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Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#1 Old 9th Jul 2009 at 1:00 AM
Default Tutorial - Default Replacement Eyes, Plus Changing The Whites (Image Heavy)

This tutorial is for anyone interested in changing the basic eye texture for TS3, plus a bonus tutorial on how to change the whites of the eyes. It's a mostly a technical tutorial, but I've tossed in a few 'artistic' tips throughout.

It was a bit long in coming as I wanted to run a few experiments and see just what file did what to the eye textures. Because of this, I discovered that there's only one file that gets edited to change the eye texture, which should save a lot of headaches and file space.

Many of the images in this tutorial are thumbnailed, so be sure to click on them to get a full-sized version!

What You Need:

-Adobe Photoshop
-Nvidia DDS plugins for Adobe Photoshop
-S3PE to create the package file
-Extracted eye multiplier, with bonus facial overlays for changing the whites - Extracted for personal use, uploaded to save you a step

Step One

Open the file S3_00B2D882_00000000_C2B560673F00D806_amFaceEyeColor_o_0xc2b560673f00d806%%+_IMG.dds in Photoshop. You will get the following prompt:

Hit 'OK' and the file will open. Make sure you have 'Load MIP maps' unchecked, or you'll get an image with a bunch of repeating and progressively smaller versions of the same image.

Step Two:

This is what you should see:

This is the image that gives the eyes their texture, which gets a color overlaid on it in the game.

I've found that it's easiest for me to edit the image in color in a separate document, with my work in the same place as the image I'm going to be replacing. The 'ymFace_o' image is a good one to work on.

Working with several layers can give an endless supply of effects, but try to keep in mind that you'll be desaturating your work when you're done, and many details won't translate very well.

I haven't tried this myself, but in theory it may be possible to keep the image in color, with color variations that would translate into the game as different colors depending on what 'main' color was chosen. If anyone has time to test this, I think it'd be interesting to see the results. This tutorial is done using the greyscale method.

Any 'shine' you add to the eyes will show up as a very bright version of the overlay color, unless you get crafty with your alpha channel. (Alpha channels will be covered shortly.)

Step Three

When you're done editing your new eye texture how you want it, turn off all the layers that aren't part of the iris and pupil.

Use ctrl+a to select the entire canvas, then ctrl+c to copy. Make sure you're on a visible layer. Note the little black dot in the lower left hand corner. This is to help us position the iris in exactly the right place in the document we'll be importing. I use a hard round 19 pixel brush and have it a bit off the edge of the layer.

Step Four

Paste your edited iris texture in the amFaceEyeColor_o file. It'll end up in the center of the image.

Go to 'View' and make sure 'Snap' is on. Then go down to 'Snap To' and make sure the following options are checked:

Drag your new iris layer down to the lower left hand corner of the document; it'll 'snap' in place when you've reached the edge.

I like to do a bit of cleanup at this point, using a hard round brush in white to 'erase' the original iris.

Once you've done this, with your iris layer selected go to Image -- Adjustments -- Desaturate and desaturate it.

Step Five:

Now we're going to work on the alpha channel. Click on the 'Channels' tab and click the little eyes next to RBG and Alpha in order to toggle them. With the Alpha selected, use a hard round brush in black to 'erase' the white part of the image.

Once you've done that, retoggle the RGB channels and return to the 'Layers' tab. Use ctrl+a and ctrl+c to copy your iris layer, then return to the 'Channels' tab. Again toggle the RGB and Alpha channels. With the Alpha channel selected, paste your iris layer.


Drag the selection down to the lower left corner, allowing it to 'snap' into place. You're now perfectly positioned to create your alpha, but don't deselect just yet!

Now you're going to need to change this selection to pure white. The easiest way to do this is to go to Image -- Adjustments -- Levels, and slide the little triangle at the very bottom under the greyscale bar on the far left all the way over to the far right. This will turn your selection white.

Now you can deselect! Use a brush in black to get rid of the snap guide in the lower left, and you're all set! Toggle RGB on, then return to the 'Layers' tab to flatten the image before saving. Be sure to use DXT3 or DXT5. Don't change the name, and be sure to save it in a separate folder from the originals in case you want to go back and do more eyes at a later time.

If you wanted to add static 'shine' to the eyes, you'd simply 'paint' it on the alpha here in black. Those parts will show up white in the game.

Step 6:

Now it's time to build the package file. Open S3PE, select 'New,' and 'Import.' Navigate to where you saved your image file and hit enter or click 'OK' to import it into your package. You'll get the following screen:

Without changing anything, just hit 'OK.' That's it!

Save it to your 'Mods -- Packages' folder with a descriptive name, delete your simCompositorCache.package from My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3, then fire up your game and see if they worked.

Bonus Tutorial: Changing the Whites

I never much cared for the whites that come with the game, and spent ages trying to figure out how to change them. (Part of my problem was that I'm still getting used to the idea of working with channels, and so never thought to look at the Alpha channels on the various overlay images.) They're OK, but I like a bit more realism in my game.

I have to warn that they're connected to an overlay image that also contains the teeth, tongue, inner mouth, and, for females, a lip overlay. So if someone makes a teeth overlay at any point, you'll either have to combine your favored whites, or go without something. Kind of a weird thing to be concerned about, but I thought I'd toss it out there anyway.

Step One:

You'll be editing the facial overlays for this, so open up whichever one you want to work on first. I worked on 'ymFace_o' for the tutorial.

You can see how the whites of the eyes are in the lower left corner, along with the iris. Edit that part of the image until you have something you're happy with.

(As you can see, I have a file specifically called 'eyes.psd' where I've done all my editing. I find this easier than trying to directly edit the overlay images.)

Copy all of your edited image and paste it over the 'ymFace_o' file, then click on the 'Channels' tab. Toggle the RGB and Alpha channels. Select a square around the lower left corner, and fill this with white.

Toggle the RGB and Alpha channels once more, then go back to the 'Layers' tab. Flatten your image and save it as a DXT3 or DXT5 file, and save it with the same name away from the original file.

Repeat this for PU, CU, TF, TM, YF, AM, AF, EM, and EF to have the new whites show up for all the ages and genders.

Then, open S3PE, select 'New,' 'Import,' then navigate to where you saved your edited images. Select them all and hit 'Open,' then 'Import.' Save it to your 'Mods -- Packages' folder with a descriptive name, delete your simCompositorCache.package from My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3, then fire up your game and see if they worked.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! Even if I can't answer it, someone else may be able to.

you stare at my shoulders
are you surprised to see one more devil 
where angel wings should be..?
5 users say thanks for this. (Who?)
#2 Old 10th Jul 2009 at 5:21 PM
Thanks for putting this tutorial together!

I'm looking at the pic for the overlay you have there (2nd from the bottom). Does the iris in that tint the color of eyes in the game? Or is the overlay layered underneath the iris so that you can't see it?

.:Kitty Klan:.
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#3 Old 10th Jul 2009 at 7:52 PM
Thankyou very much
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#4 Old 10th Jul 2009 at 8:59 PM
robokitty, I'm pretty sure the iris in the facial overlay is covered, though I haven't really done any tests to find out one way or another. When I was experimenting, I filled all the eye textures with 50% grey (partly because I wanted to find out if there was something causing a dark ring around the iris, which there isn't) and found the only one that had any effect in the game was 'amFaceEyeColor_o.' It'd be interesting to see what would happen if you blacked out the alpha channel on that one.

you stare at my shoulders
are you surprised to see one more devil 
where angel wings should be..?
#5 Old 11th Jul 2009 at 5:59 PM
Thanks for this tutorial! : D
Test Subject
#6 Old 12th Jul 2009 at 3:48 AM Last edited by SerpentDragon : 12th Jul 2009 at 9:24 AM.
thanks for this ^_^ I got suck a few times but I figured out what I was doing wrong

edit: Ever after fallowing this step by step I couldn't get it to work Its not showing up in the game. Help Please
#7 Old 15th Jul 2009 at 4:36 PM
This was fun. Thanks a lot! I used to make my own eyes for sims 2, now i can do the same for sims 3. You're awesome sharing this tutorial. :-)
So far i have been real lucky, LOL. My poor sims have white eyes, and their faces are white.
I haven't slept enough. Guess i must fail and try again and again.

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Test Subject
#8 Old 17th Jul 2009 at 12:05 AM
Thanks for the tutorial!
This is probably a stupid question but would it be possible to change the size of the iris simply by drawing a circle of the correct white directly on the iris?
Lab Assistant
Original Poster
#9 Old 17th Jul 2009 at 3:42 AM
SerpentDragon: If you followed the tutorial step by step, I have no idea why your replacements wouldn't show up. Maybe try again from scratch.

Raggborg: In theory, yes, but then I think you'd end up seeing the original iris from the face overlay in the whites where you alphaed your iris smaller. You'd want to go in and get rid of the iris in the face overlay file, too. I really hope that made sense. Don't be afraid to just jump in and try stuff; you can always remove the package if it doesn't work and everything will be back to the way it was.

you stare at my shoulders
are you surprised to see one more devil 
where angel wings should be..?
Forum Resident
28th Jul 2009 at 4:04 AM
This message has been deleted by cavilez.
Forum Resident
28th Jul 2009 at 4:08 AM
This message has been deleted by cavilez.
Test Subject
#10 Old 29th Jul 2009 at 6:16 AM
This may seem like a silly question, (I'm a total novice and don't know jack about creating my own cc, so you all can expect to hear a lot more "newbie" questions like this from me for a while) but do I need to purchase the full version of Photoshop for this, or can I download the demo version on-line.

The reason I ask this is because I know these editing programs can sometimes cost a lot, and due to unemployment, I don't exactly have a whole lot of cash to spend on computer software.

'The surest sign that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.' Calvin and Hobbes
Forum Resident
#11 Old 29th Jul 2009 at 11:03 PM
I had the same problem, but I am working on something right now and I am using GIMP (it's free). It is easy to follow this tutorial with it.

If you want to just do a one time project or whatever, then yes, I would download the trial version. If you plan on doing more than a few projects after the trial is up, I would suggest you trying GIMP.
Lab Assistant
#12 Old 2nd Aug 2009 at 1:19 PM
Thanks so much! It worked perfectly, though i just edited the grey image, cause it's simpler and has the same effect^^ Thanks, Aikea!

*thinks about writing a loveletter to you*^^
#13 Old 15th Aug 2009 at 2:16 PM
Thanks for the tutorial, but I can't find S3PE... Please help!
Lab Assistant
#14 Old 15th Aug 2009 at 5:03 PM
#15 Old 16th Aug 2009 at 12:50 PM
Test Subject
#16 Old 19th Sep 2009 at 11:18 AM
1 question ^ _ ^

Can i use Paint Shop Pro X2 ?
Test Subject
#17 Old 28th Sep 2009 at 6:23 AM
Thank you for the tutorial. I'm really new at this, so I have a question: at Step Two, do you open up 'ymFace_o' and start working on the eye on there and paste it onto amFaceEyeColor like you said in Step Four?

Sorry, I just can't seem to understand that part...
Test Subject
#18 Old 3rd Oct 2009 at 10:43 PM
On your 'step 9'/eye.psd image, the base image is completely different to the one before it and it isn't included in the rar file - where was that image from? I'm designing some detailed eyemakeup and at the moment placement is pretty much trial an error.
Test Subject
#19 Old 8th Oct 2009 at 2:33 AM
Thank you so much! but mine doesn't seem to work either, when i save the eye it says "alpha information will be lost" is that what is suppose to happen? and when we retoggle the RGB on do we turn off the alpha before saving or leave it on?
Field Researcher
#20 Old 3rd Dec 2009 at 12:04 AM
Is it possible to do this without photoshop?
Test Subject
#21 Old 2nd May 2010 at 6:16 PM
Can I use GIMP?
Test Subject
#22 Old 25th May 2010 at 8:59 PM
The DDS plugin for photoshop doesn't work on the newest versions anymore.
Test Subject
#23 Old 25th Jan 2011 at 9:52 PM
Thanks for this. But when i try to make the iris smaller the original eyes shows through the edges. how do i get rid of it?
(Im using TSR workshop)
Lab Assistant
#24 Old 10th May 2011 at 6:36 AM
Originally Posted by Red~
Thanks for this. But when i try to make the iris smaller the original eyes shows through the edges. how do i get rid of it?
(Im using TSR workshop)

I have the same problem, I can't seem to figure out why the edges show or how to get rid of them. :/


Edit: Not using TSR, but gimp rather.
Lab Assistant
#25 Old 6th Jul 2011 at 2:28 PM
Is there anyway of creating default eyes with images from downloaded contacts? I can't make my own texture in graphic programs, but I have downloaded contacts that I love and would like to make them into defaults. They're not available as defaults. But whenever I use S3PE to replace the image of a downloaded default eye file with the one from the contacts I end up with whites that are the same color as the iris. So I get the right texture, but when I go to change the color of the eyes (iris) the whites become the same color too. It probably has to do with the image from the contacts. It has the whites of the eyes around it, instead of just the iris. But I don't have a program that will read .dds. I tried GIMP, but the .dds plugin doesn't work for me. What can I do?

"I enjoyed the meetings, too. It was like having friends." Luna Lovegood

"It's lucky it's dark...I haven't blushed so much since Madame Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs." Albus Dumbledore
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