Creating cloth recolors for the Sims 4
WARNING: This tutorial is outdated as it used Color Magic, which hasn't been updated and that doesn't work anymore. I keep this online, though, as I plan to update it for Sims 4 Studio.

 Version française ici

I'll try here, with my goofy english, to explain you how I proceed to create recolored clothes for the Sims. I'm sure there's better ways to do, more efficient, more complex, but that's my way, and it's all I can share! ;)

So far, I feel more comfortable at using s4pe and Color Magic than the new tool Sims4Studio, so it's the tools I'll use in this tutorial. I might update at some point, when I switch to Sims4Studio! I'm also using Photoshop, instead of GIMP, but the process is quite similar.

Last, if like me, you usually avoid tutorials because they're too long and seem to have more steps than necessary, I made a resume here. It won't help you if you have no idea about you're doing it, but it will be enough to remind you the order of the process if you know what you're doing. ;)

  1. What you need
  2. Starting a new project
  3. Exporting the DDS
  4. Recoloring
  5. Finalizing
  6. In short


What you need
Starting a project

Let's open Color Magic, and add your creator name. It will be the prefix used in the file name. My creator name is ATS4, but as these files will be clothing recolor, I also add "cloth-rec", so people who download my files know what they are.
Then, let's click on Next.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


Here, select the piece of clothing you want to recolor. Use the filter or the search field to find what you're looking for faster. Choose a variation without patterns, if possible. For example, for this sundress, it exists with flowers or in plain colors, I chose a plain color.

how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


I click on Next, and give a name to my file, then Save As...


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4



Exporting the .dds

Without closing Color Magic, open the .package you have just created with s4pe.
Click on the UNKN tags to find the one that contains the picture we want to edit. Right-click on it, and "Export to DDS".
Close s4pe. Don't forget to, or you'll get an error with Color Magic, and you'll have to start from scratch!


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4



Recoloring the clothing

I open .dds I've just exported with Photoshop.
First of all, as I'm a coward, I duplicate the background, so I'll work on the copy. If something turns bad, I can still revert to the original picture!


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


Then, I desaturate the layer, and create a new one. I add the pattern or the picture I want to use (in case I want to create a T-shirt with a logo, for example) by simple copy-paste. I'll paste my pattern as many times as needed to cover the whole original clothing (or I'll define as pattern in Photoshop)


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


I change the layer with pattern to Multiply, and I adjust the grey layer I have under to make it more visible, by increasing the contrast and the luminosity.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4
Before & After I changed the constrast of the grey layer


Sometimes, it will be enough, but for this dress, it's not the case. We still can't see enough the folds, so I'm going to duplicate the grey layer, I put it above the pattern layer, and this time, I set it as Soft Light. If it's a bit too much of contrast, we can adjust the transparency of the layer, or its contrast and luminosity. It looks better, isn't it?


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


For this dress, I want the belt being plain white, so I'm going to select the contour of the belt with the polygonal lasso tool, and delete the selection from the pattern layer. I can't use the belt of my grey layer, as it's now too contrasted, so, without deselecting the belt, I click on the Background layer and copy the original belt. I paste it on a new layer, above the pattern one.
Here I can adjust its color or eventually add a new pattern.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


For this part, the "inside" dress, you have two options. Or you can leave it as it is now, with pattern, that will look distorded, or you replace it with a plain color. It's what I did here: I select a square around the bottom, I delete the pattern, and, still on the Pattern layer, I fill with plain color.



Now, I'm going to clean my file: with the Magic Wand, I click on the green part of the background, and copy. Then, I paste it foreground. I'm done!
I flat the picture, and save it as .DDS, with DXT5 interpolated alpha option.

how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


Now, there's still the thumbnail to create. Select a 32x32 square of your clothing, somewhere where there's not too many folds or shadows. Paste it in a new document and save it as .DDS with DXT1 no alpha option, in the ColorMagic/Images folder, with the name
I add a small logo to mine so people who have downloaded it can remember when it comes from.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4

Back to Color Magic! We can now click on the "Add" button to add the color swatch.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


Edit now the color thumbnail with a color as close as possible of your new clothing.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


Edit the flags. That's another important step to help the filters to be efficient in CAS. So, edit the Color category with the right value (here: blue). In case of some multi-colored patterns, you can add more color value, by clicking on "Add" button, then select "Color", and enter the value you want.
Click on Finish.


how to recolor clothes for the sims 4


Now, let's open our .package with s4pe again, and find the UNKN tag with the picture we want to replace. Then, "import from DDS", save and we're done!

Next step will be to test the outfit in game, so let's move the file to the Mods folder, and see how it goes!


In short
  1. Select what you want to recolor with Color Magic and "Save As..."
  2. Open with s4pe and export to DDS
  3. Edit the DDS in your graphic program
  4. Save as DDS DXT5 - interpolated alpha
  5. Create a 32x32 thumbnail and save as DDS DXT1 - no alpha, in the Color Magic/Images folder, with the name "default_swatch.dss"
  6. Add the thumbnail in Color Magic
  7. Edit the color thumbnail and the flags. Click on "Finish"
  8. Open the .package with s4pe and import to DDS
  9. DONE!