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Instructor
Original Poster
#1 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 9:02 AM Last edited by Flabaliki : 15th Oct 2009 at 10:27 PM.
Default Tutorial: A Beginners Guide on How to Mesh for The Sims 3, From Start to Finish (inc. pics)
Tutorial: A Beginners Guide on How to Mesh for The Sims 3 (inc. pics)




I've written up this tutorial which covers everything one needs to know about meshing for The Sims 3.

It includes:
- Cloning
- Exporting/Importing MLOD/MODL & DDS
- How to model basic objects
- How to map your objects
- Texturing your objects correctly

Basically anyone who is completely new to meshing of any kind will be able to understand and follow along.

Video Tutorial
I've also created a video tutorial on meshing fences, however this does not go into the detail this tutorial does, so I recommend if you are new and don't know what you are doing that you read this tutorial first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUE-rbaTBVo
Screenshots
Download - please read all instructions before downloading any files!
File Type: zip How to Mesh for The Sims 3 (DOC).zip (1.46 MB, 637 downloads) - View custom content
Description: File Format: Word Document (2003)
File Type: zip How to Mesh for The Sims 3 (PDF).zip (1.85 MB, 1389 downloads) - View custom content
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Alchemist
#2 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 11:10 AM Last edited by orangemittens : 15th Oct 2009 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Adding a link
In Step 6: Importing Our Mapped Object you say, "Now you must rename that group to ‘group01’, if you recall, that was the name of the group the original table mesh was in, that’s why we have to call it ‘group01’."

I think it's important to note, because it has been quite a source of confusion and frustration for many, that the name of the group is really not the issue here.

The important thing, as repeated by WesleyHowe on several occasions, is that the order of the groups in the Group tab list is what matters.

So, if your shadow was group00 and the object was group01, this means that as far as the tool is concerned, the shadow group is the first group on the list. If during the meshing process you somehow end up with the shadow below the object on the groups tab list, you must select the shadow and use the Up button just below the blank rename box in order to move it back up to the top position.

If you simply rename the groups without moving them into the correct order, the tool will continue to treat your object group as the shadow group. Once the object is in the game it will be invisible and there will be a plane on the ground with gray and black mottling.

In Step 9: Recompiling the Files and Re-importing them to Sims 3 PE you say, "Now that the four files are recompiled, we are ready to import them back into Sims 3 PE, which you hopefully shouldn’t have closed, if you did close it, you will have a lot of issues importing back into it, as it will not replace the files".

This is not true. You don't have to keep S3PE open the whole time you are working on a mesh or risk importation issues.

You can close the S3PE and work on your mesh at your leisure. When your mesh is done you can open s3pe, import your MODL and MLODs) and the tool will replace the old versions of these with your new ones.

It is important to note that the part of the process which makes reimportation somewhat more involved is the part which occurs when you proceed to, what in your tutorial is labeled Step 11: Editing Name/Description/Price. That is the portion of the process which involves using the S3OC to fix the object.

Fix in this instance does not merely mean you get a chance to rename, redescribe, and reprice your object.

Fix means that the S3OC is making new numbers for your MLOD(s) and MODL...that is, this is the point where they are changed from what they were when you finished importing them into the s3pe. Now if you try to make changes to your MODL and MLOD(s) a second time and reimport them using the S3PE they will not overwrite the old versions.

This doesn't happen because you closed the s3pe, it happens because the S3OC "fixed" your object by giving it new numbers for each MLOD and the MODL.

If that still doesn't make sense to you see LemonCandy's comment on the issue here in this thread...she explains it better than I do and provides a picture:

http://www.modthesims.info/showthre...t=373185&page=1

OM
Instructor
Original Poster
#3 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 11:32 AM
orangemittens - I'm really new to meshing myself, and I did not know that, thanks for the info, I'll updated it right away

Edit - I've made the necessary changes, thanks again for the info.

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Alchemist
#4 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 11:40 AM
Several of the factual issues with the tutorial are discussed in the many threads here on meshing at MTS. I've pointed out another in my post above.

I think it's great to want to help others by making a tutorial and this tutorial is very nice...but at the same time, I think it's important to know at least as much on the topic as anyone else does before writing the tutorial because otherwise you're just going to cause confusion.

It's early in meshing so there are a lot of things that are unknown...but there are a lot of things which are known and they are discussed in the threads here at MTS. It's helpful to read up on all the new information coming out prior to writing a tutorial so that your tutorial is up to date and not reiterating errors in the creative process which have already been identified and corrected.

OM
Instructor
Original Poster
#5 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 11:51 AM
Well the idea of this tutorial was to provide basics in creation, and continue updating as time goes on and as I, myself learn new things, as I already have done tonight .

I made this because when I was starting it was so hard to find a straight forward tutorial in object creation, so I decided to make it easier for those starting so that they don't have to hunt all over the place for multiple tutorials on desperate parts of creation.

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Alchemist
#6 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 12:29 PM
I understand

I refer you to Petallotus's tutorial which covers all the basics of creating a mesh. I think she posted this two days ago...in any case she points out, "****If using a file that you are converting, make sure you pay attention to the TS3 object. See how many groups it has and it what order they are. You object must have the same amount of groups and must be in the same order as the original. For example our chair has two groups and the chair is the first group while the shadow is the second. Your object must follow the same pattern: two groups with the object being the first group while the shadow is the second. Use the up and down button if you need to get them in the right order..." which states the issue more clearly than I did.

Hope that helps.

OM
Field Researcher
#7 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 9:24 PM
Great tutorial! I started meshing about two weeks ago and read every tutorial I can get. Especially the uv map part was very useful to me.


But I found some small issue:

You wrote:
Navigate to where you exported the MODL/MLOD files, import the first file, if you left them in alphabetical order when you extracted them it will be the first one, if not, you can find out which one is the real mesh as it is the one that was extracted from the .model file, all the others were extracted from .lod files.


The first file in alphabetical order is the MLOD file with 00000000 in its name. But this is a .lod file, not a .model file.

Not such a big thing, but it can confuse people.
Instructor
Original Poster
#8 Old 15th Oct 2009 at 10:27 PM
Ok, I updated that part

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Lab Assistant
#9 Old 17th Oct 2009 at 2:52 PM Last edited by Bailey Weggins : 19th Oct 2009 at 12:02 AM.
That's a great tutorial. Thank you very much, Flabaliki. Ther's just one strange problem I'm having here: in the tutorial it says that the MODL file is the actual mesh and the three MLOD files are the shadows and one simplified version. However, I exported the MODL file, decompiled it, opened it in Milkshape and it's not the mesh but the simplified version and the first MLOD file is the actual mesh. What does that mean?

---EDIT---

Okay, it seems it doesn't matter. Sorry for asking stupid questions, I'm new to meshing.
Soooo... I've just made my first object ever. I'm so happy!!!
Thank you again so much for this absolutely great tutorial. It's good that it's written from a beginner's point of view because you don't leave anything out.
Scholar
#10 Old 20th Oct 2009 at 12:48 PM
sometimes it's better when a beginner teaches a beginner, I find a lot of the tutorials very long winded as people don't put each step, assuming you must know what's in their head. It's really nice to get back to basics and I'm sure we can all learn the other stuff as we go along. Thanks for doing this and hopefully we can all work together on this

My new world is now available on my own site.prettysims.com
Field Researcher
#11 Old 20th Oct 2009 at 2:04 PM
One thing, in regards to OM comments on fixing the object that I found isn't correct :
You CAN fix the catalog price, name definition etc, without the Cloner giving the object a new internal number (just un-click that option once you've done your changes and before clicking 'Fix').
This way, you still can open you fixed object in S3PE and be able to fiddle with the modl/mlods, picts etc.

Just be careful to unclick the 'renumber internally' option.

As Inge said in a thread yesterday, we don't need the step of 'fixing' the object anymore at the end, now. Sometimes, I fix definitions name price etc first hand when I clone the object. the only time I go back to fix it into the cloner is when I want to change something I forgot, like catalog placement, or name, or price etc.(with the renumber option unclicked, of course).

Scholar
#12 Old 20th Oct 2009 at 6:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hazuitokage
One thing, in regards to OM comments on fixing the object that I found isn't correct :
You CAN fix the catalog price, name definition etc, without the Cloner giving the object a new internal number (just un-click that option once you've done your changes and before clicking 'Fix').
This way, you still can open you fixed object in S3PE and be able to fiddle with the modl/mlods, picts etc.

Just be careful to unclick the 'renumber internally' option.

As Inge said in a thread yesterday, we don't need the step of 'fixing' the object anymore at the end, now. Sometimes, I fix definitions name price etc first hand when I clone the object. the only time I go back to fix it into the cloner is when I want to change something I forgot, like catalog placement, or name, or price etc.(with the renumber option unclicked, of course).



Inge's reply was to me in the other thread. She said you don't need to go back into S3OC as long as you DO tick renumber when you clone the object initially.

ON another note*

I would suggest that the people here who have any issues with this tutorial, which is intended for beginners like myself, go write their own adding all the details they feel are left out. That way people like me who know jack sh*** about meshing can have the benefit of several tutorials on different levels.

My new world is now available on my own site.prettysims.com
Field Researcher
#13 Old 20th Oct 2009 at 7:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluttereyes
Inge's reply was to me in the other thread. She said you don't need to go back into S3OC as long as you DO tick renumber when you clone the object initially.


Yes, we both mean the same thing : I always renumber when I clone (which I ASSUME most people who want to create new objects would do, since otherwise the clone overwrites the original), HENCE I don't need to do it again when I go back in if I forgot to change catalog descriptions and such.

That is all.
Scholar
#14 Old 20th Oct 2009 at 11:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hazuitokage
Yes, we both mean the same thing : I always renumber when I clone (which I ASSUME most people who want to create new objects would do, since otherwise the clone overwrites the original), HENCE I don't need to do it again when I go back in if I forgot to change catalog descriptions and such.

That is all.


Oh right, it was just because you said to untick the renumber internally, it of course must be ticked

My new world is now available on my own site.prettysims.com
Scholar
#15 Old 21st Oct 2009 at 4:07 AM
Thanks for the tutorial. I just meshing for the first time ever, and it worked!

I was a little confused on one part though--what the heck do you do with the shadow? When I exported my mesh as an .obj and then tried to uv map it, I wasn't sure where I should stick the shadow on the uv maps because I had read in another thread that the shadow in inextricably linked to a dropshadow image somewhere else. Would it have been better to only export the mesh and map it instead of the mesh & shadow if I wanted to preserve the original drop shadow?


Just so you know, it took me a while to figure out the the object tool instructions. After I hit Decompile, I didn't realize for a long time that I needed to select the same file and hit open, so you might want to clarify that.

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Alchemist
#16 Old 21st Oct 2009 at 4:58 AM
The dropshadow group and your main group should be UV mapped separately. The shadow maps to the image file that says "do not use any blobs below this line". You main groups map to something else.

Do this by exporting the groups separately for UV mapping. If you are only changing the dropshadow size, and not the blob it is using, you should not need to change the UV mapping for it, just resize the rectangle so it fits your new object instead of the original.

If you like to say what you think, be sure you know which to do first.
Scholar
#17 Old 22nd Oct 2009 at 1:33 PM
Ok so I get stuck right at the beginning. I have a folder woth the opened MLOD's and another with the extractes MODL's. I have to go and import one into milkshape, but which, the MODL or the MLod both have mcfg files and they both open up, so which do I work on?

My new world is now available on my own site.prettysims.com
Lab Assistant
#18 Old 22nd Oct 2009 at 2:29 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluttereyes
Ok so I get stuck right at the beginning. I have a folder woth the opened MLOD's and another with the extractes MODL's. I have to go and import one into milkshape, but which, the MODL or the MLod both have mcfg files and they both open up, so which do I work on?

You work on all four files. In s3pe, you can see that one of them has only 0's in the group, like 0x00000000. This is the actual mesh which I believe you should start with.
Test Subject
#19 Old 23rd Oct 2009 at 1:19 AM
Awesome tutorial, thank you so much!

I got stuck in step 10: Textures. I chose an object that doesn't have red/blue/green map of the same dimension as the texture maps (it's a painting). There are twwo red one, but pretty small. Do I create it? What should I do, because I created a new mesh, but the CAS parts are the same from the original mesh
Inventor
#20 Old 24th Oct 2009 at 3:31 PM
Fluttereyes and Bailey Weggins:
This tutorial needs to be updated about the use of MLOD and MODL

Information from WesHowe.

...start with building a working "00000000" MLOD file. After you have that UV mapped, tested and are happy you use the mesh from it to make your "00000001" mesh.(=MODL) That mesh is a same-sized but reduced poly count version.

The MLOD files have everything to do with sunshadows. The MODL is usually group "00000001" (lod1) and it pairs with "00010001" for it's sun shadow. The other lod0 (main) file will be group "00000000" and it pairs with "00010000" for its sunshadow. But the sunshadow mesh is not the shadow, it is the other half of some sort of template the game uses to make a sunshadow by calculation... as the sun moves, the shadow changes, whereas the dropshadow stays the same.

My recommendation is:

1. Make the MLOD 00000000, mesh texture UVmap and export/save that one.
2. Make the new MODL 00000001 = reduced polycount version of MLOD 00000000 use your new saved MLOD 00000000 to make it
3. Make the MLOD 00010000 = sunshadow of MLOD 00000000 use your new saved MLOD 00000000 to make it
4. Make the MLOD 00010001 = sunshadow of MODL 00000001 use your new saved MODL 00000001 to make it

More information about the MODL and MLODs here:
http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=373397

Rakime, if there is no _IMG texture with red and green and/ot blue blobs, it means the object you cloned has no recolorable parts. If you want (part of) your new object to be recolorable, you should clone an object/painting that already is recolorable.
Test Subject
#21 Old 10th Nov 2009 at 11:09 PM
Hey I need help , How can I find a simple Tutorial for Meshing and Find out the Tools I need ? Please help I would love to get started on something For Christmas. thanks for the help.
Field Researcher
#22 Old 11th Nov 2009 at 3:54 PM
… read the first post of this thread ?

(I suppose if would be slightly rude to ask you if you're joking… Honestly.)
Test Subject
#23 Old 12th Nov 2009 at 6:46 AM
No not rude!
Honestly Some people,
I did not even see that. That's funny.
Instructor
Original Poster
#24 Old 12th Nov 2009 at 9:07 AM
Okey doke, anyways, I know there a quite a few little things I need to fix up in this tutorial, I will do that soon. I've just been preoccupied with final exams and such, but they are over soon so I'll be back to updating this

Find me on YouTube!
Flabaliki - General gaming
TheSimSupply - Videos all about The Sims!
Lab Assistant
#25 Old 15th Nov 2009 at 8:27 PM
Congratulations, this is the most comprehensive and easy to understand object meshing tutorial that I have found thus far for TS3!

There are some parts that become a bit confusing, but I didn't really get stuck at all until I reached step 10. For some reason the texturing and UV mapping is harder for me to comprehend than any of the other stuff.

Still, thanks for this! I was able to successfully create an object and view it correctly in-game, minus some problems that I had with the shadow showing up correctly and UV mapping. I'm sure I'll figure it all out eventually though!
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