CREATE A BAKE
Whether it's Sims 3 or Sims 4, creating a bake is an essential part of the object creation process. The bake uses your UV map information to approximate real-world shadows onto your mesh. This texture will give depth and realism to your mesh in Sims 3 or to your texture in Sims 4. Blender is a program that can easily do this for you once you figure out a few basics.
What this tutorial will show you:
What you will need:
How to import your mesh into Blender.
How to get Blender to use your UV map data to create a bake (multiplier in Sims 3).
**If you are opening a Blender mesh exported from Sims4Studio, you can skip to step 6. The screen will already be split for you. (HT Orangemittens)
1. From the starting screen in Blender, click "x" and delete the cube mesh and split the screen into two windows.
2. 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."
3. This brings up a vertical line attached to your cursor which you can move to move left or right.
4. When you have the vertical line roughly in the middle of the screen, left click to divide the screen in half.
5. Import your .obj or other supported mesh format. [File - Import - Wavefront (.obj) ]
It will show up in both halves of the screen at this point.
6. Hit "A" to deselect your mesh.
7. Right click your mesh to select it again.
8. Hit "tab" to switch to edit mode. You will now be able to see all the polys on your mesh. (HT Orangemittens)
9. 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.
11. From the menu that pops up, select "UV/Image Editor. This will make your mesh disappear in that side of the screen and will display your UV map instead.
12. Now, click on the Image menu in that side of the screen and select "New Image" (or use the alt+N shortcut).
Adjust the size of the bake you want. 1024x1024 is the default, and that seems to work fine for most meshes.
Make sure "Alpha" and "32 bit Float" are NOT checked. (Alpha will be checked by default)
13. Click "OK."
Now your UV map will show up on a black background.
Creating a Bake in Blender
14. There are some settings I found on an old tutorial for Sims 3 that I think make nicer bakes, so you can adjust settings at this point if you want to.
Here is what I do:
a. On the large vertical menu on the right of the screen, click on the small icon that looks like a globe.
b. You will see boxes for "Ambient Occlusion" and "Environment Lighting" that are all set at 1.00. Check both of those boxes and change the values to:
Ambient Occlusion - 1.75
Environment Lighting - .75
c. You will also see a menu box for "Gather" with an oval button for "Samples." The default is set to 5.
You need to up this as much as your computer will tolerate for best results. The higher the value, the more time it will take to create the bake.
I usually use 15 as the starting sample number, but you can go higher if you want.
15. After changing settings, in the same vertical menu, click on the tiny icon that looks like a camera.
16. Scroll all the way down in the new menu that appears. The "Bake" portion of the menu is at the bottom, and you will have to open it by clicking on the triangle next to the word Bake.
17. Change the Bake Mode from "Full Render" to "Ambient Occlusion."
18. Click the bar that says "Bake" and has the camera icon on it. This will start the baking process.
Depending on the number of samples you chose and your computer's processing power, it may take a few seconds to a minute or two.
19. When your computer is done processing, click on "Image" from the horizontal menu bar underneath your UV map window, and choose "Save as Image" (or use the F3 shortcut).
20. From there, choose your save folder, name your file, and click the "Save as Image" button in the upper right of the screen.
21. For Sims 3, you will need to open your file in your video editing program and then save it as .dds with DXT5 Interpolated Alpha selected. Then import it into your object creation program as the multiplier texture.
For Sims 4, you can use the bake as the base for your recolor textures. I explain how to do this in my
Using a Bake for Texturing in Sims 4 tutorial.