I’ve been tinkering around with the dating simulator again, making some improvements to the backyard activities, especially the swimming activity, which has not been changed much since version 1.0.
Part of the reason is that the “pool” comes from The Sims 2, which does not really provide full camera freedom. Until recently all the pool shots were above the pool angles, because that is what The Sims 2 allows, which also is somewhat contradictory to the dating sim format of “first person” viewing.
I’ve had the idea for some time of doing some underwater stuff, and experimented a little with that while making version 5.5. In that instance I created a corner of the pool in Second Life, taking advantage of SL’s full camera control and water effects.
For 5.7 I decided to expand the idea, and just build a duplicate pool in Open Grid (at about double scale) giving me every above and below angle I could want. Above is the picture of the pool model in Open Grid.
So, I thought I’d tell you some of the secrets to making some of the pictures. The primary new feature of swimming is a one lap underwater swimming race. One picture I needed was Ariane tagging the pool wall. Above is a break down of the steps involved: 1.) Take a screen capture of the Open Sim at the location Ariane would be tagging the wall. 2.) Create the tagging pose (I actually used a “spider-man” pose from my pose library and adjusted it as needed) and build a set of white walls to stand in for the pool. 3.) Render a “shadow” from available lighting. Backyard pools commonly have underwater lights on the pool walls. She is too close to the right wall to get light from there, so the lighting is coming from light on the left wall. 4.) Render Ariane without the walls or shadows.
Combine the three pictures to produce a great underwater picture:
Another special effect is the above water pictures. These are simply too difficult to render realistically without some fancy expensive program. So when I started the dating sim project, I came up with a way to create these pictures that while not realistic, they get the point across, and in a way they are cleverly artistic.
Here’s my water technique:
This is the beginning of the race: 1.) Same as above. Take a screen shot of the position Ariane would be at the beginning of the race. 2.) Create a matching pose. I did not bother with a shadow this time as the lighting would be coming from multiple above water and below water angles, wiping out most of the shadows anyways. (Yes there is a shadow in this pic, but since it does not correspond to the background it will be erased.) This picture will be Ariane below the water. 3.) Position a black square to match exactly where the water should be. Also add a “wet” effect to Ariane’s skin to represent above the water line. 4.) Starting with the below water picture number 2, adjust the color to make it brighter and bluer before combining with background picture 1. Then use either a ripple effect, or just simply a smudge tool to simulate the distortion of wavy water. Get rid of the black water in pic 3 using a color mask tool, and then merge it with pic 2, then blend them together.
Not very realistic, but it looks cool.