View Full Version : A Note about Texture/Pattern Scale and Design
14th Jun 2009, 1:32 AM
Once upon a time in a past life I sewed professionally and I have learned a thing or five about patterns and design and scale. Some of what I have seen recently for Sims is nothing short of scary. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a pattern/design for Sims:
Scale: How big or small the pattern is in relation to the item you place it on. (See floral fabric comparison picture.)
Some patterns look great on a wall or bedspread but would be horrible at the same scale in a shirt or skirt. Nobody should walk around with one huge flower motif plastered on their butt and one in front unless you are seriously daring like that... a smaller pattern that can show many flowers across both front and back of the skirt are much more flattering and realistic.
Pattern placement should be considered, too. For example on a sofa, if I had a larger motif, I would try to center the motif on each cushion. For clothes, try to avoid placing motifs like bullseyes on butt cheeks or boobs, unless you really want that look. Stripes and plaids will look best if they match up at the "seams", especially center front, center back, and side seams. Stripes on a couch should flow straight down the back, onto the cushions, and down onto the skirt or apron.
Remember things will look longer in the direction of stripes. Horizontal makes things look wider, vertical makes them look taller. Most people don't want horizontal stripes on their pants which would make their thighs and butts look wider. The pants below are a no-no.
There are many other basic rules of design that apply to Sims creation, but these one the ones I see violated most often. I may update as I see more. Enjoy!
14th Jun 2009, 3:50 AM
I totally agree with you that smaller patterns are more useful and realistic for clothes in particular, and that very large patterns are limited in their usefulness except for walls.
There are some built-in problems with pattern placement in Sims 3, though. For instance, the rugs in the game, strangely, are all mapped in such a way that patterns don't center or reflect across the rug, making it impossible to get a symmetrical look. You pretty much have to use a very small or asymmetrical pattern. Would be great if when we finally arrive in object mod land (as I'm sure we will soon ;) ), we could get some rug meshes that map patterns around one or two axes :)
Since we have no control over pattern placement, this advice is just not useful: "For example on a sofa, if I had a larger motif, I would try to center the motif on each cushion." Since every object maps the pattern differently, the designer isn't in a position to design around the built in placement either. The player, of course, can simply attempt to choose patterns which work on a per-object basis.
The resolution of the pattern is limited to 256x256, which means that very small patterns will basically be a mess of blobs. The center pattern in your three examples above couldn't be realized at all. The marjoram (http://thumbs2.modthesims2.com/img/5/6/9/8/1/9/MTS2_Srikandi_935284_marjoram-clean.jpg) pattern I did was I think about as small as you can get and still have an identifiable motif, and it's about 3 or 4 inches across on clothing. It's much easier to get a clean looking pattern using a larger starting graphic, because the anti-aliasing (fuzzy edges) takes up less of the pattern relative to its size, which I think is one reason they're so popular.
As for horizontals and verticals, since we can't rotate patterns in-game, it is useful for pattern designers to provide two rotations for anything that's strongly directional, as the game designers did.
So, yeah, it's good advice but would be more useful if it took into account the technical limitations we're trying to work with here ;)
14th Jun 2009, 8:12 AM
Cokenasmile, I agree.
But in real life very few patterns are appropriate for all situations. There are conventional ideas as to which patterns are suitable for wallpaper, furniture, underwear etc. A pattern which would look awesome on a pair of socks might look inappropriate on a wall.
This also concerns different types of clothing. Sometimes I see a blouse in a shop and think something like: "oh no, this pattern feels like nightwear, I will look as if I were wearing pyjamas".
And I agree with Srikandi's list of technical restrictions. In TS3, we are limited to 256x256 which is actually a pretty low resolution for today's standards (sites about 3D design offer patterns that are like 2000x2000 pixels).
Scaling patterns is VERY problematic. The only easy manipulation is making them 2x or 4x smaller. In other cases, it will no longer be seamless or lose its quality entirely.
Rotating patterns is okay if it's 90 or 180 degrees. But rotating a pattern 45 degrees means you'll have to create a totally new repeat.
14th Jun 2009, 9:22 AM
I have made a few things in my time and understand many of the limitations of texture maping to a mesh for the game. Without going into what will and will not work for each item in the game, I stand by my advice. If the pattern won't work well until we can re-map the textures, maybe people should hold off. Just because you *can* do something now doesn't mean you *should*.
14th Jun 2009, 9:52 AM
What we are saying tho, is that it will NEVER be that a pattern will work on every object in the game, it just won't happen. If a player likes a paticular pattern they d/l it, and when designing their homes/outfits, they choose from all the patterns they've d/led that look best on that paticular item. I don't ever see it deviating from this. So, just because horizontal stripes don't look good on pants, doesn't mean it won't look great on a bed spread.
14th Jun 2009, 11:17 AM
Holy shit! It's cokenasmile! How you doin', girl?
With the scale stuff, there's a lot of patterns in-game that come in various scales, which I think is probably a good way to go about it, for patterns that would be appropriate as, for instance, wallpaper but also clothing.
I -do- definitely agree with the "just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD." Moderating the pattern queue has made this painfully obvious. There's some folks that seem to go "omg patterns!!!!" and don't care that the scale will -always- look wrong with what they're doing, and that sims probably don't need clothes, wallpaper, bedspreads, or -anything- else that looks like a Myspace background.
14th Jun 2009, 5:17 PM
When I first started playing with the patterns I had no idea what scale would work with things and the first pattern I attempted ended up being so over-sized I was completely shocked. Going from TS2 textures to TS3's 256x256 size has been quite a shock!
I was also noticing in some textures I was working on that are basic one-color patterns with some floral designs on them, that the textures aren't mapped the same even on similar items. I don't recall the names of the sofas, but one I was testing on is the cheaper, more modern looking model with the wooden arms, and the other is the more expensive, older style looking sofa. They map perfectly on the cushions for the older style sofa, but don't on the newer style sofa, and sadly the only way that particular texture would be able to work perfectly on both sofas is to have multiple textures.
As an aside, those pants remind me of something I would have worn when I was about 10 years old. :lol:
14th Jun 2009, 9:39 PM
*snuggles HP* Hi everyone. :)
Snaitf -- I Understand that one pattern won't work for all things. That was kinda my point. If you look in a fabric store or online patterns and find coordinating fabrics or the same print done small, medium, and large, you can choose which works for what. I was trying to give guidelines so that when you test your pattern on an item (which I hope people do) you can say hey that works or no, that's crap and tweak it or try something else. Below are 3 of the versions I worked on for my sewing machine texture in sims 2. They show the changes in scale and orientation and how the entire texture was not used as a "paint".
Like I said above, some things may need to wait until we have more control over how the item is mapped on the texture.
Thinking about this issue reminds me of the many test textures I worked on for my items for Sims 2 where I tried different scales and would switch up the direction of the grain and then map the items to the parts of the texture accordingly. I didn't apply the entire texture over the whole item, and I suspect that is how Sims 3 textures are used. Below is a mock-up of a test pattern I am going to try to see if I can figure out where on the texture map different parts of different are pulled from so we can adjust our textures accordingly. We may just need to switch thinking for a while and make our textures fit the item.
I'm not saying I have done enough yet in Sims 3 modding to tell everyone how to make all items look great, but I would like to point out what things to watch out for and when to scrap a pattern for a particular item if it just plain looks bad.
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