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Sims 3 skin quality question + comparision


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This is bugging me for years. Is it possible to make sims skin better in terms of quality?

 

No matter which skin I download and apply, pixelation and color banding are visible. There are a lot of strange artifacts on a skin and it's just plain awful. I re-installed the game recently and I applied 7 skins just to show how the issue looks. I was kinda used to that in my previous playthroughs, but now I'm diving really deep into the issue, hell-bent on fixing it. People even started their own topic on pixelation on sims forum: https://forums.thesims.com/en_us/discussion/971320/update-9-2-20-has-your-sims-3-game-been-affected-by-the-recent-pixilation-issues/p25, claiming that it is a recent issue that has something to do with the way NVidia changed their dithering thingy. Some claim that pixelation and color banding was here since the game release but it's more visible in modern days with higher resolutions and bigger screens, so there's also that point of view.

 

Is it normal for sims to look like that? Do they look like that in your game? Especially when using so called ULTRA HD skins, such as Kurasoberina's Primer? Or I'm maybe I'm doing something wrong? I can't get my sims to look like they look on skins download pages.

skin_comparision_1.thumb.png.2b0c54d0cefd3db86c978045912a8f0a.png

 

I'm attaching a second comparision, skins are the same, but this time on a famous Oniki sim:

 

skin_comparision_2.thumb.png.9e10371db554edb548764a8751ca2dc1.png

Edited by wapitawg
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1 hour ago, wapitawg said:

This is bugging me for years. Is it possible to make sims skin better in terms of quality?

 

No matter which skin I download and apply, pixelation is visible, there are a lot of strange artifacts on a skin and it's just plain awful. I re-installed the game recently and I applied 7 skins just to show how the issue looks.

 

Is it normal for sims to look like that? Do they look like that in your game? Especially when using so called ULTRA HD skins, such as Kurasoberina's Primer? Or I'm maybe I'm doing something wrong? I can't get my sims to look like they look on skins download pages.

Computer specs? Graphics card? Graphics settings?

 

"HD" means nothing if your computer is not capable of displaying it. Think this way, an old 720dpi TV and your cable company sends a signal in 1080dpi... Do you think you will see the 1080dpi? No, your TV can only show you what IT can show you.

 

So, toss us the specs of your machine and someone here can give you some advice. )

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2 hours ago, LadySmoks said:

Computer specs? Graphics card? Graphics settings?

 

"HD" means nothing if your computer is not capable of displaying it. Think this way, an old 720dpi TV and your cable company sends a signal in 1080dpi... Do you think you will see the 1080dpi? No, your TV can only show you what IT can show you.

 

So, toss us the specs of your machine and someone here can give you some advice. )


I don't know how specs can affect this, because if I could go too high, my FPS would just drop. Why would textures be of lesser quality?

Nonetheless, that's not an issue, since my PC is fairly recent, with i5-8600K, 16GB of DDR4 RAM @ 2666Mhz and GTX 1070Ti. I'm capping the game at 60 FPS via NVidia Control Panel, but it easily reaches 144 FPS in WQHD (which is my panel's native refresh rate and resolution) if I don't. I applied a lot of fixes beforehand, like the addon to make my GPU recogniseable by the game.

This is purely a software error.

Edited by wapitawg
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Turned out I had to take every sim with pixelated skin to the CAS and edit one small detail (not only the skin) and then save them and go back to game. Now skins look much better, not perfect, but it's very noticeable.

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1 hour ago, wapitawg said:

I don't know how specs can affect this

Honestly, why do you have that laptop if you don't know the specs of a laptop affect performance and video quality? I asked because running TS3 on a base Lenovo ideapad (integrated video chip) is a bad idea, but it happens, and had that been your case... not much to do about it. ((( But since it is not...

 

Next, are your game options settings. I believe that EA does NOT set the highest quality settings. In one of your pics, it looked as you do not have edge smoothing on? Basically, I would go into the settings, set everything as high as possible and see what happens next. Your laptop basic display may also have a bit to do with it. Many newer gaming laptops go toward super sharp contrast which creates hard edges. If contrast is adjustable, soften it a bit. 

 

Still, I hate to say that it could still be the laptop, or just a matter of getting the settings right. I have an Acer Nitro (not greatest, not worst) picture quality is excellent. When it was down for repair last year, I got an Asus TUF (cheaper, but similar specs). I never liked the picture image on that laptop. I use the Acer, but every so often, I try to find the combination to get a nicer picture quality on the Asus and simply can not.

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8 minutes ago, wapitawg said:

Turned out I had to take every sim with pixelated skin to the CAS and edit one small detail (not only the skin) and then save them and go back to game. Now skins look much better, not perfect, but it's very noticeable.

Hmmm... I was slow typing as you were fast typing! )))

 

So, if so kind, what was that small detail?

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For the record, I'm playing on a PC. However it does contain an Intel GPU, it's disabled when another GPU is present in the system, with no means of re-enabling by user.
I assure you all the settings were set on max with everything on. I don't ever play the game without everything maxed.
I don't think that display contrast could have anything to do with it, since the issue is visible on other devices as well - for example, you see it, albeit having rather different viewing point. So the problem is (or was) non-subjective.

While investigating my issue I went as far as restoring original config files inside Sims 3 bin folder and painstakingly adding all my mods and CCs one by one to see when the thing messes up. Because I noticed that the pixelation started at some point, it wasn't present on a vanilla game. I ommited the so-called HQ mod and some other tweaks, opting to stick with GPU Add-on Support only, which is mandatory in my case (without it the game doesn't even recognise my graphics card).

The results surprised me a little bit. The issue started when a package with custom default skin was present. Having that out of my game, I proceed to install all Oniki's KinkyMod packages and the one containing pubic hair did the same - messed up my sims textures. Then I remembered that the girl in this tutorial talkied about having to reload a sim after installing custom skins. And reloading is done by changing anything besides the sole skin of a sim. So by "changing a little detail" I meant any detail. By any amout, even if it's unnoticeable. The game is then forced to render the sim from the ground up, loading proper skin texture with its intended quality. The results are as shown:

skin_comparision_3.thumb.png.14c43bf78876f1b46c9aec6cf7058ab6.png

 

Turned out that some skins are of lesser quality than the others. I'd advice against using Orchard skin and Joanna Skin which are recomennded by simmers over Youtube. Orchard is just very low-res and overly cartoonish and Joanna Skin retains the same characteristic in the underboob area.

Ephemera Fresh skin holds up nicely and there's the Kurasoberina's Primer skin in UHD version, very balanced and neutral. Mango skins aren't that well maintaned around genital area and Porevision just has too many pores. :D  So I guess I'll stick to Primer or Fresh for the time being, thank you for your help.

Edited by wapitawg
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2 hours ago, wapitawg said:

Oniki's KinkyMod packages nad the one containing pubic hair did the same - messed up my sims textures.

Thanks for this update. So, you are saying that part of your issue was caused by the KW pubic hairs package??? Interesting, and first I have heard of this causing a problem.

 

As you have shared a bit more info, you seem knowledgeable about your machine. HD skins are generally large map, 2048 x 2048, and I have seen 4096 x 4096. As the game compresses the images, it retains detail better, but such textures will MURDER, DEATH, KILL most machines! ))) 

 

My preferred skins are e-skin. They are my default replacement, and several non-default.

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On 9/18/2021 at 2:18 AM, LadySmoks said:

Thanks for this update. So, you are saying that part of your issue was caused by the KW pubic hairs package??? Interesting, and first I have heard of this causing a problem.

 

As you have shared a bit more info, you seem knowledgeable about your machine. HD skins are generally large map, 2048 x 2048, and I have seen 4096 x 4096. As the game compresses the images, it retains detail better, but such textures will MURDER, DEATH, KILL most machines! ))) 

 

My preferred skins are e-skin. They are my default replacement, and several non-default.


I think, since Oniki's pubic hair package also contains cum layers and other things like that, installing it on an ongoing game requries whole sim re-drawning, just like while you add a new default replacement. And forcing game to re-render sims is done by editing them in CAS. At least this is the method I know of. Now the skins look much better.

As of skin rendering, you can change the maximum value in "RenderSimTextureSizes" in "GraphicsRules.srg" file inside "Bin" folder of the main game. This is what all the so called "HQ mods" do. It's under "SimQuality" and the recommendation is to do this only under "setting $VeryHigh" so it looks like this:

 

setting $VeryHigh
        prop $ConfigGroup RenderSimLODDistances "25, 50, 100, 1000"
        prop $ConfigGroup RenderSimTextureSizes "4096, 2048, 512, 128"
        prop $ConfigGroup RenderSimUseSpecular  "1, 1, 1, 1"

 


The first default number in a second row is 2048. The difference is very sublte tho and it can really kill some machines, like you just said, so I don't think that's worth it. I haven't that option enabled while taking my screens and making the comparision above and it was decent enough, so I guess I won't sweat it.

 

I'm looking more in the direction of SweetFX or ReShade now. And maybe adding some better anti-aliasing and filtering through NVidia Control Panel. I think I'll post some results on the forum once I'm happy with them. Now onto the downloading more E-skins :D

 

Edited by wapitawg
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58 minutes ago, wapitawg said:

As of skin rendering, you can change the maximum value in "RenderSimTextureSizes" in "GraphicsRules.srg" file inside "Bin" folder of the main game. This is what all the so called "HQ mods" do. It's under "SimQuality" and the recommendation is to do this only under "setting $VeryHigh" so it looks like this:

 

setting $VeryHigh
        prop $ConfigGroup RenderSimLODDistances "25, 50, 100, 1000"
        prop $ConfigGroup RenderSimTextureSizes "4092, 2048, 512, 128"
        prop $ConfigGroup RenderSimUseSpecular  "1, 1, 1, 1"

 

Is that right? I see 4092?? Should be 4096. Perhaps that is part of your original HD or HQ problem? And why is no 1024, which is standard size for TS3?

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1 minute ago, LadySmoks said:

Is that right? I see 4092?? Should be 4096. Perhaps that is part of your original HD or HQ problem? And why is no 1024, which is standard size for TS3?

I'm sorry, I must've been asleep while writing this, of course the texture size should be 4096, 😳 I guess I multipled wrong. Sorry! It's now corrected, thank you for pointing that out. 💖

If the default texture size is 1024, I don't have a clue why EA wrote 2048 here. 1024 is default under "setting $High" and 2048 is default under "setting $VeryHigh".
And I know I ain't wrong since even Frankie mentions that in their HQ mod tutorial.

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I'm seeing this issue after connecting to an HD Samsung.

 

Huge red-pixelated skin blotches, like the textures aren't blending, but only on bodies. Not on heads. 

 

I've just now adjusted the config file as above, and meanwhile, am hunting down a cmar nipple-adjustable compatible skin. 

 

Thanks for the corrections and infos.

 

Be safe! 

 

And happy holidays!

Edited by bet6622
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On 9/18/2021 at 2:13 PM, bet6622 said:

I'm seeing this issue after connecting to an HD Samsung.

 

Huge red-pixelated skin blotches, like the textures aren't blending, but only on bodies. Not on heads. 

 

I've just now adjusted the config file as above, and meanwhile, am hunting down a cmar nipple-adjustable compatible skin. 

 

Thanks for the corrections and infos.

 

Be safe! 

 

And happy holidays!

The config adjustment gives very sublte changes and can make your game slower. My screenshots were made without this change. I just needed sim reloading.

All skins from above are compatible with cmar Morphing Nipples. I never heard of skins which aren't compatible with it, because cmar's mod only takes a part of a texture and wraps it around its own adjustable mesh, so in theory it can use just about any skin.

Edited by wapitawg
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54 minutes ago, wapitawg said:

I'm sorry, I must've been asleep while writing this, of course the texture size should be 4096, 😳 I guess I multipled wrong. Sorry! It's now corrected, thank you for pointing that out. 💖

If the default texture size is 1024, I don't have a clue why EA wrote 2048 here. 1024 is default under "setting $High" and 2048 is default under "setting $VeryHigh".
And I know I ain't wrong since even Frankie mentions that in their HQ mod tutorial.

I make my references according to CC making... not so much the technical, but practical side of it. ) Open 99% of all packages that are EA based, and the standard texture is 1024 x1024, so that's what I go by. I accidentally cut an image down and put it into a package and it caused a world of problems. Then I found that somehow I resized it to 1022 x 1022. It does not work!!!

 

Some skins are 2048, and several Russian CC creators use 2048 mapping with dxt3 compression.

 

TS4, being 64 bit can better handle the larger textures, and I have seen 2048 x 4096 textures in quite a few packages that I have looked inside.

 

And the post by @bet6622 is why I asked that you expand on your "fix". These are often read by others and now they may have the answer they sought! )))

 

Actually, there are some skins that work better with Cmar's top, due to nipple placement.

Edited by LadySmoks
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1 hour ago, LadySmoks said:

I make my references according to CC making... not so much the technical, but practical side of it. ) Open 99% of all packages that are EA based, and the standard texture is 1024 x1024, so that's what I go by. I accidentally cut an image down and put it into a package and it caused a world of problems. Then I found that somehow I resized it to 1022 x 1022. It does not work!!!

 

And the post by @bet6622 is why I asked that you expand on your "fix". These are often read by others and now they may have the answer they sought! )))


Yes, making textures in a wrong size can lead to all sorts of problems. Textures needs to be in a correct proportion to wrap the meshes correctly.

But, AFAIK, what we're editing in a config file, isn't interfering with that. That's just a rendering value and it can be everything. If not, then skins with different resolution would render improperly, which is not the case. People go up by 1,5x of default number and it doesn't cause any problems, despite used sims resolution. The number allows game to render skins in their native resolution if it's more than EAs and that's all.

I need to run some additional testing to prove that, but I don't think that putting "4092" instead of "4096" can cause much of a mess anyway. Don't try this at home tho. :D

And that is not the fix for an issue I had, that's just an additional tweak which I don't even use, because in my opinion there's not much benefit from doing that.

Edited by wapitawg
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@LadySmoks which skins work better with cmar's?

 

My eyeballs have become adapted to cmar's skin, though navsea's and others are more detailed and realistic.

 

 

Will follow up with tweak results later.

 

Thanks again LS and wapit for infos.

 

Be safe! 

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13 minutes ago, bet6622 said:

@LadySmoks which skins work better with cmar's?

 

My eyeballs have become adapted to cmar's skin, though navsea's and others are more detailed and realistic.

 

 

Will follow up with tweak results later.

 

Thanks again LS and wapit for infos.

 

Be safe! 


From my experience, Navetsea skins don't hold up in 2021. It's such a shame, since they have a lot of details which I really like and aren't seeable on other skins (see my comparision below).
Ephemera skins, which are a base for many skinblends, are also compatible with Morphing Nipples. Kurasoberina's Primer, which gets recommended everywhere, also is comptabile.


skin_comparision_4.thumb.png.7b5f3b504d8fb46ded515327db1888de.png
 

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50 minutes ago, bet6622 said:

@LadySmoks which skins work better with cmar's?

All is a matter of opinion. I do know there are skins that have some alignment between the position of the areolas and the nipple of the mesh. The e-skins that I use, I actually modified to correct this. Really, you just have to do as @wapitawg, and most others, and download a bunch, look at them in your game, and YOU decide what YOU like best.

 

BUT... there can be ONLY ONE DEFAULT REPLACEMENT!!! ))) You can have 100 or more skins, no reason to, but you can... but you can only have one default replacement set, so always be sure of that.

 

Also understand that some skin textures do get into genital details, others do not, and it depends on your taste in that area. The "You Are Real" maps by Buhudain are NOT skins, they are normals maps, which are what help add 3d effect.

 

JoshQ recently did an edit of Ephemera skins on the Downloads section here.

Edited by LadySmoks
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No need for me to get into the nuts and bolts of this conversation.

 

I stopped by to offer the suggestion to use a texture resolution mod. It increases how the game renders all textures. It was originally made for screenshots only as continued use was too much strain on older graphics cards. I've been using it in game for over 4 years now since newer cards handle it without issue. Of course all PC users should monitor their systems to ensure there isn't any extreme overheating anyways.

 

Using this small mod in conjunction with .ini settings adjusted is how I get the quality screenshots I do, and I'm only running the game at 1920x1080.

 

 

The 'mod':

 

s3hq.exe       <---- Just place it in the Sims 3 Documents folder along with all the other folders (saves/etc.) Choose the resolution the game will render the texture maps. (make sure your shit doesn't overheat)

 

 

The .ini settings can be found on STEAM, but works for all installation types (I use all disks - no Origin/Steam)

 

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1131162350

 

 

 

> Be aware - once one makes these changes, it will expose any low quality textures/CC one already has installed. For example, I have one particularly old dress that when worn make the exposed skin on the arms and legs look incredibly blotchy. I have enough access to better CC that not using that particular piece didn't 'ruin my day'.

 

 

Curious to 'what' the game sees when it's trying to render? Take a screenshot and look at the size of it. You'd think they'd all be the same size - but they're not. The more high detailed sims and objects being captured significantly increase screen shot size - this is also what happens when the game is rendering the screen itself.

 

 

 

Lastly - don't overlook the effect lighting has on the maps used to texture Sims. I use a very bright and somewhat harsh lighting which reminds me of real sunlight, mixed with an effect for darker nights. While it isn't the best choice to make Sims look pretty, the world feels more 'real' to me using that combination.

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2 hours ago, LadySmoks said:

All is a matter of opinion...

 

JoshQ recently did an edit of Ephemera skins on the Downloads section here.

 

True, true. I'll have a look at Josh's work.

 

His work with full-form females seems to have nudged EA's ranges for the better.

 

 

1 hour ago, landess said:

I'm only running the game at 1920x1080.

 

 

(make sure your shit doesn't overheat)

 

Curious to 'what' the game sees when it's trying to render?

 

Lastly - don't overlook the effect lighting has on the maps used to texture Sims... the world feels more 'real' to me using that combination.

 

 

The steam link is handy. I've adjusted accordingly.

 

Will test and run the HD tweak.

 

And yes, have noticed very, large differences in screen shot resolution related size.

 

In thre time being, i still encounter that nasty red-pixelated look, even after taking a char into CAS, tweaking, and returning to ingame.

 

I'm wondering if it might be video driver related, yet, the CAS sim, looks fine.

 

Which rules out vidcard.

 

*shrug*

 

 

And, just for bragging rights...

 

image follows...

 

edo-nouveau.jpg.b21498311cbb863676fd3ab4f61bbc11.jpg

 

 

 

This is Elisa Nagasena.

 

Smitten with her, I'm featuring her and her bandmates on this necrodharma ep.

 

She's been ingame now for, four years. Symphony conductor done went and got herself darkwave and techno.

 

 

Much fun.

 

Meanwhile, be safe, and much thanks again.

 

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1 hour ago, bet6622 said:

True, true. I'll have a look at Josh's work.

 

His work with full-form females seems to have nudged EA's ranges for the better.

Because Josh is the one who taught me so much, and one of the things was how to adjust morph meshes so that my garments generally will work with "full-form females". The way the basic morph algorithms work, as the vertices move further apart, they tend to NOT be where you want... Sometimes, you must take the time to move them... one at a time and as many as necessary. 

 

I do not know all the ins and outs, but will say that in TSRW, there is a problem with certain patterns when going full red. Could be related. Perhaps take a very slight shift toward yellow (orange)? I mean VERY slight, and possibly go a little more, just to see what happens.

 

This is NOT red. Now, granted, very much a WIP, and I shifted toward yellow to dull the red and give it a slightly dirty appearance, but...

 

Screenshot-163.jpg.b598fc38153477f3953b096b36edf8b5.jpg

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5 hours ago, landess said:

No need for me to get into the nuts and bolts of this conversation.

 

I stopped by to offer the suggestion to use a texture resolution mod. It increases how the game renders all textures. It was originally made for screenshots only as continued use was too much strain on older graphics cards. I've been using it in game for over 4 years now since newer cards handle it without issue. Of course all PC users should monitor their systems to ensure there isn't any extreme overheating anyways.

 

Using this small mod in conjunction with .ini settings adjusted is how I get the quality screenshots I do, and I'm only running the game at 1920x1080.

 

 

The 'mod':

 

s3hq.exe       <---- Just place it in the Sims 3 Documents folder along with all the other folders (saves/etc.) Choose the resolution the game will render the texture maps. (make sure your shit doesn't overheat)

 

 

The .ini settings can be found on STEAM, but works for all installation types (I use all disks - no Origin/Steam)

 

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1131162350

 

 

 

> Be aware - once one makes these changes, it will expose any low quality textures/CC one already has installed. For example, I have one particularly old dress that when worn make the exposed skin on the arms and legs look incredibly blotchy. I have enough access to better CC that not using that particular piece didn't 'ruin my day'.

 

 

Curious to 'what' the game sees when it's trying to render? Take a screenshot and look at the size of it. You'd think they'd all be the same size - but they're not. The more high detailed sims and objects being captured significantly increase screen shot size - this is also what happens when the game is rendering the screen itself.

 

 

 

Lastly - don't overlook the effect lighting has on the maps used to texture Sims. I use a very bright and somewhat harsh lighting which reminds me of real sunlight, mixed with an effect for darker nights. While it isn't the best choice to make Sims look pretty, the world feels more 'real' to me using that combination.

This mod mimics the changes I was talking about, further detailed in provided link to Frankie's doing.

 

For me it is alway better to do this kind of things manually, since it gives more control over what's going on. And there's knowledge to gain.

Edited by wapitawg
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Man, i wished i could do that. I run the game currently with a low end card, that was already at that time low end.

EVGA Geforce 750 Ti. Its pretty low end.

But the game runs fine and more importantly, the textures do not look so bad. I will save this topic for the future when i can buy a card for "normal" prices again. This looks like a fun project.

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10 minutes ago, wutpickel said:

Man, i wished i could do that. I run the game currently with a low end card, that was already at that time low end.

EVGA Geforce 750 Ti. Its pretty low end.

But the game runs fine and more importantly, the textures do not look so bad. I will save this topic for the future when i can buy a card for "normal" prices again. This looks like a fun project.

I think you could do that. The game barely touches a GPU, even with higher-res textures (but my advice is to not go higher than 2048x2048). It's more CPU-heavy and it mostly CTDs while exceeding its hard RAM limits (realistically around 3,75GB). But unofficial patches (and NRAAS mods should be considered as unofficial patches) can greatly help with that, making the game playable.

 

And if you want to limit your system's GPU usage and thus, temperature, you should cap game's FPS at 60. There no benefits of going higher and The Sims 3 have no built-in limiters, so it just burns thorough any resources it can.

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