Sunday, 20 November 2005

More on family portraits

I guess this is somewhat of a sequel, so if you want the first part of this tutorial - ie., how do you get those Sims posed so nice anyway? - you'll be wanting to read this.

Another question that has come up at least once and probably will again is about the hanging portraits I do with the antique camera.

You can see here that the Bentons have an older family portrait (from before the boys came along and when Xanthia was still alive) hanging above their mantelpiece.

Friday, 18 November 2005

Playable NPCs

I've talked a bit on here about my playable NPCs (which I sometimes refer to as non-playable playables). I originally got the idea from Laura and Shana and it's something I find really fun.

Playable NPCs are generally either a) ex-partners of my regular playable Sims, b) current partners who aren't quite serious enough yet to actually move in with whichever playable they're involved with or c) townies who have started a romance on their own, via ACR.

I don't write updates about them and I don't always play them. Sometimes I do but usually, I just pop in and age them up so they stay in sync with the rest of the hood. However, all offspring of playable NPCs attend school with my playables. Also, any of them can become regular playables if they happen to pair up with one of my Sims and either move in with them or get married.

I'm planning on including playable NPC age-ups in my birthday posts from now on though so I thought it might be fun to show you the families I have currently. This post is going to live in the side bar and be my catch-all post for any future playable NPCs too. If I add to it, I'll make a note of it in my regular updates so you'll know to check this thread, if you so desire.

First, we have Corbin and Pamela Gray. Corbin works as a host at Sophie Gentry's restaurant The Claudette and Pamela is the early childhood teacher at Sullivan Primary School. They have two grown daughters; Julia is married to Sam Whitney and has a daughter Penny and Lucy (now playable) is married to Edward Lachance and has twins Colin and Gwen.

Next up is the Jacobson family, which consists of Claudio, his wife Virginia and their daughter Alice, who is now away at college. Claudio's daughter Matilda lives with her husband Miles and their daughter Phoebe.

Here we have Jairus and Vanessa Gentry and their huge family. Jairus works in the gaming career and Vanessa is the hostess/manager at Tate's Grub Hub. They have four grown children; Oliver (now playable) is married to Sophie, his twin brother Sebastian is dating Adelaide Sitko, Louisa (also playable) lives with her boyfriend Justin Moretti and her twin brother Eddie is dating Lauren Carmody.

Former teen townies Amber Dawn and Elmer Miguel fell in love autonomously, so I moved them in together. They live in a small house in Sullivan, with their sons Joaquin and Matias.

Zane Hamilton is Amar Hamilton's younger brother and currently works as an executive assistant. He lives with his wife, Chloe. Chloe works as a surveillance operator for the SCIA. In 2040, they welcomed their son Cole and second child Cary arrived in 2043.

Jean-Paul Tang and Gisele Couderc are high school sweethearts and recently moved into a house in Sullivan. They are both freshmen, and commute to Suffolk University for their classes.

Melissa Hollmo (left) lives in Sullivan with her girlfriend Celeste Day. Melissa works as in the Oceanography career, while Celeste is a librarian. They don't have any kids but are thinking about starting a family in the future.

Sunday, 13 November 2005

Family portraits how-to: Version 2

I wrote the first version of this almost two years ago and looking at my blog stats, I can see that it's been very popular! But I have learnt tons about posing since then, from other Simmers and just from trial and error and some of it was a bit outdated (and WTF was with my terrible example pictures?!?) I thought it was about time I compiled some of my new knowledge here.

First up, you'll need some pose boxes! These are my current favourites:
Decorgal's Custom Modeling Poses Overlay - if you don't get any other pose boxes, get this one! It is the only one I know of that will allow you to change a Sim's facial expression and can be used in conjunction with any other pose box.

The facial expressions don't work with children but you can edit the box so that they do if you follow the instructions here. If you're scared of SimPE, you could also just download this box which contains all the facial expressions enabled for kids. I preferred to just edit the original box, because seriously, I have enough boxes in my game without adding another! But that's totally up to you.

The Custom Prop Hack is a lot of fun if you want your Sims to be holding purses, umbrella, wine glasses or a ton of other different things.
Giu has made some really wonderful pose boxes, including some sweet poses for families.
I'm also totally nuts about MayPink's boxes. Lots of poses for couples, as well as some good poses for single Sims.
This hack by Squinge contains all the game animations/poses for toddlers. It's not a box - you just make your toddler selectable and choose the pose you want from the menu.
This list at GOS is updated fairly frequently and contains a ton of links to different pose boxes. If you ever ask me in Comments where I got such and such a pose, I will probably tell you the name of the box and then direct you to this list. If you know the box you're looking for, it's not nearly so overwhelming!

Other essential items:
OMSPS - OMSP stands for One More Slot Package. These are what will enable you to place your Sims close together but they're also handy for decorating. I use these shiftable ones and I also like these angled ones.
Look at Player - Look at Player does exactly what you'd expect and instructs the Sim to look in your direction. This won't work with all of the pose boxes but it's very handy nonetheless.
The Freezer Clock - Even if you've got your Sim in a pose, it sometimes doesn't stop them from trying to carry out an action (or stop a visiting Sim from trying to carry out an action on them) and it can completely ruin your picture and make the whole process very frustrating. This will freeze specific Sims or freeze the game clock for you. Get it here.

A word of warning about Freezer Clock: be very, very careful when using this in a house with pets, babies, toddlers or children. If you freeze all adults/teens and leave the kids unfrozen, the social worker/animal control might come to collect your children or animals. I learnt that the hard way and had to quit without saving!

Okay, now that you have everything you need, it's time to set up your picture.

Each Sim you want in the picture needs to have their own OMSP to stand on. So put some down, enter the move_objects on cheat and place each Sim on an OMSP.

Then select each Sim's pose from the pose box. Some boxes are self-explanatory, some are only numbered but after you do these for a while, you get to know what's what. Before I use any pose, I choose a facial expression from Decorgal's custom modeling box - her poses are overlays, which means you can use them in combination with other poses.

Once your Sims are posed, enter the cheat boolprop snapobjectstogrid false - this lets you place objects (and Sims!) anywhere you like, rather than within the specific tile limits. You might want to use boolprop allow45degreeangleoforotation true as well, which will allow you to rotate objects (and Sims!) diagonally. Sometimes poses look better on an angle.

Now, you can start moving your Sims together to get them posed as you like. The cheats should give you almost complete freedom in moving your Sims around.

Once everyone is posed, make sure they're all looking your way by selecting each Sim, clicking on them and then choosing "Look at Player" from the menu. Freeze them with Freezer Clock once they're looking the right way.

An alternative to Freezer Clock (kindly shared by Maisie) is to pose your sim and then use one of the EA "Pose..." interactions to get the sim to look at you. They will look at you immediately and they will stay looking at you until you tell them to stop. If you want your sim's facial expression to be anything other than the basic smile, you'll still need Freezer Clock - the EA pose will override any other facial expression you've set for the sim. For family portraits though, you usually want your sims smiling, so it is a very handy tip indeed! Thanks again for sharing it, Maisie!

A couple of examples, for you, so you can see this in action.

These are the easiest family portraits to do. None of the Sims are touching and they're all standing up.

Couple poses are not quite as easy but with the cheats on and with everyone on OMSPs, you should be able to line up the Sims so that you don't have any arms poking through stomachs or anything!

Edit: Not a MayPink pose! It's from this box. Thanks Mandie, for pointing that out!

Here, I'm using one of Giu's poseboxes to have Finn hold Keira on his shoulders. I'm 99% sure Victoria's pose with her arm around Finn is from the same box. Araminta and Declan are both using poses from Decorgal's modeling box. Caitlin is using an in-game pose (accessed by clicking the selected Sim, as long as you have BV).

Most pose boxes are only enabled for teens, adults and elders. Some are enabled for children as well but it's kind of a pain to use them. Even though the poses are enabled for kids, they're still designed for adults, so the kids will usually be floating above the ground once you pose them. Some sitting poses work just fine for kids but you'll have to experiment to see which poses they are. I'm normally happy to just use the in-game poses for kids.

Posing Sims who are holding babies or toddlers can be a bit tricky. First of all, you need to choose a facial expression for them before they pick up the kid. To get them to look at the camera, try having another Sim walk into their line of sight. The Sim should move their head and follow the other Sim with their eyes. When the Sim's head turns the way you want it, freeze them with Freezer Clock!

If you're lucky, the toddler or baby may also move their head to watch the walking Sim and you can get everyone facing the camera. I don't mind too much when that doesn't happen for me, because even in real life, it's hard to get kids that little to sit still for photos. ;) And I'm all about realism in my game!

Now that you've taken a lovely family portrait of your Sims, wouldn't you like to have these hanging on your Sims' walls? Of course you would! Read this for a better way of using the antique camera!

I hope this has shed some light on portrait taking for you. As always, any questions in Comments are welcome. :)

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Tutorial for geneticising skins

This is mostly for snarkysims because she asked me about this yesterday in my custom content post but I figured it may be of interest to others so I'm putting it here where everyone else will see it too.

Snarky asked me if I could put up a post with a little tutorial showing how I geneticised my skin tones. I used a text only tutorial when I did and I was just about to make my own one with some pictures for guidance, when I found this great tutorial by Quinctia at LiveJournal. If you're just looking to geneticise a set of skin tones, you'll want Chapter 6 but if you're still a little bit lost with Sim genetics in general, Chapter 2 will give you a good rundown.

If you're still lost, I'm happy to help you out further.