So, you want to make a facial slider. If you have some knowledge of modding, it’s not too hard. This tutorial is going to try to be as complete as possible, so if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave me a note here! Click on any thumbnail to see the full-sized screenshot!
Special thanks to CmarNYC for their slider tutorial which I was able to base this off of, and which I have quoted in part.
What you’ll need (aka, what is used in this tutorial, what I can possibly answer questions about):
First off, you’ll want to download CMAR’s sims 3 facefiles here to get the files you need to edit. Unzip these into a directory and pick out the ones you’ll be using. The primary files end with:
Teen Female: tfface_lod0_2
Teen Male: tmface_lod0_2
YA Male: ymface_lod0_2
YA Female: yfface_lod0_2
Adult Male: amface_lod0_2
Adult Female: afface_lod0_2
Elder Male: emface_lod0_2
Elder Female: efface_lod0_2
The files ending with lod2_1 and lod1_2 are for people playing with low-definition. Remember that you’ll need to edit every face template separately, so this isn’t a quick project unless you’re only editing a few ages. I personally usually skip toddler stage because many changes are hardly visible at that age anyway. Just my opinion.
Anyway, now that you have your handy project folder with the templates in it, it’s time to get actually started.
Open up Milkshape, and click Import > Q-Mesh Sims 3 blah blah blah. Select the file of the age group you want to use, hit open.
Depending on which face file you’re using, you’ll get one to two errors like this one. That’s totally fine, just hit ok.
You’ll see your face (well, not YOUR face, hopefully, but you know) floating above a magical plane of wires. On the upper right hand corner, click the Groups tab, and hit “Hide.”
Go back to Import > Q-Mesh blah blah. You’ll get an error warning you that you’re importing over your model. That’s what’s supposed to happen, so no worries. Click okay, and then select the SAME age file, and load it.
In the Groups tab, your new group should be automatically selected. Click the “Comment” button, and you’ll see an “Edit Comment” window pop up with a bunch of text it in.
Select all that text and delete it, and paste this in the box:
TGIRef00: 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
This tells Wes’s export plugin to export that group as a morph mesh. You need the first group because the exporter needs to calculate the difference between the original and changed positions of the vertices.
Hit okay, and now we’re going to edit the mesh! If you’re familiar with meshing, this part of the tutorial will be redundant. If you’re not, or you’ve never worked with MilkShape before, though, this should help.
Switch to the Model tab. Select the “Move” button, and from here you can zoom in on your panels (this WON’T work if you have “Select” selected). Now, the change I’m making is to adjust the lower portion of the nose/the philtrum, so I want to zoom in on the 3D smooth face in the lower right, and one of the profile panels (upper right). To zoom in on the wireframe panel, hold down the ctrl key and drag with your mouse to pan, and center the head in the middle for easy zooming. To zoom, you can either use your scrolly button on your mouse (slow), or you can hold shift and drag (fast). To zoom in on the 3D panel, it’s the same, as well as panning, but be aware that you can also tilt or rotate the model if you use the mouse without ctrl or shift key.
Once you have your models properly positioned, hit “Select” and then use your mouse to draw a box around the dots (vertices) that you want to move. You can select just one by left clicking. In my case, I want to select all of these under-nose vertices.
Switch to “Move” and click+drag your mouse on the wireframe panel to move the vertices.*
*You can move the vertices in three dimensions depending on which wireframe panel you use. You’ll see in my screenshots that x, y, and z are all enabled. Click any of them to ensure you can’t move the vertices in that direction (they will go grey when deselected).
You’ll see that both the wireframe and the 3D models have changed now that I’ve moved the vertices. This is a really subtle change, because I wanted to make sure there weren’t any clipping issues with the other vertices in that area. Remember, though, when making a slider, you want to make your morph the extreme so that you can access a range of options through it. Say you wanted to make elf ears (redundant, since CmarNYC has already made that slider, but this is hypothetical): you’d want to make them pretty darn big so that you could access any size from regular to huge! So when making your sliders, try to make them as polar as possible without making the mesh go wonky.
Anyway, once you’re done tweaking the mesh, you’ll want to save this project just in case anything untoward happens. I feel better when my project folders are full of jargon that only I can understand (makes me feel legit), so I titled this project tm_prj (teen male project).
Then go to Export > Q-Mesh Sims 3 blah blah, and hit enter (Export, not Import). You’ll get an error warning you that you can’t have two groups in one file. That’s fine, because you only want to save the second group you made, anyway! Hit okay.
You DON’T want to export “GEOM-00,” so hit “no.”
“GEOM-01″ is the one you want, so select “yes,” name your file (“tm_morph,” in my case), and save. Ta da! You’ve got one group down. Repeat this process for all the other ages, genders, and definitions (if desired), and at the end you should have a folder full of jargonny files.
Close MilkShape, we’re done with that for now.
Now you’ll want to open up MorphMaker! Enter a name for your project (I’m using “philtrum_slider”), and hit that little arrow to get your Instance ID.
From there, use the “Import meshes” buttons to load the files you’ve just made! Once you’ve selected all those files, hit the “Slider” button under “Make Morphs.”
Fill out the Slider Information box. My example is below.
Sidenote: You’ll see there’s a “bidirectional?” box there. I don’t know how to use that yet. For now, we’re only making one-way sliders.
Okay, now we have our project set, so let’s File > Save. Next up, we need to make sure we have the right files to make our .package!
In this order:
Click “Create BGEO.” Without renaming, save the file inside your project directory.
Click “Create FacialBlend.” Again without renaming, save that file in your directory, too.
Click “Create Blendunit and STBL Files.” This will save a bunch more files into that same directory. Make sure you select “All languages” when it asks you, instead of just “English.”
If you’re making a slider to be uploaded, you should make a complete set or games running in other languages will have an ugly hex string displayed as the label text. FaceMorphMaker will create all the actual text in English but you can use S3PE to change them later as you get translations.
Now you can “Create Package.” It should come up with a window with the BGEO box filled in. Hit okay, name your .package, and we’re done with this step! Close MorphMaker.
We’re on the last leg now! Open up that .package you just made in s3pe. Select Resource > Import > From File and navigate to your project folder.
Assuming that you deleted all the original facefiles, you should have just a bunch of files with “philtrum_slider” (or whatever your project name was) in them. Select all of these. There should be a bunch of .stbl files, one .bgeo, one .facialblend, and one .blendunit.
Hit open, and you’ll get a window like this one. “Replace duplicates” and “compress” should both be checked, and then hit “Import.”
Once it’s done, you’ll see a screen like this, with lines through a number of the resources. That’s fine, that just means that your changes took. Save the file, and you’re done!
Pop the file in your Downloads folder and load up the game to test it out. Make sure if you don’t used certain ages or genders that you don’t try using the sliders on others, because they won’t work properly. Also remember that the default age in Sims 3 is YOUNG adult, not Adult. If you only edited the Adult file, it’s not going to show on your Young Adult sims!
Since I did every age and gender except child and toddler, I’m testing it out on Doctor Ten here.
Now, I have my sliders set to 2x, so if I pull the slider all the way, there will be clipping, and it will look silly. But if I go about halfway (to the intended extreme), then it looks pretty good, I think!
Well, there you have it! You’ve now made your very own slider for Sims 3, congratulations! Feel free to comment if you have any questions, and if you upload your sliders to share, I’d love to see them!