The final stage of creation is tweaking the nitpicky details. Now, we'll add presets, thumbnail and other polishing touches to the package.
Once you're done with your texturing and you like your results, you can add cute presets to your package. Presets are what you see in the horizontal scrolling boxes when in Create-A-Sim. Creating a preset is as simple as clicking Add New Design -> Add New (Copy Last). This will create a perfect duplicate of the last design saved. You can now go in the patterns tab and change up the colors and patterns as you see fit. The number of presets is unlimited, but most keep up under 6 designs.
You aren't just limited to making simple recolors on your presets. You can also change up the textures, as well. As a common practice, if a piece of clothing has a decal on it, creators tend to offer two versions of the creation. One with the decal, and another without. Of course you could make two separate packages, but the easiest way is to simply make a new preset.
For my plain version of the shirt, I made all new textures and imported them in. Since I no longer needed the third channel for the bow, I made sure to go back to the Patterns tab and disable unnecessary channels. It won't hurt the game to keep an empty channel enabled, it's just not very professional.
Custom thumbnails are a useful way to make your item easily identifiable in CAS. To set a thumbnail, click on the Thumbnail tab and check the Use Custom Thumbnail box. Thumbnails are 256px x 256px images saved in .png format.
What if I'm not ready to add a thumbnail?
Generally at this stage of the process you are not ready to make thumbnails because you have not saved the package to try it out in game. What I do at this point is import a "test" thumbnail.
You can download my personal test thumbnail here, simply right click the link and hit Save Link As.
Once you import your thumbnail to CTU, like with anything, hit the commit button.
Each design can have it's own custom thumbnail, so do not forget to go back and add one for every preset you make.
This section is pretty self explanatory. Setting proper categories is an important practice in TS3, especially if you have it set for random townie use. There is nothing more frustrating then seeing a sim swimming around in a ball gown because someone didn't add the right category flags to the dress.
Here is a quick list of the various categories and what they do:
| Extended Category
| Valid for Maternity
||Check if you want to allow pregnant sims to wear the CAS part.
| Valid for Random
||Check if you want townies to be able to wear the CAS part.
| Is Hat
||Check if the CAS part is to be considered a hat.
| Is Revealing
||Check if the CAS part is considered to be revealing.
| Hidden In CAS
||Check if you want the CAS part to be hidden in Create-A-Sim.
Remember to commit your changes!
By gosh, I think we're finished! Take one last look through to make sure everything is everything before you save.
To save it is very important that you click File -> SAVE.
DO NOT HIT SAVE AS!
Hitting Save As will break your package, which you do not want to do!
After you have saved your package, install it like you would with any package file by dropping into your Mods\Packages folder.
Changing a Texture
If after you've tested your creation in game and you see something that needs fixing, you do not have to rebuild your package from scratch. If you're fixing a texture, you can simply use the Sims 3 Package Editor (S3PE) to quickly swap out files. You are not limited to just changing textures, you can replace meshes, too. But, be careful with meshes, because you'll have to go back and re-link the bumpmap in Milkshape. More on this in Linking Bumpmaps.
Changing Your Thumbnail Image
After you have tested your CAS part in game and have taken all of your pretty pictures, you are probably now ready for thumbnails. Although you can open your package up again with CTU, I find that sometimes these thumbnail changes won't take.
So, instead we can use the handy dandy Sims 3 Package Editor (S3PE). Open up your package in S3PE and sort by TAG.
Look for the THUM tag, these are your thumbnails. The group type (second number after the tag) tells you which thumbnail belongs to what preset. So, logically 0x000001 goes to preset one and so on. Simply right click on that file, and select Replace. Import your new thumbnails and save your package. If you have previews enabled in S3PE, you should see your changes in real time.
Updating Your Bumpmap
If you decided to go ahead and create a bump map, you were told to save it and leave it untouched. Now it's time to pick back up with that.
Assuming you imported a blank bumpmap already (as was advised in section 3), you simply repeat the same process for changing thumbnails.
The only difference is you want to sort for the _IMG tag. Right-click on each _IMG file and select either View DDS or Preview DDS (depends on what helper you have installed for S3PE). Preview each file until you find your blank bumpmap. It should be a solid grey image with a solid grey alpha.
Replace this file with the new one that you created.
I want to congratulate you for making it through my tutorial. Like seriously, take a bow because you have earned it! You've created a custom mesh and *gasps* even textured it, too!
Be sure to test your creation in game, and don't be distraught if you find you have to tweak something. Or, if you've completely bombed it! This is normal in the creation process, especially for new creators.
I can't tell you how many times I've blown up a mesh in CTU or have had to scrap a project all together.
If you are stuck, or just need some good advice visit the Creation Forums over at ModTheSims. You'll find that the staff and creators there are very supportive.
Also, take a look at our extensive TS3 CAS Tutorial section to learn more tips and tricks about CAS creation.
Want a free shirt?
As part of a thank you for reading, the finished shirt is offered up for download. Click here to get it.