[TUTORIAL] How to create Snow Masks for The SIms 4 Seasons! Dec 27, 2019 13:48:14 GMT -5 menaceman44 and hephaestion like this
Post by littledica99 on Dec 27, 2019 13:48:14 GMT -5
After The Sims 4 Seasons came out, some object were provided with a Snow Mask. It’s a black and white mask with pretty high contrast, used for objects that, in real life, would have more complex snow accumulation than what the automatic accumulation can achieve. Some objects have a void snow mask, which is pretty annoying. If there is a snow mask for an object, i always use it, and these are my methods.
This tutorial teaches you some methods to make this map easily and quickly.
Hopefully, the GIFs work 🤣
- Your mesh has to have a UV Map;
- You must decide a texture size and stick to it, you can always size down but never up;
- You must switch to the Cycles rendering engine.
Open your Blender file with the object we’re going to design the snow mask for. Once you’ve opened the file, open yourself a UV editor tab and create a new texture with the size of your diffuse texture. The texture we’re going to create is going to be black:
Once you have your texture, we can start painting. Let’s create a new material for your mesh. Click on your mesh and reach the materials panel:
Now that the texture is inserted into the material, we can paint on it.
Let’s switch to Texture Painting. Select your mesh and press [DEL] on your keyboard Numpad to center the view on it. Once you’re done doing that, this is how to enter Texturing painting mode:
We’re ready to paint. To create a snow mask, you want to cover the base of the mesh a bit to simulate the frosting of the surface caused by the freezing snow on the ground but also the top surface to simulate the snow that has fallen onto the object from the sky. The best way to do so is, first of all, by going into Orthographic view. Having no perspective in the scene will help you minimize the bleeding of your painting. To switch to Ortho, press  on your keyboard Numpad.
Let’s paint the front first. Press  on your keyboard Numpad to switch to front view. Let’s adjust our brush before painting. Adjust your brush size and strength according to what are you’re trying to cover.
For the bottom portion of the object you want to have a big brush and a lower strenght (around 50% the original default strenght) in order to use just the feathered out end of it for a softer stroke.
Repeat this for all sides! Don’t worry too much about being too even with the height of your strokes, we’re gonna blend them together after we’re done painting them.
Once you’re done, it should look something like this:
Let’s even out these harsh edges and, occasionally, painting artifacts. Grab the “Smear” brush in the brushes toolbox:
Smear the edges until completely smooth. Do this for all sides.
Once you’re done with the ground snow, paint the sky snow. To do that, grab your Texdraw brush back and follow these steps:
And then, smear it all!
Once you’re done doing that, save the texture and open it in Photoshop. I’m assuming you know how to export a texture from Blender as a PNG and then opening it in Photoshop.
Once you have your texture open in Photoshop, i want you to google a Snow texture, fairly big (big enough to fit the size of your texture).
Insert it in your PS document as a new layer and put it over the snow texture you painted earlier. Now turn that snow texture black and white (even if it seems to be already, there’s probably some colored pixels due to compression here and there).
Now open the Levels sliders and achieve this look by sliding the middle slider on the right or left (depending on your picture):
Now, use gaussian blur to feather it out a bit and make it less harsh and Alpha like, we’re going for a maxis match look. If you want an alpha look, skip this step. This is how it looks after blurring it:
Now, go to the blend mode of this layer and set it to Overlay. I’m assuming you know what this means.
If it needs further smearing, go ahead and do that to remove visible seams. If it needs opacity adjusting, you can do that as well. Add a pitch black layer over everything in photoshop and adjust it’s opacity to make the snow more or less visible.
Substance Painter is a product under paid license by Adobe. My university provided me with a license, however, you can use the trial version to experiment with it.
Import your mesh into substance painter, without any additional texture (don’t click on ADD):
Add two fill layers and uncheck every single material property except for “Color” and “Roughness”. The top material will be white, the bottom one will be black. Turn the roughness of both material to 100%:
You can rename your fill layers if it makes it easier for you to keep track of what you’re doing. I suggest renaming the white one “Snow” and the black one “Background”.
Now, let’s add a few a masks to make it look like what we’re trying to achieve. Right click on the snow material and select “Add Black Mask”. Now, right click on the mask and select “Add Generator”:
Generators are dynamic masks that can be fully controlled by the user to achieve multiple types of dirt.
For our snow, we’ll begin with the ground generator, for the frosted surface starting from the bottom. Click on the generator entry that was created and assign it a “Mask Editor”:
If you scroll all the way down inside the Mask Editor options, you will notice our mesh has absolutely NO baked texture:
To operate, the Mask Editor needs these textures, so we’re gonna bake them.
In order to do so, switch over to the “Textures” tab:
This is what your Baker window should look like:
You can now click on [Bake DefaultMaterial Mesh Maps]!
Once the bake is finished, your Snow fill layer should look a little different, cause the Mask Editor received the recently baked textures. Now we can edito the Mask Editor properties. We are starting by creating the bottom frost layer, so let’s get to it.
By default, in the Mask Editor settings, the Curvature value is turned on all the way. Slide the slider to 0. Instead, activate the Position Gradient value. By default, the position gradient goes from top to bottom. To invert this flow, the handy Invert button is there for us. Switch Invert from off to on. Since we inverted the mask property, the Brightness slider will still do its job, but the other way around. Increasing the brightness will decrease the opacity of the snow mask. Now, play around with the Balance and Contrast sliders until you achieve a similar look:
Balance: 0.09; Contrast: 0.22; Brightness: 0.57;
We now have the perfect base to work on some details, a nice linear bottom to top gradient. Now, scroll down to the texture area of your Mask Editor. You’ll notice there’s two empty slots, called just “Texture”:
You can fill these in with “Grunge maps” (detail textures in black and white) to add variation to anything in the Mask Editor. Let’s fine one that suits our project the most.
This randomizable texture called “BnW Spots 1″ seems to be a good starting point, it looks like it could be interpreted as a frosty snow, let’s click on it and add it to our “Texture” slot.
To make our “Position Gradient” influenced by the newly added texture, you’ll need to turn up the “Texture Opacity” slider in the Mask Editor global settings at the top:
The result is now undeniably better:
Looking good so far! Now, you can play around with the Texture’s Balance and Contrast in the Texture Slot and see changes happen live:
Decide what looks good to your eyes, this is 100% subjective!
It’s looking really good, but you can still see a clear ending point of the gradient!
To fix this issue, you’re gonna have to play around with the Balance and Contrast of the entire Mask Editor, which are located at the top of the Mask Editor options:
Repeat the same process for the top portion of the snow (the fallen down from the sky type), just without turning on Invert obviously. You can right-click on the mask and add another Generator. Just make sure to set your second Generator to Add onto previous layers!
You can also turn on some “Curvature” (the one we previously disabled) on the top snow Generator to make it even frostier:
In my final product, i added another two generators, with no texture, to add some more gradienty frostiness to the whole texture.
Once you’re done, export your mask and save it as a file. Put “.png” at the end of the file name!
And you’re done!