I know that you’re hot to learn more about my secrets! But we are still in Part 1, the Introduction. And do you remember what i wrote in the Foreword? We will start from scratch and it takes some time. So just let’s have a look at the programs, the soft- and hardware you will need to become a hot sims-artist…
There are so many rumors about that, but don’t worry. You don’t need much, you don’t need to buy expensive programs.
But anyway, a small budget for a few things would be great. Nothing existential, but if you want to go the whole way better put some bucks aside.
The Checklist in detail
Starting from scratch, here we go:
- A working computer system, including Screen, Mouse, Keyboard and Internet Connection. And a working Windows Installation.
This sounds funny but there’s nothing worse than an unstable system or somehow broken components. So if your Computer is producing Error Messages, search the Internet for a solution. If the mouse is stuttering, buy a new one. If the functions of your hip Multimedia-Keyboard drive you crazy, put the thing into the garbage and buy the cheapest standard Keyboard you can find, it’ll be enough.
- Really MUCH free space on the Hard Disk, especially in the “My Documents” Directory.
I’m talking about at least 10GB of free space. The more the better. Plus another >10GB for the work-directories where you will save all the images and artwork.
- A nice work desk with beautiful surrounding, enough space and light. A window to look through sometimes.
When you create stories, textures, images or anything like that, you will sit hours and hours in front of the screen, staring at the pixels. This can be hard, so have a break and look around. Just stay relaxed and make yourself feel comfortable.
The Sims Stuff:
- A working Sims 2 Installation and as many Expansion Packs you want.
For this workshop it doesn’t matter how many Expansions you have. But i recommend to use at least “University“, “Nightlife” and “Open for Business” to make sure you have the same Cheats like me (oh yes, we will use some cheats). When the game doesn’t run properly, restart above and check your computer again. 90% of all problems come from a bad computer configuration. Anyway, i will try to talk about some of the most common probs later…
- The ultimate Sims-Tool. The mysterious program everybody is talking about and many are afraid of: SimPe.
Go to the SimPe Homepage and get the prog, it’s free. Also go to Microsoft and install the Framework 2.0, it’s free. It’s easily done with a few mouse-clicks. You must have SimPe! Install it now or stop here and go back to your f****** Playstation.
- The Sims-Posing Tool with the lovely name SimPose 2.
SimPose is very important. It looks so simple but it’s difficult to use. I believe that i’m the only person in the world who uses SimPose 2 on an advanced level. You don’t think so? Fine, send me a proof. I will write many large tutorials about SimPose 2, so i can stop here for now. Go to the official homepage, download SimPose 2 (not the version for Sims 1) and have a look if you can stand some pain.
- Get a free Screenshot Maker that does not watermark the pictures (WinSnap 1.1).
We’re going to shoot many screenshots from inside the game and SimPose. But both, the game’s photo function and the internal SimPose Screenshot function, are too poor. We will not use them. Never. I have written a small information page about Screenshot Makers for all who don’t know anything about such tools.
- A Graphic-Editor-Killer-Application, like Photoshop.
This is the most important software of all. Buy an outdated version of Photoshop on Amazon.com or eBay. It’s worth every cent, more than that. Photoshop is a friend for live! Photoshop CS 2 would be perfect! You also can use the 100% free and 100% fantastic graphic tool “The Gimp“. This is the only acceptable alternative to Photoshop. Gimp is free and Open Source! Because i am a proud owner of Photoshop, i will use it in the lessons. But i know that Gimp can do those things for you as well. Take Photoshop or Gimp, everything else is freak stuff.
- For Meshing and 3D-Fooling there’s only one way: Milkshape-3D and Wes_h’s Plug ins.
Yes, Milkshape is a great program. Don’t listen to the numerous freaks out there, telling you that Milkshape is poor. What? You’ve got 3D Studio Max? Cool. Even Maya? Wow! Take a cookie! There’s only a small problem with those fantastic professional state-of-the-art-3-dimensional-hollywood-applications: Max and Maya are just too fat for the low-polygon Sims. Only Milkshape can handle the Sims with no problem – thanks to the billant plug ins of Wes_h. Please spend 35USD/25EUR for a full-version of Milkshape. If you want to mesh-up the Sims you will need the full-version.
- A Graphic Tablet to draw. Just buy a cheap one, but – if possible – not the cheapest.
Using the tools in Photoshop with a digital pen is fun and very helpful when you want to draw some fine lines. A mouse pen is not existential but some things are much easier to realize.
Don’t be overwhelmed
There’s no reason to freak out! You don’t need to get all these tools at once. And you don’t need any skills with these applications and machines; because that’s what you’re going to learn here ;)
Please note that you’ll find great support communities for most of the required programs on the Internet. Don’t hesitate to visit the official websites if you need help.
And if you’re not sure, just imagine that you can use all of these programs (except SimPe and SimPose) for numerous other creative activities.
In the next article of the MXM Master Class of Sims Art Workshop i will lead you through some easy computer lessons – hope to see you then again.