration required)
Added French version by Nan: it can be found in this web page (EXTERNAL LINK)
Added German translation by Magicdawn, in PDF format
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WHAT YOU NEED:
  1. SimPE: get the latest version at sims.ambertation.de; this tutorial applies to SimPE v.50b and newer.
  2. The CEP: get the latest version from the official CEP page; without the CEP, many Maxis object can't be fully recoloured, or aren't recolourable at all.
  3. The "Legacy" Nvidia DDS Utilities: get them from this page (the download link is at the very bottom of the page) and install them, just like any Windows program; then, start SimPE, select the menu Extra / Preferences and fill in the field "Nvidia DDS Tools" with the exact installation path (you can use the "Browse" button to easier find the exact folder where the DDS Utilities are installed).


STEP 1 - START OBJECT WORKSHOP
There are different ways to start Object Workshop; the best way is to use the "Object Workshop" button located at the bottom of the screen; if you can't see it, select the menu Window / Object Workshop. (Don't confuse this menu entry with the one located in "Tools / Object Creation": that is a different version of OW that doesn't provide all the features of the main one).
Then click the Start button.
HINT: Use the "Start" button to recolour Maxis objects; use the "Open" button to recolour custom objects.


STEP 2 - CREATING THE RECOLOUR PACKAGE
When you click the Start button, SimPE loads all the available objects (just wait a minute for SimPE to load them all). When the object list is ready, you can select the object you want to recolour; in this tutorial, we'll recolour the "4by4 Designer Chandelier", located into Lighting -> CeilingLamp. Open the "Lighting" category and "CeilingLamp" sub-category by clicking on the "+" mark, as shown in picture. Then click Next
FAQ: SimPE tries to understand to which EP the object is related, but this feature is still faulty: ignore that information.

After having hit "Next", you are given the choice to recolour or clone the chosen object. The default option is "Recolour": don't change it, just click Start.

The "Save As..." window opens up: choose a suitable name for your recolour package and click "Save".

In the "Subset Selection" window you can choose which parts of the object you want to recolour. NOTE: the "Subset Selection" windows doesn't appear if the object has only one recolourable part.
In this tutorial, we are going to recolour only the "Shade" of the lamp, and therefore you have to uncheck the "Metal" subset; leave checked the "Shade" subset and click "OK".
FAQ: Some objects, like the lamp that we are going to recolour, are multi-state, i.e. they can be clean/dirty, or lit/unlit; in these cases, the subset is composed by two or more textures; this is graphically represented in the Subset Selection window by an orange mark on the texture, reporting the number of alternative textures that the subset is composed of.


STEP 3 - REPLACING THE TEXTURES
In a matter of seconds, the recolour package is created and opened for you to edit.
Select the Plugin button in the bottom of the screen, then select Texture Images (TXTR) in the Resource Tree. In the right part of the window, you'll see two "Texture Image" entries: they are two because, as we have seen, the lamp has two alternative textures, for the "lit" and "unlit" state.
Let's begin selecting the first entry, that refers to the "unlit" texture; as you select it, the actual texture will be displayed in the bottom part of the screen.
Click the Export button.

Save the texture somewhere on your hard disk (you can optionally assign a custom name, but it's not necessary).
HINT: The best choice is to save the image in .png format, because the alpha channel (that stores information about the texture transparency, if any) will be stored along with the image; but if your favourite paint program doesn't support the .png images, you can save in .bmp format. Note: if you change the format to .bmp, you have to manually add the ".bmp" extension to the filename!

When you have edited and saved the texture, it's time to import it back into SimPE.
Right-click on the image and choose Build DXT.

The DDS Builder window will open up. Click Open and browse to your edited image. Before building the image, check the Format drop-down list, in the DDS window and choose DXT1 format. Then click Build, and your image will be loaded into SimPE, replacing the original one. COMMIT AND SAVE.
HINT: In the DDS window, you should always check the "Format" field, and choose the most suitable format for your image: the most used formats are "DXT1" for opaque images (that do no have any transparecy) and "DXT3" (for images with transparency) The other formats are rarely used: select them only if you have a specific reason for doing so.
HINT: The default option for the "Sharpen" selector is "Smoothen"; in most cases, you will get better results changing it to "None".
FAQ: Why should you use the DDS utilities, instead of the easier "Import" button? Because the DDS utilities, in most cases, ensure a better looking result (the "Import" button uses a compression routine that tends to lose details, thus creating inaccurate textures); this is mostly true with transparent textures. Moreover, the DDS utilities let you import images with different sizes than the original one, which is impossible with the standard "Import" function. The only case where the Import is better is when the image has a high contrast and very neat separation between the different colours (e.g. cartoons, logos...)


Repeat the step 3, replacing the second texture in the package, the one used for the "lit" state of the lamp. When editing it, remember to make it a little brighter that the "unlit" one. Import the edited image into SimPE using the DDS utilities, as explained above. COMMIT AND SAVE again.


The recolour is finished
Copy the package into the downloads folder and fire up the game: your brand new colour option will be available in the Buy Mode catalog, when selecting the "4by4 Designer Chandelier" ceiling lamp.





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OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES

Designing Beddings (Double and Single) - Beginner Level - by Tiggerypum
Recolouring object with Wizard of SimPE - Beginner Level - by DeeDee (at SimPE site)
Enabling transparency on textures - Beginner level - by Mike190870
A broken glass for your windows - Beginner Level - by Numenor
Creating animated recolours - Intermediate Level - by JWoods
Understanding the TXTR and the MipMaps - Intermediate Level - by JWoods

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Screenshots
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: zip PDF - Recolouring Objects with Object Workshop.zip (1.01 MB, 6301 downloads) - View custom content
File Type: zip RTF - Recolouring Objects (THAI translation by Sweetsnut).zip (385.5 KB, 530 downloads)
File Type: zip DOC - Recolorear Objetos (Spanish translation by Angelskin).zip (820.8 KB, 517 downloads) - View custom content
File Type: rar PDF_-_Objekte_umfarben_(German_translation_by_magicdawn).rar (541.4 KB, 253 downloads) - View custom content

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The ModFather
staff: retired moderator
Original Poster
#2 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 2:32 AM Last edited by Numenor : 9th Aug 2006 at 1:20 PM. Reason: Fixed in-text images
Default Additional FAQs and Hints
HINT: in the "Subset Selection" window, you should always choose only one subset (i.e. uncheck all the checkboxes but one); if your recolour package contains both subsets, deleting one recolour from the catalogue will cause the other one to be deleted, too.


FAQ: After importing, my texture looks blurry/pixelized/deteriorated! What can I do?
When you import an image into a recolour package, the image is compressed and resized. These two jobs are performed either by the DDS utilities (if you use the "Build DXT" function) or by SimPE itself (if you use the "Import" + "Update all sizes" functions). Usually, the DDS utilities provide a more accurate result, especially with semi-transparent textures. On the contrary, SimPE's internal routines are better for images with neat contours and high contrast.
In some rare cases (for instance, a semi-transparent texture with very neat borders and decors), both system can fail. The best way to solve the problem is to manually resize the images.
Esample: the original texture is 256x256. If you select the TXTR file in SimPE, you will see, on the left part of the screen, the "mipmaps", i.e. the smaller copies of your images that will be used when you zoom out in game.
For a 256x256 image, the mipmaps are: 256x256, 128x128, 64x64, 32x32, ..., 1x1.


You have to load your new 256x256 texture into your paint program and resize it to 128x128, then save it with a different name; than reload the 256x256 image and resize it to 64x64; save it with a different name.
Then go back to SimPE and do the following:
  1. Import the 256x256 image as usual, using the "Build DXT" menu (remember to adjust the format to DXT1 or DXT3, regarding the transparency of the image); commit.
  2. Click the "Import" button; select the 256x256 image; do not "Update all sizes!, just commit.
  3. On the left panel, select the mipmap 128x128; click the "Import" button; select the 128x128 image; do not "Update all sizes!, just commit.
  4. Now select the 64x64 mipmap and do the same. Commit and save.
Note: you don't need to manually resize and import images smaller than 64x64: they are too small to be fully viewable in game.


This way, you can have the best result possible, because the images are resized using the (more accurate) routines of your paint program.
Screenshots

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Part-time Hermit
#3 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 6:08 AM
I would like to add that you should always recolor the two subsets of an object separately (two different packages), because otherwise, if you delete one of the recolor subsets inside the game, the remaining subset will "break", and it's impossible to know in the game which subsets came in the same package to prevent this.
The ModFather
staff: retired moderator
Original Poster
#4 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 10:41 AM
Well, in my opinion, recolouring one or both subsets is a choice that should be done on a per case basis. What you say is generally true, and technically it is always possible.
But in some cases the the recolours of the two subsets are aestethically bound: removing one subset would make the other meaningless.
In other cases, both subsets use the same texture (you can spot this because in the "Subset Selection" window, both subsets show the same thumbnail: e.g. all the counters): though is technically possible to recolour them separately, this would lead to a duplicated texture in the game, with the consequent waste of resource and slower loading times.

Anyway, in general your suggestion is good, and I will add it in post #2. Thanks.

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Part-time Hermit
#5 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 10:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Numenor
Well, in my opinion, recolouring one or both subsets is a choice that should be done on a per case basis. What you say is generally true, and technically it is always possible.
But in some cases the the recolours of the two subsets are aestethically bound: removing one subset would make the other meaningless.
In other cases, both subsets use the same texture (you can spot this because in the "Subset Selection" window, both subsets show the same thumbnail: e.g. all the counters): though is technically possible to recolour them separately, this would lead to a duplicated texture in the game, with the consequent waste of resource and slower loading times.

Anyway, in general your suggestion is good, and I will add it in post #2. Thanks.


With some recolors, apparently made with older versions of SimPE, the remaining subset after deleting the other one not only lost its texture, but became undeleteable in the catalog. The only way to remove it from the catalog was to put the original package into the game, start up the game to refresh the catalog, and then exit the game and manually delete the package from your downloads folder.

It's too bad that the extra texture is a burden on the game. That's the only downside to recoloring the subsets separately that I can think of. With newer versions of SimPE, when you delete one subset, the other one remains in the catalog (at least during that game session), but if you try to use it, you get this error texture, black text on a white background, covering the object. At least the remaining, corrupt subset is deleteable, unlike with some older recolors.
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#6 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 5:55 PM
The problem you describe should be related to older non EP-ready recolours; but anyway, I agree that recolouring one subset at time is always safer (and the extra texture is a little burden, after all): I second your suggestion about this (that's why I included this hint in post #2).

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Part-time Hermit
#7 Old 9th Nov 2005 at 7:05 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Numenor
The problem you describe should be related to older non EP-ready recolours; but anyway, I agree that recolouring one subset at time is always safer (and the extra texture is a little burden, after all): I second your suggestion about this (that's why I included this hint in post #2).


Thank you for adding the hint . I just wanted to clarify that the second subset didn't just disappear, but might cause a problem, mostly with older recolors apparently, though, I wasn't complaining :D.
Field Researcher
#8 Old 10th Nov 2005 at 7:33 AM
Just want to post a quick "thank you" for doing an updated tutorial for OW. One has been needed for quite a while. Even though I know how to use OW I always read new tutorials. I always learn something new, or find my memory refreshed on some issue.

Personally, too, I have been using the Classic GUI, primarily because that is what I have been used to using. It was nice to go through your screenshots using the new GUI. Your efforts are appreciated!
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#9 Old 10th Nov 2005 at 9:06 AM
Yes, my intention is to bring more people toward the use of the new Object Workshop, because the Classic version, and even the OW that is started using the Tools menu in the graphic version, aren't complete: they lack some useful options.

I've finally started my Journal. Information only, no questions.

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Test Subject
#10 Old 10th Nov 2005 at 6:35 PM
Thank you! I have officialy made my first object with RGiles' tutoril yesterday and I had a hard time with the recolour par. You helped me out! much easier now!

---------------------------------------------------
Alexis
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#11 Old 10th Nov 2005 at 9:32 PM
RGiles' tutorial has been a great tutorial, but things (and SimPE in particular) evolve...

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Field Researcher
#12 Old 14th Nov 2005 at 1:33 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Numenor
Yes, my intention is to bring more people toward the use of the new Object Workshop, because the Classic version, and even the OW that is started using the Tools menu in the graphic version, aren't complete: they lack some useful options.


Personally I have been using the Classic GUI too. Thanks for yuor excellent tutorial about th new OW.

Bye
MaryLou
Lab Assistant
#13 Old 19th Nov 2005 at 6:20 PM
Im trying and im confused. I don`t get it very well but I am at the saving part and I don`t know where to save it. Anyways ill keep trying. So slow! Ill die by the time it finishes! Thanks for the tutorial though. Adios!

Rascal Flatts *heart*
The ModFather
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#14 Old 19th Nov 2005 at 7:01 PM
You can save anywhere you like. Only, I suggest not to save directly in the downloads folder: many creators have a "working folder", where you can put the packages, the textures and all the stuff that you need when creating something; and when the package is finished, you can copy it in the downloads folder.

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Test Subject
#15 Old 19th Nov 2005 at 7:23 PM
Default Build DXT
I followed the tutorial, but when I got to the "Build DXT" step it wouldn't let me select that option

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To feel elation on our behalf
To find an enemy we can all warm to!
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The lethal sculptures of our government departments
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The ModFather
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Original Poster
#16 Old 19th Nov 2005 at 9:28 PM
For the "Build DXT" option to work, you need the Nvidia DDS Utilities: get them from this page and install them, just like any Windows program; then, start SimPE, select the menu Extra / Preferences and fill in the field "Nvidia DDS Tools" with the exact installation path (you can use the "Browse" button to easier find the exact folder where the DDS Utilities are installed).

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Inventor
#17 Old 24th Nov 2005 at 2:04 AM
Thank you Numenor :D
I've subscribed and hope I don't forget it's here so I can go over it later (again)
You know me, bad memory issues.

Thank you!
xts

(My Quote) ~ "If it isn't one thing, it's another. It's usually one thing and man it's a mother" -PB
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#18 Old 24th Nov 2005 at 9:51 AM
All users please read the Hints & FAQs for an alternative, most accurate, method of importing textures.

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Field Researcher
#19 Old 25th Nov 2005 at 8:29 PM
No matter what method I use, import or build dxt with .png or .bmp images, when I try to make a stained glass window my picture looks great until it is in the game (and until I re-open the package) then it looks blocky and blurry. I've seen pictures of beautiful ones that other people have done and I'd like to make some...
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#20 Old 26th Nov 2005 at 2:08 AM
Would you please post here a zip containing the package and the texture in .png? I'd like to see if some particular textures have problems, and how they can be imported correctly.

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Field Researcher
#21 Old 26th Nov 2005 at 3:42 AM
Here's one that I still have. I've tried importing the .png with the transparency and also importing the image and the alpha seperately with pretty much the same results.
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: zip magecitbathwindow.zip (533.2 KB, 189 downloads) - View custom content
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#22 Old 26th Nov 2005 at 10:43 AM
Mage, I easily imported the image with the DDS utilities, and the result is good.
Remember that when you use the "Build DXT" menu, you don't have to "Update all Sizes". If you had pretty much the same result either using the Build DXT and using the standard Import functions, then you probably have updated all sizes in both cases.

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Field Researcher
#23 Old 26th Nov 2005 at 4:43 PM
I'm sure I didn't... Thanks for taking a look at it. Next time I try this I'll pay strict attention to how I do it.
Field Researcher
#24 Old 28th Nov 2005 at 4:52 PM
Guess what! I just made some stained gleass windows that turned out great. I honestly don't know what I did differently from all the times it didn't work, but I'm sure I have you to thank for assuring me it could be done and reminding me how. I'm happy. Thanks you.
The ModFather
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Original Poster
#25 Old 28th Nov 2005 at 7:41 PM
There are a lot of things that we do "automatically", almost unknowingly... The error is always behind the next corner!
It happened to me, too, countless times...

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