Saturday, January 01, 2011

Poor Wendy Darling

Have I ever mentioned how I test items and take screen shots? Meet Wendy Darling. She was created to 'live' on the property so I can take photos without a grid showing. While I know you are just learning about her, you may find it interesting to know that she is a professional crow trainer. It's true.
 Actually - she mostly stands at the mailbox in pause mode. Poor thing. I have given her an opportunity to sit where she has been standing for months now in the same spot.
She looks mighty thirsty. Where is craft services?

So, as my week of vacation comes to an end, I will be working less on the upcoming set. I have been given very valuable feedback by a few of friends who have tested the sets extensively either in parts or all at once.

The latest saga was the trolley cart table. It seems that TSRW automatically generates this file called a specular map - I theorize that it is based on the mask and the specular textures. After much frustration, I took it to first TSR where someone attempted to assist but was unfamiliar with the file I was talking about assuming I just had set the alphas incorrectly on the specular. So I took it to MTS where again, it was quickly assumed that I had set the alphas to white. Then someone else had problems with high sheen too and solved it by removing the specular texture. Then it was picked back up at TSR - perhaps the specular was too light? Then someone else - Raven Shadow - stepped in and talked technical. The area of the program that generates this file is for shader information and essentially this area of object creation is really hard to control. There is little information on what does what. While there was initial talk of where to edit, Raven Shadow actually solved the problem. While I had deleted the file before, the key was to replace it. This adds a default 'dirt' layer that can then be edited like the other textures. Finally! This problem has plagued me from project to project. What no one knows is that I simply amended my projects to meet the limitations I kept finding. So, for instance, the scissor lamp got a glass bulb because the base I used had three colors on the mask but had a glass group. I feel like I can finally sleep.

I added additional textures to the table and voila!
A simlish "Studio" stencil, texture on the brackets, nail heads and even embossed lettering on the wheels. This project was a blast . . . uh - Wendy? Your crow? Jeez.

Today I added an accordion table. I want this table in real life so I made it for my sims instead. This came together rather fast - I am surprised how quickly it did - just a couple of hours.
The shadow needs a little work and the slots need amending, but it's pretty much completed. So the set is needing a few things to round it off. I wish mirror was an option for more than just a flat surface. Mercury glass is white hot right now and I would love something like that for my game.

I will be working on a few pictures - I have an idea for a picture mesh that might prove to be impossible - I need to just try it. Two that I currently have meshed have glass which obfuscates the pictures. Indoor lighting helps and I am okay with the glare, but there is a lot of information to be communicated on these meshes - the glass when mapping is fine - you can make glass really small and it will still reflect just fine, though I have a test I would like to do with that to make certain of that fact. Then the picture itself - you want that to be large so it is as clear as possible - the frame should be to scale so the grains of wood show well and then you have the backing boards or matting that the image is floated on. This currently is the biggest problem - those areas are smaller on the map to account for everything else - the pattern is blurry. My idea - if it works - would need a larger map, so stay tuned for my findings . . . the file could prove to be 20mb which no one would want to download.

Oddly, the EA window transformation continues to get high marks - especially the mirror. This is an EA mesh that I remapped and added a mirror on the one and glass on the other - both for decor. I kind of thought they'd be a big ol  'meh' response, but everyone seems to like them.

The glass lights tested okay but really - feedback was about where I was at - the clear glass one was MEH as you could not see the filament very well (that is the clear glass bulb in the clear glass jar) and the bulb was hard to see. The Edison bulb is a curiosity and is nice. If I could somehow merge the two bulbs and get a translucent bulb with a filament then that would be cool. Sad thing is - I tried all morning between the multiplier and overlay files as well as the material editor to see if I could accomplish this. I have determined that I would simply need two glass groups and that is not an option at this time for the programs. One glass group could be cloudy and the other clear so it would show off the filament better and look more real. The white of the bulbs is too bright, so while the bottle light is okay - the jar light looks strange. I even think the bulb is way too big, so I am scraping those for the moment.

Lastly - the dress form will probably be included in this set instead of a future AHWb5 set. Things from my house will probably still sneak into sets, but not a featured AHWb5 set. They are hard to pull together as my meshing level is getting there but pulling together a cohesive set is difficult at best. "Oh and here is my tv." Right.