Ever since I moved away from game based Machinima I always knew I’d have some serious issues. The biggest has always been content. Games provide more 3D models, textures, sounds, etc, than any one person can ever make (or even collect), and what’s more, they’re designed to work together, look like they are all part of the same universe.
Of all the gaming communities I’ve never envied any more than The Sims 2, so this tutorial will show how to import Sims 2 models into Reallusion’s Iclone.
The people who make these models often put a lot of time and effort into them. Please respect their work and follow their rules. Most places ask that you not re-distribute the models/textures and that you give them credit. If in doubt it never hurts to send an email and ask (some sites even ask for a donation. I’ll leave that entirely up to you). On to business.
3DXchange (the tutorial assumes you already have a basic working knowledge of this and Iclone )
SimPE (to export Sims content to something 3dexchange can read. Also, the program requires Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 and Dirext X9c to work. Links are on the Simpe download page).
Once you have All these installed you’ll ofcourse need a Sims 2 object to import.
The nice folks at Parsimonious kinldy gave permission for us to use one of their models for this tutorial. They are a collection of many artists so there are quite a few objects we could use. For the tutorial we’ll go for something practical like the loveseat seen here.
Download the k8-Surf_Point-Loveseat.zip file and make a folder to unzip the contents to it. In the zip there should be a package file, “k8-surfpointloveseat-071309.package”. This contains the 3D mesh and it’s texture. Right now the file is meant to be read by The Sims 2.
Open up SimPE and we’ll extract the mesh and texture.
Go to the File Menu and then Open. Navigate to the location of the “k8-surfpointloveseat-071309.package” and click open.
The top left box shows the Resource Tree and this should now be filled with lots of branches. Thankfully we will only need to concern ourselves with two of them for this tutorial.
Click on the Geometric Data Container. As you might have guessed this has the mesh. To the right of the Geometric Data Container is the Resource List window which will show what is in the branch you select. In this case the package only has one model so only one entry.
Select “k8-surfpointloveseat-071309_gmdc” from the resource list.. Underneath the resource list should be the Plugin View. This is important because this is were you can preview the model and more importantly, where you will export it from.
In the plugin view, the Content -> cGeometryDataContainer tab should already be selected and it will contain a list of the meshes that make up the object. In this case the model is only made of one piece and it’s box should already be ticked. Now hit the Preview button to see exactly what you will be exporting. If the texture is located in the same package (which it is) you will get a textured preview like this:
Click Export and the save it as an “obj” file. For simplicity it’s best to save it in the same folder you extracted the package to. Now we’ll export the texture.
In the Resource Tree select the Texture Image branch at the bottom. Again the resource list will only show one object (because this mesh only has one texture). Select that and the plugin view will show the TXTR Editor. Here you will see a list of textures. They are all the same, just different sizes. You will always want the biggest one so in this case select the 256×512 image. Right click on the texture preview, select export and save it.
It will save as a png by default, which is fine, iClone accepts that but if you do change the format to something like jpg you’ll need to change the extension in the file name yourself. Otherwise it will remain “png”. That’s the export process complete. It can be more complicated depending on the model but with a little practice it really takes no time at all. Now it’s time to move on to iClone 3D Exchange.
In 3D Exchange open the obj that we exported. The program will give you a warning that the model is too small and that it will be resized. Go ahead and click OK as this isn’t a problem. Click the Align to GND button to get the seat positioned nicely on the floor. The reference figure should be on and you will notice that the seat is way too small in comparison. In the scene transform section make sure the Lock XYZ box is checked and scale the seat up to 8500. This number works pretty well when importing any Sims 2 objects although you may often need to tweak the scale again once in Iclone, depending on the object.
In the Scene Tree select “Fabric” (make sure it’s box is ticked) and then in the Node Attribute section, set the autosmooth value to 45 (the value needed will vary from model to model. Feel free to try others). Hitting the Auto Smooth button will get the corners nice and smoothed out. Now export this as a prop and set the max texture size to 512×512.
Now it’s time to import to Iclone. Open Iclone and under Set -> Props either select the model from the Content Manager (if thats where you exported to), or use the Modify panel to import it from where you saved it to.
Again, under the Modify panel, scroll down to Material & Texture Settings. Double click on the Diffuse texture icon and select the texture you exported from SimPE.
There are a great many places online where Sims 2 custom content can be found. Enjoy and again, please do remember to behave.
Thanks once more to Parsimonious.org and to Reallusion for their help.