In Depth Clothing Re-Texturing Tutorial for the TSR Workshop

If you'd prefer a PDF version of this tutorial, you can download it from here.

In Depth Clothing Re-Texturing Tutorial for the TSR Workshop

Welcome to my in depth clothing re-texturing tutorial for the TSR Workshop. Before we begin, I would like to stress that this tutorial does not cover meshing. This tutorial is for using existing game meshes (from the base game, no expansion or store-bought items) to create something new.

The steps in this tutorial were done with Adobe Photoshop CS3. Even if you do not use that particular program, please read this tutorial as it still may help.

This tutorial is suggested for beginners, and will walk you through step by step in the creation process. Please bear in mind that re-texturing is rather new to me as well so this tutorial will not be perfect. However, I hope it still helps you with the beginning stages of learning how to create new items for The Sims 3.

If you have any questions or need help with the workshop, please do not comment on this tutorial, but post in our TSR
Workshop forums. There are many people there who will take the time to help you.

The DDS plugin is required in order to open/save the DDS files mentioned in this tutorial. You can get this plugin here

Part 1: Source Images

The first step in the creation process is finding your source images.  Some artists prefer to draw their own clothing ideas, but the majority get their ideas from real clothing. If you plan to re-draw the entire design in photoshop, an image, even a small one, is all you need in order to do so. However, if you plan to literally “copy” the design as well as the texture, you will need higher quality images.

There is no easy way to find these images. All I can suggest is to check the websites of your favorite clothing retailers. Most retailers only show a medium-sized image of the front of a piece of clothing. But sometimes you will get lucky and find a retailer who has high quality images of  not only the front, but the back (and sometimes the sides) as well.

What makes a good source image? If you plan to copy the image, size and quality is important. If you don’t know how to re-draw the item, stay away from source images with patterns. Your design has to look good both with and without patterns in-game.  So a basic fabric is best.

The image on the left is a good example of a basic fabric design. The image on the right, is obviously an example of a not-so-basic design that you should avoid (unless you plan to do a LOT of re-drawing).

Part 2: TSR Workshop's Interface

The second step in creating your clothing is to open the TSR Workshop.

The three menu items listed on the left are pretty self-explainatory. The first item “Create New Project” is what you will choose if you wish to create a new item. This includes clothing, accessories, makeup and hair. The second “Open Project” allows you to open any saved project, and the Third “Recent Projects” isn’t selectable at all -- however, all your most recent saved projects will be listed below allowing you to click and open them easily.

Now it's time to create our project. So click on Create New Project and proceed below.

In “Create New Project”  you are given 4 different project types in which to choose from:

  • Clothing
  • Makeup/Facial Overlay
  • Hair
  • Accessory

For this tutorial, we will be choosing Clothing.

Upon choosing clothing, Workshop will then load all the base-game clothing meshes. A selectable tree will appear, allowing you to choose a mesh.

Clicking on any of the plus signs (+) next to the Sim type will give you more options. For this project, we will be choosing Adult > Female > Everyday


From here, we will be choosing a mesh best suited for our source image.

Part 3: Choosing A Mesh

I have chosen the following source images to begin with:

Now I have to look through the meshes and find one best suited for this design. The most important part when choosing a mesh is:

What part of the mesh is extruded?

Or should I say... 

Which part of the mesh is not flush against the skin?

When re-texturing an item, this is the only area (or areas) you have to really pay attention to when choosing your mesh.

For example, with the clothing we have chosen -- do we want the bottom of the shirt to be flush against the body? Do we want it out away from the body some, like shown in the picture? Do we want the skin between the shirt and the stomach to show, or do we want it to overlap the pants? Ask yourself these questions when choosing a mesh.

I have decided that just like the original image, I want the shirt to overhang the pants slightly. Therefore, I have chosen the following mesh:

The mesh could have been a turtleneck and it wouldn’t have mattered (unless you plan to re-use the original images and just edit), just as long as the extruded area were were the shirt overlays the pants. ANY area flush against the skin in ANY mesh can be changed. You can take away sleeves, add a v-neck, add straps, whatever you want to - as long as you pay attention to the extruded areas.

Part 4: The Project Interface

On the next screen you are greeted with some options. Yay! You can either put these in now, or add them later before you save your design.

If you know what your design will be and what it will be called, I suggest putting these in now so you don’t forget.

  • Project Name
    This is what you want your project to be known as (on your computer). When saving your workshop file, the workshop will automatically fill in this name as your project when saving.
  • Title
    The title you want people to see when loading your finshed project into the game.
  • Unique Identifier
    This is very important. All other slots can be filled out incorrectly, but not this one. EVERY project you make MUST have a different unique identifier. Hence the “unique” part of it. If you were to have two items in your game with the same identifier, only one would load. Never use the default.
  • Description
    Self Explainatory. Describe the item as good as you can here.

On the next screen after putting in your details (or skipping it), your mesh will load. In the case of the mesh I have chosen, this is what I see:

A - This area is where you can change the view of your mesh. Using Pan you can move your mesh up, down, left or right. With Zoom, you can use your mouse buttons or scroll wheel to zoom in and out, and with rotate you can click and drag with your mouse buttons to rotate, all the while  being able to zoom with your scroll wheel.

B - There are three tabs here that each have different screens with different options. The project tab allows you to set the title, description and unique identifier of your item as well as choosing the Sims that can wear it, its categories, and extra options. Texture allows you to choose the images used in your design, and Mesh allows the importing and exporting of meshes.

The Project Tab:

C - Here you will see the main part of the project tab. In this first area you can enter the title and description of your item if you skipped it (or if you want to change it). You can also choose which Sims can wear the item.

D - Clicking the plus icons (+) will give you even more options.

When re-texturing clothing, do not change any of the options for “Type”.

Clothing type should be pretty self-explainatory. Usually, there is no need to change this option.

Categories should also be fairly self explainatory. Checking these boxes will tell the game which categories your item needs to be in. Choosing more than one will put the item in multiple categories. For this shirt, I will be unchecking Formalwear and Sleepwear.

In Extras, you can change your Unique Identifier (file name) as well as specify your own custom launcher thumbnail. Just create a 64x64 image with a preview of the image with your name and/or logo and you can select it through this option.

The Texture Tab:

On the next tab, the Texture tab, is where you will spend most of your time when re-texturing meshes. It may look overwhelming, but once you figure out which each item does, working with them will be a breeze. Not all items on this list will be explained - as the Workshop is new to me as well, there are a few areas I am unfamiliar with. However, it should not effect your ability to re-texture clothing. These other areas will be added in time when I learn their significance.

  • Overlay - You won’t always use this. Only use the overlay when you want to have an unchangable area of your design. For example, the buttons on a pair of jeans.
    Important Note: In some cases, the mesh you are using will come with an overlay. If you want to remove it, simply create a transparent 4x4 .dds and put it in it’s place.
  • Mask - This is used to define which parts of your design are recolorable. Just like in patterns, each part of the recolorable
    design is red, green, and blue. There is no 4th color alpha layer option here.
  • Multiplier - This is your base texture. It will include the shape of the clothing, the texture, including wrinkles, stitches, or anything else you want to add to your design. Be sure to add an alpha layer to define the areas you want your design to appear.
  • Clothing Specular - This definies how reflective your texture will be. You will simply copy your multiplier in your graphics
     program (with a new file name) and adjust the brightness/contrast of the image. The brighter the more reflective, the darker the less reflective.
  • Pattern A, B & C - This is where you choose how many recolorable areas are in your design by enabling Patterns A - C. Pattern A is the red channel, B is the green channel, and C is the blue channel. You can set colors as well as patterns to use here as well.
  • Stencil A, B, C, D, E & F - These stencils can be used for logos or other designs you wish to place on your clothing that you do not wish to be recolorable.

The Mesh Tab:

As explained before, the third tab listed is the mesh tab. However, we will not be doing any meshing in
this tutorial.

Part 5: Exporting Project Files

On the texture tab, when beginning a new project, you begin by exporting your project files (if you plan to use them as a base or reference). We will be exporting the following files:

  • Mask
  • Multiplier
  • Skin Specular

We will be using the skin for reference.

To export the images, click the name of the item you want to export. With it selected, you will see a small button to it’s right with “ ... ”

Click the dots, and the following window should appear:

Depending on what you are exporting, the image won’t always be the same. Click the ‘Export’ button, and save it to your hard-drive in easy to find location. Make sure to save it appropriately, so you know which file is which. For example, as this is the mask file, I would save it as:

Do the same for the other images I said to export, Mask, Multiplier & Skin Specular:

  • (we won’t be importing the skin back in)

Continue to page 2 for the next part of the tutorial...

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164 Comment(s) so far

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#155Alpaka KubaMar 21, 2013

Now i understand how to do it \;\) you are great

#156bandaidbandettMay 19, 2013

my tsr workshop doesnt look like the one shown above it has the whole person ex: head, pants, shoes, legs, ect.
does it make a difference? if so how do i change the view to look like the one shown in the tutorial??? HELP!!!

#157Suri.YJul 7, 2013

Thank u~~\:D by the way How to make own clothes?\:wub\:

#158LeonardoHamatoJul 30, 2013

The .dds files aren't working with my Gimp program. What do I do?

#159luvmy7Aug 2, 2013

did you download and install the .dds plug-in for the Gimp?

#160mocoyanmanJan 10, 2014

thanks you thank you thank yoooooooooou❤

#161mingoallen2Feb 3, 2015

It really sucks that this tutorial's images are no longer showing up :-|

#162SitaApr 20, 2015

The images have disappeared. Is it possible please to replace/relink them?

#163CarebearLuthienJul 10, 2015

Thank heavens! I have been spending hours trying to figure this stuff out and finally found your tutorial!!

#164sas45888Oct 28, 2016

Images blank. So I tried to get the pdf but it said invalid no longer there Grrrrrrr \:mad\:

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