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Sims 2 to 4 Conversion Tutorials:  Part 2 - UV Mapping in Blender

This tutorial series is provided for people who wish to convert their own Sims 2 items, EA Sims 2 items, or items they have PERMISSION from the original creator to convert (either through the creator's TOU or direct contact with the creator).  If a creator does not wish to have their meshes converted PLEASE respect their wishes.  And always, always give credit where credit is due - don't claim other people's meshes as your own work :D

This tutorial uses the Gearhead Mirror by HugeLunatic @ MTS.  A check of her TOU shows that she is okay with conversion and cloning of her meshes as long as credit is given.  ALWAYS check before converting.

What this tutorial will show you:
How to import your Sims 2 mesh parts into Blender

How to UV map your Sims 2 mesh parts in Blender

How to group Sims 2 mesh parts in Blender

What you will need:

Your extracted Sims 2 mesh parts (See Sims 2to4 Tutorial Part 1 for more information)

Blender 2.70
Your Sims 4 object creation tool (Sims4Studio or TSRW) to clone a Sims 4 mesh

** This tutorial will not cover how to clone a Sims 4 mesh in Sims4Studio or TSRW.  Please visit the individual tool's site for information on how to clone an object.

Before starting to UV map in Blender, it is a good idea to take a look at the Sims 4 object you will be cloning to see how many mesh parts your final product should have. This will give you an idea of what parts of the mesh eventually need to be grouped together on the same UV map.

For this tutorial, I will be using the Classic Homemade Wood Mirror. It has three mesh parts:
Group 0 – shadow plane

Group 1 – mirror frame

Group 2 – mirror glass

You will need to make sure all 3 corresponding parts of the Sims 2 mesh are mapped appropriately.

1.  Before importing the Sims 2 .obj files, we will split the screen in half and prepare one side of the screen for making the UV map.

2.  From the starting screen in Blender, delete the cube mesh (click "x" and delete) and split the screen into two windows. 

3.  Hover your mouse cursor over the bottom of the grey, horizontal menu bar at the top of the screen until it turns into an up/down arrow - right click- and choose "split area."

4.  This brings up a vertical line attached to your cursor which you can move to move left or right. When you have the vertical line roughly in the middle of the screen, left click to divide the screen in half.)
5.  On the horizontal menus at the bottom of the screen, there will be a little icon that looks like a box with up/down triangles next to it. It is next to the view menu. Click on this box in one of the menus.

6. From the menu that pops up, select "UV/Image Editor. This will bring up the UV Map display on that side of the screen.

7. Now it is time to import your extracted Sims 2 meshes into Blender.  We will do this one mesh part at a time. Choose "File - Import - Wavefront (.obj) and import each of  the 4 previously saved mesh parts.

6. After importing all of the Sims 2  extracted meshes, there will be a total of 5 mesh groups in the Scenes window. One group, “subset0,” is a large rectangular block which served some purpose in Sims2, but doesn't have a corresponding function in Sims 4. 

Go ahead and delete that group by right clicking it in Object Mode and clicking “X” to delete.

7.  Now, you will be left with the parts of the mesh that you need for your eventual Sims 4 object.

We’ll start by mapping the part of the mesh that will get a texture - the frame. 

In this object, the Sims 2 mesh had two parts for the frame. They are named “Base” and “Tabletop” in the Scenes window in Blender.

“Base” is the main part of the mirror frame and “Tabletop” is the small gear part in the middle of the mirror.

8.  We will map each part individually, starting with the “Base” group.

Hide “tabletop," "simple_mirror_reflection" and "southwallshadow" by clicking the little eye icon in the Scenes window next to each mesh part. 

The outer part of the frame should now be the only part of the mesh showing in the view window.

TIP:  You cannot hide a mesh portion when you are in Edit Mode and the mesh portion is selected in the Scenes panel.  Make sure you are in Object Mode to hide/unhide.

9.  Click “A” to deselect the mesh.

10.  Right click on the mesh to re-select it.

11.  Switch to “Edit Mode” by hitting the “Tab” key or changing via the menu at the bottom of the screen.

The UV map for that part of the mesh will now show up on the UV/Image Editor side of the screen.

12. On the vertical menu in the middle of the screen, select the “Shading/UVs tab.

13.  Under “UV Mapping”, click on the menu and select “Smart UV Project.” (You can test out the different mapping methods to see which one produces the best result.)

14. The new UV Map will now show up in the UV/Image Editor side of the screen. Take note of where there is empty space in the map. You will need to use that empty space later.

15.  Now, hide the “base” part of the mesh and un-hide the “tabletop” part.

Follow the same steps for mapping the inner gear part of the mirror frame.

NOTE:  This time, testing the different UV Mapping selections showed that just the regular "Unwrap" option worked best for this part of the mesh.  Always try out options to see what works best.

Alternatively, for more complex meshes you may need to "mark seams"  before unwrapping. I'll cover marking seams in a later tutorial.

The inner gear now takes up the entire 1024x1024 space of the UV map image, but we don’t want the frame parts to overlap. We will need to scale and re-position this part of the UV map.

16.  Click "b" to activate Border Select, and click and drag to select the mapped small gear in the UV/Image window.

17.  Next, click “s” to activate the scale tool. Move your cursor towards the mesh to scale smaller and away from the mesh to scale larger. 

Remembering the size of this part of the mesh in relation to the larger frame, I’m going to scale the gear so that it would fit inside the map of the mirror frame.

18.  Click “g” to grab this part of the UV map and move it into one of the empty spaces you took note of earlier. (Use the grid boxes as guidelines for positioning.)

19.  With both parts of the frame mapped, we want them to appear together on a single UV map for later texturing, so we will join them now.

Make sure both parts of the mesh are un-hidden in the scenes window and, in Object Mode, click “b” to activate Border Select. Then click and drag to select all the visible parts of the mesh in the mesh view window.

20.  With the mesh parts selected, click Ctrl+j to join the two mirror frame groups. Both parts will now be joined together in the same group.

21.  Test the combined UV Map by using “b” (Border Select)  to select the entire mesh. All the mapped parts should show up in the UV/Image Editor window.

If you have mapped correctly, you’ll see that the entire frame mesh is now on one map with no parts overlapping.

NOTE:  If any parts did overlap, you could select them in the mesh window using “c” or “b” (circle select or border select) and them move to an empty map space using “g” (grab) in the UV/Image Editor Window.

22.  Now you are ready to map the remaining two parts of the mesh. 

A look at the UV maps of the Sims 4 mirror shows that these parts (the shadow plane and mirror meshes) should not be mapped with the frame parts, but should still be mapped.

Hide the newly grouped frame mesh, and un-hide the mirror portion of the mesh (simple_mirror_reflection) by clicking on the "eye" icons in the Scenes panel.

23.  In “Edit Mode,” select the mesh by right clicking to display the current UV Map. The cloned Sims 4 mirror mesh we’re using for this conversion has the frame and mirror UV Map overlapping, but that makes me nervous (thanks, Sims 3!), so I’m going to re-size the map (select using “b” and scale using “s”) and move it to an unmapped portion of the frame map.

24.  Hide "simple_mirror_reflection" and follow the same mapping procedure described in Steps 22 & 23 with the shadow plane (southwallshadow).

25.  Save your mapped .blender in your project folder.  I suggest something like "HLOD mapped" to distinguish it from other saved versions you might have.

Congratulations - you have UV Mapped your Sims 2 mesh :)  Part 3 of the tutorial will be in two parts:  

3A.  Creating Your Mesh Files for Sims4Studio  OR 

3B.  Creating your Mesh Files for TSRW   (COMING SOON!)

Please comment below if you have any questions or need help with this tutorial :)