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The Easy Way to Create Terrain Textures

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Playing around with wanting a more realistic terrain paint on my mountains, I found a simple way to have some added textures.

First I use Gimp, it's free and you can use the '.DDS' plug-in which you need.
Check online for some free seamless terrain or landscaping textures in .jpg or .png format.
Save them to a folder on your desktop.

1. Open the .jpg texture in Gimp.
2. Click on 'Image', then 'Scale Image'
Resize it to 1024x1024 pixels and click 'Scale'.

3. Click File, then Save As
4. Down at the bottom it says 'Select File Type' (by extension)
Click on the ' .dds Image'

Now we choose to save it in the folder where all the default textures are...
5. Browse for your Documents Folder/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3 Create a World Tool/User Tool Data/Source Textures
Now click 'Save'
A box pops up and the settings should be...
Compression -none
Format - RGBA8
Generate Mipmaps - checked

Then click 'OK' and that's it.

Now you can go into your Create a World and when you go to paint, click Add Layer and Click on the texture you want and try it out.
Works great.

You can also create your own textures and just create a blank 1024x1024 and save it the same way.

By saving it in the RGBA8 format I believe keeps each textures size a little bigger than I'd like, but it seems more standard for patterns so that's why I went with it, plus the quality is great.

Here's a link to Gimp -
http://www.gimp.org/downloads/

Here's the link for the 'DDS Gimp Plugin'
http://nifelheim.dyndns.org/~cocidius/dds/#download

Here's one free seamless texture link; PS...you do not need the 'Genetica Viewer' (click on the one you want, click preview and right click and save as, the .jpg)
http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/packs/browse.htm

Comments

  • juelle_loujuelle_lou Posts: 580 Member
    edited December 2009
    Thanks Jericosan!
    This is very helpful, I'm bookmarking :-)
  • Stw402Stw402 Posts: 772 New Member
    edited December 2009
    Sorry but some of them instruction I would disagree with:-


    2. Click on 'Image', then 'Scale Image'
    Resize it to 1024x1024 pixels and click 'Scale'.


    Thou 1024x1024 is a good size to have if your going to use that texture a great deal, but you should be very aware of the total KB size of the pic file you will be useing. Most 1024x1024 size texture will be about 1200kb-2200kb each. this will be added to the total download size. Thou I'm not saying that there is nothing wrong with that size pic, but if you use a large amount of them, your setting yourself up for a massive uploaded world and long loading times. What I would do is consider smaller size files for less detailed area's of your world. For example say you where building a snow world, you might have one large 1024x1024 file for the main snow, but you might use 2-4 dirty snow textures that will only be 256x256 size, they do not need to be that big, if you find that size to be a little plum then increase to 512x512 size.
    Just remember thou, what you add, will increase the size of the upload and loading.

    5. Browse for your Documents Folder/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3 Create a World Tool/User Tool Data/Source Textures
    Now click 'Save'
    A box pops up and the settings should be...
    Compression -none
    Format - RGBA8
    Generate Mipmaps - checked


    I'm not sure where you came up with them settings, I've found the following settings to be the best:-
    Compression -BC3/DX5
    Format - (Greyed out)
    Generate Mipmaps -(Greyed out)
    I've been using them setting since the days of the sims 2, when I was building glass tiles etc, I recommend that you compression be BC3/DX5, this will lower kb ratio of the texture, which should increase loading time, infact you will not go far wrong going into Documents Folder/Electronic Arts/The Sims 3 Create a World Tool/User Tool Data/Source Textures and save all the EA textures to this format and watch your world spin with joy. :wink:

    saving it in the RGBA8 format I believe keeps each textures size a little bigger than I'd like, but it seems more standard for patterns so that's why I went with it, plus the quality is great.

    Here's my test with a pic to show you the diffrance the good and bad of each format, I used the same 1024x1024 sea blue jpg file one save in DX5 format and the other RGBA8, the size diffrance was big:-
    DX5 version was 1025kb
    RGBA8 version was 5462kb

    This is the pics

    crap1.jpg
    crap2.jpg

    In game I did notice that the dx5 format was sharper and looked better close up, thou the RGBA8 looked better when I used another texture on top of the texture.

    The big crunch in all of this is that Dx5 is 1025kb, you can have 5 textures in your game for the same price as one RGBA8 format file.

    I've currently got 135 textures in my source textures, many I've made myself and 75 of them are less than 172kb, Ive got loads of small 256x256 texture that will do the same job as a large texture file, I would consider taking this method than trying to go with extra large files that will sooner or later make you pay for them, with a increase in loading times.

    Anyway thats my 10 pence worth, sorry for intrupt, I just felt it was a little wrong of me not to say something about this. If your intrested I can package up my texture files, I can upload them for you and test on how they look yourself.






  • k8ykk8yk Posts: 40
    edited December 2009
    For me, I open one of the EA images and edit it. That way it is already the same size, already the right everything. Just put your new texture right on top of it and resave under a new name. It is already saving to the correct directory because you opened it from there. Same for height maps.
  • JericosanJericosan Posts: 15
    edited December 2009
    Thanks for all the info about the different formats, I'm no expert.

    The only reason I used the RGBA8 format was because that is what I was familiar with some work I did before. Plus, I did try a couple of other formats, and after testing them they didn't work at all.

    As far as the size, I went by the default game terrains, they are done in 1024x1024 at 72 dpi. If you check their properties some were 10.mb!'s :shock:

    I will definitely check out your suggestion on the different format hoping to keep quality and get the size down would be great.


  • StarbucaneerStarbucaneer Posts: 2,561 Member
    edited January 2010
    Thanks for the info guys it will be very useful to this "world building newbie" ;0)
    Simming since the beginning! :)
  • SupineSophieSupineSophie Posts: 1
    edited January 2010
    I can't open the deafult textures in Gimp, it doesn't recognice the .dds format, and i can't save any textures in that format. :(
  • KenockaKenocka Posts: 18
    edited January 2010
    I'm going to sound like an plum for asking this but then again how else will I learn? Am I supposed to just save or open the Gimp DDS Plugin? I'm going to save it right now but feel free to PM me if I'm screwing up. Thanks.
  • JericosanJericosan Posts: 15
    edited January 2010
    Make sure you installed the Gimp plug-in with the link I posted, that way Gimp will recognize .dds file format. Once the plug-in is installed, when you go to 'save as', look to choose the format you want to save in (.jpg, .png etc...)and you should see the DDS format option.
  • JericosanJericosan Posts: 15
    edited January 2010
    For the Gimp Plug-In (sorry should have been more clear ) click on the link I posted above and save the "win32 binaries" zip file to you desktop.

    To install, extract the zip files to your GIMP plugins directory.
    This directory is usually located at:
    C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins
  • JalidaJalida Posts: 2,180 Member
    edited January 2010
    What about the problem of images tiling (repeating), has anybody found a program that will take an image and make it so that it doesn't look like it's simply being tiled?

    As an example, If you take the game supplied shale texture and just lay it out in a huge area you can obviously see that it's the same image tiled over and over again, this is what I have a tough time trying to have not happen with my own custom textures.

    Are there any third party programs or plugins that can help with this problem?

    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • BSIReginaBSIRegina Posts: 5,110 Member
    edited January 2010
    What about the problem of images tiling (repeating), has anybody found a program that will take an image and make it so that it doesn't look like it's simply being tiled?
    Jalida, over the course of my goofing around with TS3 I have used quite a few in-game textures for various projects and as a creator of custom content for something like seven years now I am downright shocked at how horrible the in-game patterns are when it comes to obvious repetition. That's not to say I haven't ended up creating a few patterns that didn't look too hot from time to time, but for crying out loud, I'm a regular old person who has had to learn all this stuff without the benefit of a college degree in graphics, and even I can do better than those designers.

    So far I don't know of any quick and easy way to fix patterns. If there is one, I hope someone will clue us in, but normally I use the clone brush and do a lot of cloning bits and pieces of not obvious parts of the pattern randomly to the places that repeat the worst. It takes some care because in the case of something like a rock texture it's easy to lose the entire design.

    One thing I have noticed that helps in C-A-W is to turn down the opacity on the pattern you're laying, and don't stop with just that. Lay transparent patterns over other patterns and you'll get less of a repeated look. When it comes to that shale, it is definitely best used in small doses and preferably over some terrain that's been stretched. Avoid using it on flat surfaces in large doses or be prepared to spend the time to fix it up.
    Thanks to AdBlock: currently blocking 184 annoying animated siggy .gifs ;)
  • DukeVarshaDukeVarsha Posts: 1
    edited January 2010
    A technique I've used to create seemless tiling textures is this:

    1. use the selection tool to copy a trapezoid from the left edge
    2. create a new layer
    3. paste and invert horizontally the trapezoid; position over the right edge
    4. use a gradient transparency tool to fade into the trapezoid and create an invisible transition.
    5. repeat 1 through 4 for the top and bottom edges
    6. merge the layers
    7. use the clone tool and a blend tool to add some randomness as needed

    This will result in the edges matching seemlessly since your mirroring the extreme edge and fading to transparent within your texture. This technique works fine using photographs of irregular terrain like grass, gravel, dirt, etc. It doesn't work for tesselating textures like bricks, siding, etc. unless you have a very large picture taken with precisely the right angle/lighting/positioning.

    When saving to a DDS, it really enhances the look of surfaces wrt tiling when zoomed out far if you individually edit each mip level rather than accept the automatic scaling (which is basically a cached bicubic resample). Reduce the color variation and level-out/reduce the color saturation to increasingly smooth out the smaller mips. The higher resolution mips retain the detail, and the lower level mips lose the tiling. You'll find your trading detail for smoothness. For my tastes, smooth looks better. Sometimes much better.

    I've done this using the DirectX SDK tools, which include a primitive DDS editing tool that allows editing in any graphics editor you've got handy. I've read it can be done using IrfanView, though I haven't tried that myself. I don't know if the Gimp DDS plugin allows this as well or not; I haven't used it (but am going to try after reading this forum).

    BSIRegina, I totally agree it is ridiculous how many top titles fail to address poor tiling in their textures. Sims is a big offender. Even titles that put a premium on graphic design (like Oblivion) fail to refine their distant textures for some reason.
  • BSIReginaBSIRegina Posts: 5,110 Member
    edited January 2010
    When saving to a DDS, it really enhances the look of surfaces wrt tiling when zoomed out far if you individually edit each mip level rather than accept the automatic scaling (which is basically a cached bicubic resample). Reduce the color variation and level-out/reduce the color saturation to increasingly smooth out the smaller mips. The higher resolution mips retain the detail, and the lower level mips lose the tiling. You'll find your trading detail for smoothness. For my tastes, smooth looks better. Sometimes much better.

    Oh, wow! Now if I can figure out how to do that I might give it a shot. :D
    Thanks to AdBlock: currently blocking 184 annoying animated siggy .gifs ;)
  • Elilie101Elilie101 Posts: 1,367
    edited March 2010
    When I'm making seamless textures in gimp and there's a little bit of the picture I'm using that stands out I select a not-standing-out it of the picture with feather edges turned on and paste it over the bit that stands out, so it doesn't look like a tile when you paint it on.
    In gimp, if you go to Filters>Map>Make Seamless and then it's totally seamless and I haven't had a weird looking one yet but there's potential for weirdness if you have a random bit of the picture that stands out.
  • imadevaimadeva Posts: 40
    edited March 2010
    Elilie101 wrote:
    In gimp, if you go to Filters>Map>Make Seamless and then it's totally seamless and I haven't had a weird looking one yet but there's potential for weirdness if you have a random bit of the picture that stands out.

    Wow, you just saved so much time in the rest of my life lol thank you!!!

    As a random side-note (don't know if someone else mentioned this elsewhere) but since Gimp's one flaw as far as I know (not being able to make heightmaps) can be solved by opening and re-saving files in a free program called Pixelformer...if anyone's interested.
  • veronda522veronda522 Posts: 59
    edited April 2010
    OMG im sooooooo confused !!!

    can some one please post step by step procedures to get the dds plugin and where and how to get it to right place
    ive tried everything and cant seem to get it ........************** im so frustrated ........CANT WE HAVE ONE STICKY ON HOW TO's???????

    im on windows 7

    thanks for any help you may provide

  • auntielyndsauntielynds Posts: 3,071 Member
    edited April 2010
    I did the .dds plugin, and I'm not even sure I did it right, but it seems to work. I remember the instructions were very frustrating. I ended up just putting the whole file I downloaded into the directory it says in the read me file. I get an error message every time I save as a .dds, but it still works.

    I agree we need a complete tutorial on the subject from someone who really knows what they are talking about. Maybe we can talk Watercat into doing one.
  • JwoodsDDJwoodsDD Posts: 44 Member
    edited May 2010
    Here is the DDS Plug-in Download & Installation tutorial for you :)
    http://forum.thesims3.com/jforum/posts/list/0/196896.page#2396201
  • JwoodsDDJwoodsDD Posts: 44 Member
    edited May 2010
    Double post, oops
  • ClawswpClawswp Posts: 470
    edited May 2010
    Thank You for this!

    It would be good if this was stickied at the top
  • MATZMATZ Posts: 1,854 New Member
    edited August 2010
    insted of Gimp, can you use photoshop?
  • JalidaJalida Posts: 2,180 Member
    edited August 2010
    MATZ wrote:
    insted of Gimp, can you use photoshop?

    You can use whatever graphics editor that you are comfortable to use as long as it has the capabilities to do what is needed. Since Photoshop is generally considered the upper echelon of graphics editors, I'd assume that it has all the capabilities that anybody around here could ever want or need. So, I'd say dig around your filters and see if it already has installed what you need, if not most other graphics editing filters and plugins generally take after Photoshops, (i.e. the other graphics editors use the same format that photo shop uses so as to be compatible, example, I can use many if not most plugins made for photoshop in Paintshop Pro X3)

    Gime is just a free editor so everybody can afford it.
  • CBedna01CBedna01 Posts: 806 New Member
    edited September 2010
    The DDS Gimp Plugin isn't working. I've tried it with all the browsers I have on my computer (Mozilla, Internet Explorer and Safari) and they all tell me that the internet connection isn't working properly or my firewall is blocking the webpage. But it's lying to me!
  • ZerogamerZerogamer Posts: 19
    edited July 2011
    This dosnt work for me. Nothing shows up in CAW, and I have followed the guide. When I try to save it in the Sourcetextures folder, I get a error message in Gimp every time.
  • RubyRedDragonRubyRedDragon Posts: 1
    edited December 2011
    YAYYYYY!!! im so happy!! i was working on this for HOURS trying to find a way to save the file as a .dds or a .pga and nothing was working!! then i came across this and the saving part wasnt exactly the same, (because there was no option to save a file as a .dds in the GIMP software i installed) but i saved it as a pga and everything else worked!! im so happy thank u!!!
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