How to make Walls, Floors, and Ground Cover (Beginning Creators Start Here!)
If you've never made anything for the game before, start here! Walls, floors, and groundcover are the easiest things to make, and a great introduction into editing textures, moving around files, and learning how to get a good result in the game. You also don't have to worry about your creations' compatability: all walls, floors, and groundcover are compatible with any EPs and just the base game, too. Plus, there's no meshes to worry about either! Yay!
Difficulty: Very easy!
Homecrafter, which will take the images you feed into it and make them into files which the game can use for walls, floors, and groundcover. It can be downloaded free from the official EA site (it does not come with the game).
Any graphics editing program capable of cropping, adjusting and tweaking colours, multiple layers, and a variety of brushes. This can be pretty much anything except MS Paint. You may already have a graphics editing program on your computer. Some common ones:
Adobe Photoshop: The industry standard, and among the most powerful graphics editing programs you can have. This tutorial includes instructions on how to create walls, floors, and groundcovers using Photoshop. Photoshop CS2 will be used for demonstration, but these instructions should be fine for earlier versions, at least as far back as Photoshop 7. If you can't afford the newest Photoshop but you still really want to use Photoshop, try eBay for cheap copies ($40-50) of older versions.
Ulead PhotoImpact: Often included in software bundles with scanners, printers, and prebuilt computers. Its functions should also be fairly similar to Photoshop.
GIMP: A little different to use than other graphics editing programs, but rather full-featured, especially considering it's free for download online. You will also need the GTK+ 2 Runtime Environment, also available from that link, which you'll need to install before you install GIMP. Quite a few people use GIMP, but I've found some major bugs in it personally. If you've already got it and like using it, it's also capable of doing the steps shown here.
Paint.NET: Doesn't include as many interesting filters and effects as GIMP, but it's also free, and a little more user-friendly and easy to pick up than GIMP. In light of this, I'll also be including instructions on how to do these steps in Paint.NET. Unless you already know you have the .NET Framework 2.0 installed on your computer, make sure you get the 49.1 MB installer that includes .NET Framework 2.0, not the 3.41 MB installer that does not include the .NET Framework 2.0.
If you are not using Photoshop or Paint.NET but another program instead, you should still be able to use the instructions here, as most graphics programs should have all of the functions listed in some form. If you are using a different program, using the instructions for Photoshop will probably be your best bet. If you're having trouble figuring out the functions of your graphics program of choice, the best place to look is that program's help documents or their official site.
I'll be explaining in basic terms where the tools I'm using are located, and offering screenshots of any filters or major steps, but this tutorial's difficulty level assumes you can install the programs yourself according to any instructions on the manufacturers' websites, open and close files, navigate to a given directory, and move files from one place to another. Menu commands will be written separated by - for submenus, i.e. if you should open the File menu and click Save, I'll tell you simply to File - Save.
Though you'll be creating the three types of Homecrafter content separately, this tutorial is meant to be read in order (so you know what I'm talking about when I refer to something in subsequent steps), so start with the wall, then do the floor, then do the ground cover or you may be confused.
Of course, if you're using Photoshop, you don't need to read the Paint.NET part of the tutorial, and vice-versa (they're just telling you how to do the same thing in different programs).
Just because you've found a nifty looking image doesn't mean it's necessarily going to work to make a texture. Unless an image has specifically been made to tile, when you put two sections of it next to each other (as you'll be doing for walls, floors, and groundcover), you'll see where each image meets the next as an obvious line, and it won't look very realistic. Finding a site that not only contains good images but actually has images that already tile is an exciting moment for a texture artist.
This is probably the trickiest part of making walls and floors, and the best creators spend hours finding just the right textures to use for their work (when not creating them by hand). Learning to find great source images is almost as much of an art as creating things with them itself, but below is a list of some places to start.
Google: Often the quickest and best place if you're looking for something general, plinking around for ideas, or looking for something in a particular style. Often some of the best resources for images of walls, floors, and groundcover are companies that sell wallpapers, flooring, and groundcovers, and Google connects you to them in abundance. Try search terms like: wallpaper, wallpaper borders, tiling textures, wall textures, floor textures, tile floors, carpeting, etc.
Google Image Search: Better than a general search if you're looking for something fairly specific, and a great way to find a site that tends to have high-resolution pictures (if you find one that's nice, you can see if the same site has more that are good too). Try search terms like: damask, floral print, polka dots, stripes, plaid, crown molding, ceramic tile, stucco, brick, grass, ivy, leaves, etc.
Web Graphics Sites: Findable in great abundance by searching Google, and often set up to tile, and most sites offer background images previewed on a page, so you can make sure it tiles properly and looks nice repeated over and over. However, just because that funky green lava looks really cool on the background of your Myspace doesn't mean it makes any sense as a wall or floor in a sim's house. You can normally tone down some of the weirder patterns by applying a fairly heavy add noise filter to make it look speckled, like carpeting, but try to remember: there's only so many abstract blotchy orange, green, and purple carpets one sim needs. Try to stick to textures that look like they belong in real peoples' homes.
The Inspiration Gallery: Wonderful textures that are already set up as tiling, so you don't have to worry about your walls repeating right at all, and they're happy to have their textures used for sims projects, as long as you link back to them. We'll be using images from The Inspiration Gallery for this tutorial.
Because of the "for beginners" nature of this tutorial, we'll only be covering the use of tiling textures for your walls.
If you're fairly comfortable working in your graphics program of choice, you can make your own tiling textures... These two tutorials both basically cover the same thing, but have different techniques presented differently. Between the two you should be well-covered.
Creating Walls, Floors, and Groundcover in Photoshop
This part of the tutorial is just if you're using Photoshop - if you're using Paint.NET, skip past this part to the Paint.NET instructions.
1: Start by opening Photoshop. It should have a Start Menu shortcut under Programs, and possibly a Desktop or Quick Start icon, too.
2: Let's start by creating the right size image for a wall texture, so we have a canvas to work with. File - New (or CTRL-N) will bring up options for your new image.
a. Name your project something descriptive. You can leave it untitled but it can help to have it named so you know which open image is which when you have a lot of different bits and pieces you're pulling from.
b. Make sure all of your settings are the same as shown, especially the size, 256 x 768.
3: File - Open and open your source images. I've laid everything out so I can clearly see all my documents and everything I'm doing:
4: Switch to the document with the background image, and Image - Image Size.
a. In the image resize dialog box, make sure Constrain Proportions is unchecked, so we can change the width and height independently, not relative to one another.
b. Then, change the width to '256' to make the image the same width as the wall texture.
c. Change the height to '384' - this will make it a little taller than it was originally, but won't distort it too much. We're using 384 because it's half of 768, so we'll repeat this image twice along the height of the image.
4: Now Select - All (or CTRL-A) and then Edit - Copy (or CTRL-C) from the background image. Then, switch over to the wall texture and Edit - Paste (or CTRL-V) to paste in your background image as a new layer.
5: Using the Move Tool, click on the pasted background and drag it into place at the top of the image. It should snap into place pretty easily. Then, Paste the background in again, and using the Move Tool, click on the new piece of background and drag it into place at the bottom of the image.
6: The texture as-is would work for a wallpaper, but it's a little bland. Let's add the border to the top. Switch over to the open document with the border and Image - Image Size again. Again, make sure Constrain Proportions is unchecked, and then change the width to '256' (the width of the wall texture). Because this is a rather tall border, I think it'll look better if we make it a little shorter, so I'll take it from 130 pixels down to 100. If it were a little shorter to begin with, I could just leave Constrain Proportions checked and change the width to 256, and let it make the height the right number to stay in proportion with the width change.
7: With the border document still selected, Select - All, then Edit - Copy. Switch over to the document with your texture and Edit - Paste. Use the Move Tool to click and drag the border to the top of the texture.
8. That looks a lot nicer, but let's do one more little thing to make this a bit more interesting. Switch back to the border, and using the Rectangular Marquee Tool, select just the bottom of the border. Edit - Copy that piece of the border.
9. Switch back to your texture, and Edit - Paste the little bottom bit of border into your texture document. Edit - Transform - Scale will bring up the scale controls for your layer. Change the height to -100%, so the layer you just pasted in will be flipped vertically (upside down).
10. Use the Move Tool to drag the piece of border to the bottom of your texture. Then Maximize the image by clicking the box on the upper right corner of the document window.
a. Click the Zoom Tool to bring up the zoom controls on the toolbar.
b. Then click Fit Screen to get a good look at your image from top to bottom. Make sure everything looks right, is in the right place, etc.
c. Finally, click Actual Pixels to get a look at your image at actual size. There shouldn't be any weird pixellation or crunchiness, and all of your bits and pieces should be properly positioned.
11. File - Save As. If you don't already have one, make yourself a 'Sims 2 Projects' folder somewhere you can find it easily (in My Documents or on your Desktop are good places) with a subfolder for Walls. Save your document as a .psd - that way if we want to go back and make changes, shift some positioning, change the colours of a certain part, etc., we still have all the bits and pieces separated out in a Photoshop-format document. If you get a Maximize Compatability dialog, just click OK.
12. File - Save As (yes, again). This time, change the Format from .psd to .bmp. This will change the filename it wants to give it from 'YourProjectName.psd' to 'YourProjectName copy.bmp' so you need to change it so it reads 'YourProjectName.bmp' and then save to the same directory you saved your .psd document.
*** Edit: New information discovered June '06! You must first resize your walls to 256x512 before saving as a .bmp. Walls at 256x768 (or ANY other sizing except 256x512) will show as grey for Mac users, though they'll work fine for PC users. Please resize before saving so your walls work correctly for everyone.
We're going to take a nice floor and change the colour so it matches the walls, and make it a little more carpet-like.
13. You'll want the finished wall texture and your source image for the floor both viewable, so you can compare them visually to each other. You should still have the wall texture open, so open your floor texture and arrange them something like shown.
14. With the floor image selected, Image - Adjust - Hue/Saturation. Fiddle with the settings in the Hue/Saturation dialog until you get something you like. There's really no trick to getting the settings on this just right; just keep playing with the sliders until you get something that looks right to you.
15. Filter - Noise - Add Noise. On the Add Noise dialog, make sure Monochromatic is checked, and then just play with the slider and the Uniform/Gaussian toggle until you get something that looks right. You want enough noise so that your pattern isn't crisp, like it's stenciled on, but you also don't want so much that you can't easily see the pattern.
16. Image - Image Size and change the width and height of the floor both to 256. Again, make sure Constrain Proportions is unchecked.
17. File - Save As and save your floor as a bitmap (.bmp) in a subfolder of the Sims 2 Projects folder you made called Floors. You can then close the floor texture. If it asks you to save, you can tell it no; there's nothing in that image (since we didn't use layers) that you don't have in the .bmp you just saved.
18. Because we're making ground cover, it doesn't have to match exactly to the wall texture, but if we were going to use them on the same lot, it might be nice for them to be similar in colour or tone, for a little more unity for the whole lot. So let's open the source for the ground cover, a nice craggy rock texture, and the wall texture we've created, and arrange them as before, so we can see both of them at the same time.
19. Image - Adjust - Hue/Saturation. Again, make sure Colorize is checked and adjust the sliders till it roughly matches the wall texture.
20. Select - All and Edit - Copy and then Edit - Paste to duplicate the image on a new layer, Layer 1.
a. Click on the eye symbol next to Layer 1 in the Layers window (if you don't have a Layers window, bring it up by doing Window - Layers or by pressing F7 on your keyboard) to temporarily hide Layer 1.
b. Then click on the Background layer to select it. This will make our changes apply only to the Background layer, not to Layer 1.
c. Image - Adjustment - Hue Saturation again. Colorize is still checked. Adjust the sliders till you get a nice mossy green.
21. Now let's combine the moss with the regular texture.
a. Un-hide Layer 1 and click to select it. This will make all of our changes apply only to Layer 1, not the Background layer.
b. Click the Eraser tool.
c. Make sure all of your tool settings match those shown in the screenshot.
d. Now use small single-clicks on the image to erase little bits of Layer 1. Don't get too close to any of the edges or you'll have an obvious line where two pieces of ground cover come together. Also, take care not to overdo it; we want a little bit of moss, not overgrown. You can always Edit - Undo if you make a mistake, or use Edit - Step Backward to undo several recent changes at once.
22. Image - Image Size to resize the ground texture. Constrain Proportions is still unchecked. The width and height will both be 256.
23. Now, File - Save As and save your document as a Photoshop Document (.psd) so you have the layers intact in case you would like to change or adjust something later. If it asks if you would like to Maximize Compatability, tell it Yes.
24. File - Save As again and change the Format to Bitmap (.bmp) to save a copy of your groundcover that can be read by Homecrafter.
Creating Walls, Floors, and Groundcover in Paint.NET
This part of the tutorial is just if you're using Paint.NET - if you're using Photoshop, skip past this part to the Homecrafter section.
1: Open Paint.NET. It should have a shortcut on your Desktop as well as under Start - Programs - Paint.NET and possibly a Quick Start icon as well.
2: Let's start by creating the right size image for a wall texture, so we have a canvas to work with. File - New (or CTRL-N) will bring up options for your new image. Make sure all of your settings are the same as shown, especially the size, 256 x 768.
3: Start another copy of Paint.NET (as it won't let you have two things open in the program at once... a bit of a limitation, but, hey, it's free) and open your background image.
4. We're going to want the background repeated once across each piece of wall, and twice down each piece of wall. Let's resize it so it fits. Image - Resize to bring up the resizing dialog box.
a. In the dialog box, make sure Maintain aspect ratio is unchecked, so we can change the width and height independently, not relative to one another.
b. Then, change the width to '256' to make the image the same width as the wall texture.
c. Change the height to '384' - this will make it a little taller than it was originally, but won't distort it too much. We're using 384 because it's half of 768, so we'll repeat this image twice along the height of the image.
5. Because Paint.NET's resize kinda blurs images, let's sharpen it up a bit. Effects - Sharpen will bring up the sharpen filter dialog box. A value of 2 will return the image to about the same sharpness as before, perhaps a little more sharp, but since we'll be continuing to manipulate the image, a little extra sharpness can't hurt.
6. Now Edit - Select All (or CTRL-A) and then Edit - Copy (or CTRL-C) to copy your resized background image. Then, switch over to the blank wall texture. The Layers window should be at the bottom right of your screen; if it's not, you can bring it up in Windows - Layers or by pressing F7 on your keyboard. Click the New Layer button to give a new layer to work on and then Edit - Paste (or CTRL-V) to paste your background image into the new layer.
7. Click the Move tool so you can move the background image. Use the down arrow on your keyboard to move the new layer down to the bottom of the wall texture. You can hold down CTRL and press the down arrow key to move in larger increments, or just use the down arrow by itself to move it by a single pixel.
a. Use the Zoom tool and click on the image to zoom in to get a closer look at the bottom of the image.
b. Use the Move tool again if you need to fix the background's positioning - it should come right up to the bottom with no white space.
8. Right-click with the Zoom tool to zoom back out. Create a second new layer the same way you did the first, and then paste another copy of the background image into your wall texture document. This second one you shouldn't have to change the positioning of at all; it should be right at the top.
9. The texture as-is would work for a wallpaper, but it's a little bland. Let's add the border to the top. Switch back to the other open copy of Paint.NET (with your background image in it) and open the border image (you don't need to save changes to the background unless you want to for some reason). Again, make sure Maintain aspect ratio is unchecked, and then change the width to '256' (the width of the wall texture). Because this is a rather tall border, I think it'll look better if we make it a little shorter, so I'll take it from 130 pixels down to 100. If it were a little shorter to begin with, I could just leave Maintain aspect ratio checked and change the width to 256, and let it make the height the right number to stay in proportion with the width change.
10. Again, because of the resize it's a little fuzzy, so Effects - Sharpen again (or Repeat Sharpen should be at the top of the Effects menu). Edit - Select All and Edit - Copy to get ready to move the sharper resized border over to the wall texture.
11. Switch back to the wall texture image and create another new layer. Edit - Paste to paste the border into the wall texture. Niftily enough, it'll be right at the top. Isn't that convenient?
12. That looks a lot nicer, but let's do one more little thing to make this a bit more interesting. Switch back to open document with the border. Edit - Deselect to remove the previous selection. Using the Rectangle Select tool, draw a box from outside the image's bottom left corner up and to the right to select just the bottom part of the image as shown. If you mess up and grab too much or too little, Deselect and try again. Edit - Copy to copy the selected part of the border.
13. Switch back to the wall texture. Create another new layer and Edit - Paste to paste that little bit of border into the new layer. Layer - Flip - Vertical will flip the new pasted piece (it'll also pop it down near the bottom). Edit - Select All and then click the Move tool. Now use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the piece of border to the very bottom. Remember, you can CTRL-down arrow to move in larger increments, and the Zoom tool to make sure you have the piece right at the very bottom.
14. Zoom out and take a look at your wall texture. Everything should be positioned just right. If it's not, select the layer the part is on that you want to change, then select the Move tool, and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to change its positioning (but if you followed the directions above, everything should be fine already).
If you don't already have one, make yourself a 'Sims 2 Projects' folder somewhere you can find it easily (in My Documents or on your Desktop are good places) with a subfolder for Walls. File - Save As and save your image as the default type, .pdn. This will save the document as-is, with all of the layers intact, in case you want to go back and make changes later.
15. Then, File - Save As again and change the Save as type dropdown to Bitmap (BMP). Homecrafter will only import bitmaps, so this is what we want. Save your file as a bitmap, too, in that same Walls folder.
*** Edit: New information discovered June '06! You must first resize your walls to 256x512 before saving as a .bmp (and sharpen them too, in Paint.NET). Walls at 256x768 (or ANY other sizing except 256x512) will show as grey for Mac users, though they'll work fine for PC users. Please resize before saving so your walls work correctly for everyone.
16. When you get a message asking if you would like to flatten the image, say Yes.
We're going to take a nice floor and change the colour so it matches the walls, and make it a little more carpet-like.
17. You'll want the finished wall texture open in one Paint.NET window, and to have your source image for the floor in another, so you can see them both. If you just finished the wall part of this tutorial, you can use the still-open window with the border image to open your floor image; otherwise open both of them and arrange the windows as shown by un-maximizing them and pulling on their edges and corners. You may need to close some of the windows (like the layers and colours) to see everything.
18. Blue? That certainly doesn't match the wall. The goal is to make that floor a nice, low-saturation light yellow-brown. Layers - Adjustments - Sepia will give you this as a result:
19. Sepia's a lot closer, and evens out the difference in colours in different parts of the pattern (the original was a little more yellowish in places), but it's still too red. Layer - Adjustments - Hue/Saturation will allow you to adjust this more exactly. There's really no trick to getting the settings on this just right; just keep playing with the sliders until you get something that looks right to you.
20. Now that it's pretty close to the wall, you can maximize the window for the floor texture to have a little more area to work on. Image - Resize and change the width to 256 and the height to 256.
21. Again, the image is blurred by doing this, but in this case, that's okay, since we're going to make a carpet and the pattern wouldn't (and shouldn't) be very clear anyway. In fact, let's make it look more carpet-like. Effects - Add Noise. Turn the Color Noise slider down all the way to 0, and then play with the Intensity slider. You want enough noise so that your pattern isn't crisp, like it's stenciled on, but you also don't want so much that you can't easily see the pattern.
22. That looks nice! Let's save it. If you haven't already, make yourself a folder under your Sims 2 Projects folder called Floors. File - Save As and save your floor as a bitmap (.bmp) in the Floors folder. We don't have any separate layers to worry about, so we don't need to save it as a .pdn first, just a .bmp.
23. Because we're making ground cover, it doesn't have to match exactly to the wall texture, but if we were going to use them on the same lot, it might be nice for them to be similar in colour or tone, for a little more unity for the whole lot. So let's open the source for the ground cover, a nice craggy rock texture, and the wall texture we've created, and arrange them as before, so we can see both of them at the same time.
24. Layer - Adjustments - Hue/Saturation. Play with the sliders until you get something nice that coordinates fairly well with the wall texture.
25. Then you can maximize the ground cover window as we won't be needing to compare it to the wall anymore. The result of the Hue/Saturation is nice, but it's a bit boring. Let's make the texture look like there are bits of moss clinging to the stone. Edit - Select All and Edit - Copy to copy the texture as-is. Click 'Add New Layer' on the Layers window and then Edit - Paste to paste the texture into this new layer. You'll now have two layers, both with the same texture on them.
26. Let's get a mossy background colour.
a. Uncheck the box next to Layer 2 to temporarily hide the layer.
b. Click on the Background layer to select it, so our changes will be made to it and not Layer 2.
c. Then do Hue/Saturation again, and play with the sliders to get a nice mossy green.
27. And now we'll combine the moss with the regular texture.
a. Re-check the box next to Layer 2 to make it visible again.
b. Then click on Layer 2 to select it, so our changes will be made to it and not the Background.
c. Click on the Eraser tool.
d. Adjust the tool settings so they match the ones shown in the screenshot.
e. Now use small single-clicks on the image to erase little bits of Layer 2. Don't get too close to any of the edges or you'll have an obvious line where two pieces of ground cover come together. Also, take care not to overdo it - we want a little bit of moss, not overgrown. You can always Edit - Undo if you make a mistake, or use the History window to undo several recent changes at once.
28. Now we'll make the image the right size. Image - Resize and change the width and height both to 256.
29. File - Save As and save your document as a .pdn, so if you'd like to make any changes, you still have the layers separate. Save it in your Sims 2 Projects folder, under folder you'll create called Groundcovers
30. Image - Flatten will combine Layer 2 with the Background so all you have is one layer, the Background. Then Effects - Sharpen again to get rid of the blurriness caused by resizing.
31. File - Save As and save your image as a .bmp in your Sims 2 Projects/Groundcovers folder.
Well, we've got all of our textures ready. Let's make them usable in the game.
1. Open Homecrafter. It should have a shortcut on your Desktop, or you can find it under Start - Programs - EA Games - The Sims 2 Homecrafter Plus. If you have a lot of custom content in your game, it might take a few minutes to load, so be patient.
2. Homecrafter creates the folders it will look in for the content you're creating the first time it's run. Once it's running, we'll go ahead and copy over those files. Open up a regular Windows Explorer (folder view) window to move the files around on your hard drive. You may want to do this in two windows, one for the source directory (the one you're copying from and one for the destination (the one you're pasting to), to make it easier.
a. Open up your Sims 2 Projects/Walls folder. Copy your wall texture .bmp file. Navigate to My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Projects/HomeCrafter Plus/Walls and paste the .bmp file into that folder. You'll then have two files in that folder - the one you just put there, and Template.bmp.
b. Open up your Sims 2 Projects/Floors folder. Copy your wall texture .bmp file. Navigate to My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Projects/HomeCrafter Plus/Floors and paste the .bmp file into that folder. You'll then have two files in that folder - the one you just put there, and Template.bmp.
c. Open up your Sims 2 Projects/Groundcovers folder. Copy your wall texture .bmp file. Navigate to My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Projects/HomeCrafter Plus/Ground Cover and paste the .bmp file into that folder. You'll then have two files in that folder - the one you just put there, and Template.bmp.
Making the Wall
3. When Homecrafter is fully loaded, you'll have three choices. We'll start with the walls, so click Create Wall Covering.
3. Then click the big blue plus symbol to Create New Content.
4. Select the name of your texture in the list (it shouldn't be hard, there's only two).
5. Now we get to choose all the options for the wall texture.
a. First, make up an interesting name for your wall texture. Give it a price, too. Most walls will probably fall in the 1-10 range, perhaps as high as 20 for a very fancy wall.
b. Then, write a description for your wall. You don't have to get too fancy, just a few words. If nothing else, put your name (or the nickname or username you post under online) and the address or name of the site that you post your work at. This way, if someone would like to use your wall texture in a lot they're creating, they can track you down to give you credit.
c. Choose the category your wall will show up under in the game.
d. Toggle the gridlines off so you can see where the tiles of your texture come together.
e. Examine your texture closely, especially along where two tiles come together, to make sure it's crisp and sharp and that there are no obvious seams where the tiles meet. You can click and drag to swing the wall view around, and right-click and drag to zoom in and out (or use the controls below the window). You can toggle the gridlines back on when you're zoomed in to see exactly where your seams are, to make sure they match up perfectly.
f. When you're satisfied with your wall texture, choose Import to Game to have Homecrafter package up your texture into a game-readable format. It'll ask if you're sure, and then confirm that your creation has indeed been successfully imported.
6. Now you'll be back to this screen.
a. Verify that the wall you just created shows up in the catalog. It's usually the first item in the list.
b. Click on the Browse Flooring button to continue to the next part.
Making the Floor
7. The floor screen looks rather like the wall screen, doesn't it? Remember the big blue plus (+) to Create New Content? This screen has one too. Click it.
8. Then choose the floor texture you made.
9. Now you get to choose all the options for your floor.
a. First, make up an interesting name for your floor texture. Give it a price, too. Most floors will probably fall in the 1-15 range, perhaps as high as 25 for a very fancy floor.
b. Then, write a description for your floor. You don't have to get too fancy, just a few words. If nothing else, put your name (or the nickname or username you post under online) and the address or name of the site that you post your work at. This way, if someone would like to use your floor texture in a lot they're creating, they can track you down to give you credit.
c. Choose the category your floor will show up under in the game.
d. Choose how many tiles your texture will cover. We'll choose 1x1 for this texture, but if you were working with a larger bitmap file (like 512x512 or 1024x1024) with a lot of detail in it, you could make them 2x2 or 5x5; you'd just have to make especially sure your texture is very sharp and crisp or it will tend to look blurry or pixellated over such a large area.
e. Choose the sound that your floor will make when sims walk on it. Try to use some logic here... It shouldn't sound like gravel when your sims walk across carpet.
f. Toggle the gridlines off so you can see where the tiles of your texture come together.
g. Examine your texture closely, especially along where two tiles come together, to make sure it's crisp and sharp and that there are no obvious seams where the tiles meet. You can click and drag to swing the floor view around, and right-click and drag to zoom in and out (or use the controls below the window). You can toggle the gridlines back on when you're zoomed in to see exactly where your seams are, to make sure they match up perfectly.
h. When you're satisfied with your floor texture, choose Import to Game to have Homecrafter package up your texture into a game-readable format. It'll ask if you're sure, and then confirm that your creation has indeed been successfully imported.
10. That'll bring you back to this screen.
a. Verify that the floor you just created shows up in the catalog. It's usually the first item in the list.
b. Click on the Browse Ground Cover button to continue to the next part.
Making the Groundcover
11. Again, start by clicking the big blue plus (+) button to Create New Content.
12. Select the groundcover texture you created.
13. Now, choose the settings for your groundcover. A little simpler than before, eh?
a. First, make up an interesting name for your groundcover. You don't need to enter a price (nor would it let you if you tried).
b. Then, write a description for your groundcover. You don't have to get too fancy, just a few words. If nothing else, put your name (or the nickname or username you post under online) and the address or name of the site that you post your work at. This way, if someone would like to use your groundcover in a lot they're creating, they can track you down to give you credit.
c. Toggle the gridlines off so you can see where the tiles of your texture come together.
d. Examine your texture closely, especially along where two tiles come together, to make sure it's crisp and sharp and that there are no obvious seams where the tiles meet. You can click and drag to swing the groundcover texture view around, and right-click and drag to zoom in and out (or use the controls below the window). You can toggle the gridlines back on when you're zoomed in to see exactly where your seams are, to make sure they match up perfectly.
e. When you're satisfied with your groundcover texture, choose Import to Game to have Homecrafter package up your texture into a game-readable format. It'll ask if you're sure, and then confirm that your creation has indeed been successfully imported.
14. Your new groundcover should show up in the catalog, usually as the first entry.
Click on the little door at the bottom to exit Homecrafter.
Congratulations! You just made a wall, a floor, and a groundcover!
Notes on Homecrafter
Why does the template and readme for Homecrafter say to use 256x512 bitmaps, when the tutorial says to use 256x768, etc? PC users can make walls, floors, and groundcover at whatever size they want, and often creating certain elements at larger sizes (512x1536) can give more detail for certain projects. However, be aware that if you create your textures at any size except the -exact- texture size given on the Homecrafter template, your items will not work whatsoever for Mac users. Please try to stick to the template sizes whenever possible, and if you do stray from them, put a note on the upload mentioning the problem, so Mac users don't waste their time downloading items that won't work for them.
Stuck on something in Homecrafter? The readme file that comes with Homecrafter is a often-overlooked source of information about the program. You can access it under Start - Programs - EA Games - The Sims 2 Homecrafter Plus.
Go ahead and load the game and go into your neighborhood of choice. Create yourself an empty lot to use for testing. I think I used a 2x2, but it doesn't really matter what size you use.
Enter the lot and put down some walls. Again, doesn't really matter where... Just make sure you're looking at the light side of the wall. The light on the lot comes from a certain direction, and if you're not looking at the correct side, the wall will look much darker and you won't be able to see your texture as well. Put down two or three sides of a box, like you're making a square room, and wallpaper the walls with your new wallpaper. It may not be the first thing in the catalog now, even if you have no other custom walls in your game. Cover the area of ground between the walls you made with your carpeting. Now take a look at your handiwork!
I was actually a little surprised when I saw these together... the background of the walls seems a lot warmer than the more yellow border and floor, but after looking at it for a minute, I kinda liked it better than if I'd done it the uniform yellowish-beige I'd intended the whole thing to be, and eyeballed in the graphics programs I'd built it in. The background being warmer is a little more interesting.
Somewhere on another part of the lot (you can get rid of the walls and floor if you need more space), use the raise terrain tool on the smallest setting and just... click randomly around a small area to make some craggy, uneven terrain. Then go in to the groundcovers and, still on the smallest setting, just lightly dust the tops of the rises in the terrain you just made with your new groundcover. Rotate around and tweak it to taste. The screenshot below is just some quick craggy terrain I threw together, the groundcover just assembled, a couple clicks with the water tool, and a couple trees. The larger areas of green are just the default green grass that I left here and there in the low spots.
If you don't like the result in-game...
You can go back and make changes! Remember, for anything with layers, you should've saved a layer-separated version... a .PSD if you're using Photoshop, or a .PDN if you're using Paint.NET. You can go back, open the file, and edit it to your liking. Save a new copy of the .bmp version, move it into the right Homecrafter folder, and make a new version of it.
Where are my creations located?
If you'd like to share your new creations (or if you'd like to delete an older version if you've made changes), you'll find the files you made residing in My Documents/EA Games/The Sims 2/Downloads. Unfortunately, Homecrafter doesn't make the file names very descriptive, beyond wall_, floor_, and terrainPaint_, ending with a string of characters, but since we only made three at once, it's pretty obvious which file is which. If you're doing more than a few at once, write down the order you made them in, and then sort the newly created files by Date Created... You can then rename the files in the same order as the order you created them in, and it should all match up. You can also open the files in SimPE and look at the Text List inside it to see which is which as long as their names or descriptions you gave them are different, but that's for more advanced users (i.e. anyone who knows what I'm talking about with that one sentence of instructions).
Rename your files to something much more descriptive. For example, I would name a floor I created:
You don't necessarily have to get that specific, but it is VERY helpful, both as a creator and a downloader, to be able to tell what a file is and how to track down the creator at a glance.
Sharing Your Creations
If you've created a particularly nice set of walls, floors, or groundcovers that you would like to share with the community, that's great!
A great help to beginning creators is the Creator Feedback Forum here at MTS2. There you can post pictures of your works in progress and get pointers from experienced creators and downloaders on how to improve. It's a great way to get lots of helpful tips and info, and it's strongly suggested that beginners make use of that forum before uploading. Just make sure you read the rules for that forum first.
Once you've decided your creations are ready to be released to the world, check out the Creator Guidelines for info on what you'll need to upload your walls, floors, or ground covers, and RAR or ZIP your .package files. A guide to things you can do to take better screenshots is available here. It is strongly recommended that you take screenshots for your creations by using the Print Screen key on your keyboard to put a copy of your current screen on the clipboard. Then you can paste the image into Photoshop, Paint.NET, or even MS Paint to crop it and save it as a JPEG. This method is greatly preferrable to using the C key to take pictures using the game's camera, which tends to take much smaller pictures with a lot of JPEG compression (crunchiness). If you're not running in windowed mode, it can be hard to switch programs, so if you'd like to set that up, it's very easily done by these instructions.
What to make after walls, floors, and groundcover?
Starting with walls and floors gets you used to texturing on the game's scale and looking for seamlessness in your textures, without having to worry about your texture being stretched or distorted over a mesh. Once you've become very skilled and confident in creating walls and floors, and have done a lot more to make interesting effects than the very simple techniques shown here, you may be ready to move on to something more.
If you're pretty good with computers and don't mind something a little more complicated, you can graduate from walls, floors, and groundcover to doing simple object recolours like paintings and furniture.
Alternately, as it doesn't require the use of SimPE, recolouring clothing in Body Shop is relatively easy, and very well explained starting with the first in a series of great tutorials on the subject.
If you have questions or are having trouble...
First, go back and re-read everything very carefully and look at the screenshots. 90% of problems are usually due to having missed a step, done something incorrectly, or trying to skip ahead. If you're truly an absolute beginner, it's highly suggested that you do the tutorial using the same source images I did, so every step you do will be exactly the same, and so you can compare your work to my screenshots. If you're having trouble with something in the graphics program you're using, try its help file. Most graphics programs also have forums on their official sites full of useful information.
If you're still having trouble, you can ask your question here. Please make sure you include what -exactly- you are stuck on (what step of what part) and what program you're using. Screenshots are also helpful, if applicable to your problem. "I don't get it," is a question that can't be answered, and won't help anyone, especially you. Ask a specific question about a specific problem after going through the whole tutorial carefully.
kbresh, I'm assuming you mean the textures I used to create the walls and floors? They're attached to the second post in this thread, and should show up under "Screenshots" right under where it says "If you want to follow along exactly, the source images are attached to this post." Try reloading the page and waiting for it to load completely (as this is a very image-intensive page with all the screenshots) if you don't see them there.
Thank you so much for this great tutorial. I've been playing the Sims 2 since January and have been coming here for all the awesome downloads shortly after that. Two days ago I began playing with this tutorial, and now I'm having a blast making my own walls and floors. I even got brave and tried another tutorial - and -WOW - now I'm doing bedding, too!
I'll get better, then start sharing here. It will be nice to give back to a site that has given me so much.
If they're custom wallpapers (user-created) that you've downloaded, you can edit them, but you cannot redistribute them without permission from the original creator. But if you're just doing it for your own personal use and you never share those without permission, sure, that's totally doable.
Go into Homecrafter, and find the first wall of the two you want to use. Select it, and next to the big blue + button to make new content, you'll see two smaller buttons - Edit selected content, and Clone selected content. Choose Clone.
That'll take you to the main wall editing screen. Look below where it displays the wall with the gridlines and you'll see it says "Texture to Edit:" - It'll display a directory and filename of the .bmp it has created down there. Open that directory, and open that file in your graphics editor. In Homecrafter, click the X beside the "Import to Game" button to cancel that project. Then go find the other wall you want to use and do the same thing - clone selected content, look at the directory and filename it's using for it, and open that in your graphics editing program, too. If you're using Paint.NET you'll need to open it in a second instance of the program. Then just copy the parts from one that you want to use over onto the other - like how I showed copying the little bottom piece of border in the tutorial. Once you have your new image with both parts adjusted, you can create a NEW project (+) and save your new wall with both parts into the same directory as I showed in the tutorial.
Thanks so much for this!! I'm so happy you have so many taturials using Paint.net. on the site. This one is amazing! You made it very easy to understand and helped me to get even more familiar with how to use the program. I'm off the make walls for the rest of the night!! Thanks so much for enhancing my simming passion!
No, I don't think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.
Thank you for this extensive and very comprehensible tutorial.
Tough, you don't mention anything about bump map, I'm quite sure there must be a way to add one to a wall. Do you have any infos about it ? or a link ?
Thanks again anyway.
Understand Material definition-TXMT and customize the look of your objects ! This way
"The longer something exists in this world, the more wear and tear it will have."
The inspiration gallery link doesn't work. I did a search for it and it's: http://www.theinspirationgallery.com/ I'm working on your tutorial now. I know how to make wallpaper and have done so but am hoping for a more detailed approach so that my wallpaper looks the best it possibly can be. Thanks for sharing it!
Um, no idea, orangerevolt. I doubt it makes a whole lot of difference one way or the other. You really don't need the template - it's just there to tell you the finished size you need. If you did delete it and things are asploding because of it, try restoring it from your Recycle Bin, or if you've gotten rid of it from there, reinstall Homecrafter?
5th Jul 2006 at 8:55 PM
Last edited by *Laure* : 5th Jul 2006 at 9:11 PM.
Thanks: 2 in 2 Posts
I want to thank you for adding the bit about wall textures needing to be exact size of the homecrafter template in order for them to show correctly in the Mac version of the game. I wanted add that the same is true of floors - they must follow the default sizes or the too will show up as gray.