Introductory Tutorial to Blender for Sims 4 Creators


Hello everybody, and welcome to the first
video in my Custom Content-Making tutorial series. In this series, I’m going to show you how
to make a variety of different kinds of custom content, from poses, to objects, to accessories,
from start to finish, using Blender, Photoshop, and Sims 4 Studio. This first video of the series is going to
introduce beginners to Blender, and familiarize you with the interface, and workspace. Blender is a very powerful tool, whose limits
are mainly your skill level and creativity. Anything you can imagine, you can create here
in this program! I want to begin by introducing you to the
File tab, because there’s a few things here that are important, and I want to talk about
them before I get too much further. First, there’s New, which will open a fresh
startup file. Then, there’s Open, and Open Recent, which
open existing .blend files you already have saved. It’s useful to note that anything you copy
to your clipboard will stay copied in this window of Blender, even if you move to another
save file. This means anything from objects, to poses,
to nodes–pretty much anything, can be copied from one save file, and pasted into another. This is extremely useful, and will save you
tons of time in the future. Below the two Open options is Revert, which
Reverts the project you have open to its most recent save point. Saves, in this way, can work kind of like
checkpoints. You can also Recover your last session, and
load from Auto Saves. Blender has lots of ways to preserve your
work, other than a traditional save-and-load system. You can change how Blender autosaves your
work in User Preferences. Then, there’s Save, Save As, and Save Copy. Pretty straightforward, but it’s useful to
know that when you save a project more than once, Blender makes a duplicate of that save
called a .blend1 file. To view your .blend1,2 and 3 files, click
Load, then, navigate to this icon at the top of the window. It’s a picture of a grey sheet of paper,
with a little orange Blender icon superimposed on it. Selecting this button will display .blend1,
.blend2, and .blend3 files. Every time you save, Blender saves the previous
save as a .blend1 file. This way, even if you save over a point you
need to go back to, you can navigate here, and load the correct .blend1, 2, or 3 file. You can change the way Blender saves .blend1,
2 and 3 files in User Preferences. Below saving options is User Preferences. You can change these, but I suggest only changing
things you KNOW you want to change. Below User Preferences is the option to save
a new startup file—basically Blender’s ‘blank document’—and the option to reload
the factory settings. Then, below that is Append. Append is how you add elements from other
.blend files to your current project. Anything from objects, to cameras, to the
whole scene, can be added into your current project. Similarly, you can Import objects that are
not from .blend files, like, for example, Wavefront files, .obj, or FBX files, .fbx. You’ll also notice that I have some extra
options–that’s because I have Blender add-ons installed to help me import a larger variety
of file types. In addition to File, there’s also an important
tab up here to change the engine Blender runs on. When posing, you’ll only ever be using Blender
Render, but when I bake textures for my meshes, I do it in Cycles Render. For now, don’t worry about this, but I’ll
be working on other engines in future videos. It’s also important to note that I’m working
on Blender 2.78. I have heard that Sims4Studio won’t work
with the latest versions of Blender, but I don’t have any problems with that. You can choose to either download the earlier
version linked from the Sims4Studio forums, or, download the latest version from Blender’s
website. However, you won’t be able to bake textures
using Cycles Render with previous versions of Blender. For this reason, I recommend downloading,
and using, the latest version that I’m using—Blender 2.78. And one more thing, just to get comfortable
with the program: adding and creating windows. Each window has the ability to display a different
editor type. Most of the time, you’ll be working with
the 3D viewport in at least one of the windows. You also add and take away windows by clicking
and dragging this little area with three lines. You’ll see those three lines in the corner
of every window. By selecting, and dragging, you can split
the current window, or merge windows. Remember that like windows must be merged
with like windows, so split windows will have to be merged together before they can be merged
with an unsplit window. You will create extra windows to add and bake
materials, and to edit UV maps for your meshes. Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with
Blender’s interface a bit, we can move on to the actual program itself. Let’s get started! The first thing you’ll notice upon opening
Blender is probably a cube. Then, you might also notice the grid, maybe
the camera in the upper left-hand corner, or the lamp in the upper right hand corner. This window is in 3D view, which displays
3D objects. Blender’s startup file starts you with a
scene—basically, your workspace in the 3D viewport. The scene is where you’ll see the 3D model
of the sim, and where you interact with the bones and rigging, to manipulate and pose
the sim model. There are some 3D view-specific toolbars and
menus that I’ll be going over in more depth later. For now, let’s take a look at the other windows
in our workspace. Directly below the 3D view, you’ll see a toolbar–we’ll
also come back to this. Just know that the toolbar that appears below
each window is always view-specific. So, if you were in, say, the UV editor, these
options would be different. Below the toolbar is something that will probably
look familiar: a timeline. Here, you can navigate from frame-to-frame,
scrub through your animation, and adjust playback settings. To the right of the Timeline and 3D Viewport,
you’ll see the Outliner, and below that, Properties. The Outliner does exactly what it sounds like
it does: it gives you a quick overview of everything in your project. Every scene, object, lamp, camera and curve
will appear here, too. The Outliner displays what objects you have
selected by highlighting the text in white, and the active mesh in orange. It will display useful information about any
modifications made to the object to the right of the name. You can select objects in the Outliner by
left-clicking them, and double-clicking to rename them. You can hide objects here, render them unselectable,
and prevent them from being rendered, all from the Outliner. It’s a very useful organizational tool. Below that is the Properties Tab. Here is where you will make modifications
to the objects in the scene, add physics and materials, assign vertex groups, render and
bake images, and many more things besides that. Most of the time, cc-creation will be using
one of four tabs: Scene, indicated by a little camera icon, Modifiers, a wrench, Data, a
triangle with three vertices, and Material, a light orange circle, divided into four sections. Now, let’s take a look at the toolbars specific
to the 3D viewport. There are two toolbars here, displayed to
the left, and right of the window: Tools Panel, which can be shown, and hidden, by pressing
the hotkey T on your keyboard, and Screen Properties, which can be shown, and hidden,
by pressing the hotkey N on your keyboard. The Tools Panel has a variety of different
tools used primarily for editing and creating 3D objects. I have a couple add-ons here that you won’t
see in your Tools Panel, unless you have them installed, as well. The Screen Properties is used for changing
the way you view and edit your scene. Here, there are a variety of tools I use in
posing. Let’s go over them in more depth now. Under the Transform tab, you can lock transformations
along specific axes. I’ll go more into depth with how I use this
tab to help me pose better, faster, and more realistically in my next video. The next tab we’ll be looking at is View,
where you can change the way you view your scene. You can change your lens size, lock your view
to a specific object in the scene, your cursor, or to a specific view. I recommend not messing with this too much. If you do experiment, remember that Lens is
default set to 35°. Below View is 3D cursor. The 3D cursor is this red and white-dashed
crosshair in the center of your scene. You move it by left-clicking. Below the 3D cursor box is the Item box. This is very useful to have displayed during
posing, because it tells you what bone and rig you have selected. Below that is Display, where you can change
how the 3D viewport displays the scene. Here, you can change the settings to only
rendered, enable a World Background, enable or disable outline select, relationship lines,
the grid floor, and the different axes. The next tab we’ll be discussing is Background
Images, which allows you to import an image into the scene, to be viewed from specific
axes. This allows you to display reference pictures
without having to tab back and forth between windows. Now, I’m going to go more in depth about the
3D viewport window, and manipulating the objects you will import and create here. Let’s start by just moving around the scene. To rotate your camera, simply middle-mouse-button-click
and drag. Go ahead and try that now—middle-mouse-button-click,
and drag. You can translocate your camera, rather than
rotate, by holding shift down, middle-mouse-button-clicking, and dragging. To zoom in and out, scroll in and out. Now, let’s go over the number pad camera
controls. You can switch in and out of perspective and
orthographic mode, by pressing 5 on your number pad. You can also change the viewport to two dimensions,
and view your scene from a specific axis. Pressing 1, or Ctrl+1, will change the view
to the front, and the back, respectively, of the scene. Pressing 3, or Ctrl+3, will change the view
from right, to left, and finally, pressing 7, or ctrl+7, will change the view from top,
to bottom. These camera controls will allow you to navigate
your scene with ease. Go ahead and check out the cube, and make
sure you’re comfortable with the camera movements before we go forward. Try to familiarize yourself with the number
pad, and moving around. You will need to sometimes look at things
from odd angles, and the more comfortable you are moving around the scene, the easier
posing will be. Besides the 3D Viewport’s camera, there is
also a physical camera in the scene. The camera is primarily used as just that–a
camera, to take a picture, also known as a render, of the scene. You can switch to the physical camera’s view
by pressing 0 on your number pad. You can also change the active camera—should
you have more than one—by selecting the camera you wish to be the active camera, and
pressing Ctrl+0 on your number pad. The camera is an object, and thus can be transformed
just like any other object. You can rotate it around a point, translocate
it, and resize it. Besides rendering, I also use the camera quite
extensively when posing multiple people in a scene. It’s indispensable for finding out if your
models are making eye contact. We’ll go more in depth with the camera in
the future, but take note of it, namely that it, unlike your regular camera, can be transformed
in the scene, and that you can switch to its view by pressing 0 on your number pad. Now, like I said before, in the 3D viewport
you should see a cube. This cube is a very simple 3D object. 3D objects, also referred to as meshes, are
made up of three parts–vertices, edges, and planes. Two or more vertices together form an edge,
and three or more edges together create a plane, also known as a polygon. A cube has six faces, which means this cube’s
polycount is 6. More complicated, smoother 3D objects will
have much higher polycounts. The kind of objects you see in photorealistic
renders, or Disney and Pixar animations, will be in the hundreds of thousands. Sims 4 uses much simpler, blockier meshes–this
makes the game run much, much more smoothly. This is why games that run on machines with
limited capabilities have trouble opening when installed with high-poly custom content. Now, we’re ready to interact with our scene! Let’s start by selecting the cube by right-clicking
on it. You will know it’s selected because it will
be outlined in orange. You can also deselect the cube by pressing
A on your keyboard. A is the shortcut for select all and deselect
all. In Object mode, that means it will select
all the objects in your scene. Don’t forget that in the Outliner, you can
hide objects, and prevent them from being selected. For instance, if I were to navigate to the
Outliner, I could click the cursor icon next to the Cube, and it would prevent it from
being selected. Even if I click on the cube, even if I press
A, that cube will not be selected until I select the cursor icon. The outliner will also show you what you have
selected, because the orange triangle icon to the left of the name will be highlighted
in orange when you have the object selected, and the name will be highlighted in white
if it’s the active object. Besides selecting everything in your scene
with A, you can also select the inverse of everything you have currently have selected
by pressing Ctrl+I. You can select everything you can see with
a drag-box by pressing B, and dragging and clicking to select the objects you want. You can also similarly do this freehand by
pressing and holding Ctrl, and dragging to draw around the objects you want to select. You can also select individual objects concurrently
by pressing and holding Shift, and right-clicking the objects you want to select. So, make sure the cursor icon in your Outliner
is selected, and right-click on your cube in the 3D Viewport to select it. Now, we can manipulate the cube in Object
mode, which is the mode we’re in–you can tell because of the way the object is shaded,
and because underneath the 3D viewport the object interaction mode box is set to Object
Mode. In Object Mode, you can scale, rotate, and
translocate objects, but you cannot directly edit the mesh itself. There are several ways to translocate the
cube. The first, and most obvious way, is by selecting
it, and right clicking, and dragging it around. Once you’ve began to move the cube, you can
let go of the mouse button, and move your mouse and the cube around the scene freely. You can then decide to commit to the move
by left-clicking, or pressing Enter, or you can choose to let the cube snap back into
its original position by right-clicking, or pressing Escape. You can also move the cube by pressing the
G hotkey on your keyboard. This is useful because then you can type in
a value, say, 2, and move the cube 2 units ‘forward’ along the x axis. In addition to moving along an axis, you translocate
along every axis except a specific axis. Let’s say I wanted to move this cube along
the ‘floor’, but I didn’t want to move it up into the ‘air’. I’d want to translocate the cube along the
X and Y axes, but not along the Z axis. So, I would type G, then Shift, and the axis
I want to exclude–in this instance, Z. So, G, Shift, Z, and then I can move the cube
in any direction I want, except the axis I excluded, in this instance, the Z axis. You can also move objects freehand, but snap
to individual axes as guides, by either right-click and dragging, or pressing G, and then middle
mouse button-clicking and dragging. Let’s say that I moved the cube, and decided
that I didn’t like where I moved it to. I could reset the object back to the origin,
by pressing Alt+G. The object will always reset with its 3D manipulator
widget to the origin. The 3D manipulator widget is this little orange
dot in the center of the cube. Not every object will have the 3D manipulator
widget in the center of the object, but all objects will have one, and every new object
you add to the scene will have it in the center. Besides translocating the objects in Object
Mode, you can also rotate them, and resize them. The same principles we learned while translocating
the cube can be applied here, except you can’t right-click and drag to rotate or resize. The hotkey to rotate is R. You can then rotate
the object around the 3D manipulator widget. You can do this freehand, or you can also
type R, the axis you want to rotate around, and the degrees you want to rotate it. For instance, let’s say I wanted to rotate
this cube 45° around the Y axis. I would type R, Y, 45. To rotate along an axis freehand, I’d simply
type R, the axis I want to rotate around, and then do my rotation. You can see when you select the axis, it highlights. You can change axes before committing to any
changes, and the object will snap back to its original rotation, and the new axis you
selected will highlight. To undo any rotations, you can press Alt+R,
and the object will snap back to its original rotation. And, with resizing, the same principles apply. The hotkey is S, and you can resize along
any axis, or simply resize it around the 3D manipulator widget. You can do this freehand, or by typing in
the desired value. Remember that you are multiplying the value
of the object, so if you want it to be a third the size, you would type .3334, and if you
wanted it to be a third bigger, you’d type 1.3334. You can also, again, do this along specific
axes. So, if I wanted to turn my cube into a rectangle
with perfect dimensions, I would type S, the axis I wanted to resize along–let’s resize
along Z, and then 2–because I want it to be twice the length along the Z axis. If I wanted to resize it to its original size,
I could press S, Z, .5. Or, I could press Alt+S.
With these controls, you should now be able to move around the scene, and transform objects. Let’s review what we’ve learned. You now know how to navigate around the scene,
and the number pad hotkeys to view your scene along a specific axis—1, Ctrl+1, 3, Ctrl+3,
7, and Ctrl+7. You know 0 changes your view to your camera,
and 5 switches you in and out of orthographic and perspective mode. You also know the shortcuts to transform objects—G
to translocate, R to rotate, and S to resize. You know how to undo those transformations
by pressing Alt, and the shortcut associated with the transformation, either G, R, or S.
You know that middle-mouse-button-clicking and dragging will allow you to transform the
object around specific axes as guides. You know that when translocating or resizing,
you can exclude a specific axis by pressing the hotkey, and then Shift, and the axis you
want to exclude. And finally, you know that you can use B or
Ctrl, and drag to select multiple objects, or you can hold down shift, and right-click
on objects you want to select concurrently. Feel free to play around with the cube, and
re-watch this part of the video, until you feel comfortable moving around the 3D viewport,
and transforming objects. Now, we’re going to go more in-depth, and
learn about Edit Mode. First, let’s navigate down to the toolbar
directly below the 3D viewport, and above the Timeline. The first box you’ll see is the Editor Type
Selector–we’re in 3D view right now in this window. You can change the Editor type of the window
here. Then, you’ll see several drop-down menus,
the object interaction mode box, the shader selection, transformation orientations, layers,
and several other things that I won’t be going over in this tutorial series. The dropdown menus primarily do actions that
can be done with hotkeys. So, if you ever forget what a hotkey I use
is, navigate down to this area, and you can almost assuredly find it. For instance, the number pad hotkeys I referenced
earlier can be found here, under the View menu, and the transformation hotkeys I referenced
earlier can be found under the Object menu. Besides View there’s also Select, used for
selecting objects in your scene, Add, used to add 3D objects, cameras, curves and light
sources to the scene, and Object, which is primarily object manipulations such as rotating,
translocating, and resizing, among others. Add is pretty straightforward–you add an
object to your scene. You can add extra cameras, lights, meshes
or curves. You can also do this by pressing Shift+A in
your 3D viewport, and selecting what you want to add from the menu that appears. Next to that series of menus, you’ll see these
little boxes. The first box you’ll see is the object interaction
mode box. This is where, and how, you will move in and
out of different ‘modes’ in your scene. Right now, we’re in object mode, which means
that we can interact with the objects in our scene, but we cannot edit the underlying structure
of them–the mesh itself will remain intact no matter what we do to it in the 3D viewport,
short of deleting it. You’ll notice when you click on the box, there
is no pose mode available. That’s because you don’t have a rigged model
in the scene, so there’s no pose to go into. When we import a rigged Sim model into the
scene, you’ll be able to go into pose mode. For now, let’s switch from Object mode, to
Edit mode. You can do this by either navigating to the
box, and selecting edit mode from the dropdown menu, or by pressing tab on your keyboard. Switch in and out of Edit and Object mode
now, and take note of a few differences. For one, if you have the Tools Panel and Screen
Properties tabs to your left and right open, you’ll notice the options there change. You’ll also notice that the cube itself changes
in appearance–you can now see the vertices, edges and planes of the object. In the Outliner, the triangle icon to the
right of the name will be highlighted in white. Now, you can select more than the entire object. You can select individual vertices, edges
and planes. You probably have vertex select on, but if
you don’t, don’t worry. You can change to vertex select by selecting
the little orange vertex icon over here. You can also change to edge select, and plane
select–notice how the appearance of the 3D object changes when you change selection. In addition to that, you can shift+click to
choose multiple selection modes. Let’s shift+click all of the modes, to better
illustrate how you can transform the vertices, edges and planes in Edit Mode. Now, you can click on a single vertex of the
cube in the 3D viewport, and take note of a few things. One thing you’ll notice is that the three
edges connected to the vertex turn orange, and the vertex you clicked on turns white. White means this is your active object. Orange indicates that it’s selected. The reason the edges are orange, even though
you didn’t directly select them, is because those edges are a part of that vertex. This simple cube mesh will not have any, but
oftentimes, meshes can have double vertices, or could have been formed from two, separate
objects. This means that selecting a vertex will not
necessarily select all the edges you’d expect, intuitively, for it to select. Again, though, simple meshes generally won’t
work like that. All eight of this cube’s vertices are connected,
and so, manipulating one vertex will manipulate all the edges it’s attached to. It also means, were you to delete that vertex,
it would delete the edge with it—after all, all rays, or edges, in this case, are lines
made up of two points, so if you delete one, you delete the edge, as well. Thus, selecting two connected vertices will
select the edge, and selecting enough connected edges and vertices will select the plane they
form. You can use the principles we learned in Object
Mode to manipulate the cube here. You can transform either the vertices, edges,
or planes. You’ll quickly realize that the possibilities
of how you can transform objects in Blender is truly limitless. That’s one of the most exciting things about
Blender–there’s always something new to learn, something to figure out, and an exciting way
to realize your imagination. Creation isn’t just for professional 3D artists,
with powerful computers, and expensive 3D modeling software. You can make anything you want in Blender–you
are truly limited by nothing. As you can see, there are pretty much no limits
to how you can transform the vertices, edges and planes of the mesh. One important thing to note is that there
is no Alt+G, R and S to undo changes you make. The only way you can undo changes in edit
mode is with Ctrl+Z. Depending on how much memory you have available
on your computer, you can change how many steps Blender will remember for you to Ctrl+Z
back to. This is why, when editing meshes especially,
it’s important to save frequently. I save any time I make a significant change
to a mesh. Most of my meshes have 5 to 10 saves of it–and
that’s only for editing the mesh. You never know when you’ll make a mistake
that will require you to ‘Revert’ the file, and start over, and you want that file to
be as close to what you were working on as possible. That about wraps it up for the first video
in my Custom Content tutorial series. Feel free to comment with any questions or
concerns, and I look forward to seeing you all in my next video, where I’ll be going
over the basics of posing, and sharing some tips and tricks I’ve learned to make beautiful,
realistic poses—quickly. Thanks for watching!

29 thoughts on “Introductory Tutorial to Blender for Sims 4 Creators

  • This was seriously so helpful! I have for years wanted to get into using Blender, but the second it starts up it can be very intimidating. You made it seem so easy to understand and not so bad to get a grip of. I have subscribed and I am going to be making 3D objects in no time I'm sure! Thank you again for such a helpful guide!

  • This is a much better blender tutorial, than most people who just make tutorials only for blender. Thank you! >v<!!

  • hi! i was using blender 2.79 and i had to go back to blender 2.70a because sims 4 studio wont let me export the blender file…it keeps sayin "you are not using blender 2.70, and open the page to download blender …do you know how to solve this? because i use blender for oher things and i need the latest version …

  • In blender sim doesnt wear the mesh I made. After importing the obj file my mesh always too far away from my sim please help me please

  • Hey, I love the video, very informative. However, you sometimes move a little too quickly on to a next step when it would be better to slow down and go a bit more in depth. I have no idea how you added that second camera or what you press/click to get other things to happen. It would be nice if you could let everyone know what you're doing when you're doing it. The only reason I was able to keep up was because I had watched another tutorial before this one and he gave a good Blender interface introduction. I'm not hating or anything but some of the thing's you say/do can be a little confusing if this is a viewer's first tutorial on how to use Blender. I'm subscribed and everything and this has been helpful… I'm just of the opinion that you could slow it down just a bit to give a detailed description of the happenings. 😊💋

  • Dear sweat Hannah, I thank you for your tutorial, but I really didn't learn anything new… You do, however, sound like someone who has more blender knowledge then me. So I really hope you can help me! I created a mesh in blender. Now how can I make it so I can import it into sims4studio? Everything I try ends up in an error report, the error: "Your mesh s4studio_mesh_1 has vertex group b_ROOT_ that is not part of the mesh you are replacing", or my mesh ending up inside the mesh I'm trying to replace… I have a mesh ready to go (no doubles or inside faces or whatever – just started from a cube…), now how do I get it to work in the sims4studio?

  • Enjoyed the video! I am wondering when you will be uploading the tutorial on how to make objects ? I've been dying to learn how to create custom content. I can retexture or change the size of an already created object but I want to be able to make my own. Can you help me?

  • This is so well made and professional. Reminds me of the Revit and Autocad lessons i took in college. Keep it up, you're really good at this.

  • Are you still active? How can I properly export a mesh from Sims Studio to blender? I have blender but SStudio says I dont have blender, and if I try manually importing a file into blender I camt because SStudio saves files in its own file type that isnt an option on blender's import/open ports (Blender v.2.76a)

  • thank you so much for making this! it helps so much since most blender tutorials are completely unrelated to what im making

  • This is the best Blender tutorial I've found. You explain things quickly, but you cover a lot of information in a very organized, professional way. I've subscribed 😊

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