Previously, I've shown you a simplified technique for extracting a Sim from a screenshot for preview pictures or stories. However, a simple technique doesn't always provide the best results.
In this tutorial I'll show you how to use Photoshop's pen tool to extract a Sim, or an object, from a screenshot taken with the Sims 3 in-game camera. This tutorial is aimed at intermediate Photoshop users who maybe just aren't quite sure what the pen tool does, or how or why they should use it.
But first, why do we want to use the pen tool? Why not just put your Sim or object against a plain background?
It's a good question, it's really quick and easy to put a Sim or an object against a plain background and then use the magic wand selector in Photoshop to remove the background. However, this technique can result in a jagged edge, rather than a smooth edge, which won't look as good on previews. The pen tool allows us to create a smooth path to select our Sim or object with.
Also, for pictures of Sims, the best lighting in the Sims 3 game is in Create-A-Sim. Pictures taken in Create-A-Sim will show off your Sim and clothes in the best possible light, but of course we can't have a plain background in Create-A-Sim, so the easiest way to remove the background is using the pen tool.
Fig 12You can also see my finished cutout in her preview picture by clicking here.
TIP: When you add an anchor point you'll notice a straight line with two dots on the end appearing. The line is a tangent to the curve, and these dots are called "handles". You can move the handles to change the angle of the curve at this point. The best way to find out how this works is simply to do it! Create a straight line, add an anchor point in the middle, and see what happens when you adjust the angle and length of the handles.
TIP: A unique preview that stands out will really show off your work at its best. For ideas, look through the downloads area of TSR, and study those screenshots which catch your eye. A good example of an excellent preview style is Murano. Notice how he maintains a consistent style, which means his work is instantly recognisable, but at the same time shows off his work in an interesting and eyecatching way.
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