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GC's CFE Tutorials *Moved*

GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
edited August 2014 in The Sims 3 Builders
I will no longer be adding tutorials to this thread. However, when I find the time I'll be copying these tutorials over to my blog at www.gcsims.com, where I'll also be adding new ones.
Post edited by GreenCats on
You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com

Comments

  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2014
    Learning The Basics

    Introduction






    This tutorial will help you understand the basic tools for working with 'constrainfloorelevation' turned off, and also give you a few tips for troubleshooting your builds.

    There are plenty of excellent CFE tutorials out there already; but I intend to write a whole series of these, some of them explaining original ideas of my own, and I wanted a beginner's tutorial that I had written, and that would therefore be stylistically consistent with those more challenging tutorials I have planned.




    Getting Started

    Hit Ctrl+Alt+C on your keyboard to bring up the cheat box. Type 'testingcheatsenabled on' or 'testingcheatsenabled true' and hit enter.

    testingcheatson.png

    Bring up the cheat box again. Type 'constrainfloorelevation off' or 'constrainfloorelevation false' and hit enter. This is a powerful cheat, and you must disable it whenever you are not using it by entering 'constrainfloorelevation on' or 'constrainfloorelevation true'.

    constrainoff.png



    Your Tools


    Terrain Tools

    TerrainTools.png

    Raise Terrain, Lower Terrain, and Soften Terrain cannot be used on any levels above the ground floor, but turning constrainfloorelevation off does allow you to use them on areas covered by walls, floor tiles, or objects.

    RaiseTerrain.png

    LowerTerrain.png

    SoftenTerrain.png

    Here I'm using the Raise Terrain Tool to raise the terrain under a structure I've built.

    LowerTerrainDemo.png

    RaiseTerrainDemoResult.png

    With the raise and lower terrain tools, if you use the small square brush at the softest setting and click as gently as possible:

    1 click = 1/12 the height of a regular wall
    3 clicks = 1/4 the height of a regular wall (or the same as the height of a regular foundation)
    4 clicks = 1/3 the height of a regular (or the same height as a frieze)
    12 clicks = the height of a regular wall

    Level Terrain is probably the tool you'll use most. It allows you to bring it to bring any tile to the height of any other tile. The only restriction is that the two tiles must be on the same level as each other - I'm using 'level' here to refer to the five levels or floors that the game allows you to build.

    LevelTerrain.png

    Here I've built a structure on top of a hill. I'm going to use it to raise the wall height of the structure I've built at ground level.

    LevelDemo1.png

    I click anywhere on the higher structure, and drag across to the lower one.

    LevelDemo2.png

    And here is the result.

    LevelDemo3.png

    This is an extreme example, and would make travel between the levels very difficult for sims. Because the walls are so tall, the stairs would have to be very long! However, this technique has other, more practical uses that we'll come to in later tutorials.


    Stairs

    StairTools.png

    Stairs are the quickest and easiest way of lowering walls and floor tiles. Each set of stairs you place will lower the level by the height of 1/4 of a regular wall, which is also roughly the height of a regular foundation.

    I'm showing you this technique on the first floor of my structure, but it will work on any level.

    StairsPlace.png

    Don't worry if your stairs look like those shown below: hovering over them with the Level Terrain Tool will get you the required result.

    StairsFail.png

    Once the area surrounding the stairs has been lowered, you can click and drag with the Level Terrain Tool selected to anywhere else on the same level, to bring other tiles down to the same height.

    StairsFlatten.png

    StairsFlattened.png

    Assuming you start out with a level at the height of a normal wall, the first set of stairs you place will take you down to a 3/4 height wall. Levelling to the new 3/4 height and then repeating the process will get you a 1/2 height wall. To get down to 1/4 height, you'll need to repeat everything one more time.

    Note that if you are working on the ground floor, to get a 1/4 height wall you can simply place a foundation, and level from the height that gives you.


    Walls

    WallTools.png

    Placing new walls will bring any level back up to the height of a regular wall.

    Here I'm making a gap in my 1/4 height structure and adding in a new wall.

    WallDemo1.png

    WallDemo2.png

    WallDemo3.png

    The level above has been pushed upwards by the new wall, so I'm going to use the Level Terrain Tool to bring it back down to the same height as the rest of its level.

    WallDemo4.png
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Tips
      Save frequently, and under different names. You could also save different versions of your build to the library. It is not always easy to undo mistakes.
      If you're trying something new, practice on a separate lot with a simplified version of your build first.
      Remember that a level with two different heights must always have one diagonal tile joining them together.
      Remember that everything you do on one level may affect those above. Always check what any changes you have made have done to the rest of your build.
      Always do the most difficult thing first. You don't want adding a simple 1/4 wall messing up the beautiful vaulted ceiling you've just created.
      Be careful how you use the Undo button. It will undo some things, but not others. It is usually better to delete changes manually.
      Turn cfe back on when you do not need the features the cheat unlocks.


    Common Problems

    Floating Ceiling Tiles

    These are probably the most common problem you will encounter. You are likely only to be able to see them from a particular angle, so be sure to check for them whenever you're doing cfe work.

    Picture forthcoming.

    They can normally simply be deleted from beneath using the Sledgehammer Tool.

    Picture forthcoming.


    Other Ceiling Tile Issues

    Another common problem for me is ceiling tiles from lower levels poking up through higher levels.

    Picture forthcoming.

    To remove these, hold down ctrl+shift and hover your cursor over the offending area. You do not need to click you mouse button. Release ctrl+shift, and any irregularities should have been fixed.


    Running Out of Floor Grid

    Sometimes you may find that you cannot level an area because there is no grid showing there.

    Picture forthcoming.

    Don't worry! Placing a new tile anywhere whilst cfe is turned off will automatically generate a 3x3 grid around it and also bring the surrounding area up or down to its level.

    Picture forthcoming.

    I find that it is usually best to work with your entire level tiled until you are finished the CFE work to prevent this from happening int the first place. When you're done, you can remove the tiles you don't need.


    Wall Sections In Shadow

    At some point during your cfe work, parts of your wall may go dark.

    Split%20Level%20Stairs%20Stacking?sort=3&page=1

    These will usually fix themselves as you carry on with other things. If they don't, or they're distracting you, simply delete them using the Sledgehammer Tool then hit the Undo Button. Your wall will be restored but the lighting should be back to normal.


    Floating Corner Pieces

    You may notice small grey flecks floating above joins in your walls. These are usually created when you have added new walls to an existing structure.

    Problem1.png

    These are easy to fix. First, use the Sledgehammer Tool to delete any one of the wall pieces forming the join.

    Solution1.png

    Solution1ii.png

    Then hit the Undo Button. The wall piece you deleted will be restored, but the floating grey fleck will be gone.

    Solution1iii.png


    Gaps in Joins

    One of the major hazards of cfe work is the possibility of creating unsightly gaps like this.

    BadJoin.png

    To keep these at bay, do your best to ensure that the diagonal wall sections joining one level to another are not bisected by another wall. For some reason having the transition at a corner as shown above with cause major gapping issues.


    Uneven Lighting Between Levels

    Where possible, hide any split levels you have created away by adding floor tiles between levels. Where you design requires you to have two levels open to one another, the buydebug lights are your best friends. Dark colours on your walls will also conceal a multitude of sins: plain white walls will be the most difficult to light.

    To bring up the BuyDebug Catalogue, enter the cheat 'testingcheatsenabled on' and then 'buydebug'.

    BuyDebug.png

    The Catalogue can be found in Buy Mode, and appears as a question mark. Among other things, you will find a selection of lights there that appear as white squares and rectangles in Buy/Build Modes but are invisible in Live Mode.

    BuyDebugCatalogue.png
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    Split Level Stairs: Stacking Method

    Introduction





    In this tutorial we will be creating something like this.

    Finished.png

    I have chosen to create a 1/4 height staircase with a full height staircase above it. It would also work the other way round. In fact, you can create any combination of heights (for example, a 3/4 height staircase combined with a 1/2 height staircase). However, if you want to create a playable room with normal doors and windows, you must make sure the the total height of both staircases adds up to more than the height of one regular-story staircase If this doesn't make sense right now, don't worry - just follow the tutorial. Once you have the basic method under your belt, you can start to experiment for yourself.

    This method is quite flexible and relatively easy to master. However, it does add an extra level to your build (a concern if you're building something tall that approaches the five level limit), must be viewed from the upper level with the walls up to look right, and creates rooms that can be difficult to light. For an alternative method, look out for my 'Split Level Stairs: Raise Terrain Method' tutorial, which will be coming soon to this thread.

    If you are unfamiliar with the tools and challenges associated with working with cfe turned off, I strongly suggest you first read Learning the Basics and Tips and Common Problems.


    The Tutorial

    I start by creating the level of my build from which I want my stairs to start. I have put my house on foundations, but you don't have to.

    FirstLevel.png

    I'm lowering the level I just created to the height of 1/4 of a regular wall, by using the Stairs and Level Terrain tools.

    LowerLevel.png

    LoweredLevel.png

    Now I create the next level up.

    SecondLevel.png

    I have lit the inside of my build with the buydebug lights, just roughly placed for now, so that I can see what I'm doing. I have removed all the floor tiles apart from the four in the top right corner, which will serve as the landing area between my stairs.

    Landing.png

    My landing is currently floating, so I'm going to need to go down a level and create some walls underneath it. Don't worry about the height - we'll fix that in a minute.

    UnderLanding.png

    To correct the height of my new walls, I go back up a level to where my landing is, and click and drag over them using the Level Terrain tool.

    FlattenLanding.png

    Now it's time to place the second set of stairs. You can turn cfe back on to do this.

    You'll need to bulldoze some floor tiles in the level above. Stairs the height of a regular wall require 4 open tiles. I'm also choosing to leave my landing area open, though not doing so will not cause any routing problems. Along with the double stairs I'm using, that means I'm clearing an area of 6x2. My stairs will now snap neatly into place.

    SecondStairs.png

    I now have both sets of stairs in place, but one of them is floating!

    FloatingStairs.png

    So, I turn cfe back off and create some walls underneath my stairs upon which they can rest. I could have done this when I created the walls beneath my landing, and it's fine for you to do so. I'm just putting it here in the tutorial so that you understand why we're creating these walls.

    UnderStairs.png

    As before, I even out the floor using the Level Terrain tool.

    FlattenStairs.png

    My stairs are looking the right shape, but that 1/4 height level at the bottom of my room is going to create some big problems for my windows and doors. So, I'm going to remove all the lower, 1/4 height walls except those immediately surrounding the landing and replace them with new ones.

    FinishedStairs.png

    RemoveWalls.png

    ReplaceWalls.png

    Of course my ceiling's now gone crazy, so I'm going to fix that with the Level Terrain tool.

    FlattenUpper.png

    The basic structure of these levels of my house is now in place. However, I personally am not a fan of the way my stairs poking out into the room, so I'm going to create a little room behind them. It could make a nice bathroom. I've put a ceiling over it so I don't have to worry about complicated two-level lighting inside it. I've also swapped my lighting for something that makes a bit more sense for the new floor plan. The dead space between the new room and the stairs is just to conceal the height transition a bit better.

    NewRoom.png

    NewRoomUp.png

    Now it's time for me to turn cfe on, add a fourth level (if you include foundations) to my house, wallpaper the outside, and install some doors and windows. There's no landscaping obviously - this is just a concept model, not a proper home.

    Exterior.png

    I've chosen vertical sliding because vertical patterns do a much better job of concealing diagonal joins than horizontal ones do. I've also gone for quite a dark shade of wood, because usually the whiter the colour you use the more difficult it is to light. Here's the join in my build from the outside. Not too bad. You don't have to include windows in your landing area if the different heights bothers you.

    ExteriorJoin.png

    You're never going to get the lighting absolutely perfect inside, but the buydebug lights will help. I've gone a bit mad with them, but I think it pays off. Remember that the natural light from your windows will have a different impact on your lighting scheme for day and night, so make sure you are designing something that works well for both.

    LightingDay.png

    LightingNight.png

    The particular shape I've chosen for my build has left me with a little ledge above my front door. As with oddities in real life houses, the accidental features with which your cfe work may leave you can either be made a feature of or concealed. I could have hidden this little area behind a 1/4 height wall, but I think it makes a nice place for storing odds and ends.

    Shelf.png

    And here are my stairs again.

    Finished.png


    Post edited by Unknown User on
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Reserved
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Reserved
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Reserved
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Reserved
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Reserved
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • Jemma_Wells85Jemma_Wells85 Posts: 41 New Member
    edited May 2013
    Hello! hope it's ok to post now. Thank you for this tutorial...I haven't ever used it, as I didn't know what it was, so I will be reading and learning too! :) Jemma
    :)
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited May 2013
    Hello! hope it's ok to post now. Thank you for this tutorial...I haven't ever used it, as I didn't know what it was, so I will be reading and learning too! :) Jemma
    :)

    Yes, it's ok to post. Thank you for stopping by! :mrgreen:

    I hope you enjoy the tutorials. I've just added a new one on split level stairs.

    Do feel free to ask any questions you have.

    GCxxx
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • HappySimmer3HappySimmer3 Posts: 6,699 Member
    edited June 2013
    Hi, GC! I've always wanted to create split level stairs - managed to do it once, but after that I had no luck! I must say the idea of using the stairs on the ceiling to get the height down is brilliant! Makes me think I should try this again one of these days.

    Thank you for sharing your tips and methods! :)
    The Sims 30695923002_cffaca4078_t.jpg

    Where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?!
  • AlitoniAlitoni Posts: 2,473 Member
    edited June 2013
    Wonderfully done!! Easy to follow and very well put together. Definitely bookmarking. Thank you so much for putting this together!! :wink:
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    Hi, GC! I've always wanted to create split level stairs - managed to do it once, but after that I had no luck! I must say the idea of using the stairs on the ceiling to get the height down is brilliant! Makes me think I should try this again one of these days.

    Thank you for sharing your tips and methods! :)

    Oh thank you :D I do hope it's useful to you. Yes, the stairs are the best way to get an accurate height :)

    Alitoni wrote:
    Wonderfully done!! Easy to follow and very well put together. Definitely bookmarking. Thank you so much for putting this together!! :wink:

    Thanks so much. Enjoy! *hugs*


    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • LadyPietaLadyPieta Posts: 124 Member
    edited June 2013
    Bookmarked! Great tutorial :)
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    LadyPieta wrote:
    Bookmarked! Great tutorial :)

    Thank you! I hope it's helpful :-)
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    Double post.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • yanti68yanti68 Posts: 19,017 Member
    edited June 2013
    Lovely tutorial Greencats! You have explained everything so nicely. Thanks for sharing. *Hugs* :D
  • CorwimCorwim Posts: 3,201 Member
    edited June 2013
    Woot, found your tutorial, and bookmarked! :) I'm gonna follow it step by step with a new house, once I get my current build finished. Thank you for posting these! :thumbup:
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    yanti68 wrote:
    Lovely tutorial Greencats! You have explained everything so nicely. Thanks for sharing. *Hugs* :D
    Corwim wrote:
    Woot, found your tutorial, and bookmarked! :) I'm gonna follow it step by step with a new house, once I get my current build finished. Thank you for posting these! :thumbup:

    Thanks very much, guys! I hope it's useful to you, Corwim. And thanks to Alitoni for pointing out something I hadn't explained properly - fixed that now.

    Should be a couple of small tutorials being added later today xx
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    Stopping Your Arbors From Floating

    Introduction






    Have you ever set out to make a beautiful arbor for your garden, but been frustrated by the fact that the latticework hovers above your pillars? The easiest way to solve this is to lay some floor tiles between the two, but that doesn't always work for the look that you want to create.

    This tutorial will show you in a few easy steps how to move your lattice down a little bit so that it meets your pillars. The example I'm using will end up looking like this:

    Finished.png

    If you haven't encountered the floating lattice problem before, for my example it would look like this:

    Bad.png

    If you are unfamiliar with the tools and challenges associated with working with cfe turned off, you may first wish to read Learning the Basics and Tips and Common Problems.


    The Tutorial

    Begin by building the basic structure of your arbor. Don't worry too much about the placement of the pillars, since you'll need to move them later anyway. The 'Monorail Fencing' is the one we usually use to create the latticework for arbors. The pillars I've chosen for now are called 'Column Contempo', but I'll be changing them later.

    BasicStructure.png

    Tile over your structure. I'm using the flat roof tool, but floor tiles are fine too. Don't worry, we'll get rid of this later. I always tile any area on which I'm doing cfe work, since it makes mistakes easier to fix.

    Tile.png

    It's now time to turn constrainfloorelevation off. Select the Lower Terrain Tool, at the smallest size and softest setting and lower a square beneath one of your pillars by clicking once at each of its four corners.

    LoweredTerrain.png

    We now have a pillar floating above the ground. Grab it and place it back at ground level.

    FloatingPillar.png

    DragPillar.png

    You should notice that lowering the terrain also drags down your tiled lattice with it.

    PulledDownCeiling.png

    At this point, you can simply use the Level Terrain Tool to bring all of your tiled lattice down to the same height. However, that would leave us with pillars at different heights and therefore break our grid, which I don't want just yet because I plan on adding some greenery to the top of my arbor.

    So, I am going to bring all my pillars down to the same height, by clicking and dragging using the Level Terrain Tool, then grabbing each column to bring it down to the new ground level.

    LowerTerrain.png

    PillarsLowered.png

    The whole tiled lattice should now be at the same height. At this stage it's imperative that you turn constrainfloorelevation on.

    LoweredCeiling.png

    We can now remove the tiles. I'm also going to enter the cheat 'move objects on' and add some greenery. I think all
    the heathers work really well, though of course you can experiment with other plants or even leave your arbor plain if you like. I'm using the Perennial Heather than came with Late Night.

    AddFlowers.png

    Next, double-checked cfe is turned back on, then move your pillars out of the way, and use the Level Terrain Tool to bring the sunken ground back up it its original height.

    LevelUnderneathTerrain.png

    If you haven't already, enter the cheat 'moveobjects on' and move your pillars back to wherever you want them.

    ReplacePillars.png

    ReplacedPillars.png

    Lowering the lattice will look good with most pillars. Here are just a couple of examples, the Wooden Spa Column from Sunlit Tides Gold and the Front Porch Column.

    PillarChoice3.png

    PillarChoice2.png

    Since the pillars are no longer actually providing support, you can even substitute in the Centennial Fence from Supernatural or the Frat Bros. Tall Fencing from University Life. I'm going to use the Supernatural one.

    PillarChoice4.png

    And that's us done. Decorate as you choose.

    Finished.png
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • miklcmiklc Posts: 3,089 Member
    edited June 2013
    This looks amazing, thank you for posting such an easy to follow tutorial it is much appreciated :)
  • GreenCatsGreenCats Posts: 9,318 Member
    edited June 2013
    miklc wrote:
    This looks amazing, thank you for posting such an easy to follow tutorial it is much appreciated :)

    Oh you're welcome, and thank you for commenting. Do let me know if you run into any difficulties with it xx
    You can still find me on my old My page (http://mypage.thesims3.com/mypage/GreenCats), and see more of my game-play pictures and CC-free uploads at gcsims.com
  • BekahSueBekahSue Posts: 623 Member
    edited June 2013
    Wow, this is a fantastic tutorial! I've always wondered how people made such great arbors. Thanks for sharing :D
    t99zif.jpg
  • CorwimCorwim Posts: 3,201 Member
    edited June 2013
    Oooh, I always wanted to know how to make those arbors! I always used to put tile between the pillars and the 'floating' lattice work, not anymore now! Great tutorial GreenCats, with very clear explanations and helpful screenshots! :thumbup:
  • saitouamysaitouamy Posts: 1,104 Member
    edited June 2013
    I've just bookmarked the page :D
    Thank you GreenCats, for such a detailed tutorial!
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