How To: Frieze Recolours for The Sims 4 (Part 1)

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Follow this in-depth tutorial to learn how to make frieze recolours for the Sims 4, using Sims 4 Studio and TSR Workshop.

Introduction

This is part 1 of a two-part tutorial. Click here to go to Part 2.

I wanted to make recolours of the friezesin the Sims 4 (aka the decorative band around the bottom edge of the roof or top of a wall). But it seemed to be impossible. Sims 4 Studio did not allow cloning of freizes. And TSR Workshop did allow cloning, but when you tried to add a 2nd recolour to the file, that file would not have a Material set, making it unuseable.

TSR Workshop menus showing that new recolor instance has no material set

However, I was too determined to let go of the dream. I did a lot of Googling, a lot of trial and error, and with perseverence I succeeded in making the first ever (as far as I could see) recolour of friezes for The Sims 4!

This tutorial will show you how to do it too, with detailed step-by-step instructions.

You Will Need

  • Sims 4 Studio
  • TSR Workshop
  • A photo-editing program like Photoshop

Step 1: Clone the Frieze

Open TSR Workshop. Make a clone of the frieze you want. In this case, I am cloning the “Frieze Frame”. When you click that object, it will show you all the in-game swatches for that item. Click on whatever is the whitest swatch available, because that will be the base to use for recolouring.

Now enter a file name, object name and description that you want for the project. Think carefully about what you are entering here, because it is a pain in the butt to change it later (see Troubleshooting 4).

Step 2: Export the Diffuse Map

The first thing we are going to do with this new project is save it. Save to a folder just for this project.

Now we are going to export the base texture that we are gonna recolor.

Go to the Textures tab on the right side of the screen. In the drop-down window, click the line underneath ‘Materials for group…’ (You’ll get an error if you click on the ‘Materials for group…’ line). In this case, the line to click on is 0x5B935FD3.

TSR Workshop screen with list of materials

A list of image resources will appear. Click the DiffuseMap, and click the Edit button to the right.

TSR Workshop screen for viewing Diffuse Map

Click the Export button at the top right and save the image in your project folder. I would give it a name like ‘FriezeFrame-diffuse-white’.

TSR Workshop screen for exporting Diffuse Map

You can export as DDS, TIF or PNG. I chose DDS, but to use that in Photoshop you will need to install the NVIDIA DDS Utilities plugin. If you don’t have Photoshop or can’t install the plugin, just use PNG format.

Step 3: Create Diffuse Map

Now you can use copies of the exported diffuse map to make your own recolours. I personally used WildlyMinatureSandwich’s colour actions. Save each recoloured file in it’s own folder, preferably numbered, eg 1-green. It will help later.

Step 4: Create Thumbnail Template

TSR Workshop does not generate a thumbail for your frieze. Maybe you could export the thumbnail for the origina Frieze in localthumbscache.package, but that file is so huge. I found that the easiest thing to do is to take a screenshot of the object in TSR Workshop.

Zoom in on the frieze using your mouse, and the options in the Free and View dropdown menu. try to make it face the camera as squarely as possible. (this is very easy with the Free dropdown box. Click it and choose Front. But you may not be able to get it centred like you can in Free camera mode).

Take a screenshot of this window, and paste it into a 256×256 canvas in your art software, cropping to a neat square.

Save that image. I chose to call it FriezeFrame_white_thumb_256.png

Step 5: Recolour and resize thumbnails

Recolor the thumbnail in the same way you recoloured the diffuse map earlier.

Save the image as the following 2 sizes: 256 x 265px, and 32 x 32px.

The 256px version will be for the thumbnail, and the 32px will be for the swatch.

Repeat Step 5 for every colour you need.

 

Step 6: Import Diffuse Map

Now we are going to start importing our new textures into our primary project file.

In TSR Workshop, go to the Materials tab, Edit the DiffuseMap, and click the Import button to import your new diffuse map for colour 1.

 

Click Done. You will get this popup about updating the diffuse map. Choose Yes, though it doesn’t really matter because the frieze only contains 1 LOD.

The texture in your 3D preview won’t automatically refresh. If you want to see it on the 3D preview, you will have to save, close the project, and re-open it.

Step 7: Importing The Thumbnail

Go to the Project tab. Go to Thumbnails section, and on Catalog Thumbnail, click the three dots button to the right.

Clicking that will open the file browser. Select the 256px thumbnail you created earlier. You will see the small white square change to show your file, and the text will change from (none) to System.Drawing.Bitmap

TSR Workshop will automatically generate different sizes of this thumbnail for different uses, screen sizes, etc. It will make a 128×128 version, a 64×64 version, and a 32×32 version.

Step 8: Importing the Swatch, and Defining Tags

Remain on the Project tab. In the section Colorswatch, click on Variant Thumbnail. Click the three dots button to the right.

Choose your 32×32 thumbnail image. Again, you’ll see the tiny image preview change.

The image will automatically be converted to a .dds file.

The next thing to change is what I’m gonna call the ‘micro-swatch’ (I don’t know the real name for it haha). This is the colour swatch that appears in a narrow bar when you hover over the project thumbnail.

Go to the section Colorswatch. In the Color section, enter the colour you want for the microswatch, in RGB format, comma delineated.

Finally, let’s select the tags we want to assign to this recolour. Tags are important so we can use the search filters to say, see all the green friezes.

On the Projects tab still, go to Properties, then click Tags. Click the three dots button to the right.

In the following screen, we are only going to look at the Color section.The default colors ticked will be based on the object you cloned. In my case, White was ticked. So untick this and instead tick the colour(s) your frieze is.

Step 9: Export Primary Package

Now, we will export this project as a .package file. This package file will be what eventually gets put into your game.

Go to File menu, choose  Export, the choose ‘To .package’

Save it as something like yourName_friezeFrameRecolor.package. Remember to only use letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores. All other characters slow down file read speeds, which means your game would run slower.

Save this file to your project folder.

Step 10: Create Other Colour Packages

Now, we are going to do this process AGAIN, for colour 2.

Repeat step 1, except this time, you don’t have to bother changing your file name and description.

Skip steps 2-5 because we’ve already made the colour files we need.

Resume at Step 6. Choose what colour this package will be, and import the corresponding files for the diffuse, thumbnail and swatch thumbnail.

When you get to Step 9, export this package file, and call it something like 2-FriezeFrame-nameOfColour.package, and save it in the folder with the image files for that recolor.

Repeat Step 10 for every colour frieze you want to make, exporting each as a unique package file.

 

Conclusion Part 1

Well done! You have successfully completed Part 1 of this tutorial! Click here to go to Part 2, where we will combine the packages together.

Any part of this tutorial confusing you? Leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help out.

Peace, love and sunshine,

Handwritten calligraphy-style signature that says 'Jessica' with a heart dotting the i