Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Create your own custom paintings in The Sims 4

I have always appreciated custom content creators. The work they do adds interesting and unusual content that can really change the look of a game.  I dont use any custom content in my own game, however, because I am very much aware that with custom content comes the potential for problems.

So, I have to get creative with what can be found within the limits of the game itself.  Sometimes, using the same objects over and over can get frustrating and repetitive and I find that often the wall art doesnt come in a color option or look I would like. There is a solution.

Lately, I have been experimenting with the "Paint from Reference" interaction available on the art easel.  With it, your Sim can create custom art to match any decor. With a little planning and ingenuity, you can make "custom" art in an color or style you desire....without using CC. Sound interesting?  Let's get started!

Using the view finder

Click on the art easel to use the "Paint from Reference" function.  After selecting the size you desire, the game will open a camera view of the immediate surroundings for you to snap a picture which your sim will then turn into a painting.

The first thing you will notice is that the area directly in front of the easel will not show up in the view finder because it is blocked by....the easel.
If most of what you see through the view finder looks like this, its because you have it in the blind spot.

Make sure that the easel is not placed directly in front of the thing you want to paint. As you can see, there is a wide angle of blind spot caused by the easel.  The best placement is off to one side or the other. 

Also, because of the angle of the camera, placing items parallel ( or facing the same direction) of the easel will result in a side view of the objects.  

Sometimes, that might be what you want.  If it is not, place your objects at an angle to the easel. Creating a studio area with the correct angles can help greatly and save a lot of time....more about that in a bit!

Once you have a scene you like, click your mouse to "freeze" the object.  You can now use the on screen controls to further adjust your image.

If you want to move the angle once you have frozen the object, use the arrow buttons in the lower right.  They do not offer as much movement control as the mouse, so it is best to not freeze your image until you are pretty sure you have the angle you want.

You can also zoom in or out with the slider. The slider has limits, so if you want to get even closer 
(or farther away) from your subject, you will need to physically move the easel.

 Remember that if you dont like what you see through the viewfinder, you can hit the X in the upper right corner to cancel out of the painting.  You may then rearrange things until you get the look you want.

 When you have everything exactly as you desire, click on the camera icon at the bottom to have your sim start painting.

Remember that this is a painting and not a photograph.  The end result will have texture to it and the image might be somewhat blurry or pixelated.

Dont expect the painting to look exactly like what you see in the view finder.

Setting up your Studio

If you plan to create a lot of custom art, the easiest thing to do is to set up a specific area for your sim.  Once you do this, you will spend much less time trying to adjust the angles for your paintings.  

You might find a set up like this to be the most helpful:

1. An angled "backdrop" wall
2. Bright direct overhead lighting
3. Easel set up at a perpendicular angle a couple of squares away from the backdrop

Working Outside

You are not limited to working inside.  If a lovely landscape is what you are after, move the easel outdoors and take a look around. There are plenty of great views just waiting to be painted.  Just remember to place the easel at an angle to the view you would like to capture to avoid the blind spot.

You dont always have to look at the "big picture".  Consider focusing on one small specific object in your landscape for an interesting effect.

Tips and Tricks

  • Cheats are your best friend!  
    • Use the Move Objects cheat ( bb.moveobjects on) to group items together in interesting ways. 
    • Give yourself as many items as possible to work with.  Unlock all of the items in the build catalog by typing bb.ignoregameplayunlocksentitlement in the cheat box. 
    • Dont forget about the debug items too!  Click here to learn all about using the Debug cheat  There are all sorts of unique items in the debug catalog that you can use to create an interesting still life. 

    • If you do not want to see the floor or surface your objects are sitting on in the finished painting, you can float the object using the Raise Cheat. With the item selected, click ALT+9 to raise the object up to the desired level. 

  • Experiment with different backgrounds to see what makes your subject look best.  You can use the backdrop color to coordinate with a specific decor. 

  • For an unique abstract painting,  experiment with capturing just part of an object in the view finder. 

  • Consider making a series of different sized paintings with a similar theme and grouping them together to create a striking display. 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  I love having the ability to make wall decor in the exact color I want...and with all of the objects available to play with, you can match any kind of decor or style. If the  Build catalog doesn't have the wall decor you are looking for, try making it yourself in game with the "Paint From Reference" function!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Sims 4 Luxury Party Stuff Review

To be perfectly honest, I was not planning on buying this Stuff Pack.  It is pretty light on building items so it didn't catch my interest.  However, my teenage daughter really wanted the hair and clothing options so I agreed to get it.  Was it worth the $10 price tag?
Kind of.

The women do SO much better than the men.  The female clothing and hair options are, to me, the best part of this pack.  But don't take my word for it...decide for yourself!

This looks like "The Snookie" to me, but it's not bad.

Love this French Twist SO MUCH.  Its lovely and elegant from all angles.  It would make a beautiful bridal style too.

Here it is from the back.  So pretty!

Love this one too! 

We also get some....interesting...make up options with this stuff pack.  Most of them are a bit " out there" for me, but there might be a couple I would use in the subtle color options.  I used the brighter colors for the pictures so you could get a clear idea of where the color falls.

This one has possibilities in the more subtle colors.

My favorite.  I can see actually using this one.  The blackish color option makes a very dramatic smokey eye look.

There are 2 eyeliner options and they are pretty much the same...a very exaggerated winged look. 

This ombre lipstick has potential.  Unfortunately the color options are all very bright, candy coated colors that look pretty garish.  No medium or realistic lip stick tones at all. All clown candy.

Same goes for this one.  Its a two tone lip that looks fantastic in the burgundy but could use a few more realistic rather than clown cartoon colors.

The evening dresses that come with this pack are gorgeous.  A tad heavy on the sequins, but still lovely.  I appreciate that there are subtle AND bright color options.

There are a couple of strappy evening shoes.

There are a couple of glittery evening tops.

This little dress, while on the glittery side, is so cute.  Most of the color options are really attractive in game.

In the Pants category, there are a couple of trousers with pinstripes along the side.  One in sequins and one without.

There are two bracelets in the accessory section

If we could purchase things individually, as with the Sims 3 Store format,  I would probably buy all of the hairs and the dresses.  So perhaps that makes the pack worth it?

The guys do NOT come out as well.  It appears that " party" for the men means pimp.  Cause that is kinda how they look.  Less options and more tacky.

The hair styles are by far the best part of what is offered for men:

The suits are...just.....well....let me show you.

In all honesty, I just cant see every using these.  But that is me. 

Here are the shirt options

I could see this as a possible wedding look for a certain kind of groom.

No.  Just no.

In the shoe department, our men have two styles of pimp shoes to go with the suits.

If I were offered the chance to purchase the men's items separately, I would probably grab the hairs and leave the rest behind.

The furniture options are pretty spare...which I was expecting. Once again, we get a pack with no new wall or floor textures.  I really take issue with this.  Since we don't have the ability to color our own walls and floors, it is more important than ever that we get plenty of options from EA and I do not feel like they are coming through.  I hate to sound like a broken record on this but seriously. Wall and floor textures are the easiest assets to make. They don't have any animations attached to them  and sims do not interact with them in any way.  It should be no big deal to provide a bunch of new walls and floors with EVERY stuff pack, game pack, expansion pack and enhance the theme of the items that come in that pack.

Ok....I will get off my soap box and show you the build stuff now. 

 Plenty of color options and a nice variety with neutrals and brights.  The color palette for all of these items is fairly uniform too, so I have to give them props for not just giving us a bunch of random stuff that doesn't match.
A chair that would be great for venues and weddings, but a little harder to incorporate into every day builds. 

I can see using this sleek modern bar stool quite a bit!

Same goes for this ottoman/bench that sims can sit on.  I particularly like that you can put them end to end to make a larger/longer seating area without using a MOO cheat.

This glowing cube end table could be used in a variety of ways.  I can see it being a dramatic retail display as well as funky accent in a modern home.

The sequin covered table is very  "party" and special occasion but might be harder to incorporate into a regular build.

You will find the buffet or banquet tables in the "activities and skills" section of the catalog.  There are two of them.  This is the more modern version.

You have the option to choose which dishes you want to serve or to select all of them.

Here is what it looks like loaded up with goodies. That bare center area is a bit of a puzzle.  You CAN place objects there...but the objects that are allowed seem odd and kind of random.  For instance, it seems like a natural that floral arrangements should be slotted there, right?  NOPE.  None of them seem to go there.  Most of the decorative statues don't go there either.  You really have to try a ton of objects before you can find something that fits on the table.

These items DID allow placement.  But....why?  Ok, I can see maybe the paper towel holder...but...?

The other banquet table is a more formal looking affair.

That center section has a function for this table.  You can place the fountain on it.  You cannot place the fountain on the other table.

The fountain has the option for punch and chocolate, with some other options grayed out until your sim reaches a certain level with cooking or mixology.


The fountain can be used by itself.  It doesn't seem to be placed on any regular table, but it will go on a counter surface.

Much less festive but still functional.

There is also a very glowy bar to go with the glowy cube.  It is cute but I personally feel like we have enough bars already.  More real furniture is what I want.

Finally, there is a new curtain.  A very glittery sequined curtain. That emits its own glow/light.

As you might have noticed, it completely covers any window you place it on.  But I can see this being a dramatic backdrop in a retail setting ( place a few mannequins in front for an glitzy display) or even an interesting headboard for a glamorous bedroom....although finding a bed to go with it might be a task.

In the lighting section, you will also find a couple of sculptures/lights.  One is a wall panel and the other is a stand alone "floor lamp" that is more of a huge sculpture that is lit up.

So...there you have it.  Do I feel like I got my money's worth?  Like I said...mostly.  

About Me

I build lots for people to use in the Sims. I have created hundreds of lots that have been downloaded by people all over the world. My work has been featured on the official Sims 3 site, several Sims 3 fan sites and in Game Informer magazine.
I am a mom...a gamer...a book worm...a worrywart...a fan of architecture, interior design, and all things Grumpy Cat.