Rug Making Tutorial

By Jendea


A guide to making multi-tiled rugs for The Sims using TMOG and Adobe Photoshop

This tutorial assumes that you are familiar with TMOG and also have a working knowledge of Photoshop. If you have not completed a simple color change operation before, I would recommend completing the tutorials on this site, and/or the flamingo color change tutorial available at the Lush Creations website before tackling a rug. I also did quite a few single tiled objects before trying the multi-tiled ones myself.

  1. First of all, clone one of the existing rugs in TMOG. For this tutorial I cloned the Rug - Retro file because it has 6 tiles rather than nine. I like to call my objects something that will clue-off what it actually is rather than the given numerical identifier that TMOG fills in. I have called my rug "jendeadarkrug".
  2. Next, we need to export the rug. I use the "Just Change Colors" Option with the Small Zoom Smooth checked, and bitmap compression checked as well which is the default selection.

  3. Once the export is complete, open all the sprites. There should be a total of twelve .bmp files. Six for the front view and six for the back view. Also open the picture of a rug you would like to convert to a sims rug. There are many awesome websites with images of rugs - both real and miniature for obtaining a relatively squared rug picture. I like to choose the largest views I can find because I think the quality of the rugs turn out better.
  4. Convert all the .bmp from index mode to RGB mode by choosing Image from the menu bar, Mode on the menu and RGB Color. At this point I choose to minimize all the bmp from one of the views. In this tutorial, I decided to start with the back view and minimized the front view. Your screen should look something like this now:

Ready to get started?

Rug Tutorial: Stage 2

  1. Next, we will recreate the original rug in a new window. Select File and New and make a really big new window (henceforth referred to as "Big Window" in this tutorial). I make mine about 800 wide by 600 high and my prefered backgound is white. That's huge and sometimes more room than I need, but I like to make sure I don't have to resize canvas in the middle. :) Whatever space is comfortable for you to work in that will accomodate the finished rug is fine.
  2. Next we will copy all the rug pieces - one from each of the six sections onto the Big Window we just made. Do this by using the magic wand tool. Click off anti-aliasing first so that your selections are not "feathered" in, then click anywhere in the yellow region. Once the yellow part is selected, Choose Select from the menu bar and Inverse from the pull down. You should have only the rug part selected now.

  3. Select Copy from the Edit menu or press Ctrl-C to copy the piece of rug, then select your new big window and Paste (Ctrl-V) or Edit: Paste. Repeat the selection, copy and paste process for each piece of rug. You should then have a new window with a white background and 6 layers - each containing a piece of the rug.
  4. At this stage, they kinda all pile on top of each other, but as long as you are creating new layers, they are all there, just covering each other up at the moment. Move the pieces around by selecting a layer and then the Move button to arrange the pieces until you've reassembled the rug. I zoom in at this point to about 225% to make absolutely sure there is no space between the pieces (or worse that one is overlapping the other). The pieces should butt up against each other exactly - pixel to pixel. Play with the spacing at this point, it's easy to get a couple pieces out of whack at 80 or even 150% views. Incorrect placement is what causes those ugly yellow lines in your glorious rugs. It can be very disappointing to do alot of TMOG work only to have something turn out with yellow haze or lines running through it later, so it's worth the effort at this point to double check your placement.

Satisifed with your alignment? Continue to

Rug Tutorial: Stage 3

  1. Once you are happy with your alignment of pieces select Layer: Merge Visable. You will now have one background image with your old rug on it.
  2. Now back to the rug we want to make. Prepare the image by cropping it down to just the rug, I often crop off the tassels too - that's a matter of preference. Also, if you want your rug to have a raised look, leaving a dark edge around it can bring it up a bit. I also resize the image to about 200 pixels wide (by selecting Image: Image Size). Choose Select: All and Copy to get the image ready to paste onto the Big Window.
  3. Using the magic wand again, select anywhere in the white background of the Big Window and choose Select: Inverse again. Copy and paste the cropped, resized rug image right on top of the old rug by choosing the Paste Into option. from the Edit menu.. You should now have both rugs in one window with the new rug pasted as a layer and the old one the background. The new rug should only be visible where the old one was selected and will probably be partially obscured - that's OK for now.

  4. Next comes the slightly tricky part. We have to transform the new rug to fit right over the old one exactly. Make sure Layer 1 is selected as in the example above, then choose Edit: Free Transform to rotate the rug and move it over on top of the old one. Once you are in Transform Mode, set the angle to -26.8, the Height Skew to 36.9 and then push in the sides to match the edges of the rug. Note: these numbers are for the Back View. The front view will be different.

WooHoo! You're Doin' Great - Go on to

Rug Tutorial: Stage 4

  1. OK, so now we have to break up the rug into the six pieces again and copy them back over the sprites. First go to the layer options for the new rug in the Big Window and reduce the opacity to 0% so that the new rug becomes invisible.

  1. Go back to one of your old rug sprites (remember them?). Your rug piece should still be selected from before. If not reselect just the rug without the yellow background. Choose "Copy" again from the command menu, and Paste it (not Paste Into - just Paste) the Big Window.
  2. Align the piece right on top of the original piece that matches it. (This is why I reduce the opacity, so that I can make sure to align the piece perfectly.) Again, this is the time to increase to 250% view to make sure you have an exact match.
  3. Once the piece is placed right on top of the old one, use the magic wand again to click anywhere outside the piece on that layer (should be layer 2 at this point). Choose Select: Inverse again to select only that peice of rug.
  4. Then go select Layer 1 (the one with the new rug on it.) and choose Edit: Copy. Even though you can't see it, you now have the piece of the new rug exactly sized to the piece of the old one on your clipboard.
  5. Go back to the sprite window of the one you just copied and select Edit: Paste. If the piece of rug is still selected, the new one will even be exactly in the right place too.

Great! You get the idea - Now finish the job:

Rug Tutorial: Stage 5

  1. Repeat steps 14 through 18 for each of the 6 pieces.
  2. Convert all 6 from RGB mode back to Index mode. Photoshop will prompt you to merge layers and then ask what type of conversion you want. These are the selections I use. You can experiment with your own preferences.

  3. Then save all the sprites back over the old ones as .bmp files. You can check to make sure at this point that the pics are in the right mode. When you save, they should be 8 bit and not 24 bit pics. If you save a 24 bit pic (one still in RGB mode), TMOG will most likely stall and crash on import.
  4. OK, I don't want to tell you this now, but that was only one view. The whole process has to be repeated for the front view. I about had a heart attack the first time I did one of these, and realized I was only half way through, but in time, you get really fast and you can knock these out in an hour or so.

  5. So, do it again....with the front view this time exactly as you did for the back view except instead of turning the rug using the angle: -26.8 and the horizontal skew: 36.9, use 26.8 and -36.9 (i.e just reverse the signs).
  6. Once you have saved your other six sprites for the front view. Go back to TMOG and click "Import". Check your new RUG!!!!
  7. The last TMOG step is to edit the Description, Name and Price if you want.
  8. After finishing with TMOG, I highly recommend the use of the HotDate Object Organizer which allows you to place your item in a specific use category such as Rugs, for instance, so that it shows up in the category and not just on the "all" section. It also lets you make your new item available for purchase downtown (for you not your sims).
  9. Load up the game and check the object - ah, the final tell-all step. Too many objects have been recalled because it looks OK in TMOG, but not so hot in the game. If you've done your job tho, this is the pay off step too - a beautiful new rug for your sims!