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Tutorial: Seamingly possible

This is a tutorial on how to make seams on clothes using uv maps.

Depending on how mesh was mapped it can be real nightmare to match textures you're putting on it so that  they would look nice. One solution to this is to add seams. Because if there is a seam then it is perfectly natural that pattern on fabric will not match on sides. 
It's really a simple thing to do.
Few weeks ago needlecream  asked me to explain the process, so I assembled a small tutorial on how I do it. This is is a bit more user friendly version of it (I hope, I suck at explaining).
And big thank you to her for encouraging me to put this up here.

Tools required:

Photoshop, or any other program that has similar possibilities.
LithUnwrap or UVMapper or some tool to extract the uv map
Milkshape because it's so much easier to preview than in bodyshop, but hey if you're a masochist ...
Simpe, because if you're not masochist and you're using milkshape you'll need to extract the 3D model from the mesh (actually you'll have to that anyway to extract the uv map).

Quick "how to" on extracting uv maps with LithUnwrap

Using simpe extract the 3D model from the mesh you're using. Open milkshape and import the .5gd file. Save as milkshape project (.ms3d) and then open it in LithUnwrap.
From there you will have option (File->UV map>Save...)

Now you can extract uv map any way you like as long as you get the perfect matching of model and uv map. I'm using LithUnwrap because UVMapper was giving me slightly distorted uv maps that needed tons of resizing and moving around till they fitted perfectly.

You may wonder why is it so important to have a uv map. Well, because it is perfectly aligned with your 3D model and you don't have to spend hours trying to figure out where the mapping begins and ends. And since is there and perfect we'll gonna use it ( and because I'm a graphic whore and pixel perfectionist).

Now do the usual steps of making recolours ... bodyshop... photoshop.... etc...

Im using Lianaa's Mesh, uhm ... googling ... here
Crap it's from TSR. Hate linking them. But you know where you can get it. And it's a really nice mesh.

Step 1.
Take that uv map you extracted.



Go to Image->Adjustments->Invert or press CTR-I on your keyboard. That will get us nice black lines on white background.
Make a copy of that layer and put it in somewhere where it won't get in the way (it's a backup).

Now with magic wand select white areas and delete them.



(I always use skin as a background while I'm working on something because it makes it look nice in milkshape, huge graphic whore here, yes).
Now having selected the empty area do : Select->Modify->Expand
and in in the dialogue put 1 px.
Do CRT-Shift-I to reverse the selection and delete.

Now we have this:



If you make a closer look you'll notice that there are white pixel leftovers.



We really can't allow that. Using fill tool, fill all the inside areas with white colour. Select them and delete.

Now we have a nice frame.

If you save at that point and check it out in milksape you'll be seeing something like this:



I added a basic shape to the dress here so it would look nicer.


Step 2.

Remove all the lines that you're not gonna make into a seam. I recommend living bottom lines on the skirt because that will make a nice finish.
And make a backup of that layer.

So now we have this:



Next thing to do is to cut out double seams. What I mean by that is that you select lines from front or from the back that meet on sides and do "cut into new layer" for one of them.
We'll end up with two layers.

Back:



And front:



Step 3.

Now take the backup of the layer with lines both on back and front (actually copy of the backup because in case you mess something up you'll still want that backup) and apply Gaussian blur. The amount of the blur depends on the mesh. If line that you're blurring is curvy it will require higher value, if not than lower. This one was quite curvy so I used 2.0
Play with it until it looks good in milkshape. 



This looks ok.

Step 4.

Take the front layer and invert the colours so you get white lines.
Blur them by the same amount as in previous step.
Now select one by one side and move them to the inside for two pixels (press CTRL while it is selected and press left/right key twice)
Also reduce opacity of the layer on around  50% or whatever looks good.
(On some textures white will not look good but that is easily adjustable later on)

You should get something  like this:



In milkshape it looks like this:



Step 5.

Now that looks pretty good but we're gonna add it a touch more depth.

Take the back layer (the one from which we cut out the front for highlight) and apply very low Gaussian blur on it. Something like 0,2. And reduce opacity of the layer to around 50%.
And that is that. You have a nice side seam.



IMPORTANT
You can merge all the shadow layers together but not the one with white highlight. That is because depending on the colour you're actually working with you'll need to make adjustments to it.
It looks best if for highlight you use a very light shade of the prevailing colour on the outfit (in the picture up I used very light red).
And if you keep highlight in a separate layer adjusting the colour is easy. Just put a colour overlay in blending options.


I hope this was helpful.
If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. This tutorial will need some more touching up and I would be very grateful for your input on what parts were unclear or messy.
If you would like .psd I used for this you can download it here.

I'm off to slap some shadows, wrinkles and textures on this now.




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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
needlecream
Aug. 1st, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
This tutorial is AMAZING! I have bookmarked it and will enjoy reading it everytime I make a new retexture. :D
lillany
Aug. 4th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC)
Why thank you. It would really never occur to me to do it if it weren't for you.
alfredaskew
Aug. 2nd, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
I was just thinking that something like this ought to be written out. So much bad seem-age can be avoided by techniques like these. Thanks so much for putting it out there!
lillany
Aug. 4th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC)
You're welcome. I hope it will be useful.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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What is this all about?

This is a place for my sims CC to find refuge and to post any other sims related stuff I catch my selfe doing or being interested in.
I mostly do clothes but occasionally will venture in object recolors. Hope you will like it.

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