I’m currently taking and editing a lot of photos and it’s pretty fun. Since the last tutorial I did was well-received, I thought… why not make another? This time I’m going to be focusing on the work I do when I edit my photos. Generally, I use ReShade to avoid too much editing; however, there’s only so much ReShade can do. Sometimes, you just get clipping, gaps, graphics glitches, and other such little flaws that I don’t like. As you’ll see, ReShade can even create problems that I have to fix (it’s silly, but still worth it).
As with my other tutorial, the idea with this isn’t to say: ‘This is the way to edit your photos’. It is not. I’m a happy amateur. I see little mistakes in my sims photos and I edit them out, but I don’t do huge, advanced edits that change lighting and stuff. In general, I like to do as few edits as possible and I only fix little mistakes so as to not make it too obvious that I changed things. There are many people who are better at this and who use better software – you can probably find some cool tutorials on Tumblr that are way better. This is just how I blunder my way through the process, using the tools I know and my somewhat limited skills to fix things that annoy me.
Software That I Use:
PhotoScape: It’s free, it’s lightweight, and it’s extremely user friendly. My only gripe is that it doesn’t have tablet support and that it’s a little limited. According to Jowita, who uses it as well, the version called PhotoScape X isn’t great, and should be avoided. I haven’t tried it, but keep her words in mind. I use only the regular PhotoScape, so that’s what this tutorial will show screenshots from.
Krita: This is free drawing software that can do all kinds of amazing stuff. It’s not as user friendly as PhotoScape, and it’s probably not designed for photo manipulation, but for my use it’s perfect. It has some more advanced features and tablet support.
Nice to Have:
I have a drawing tablet from Wacom. This is nice to have, but not a necessity. The software above works just as fine without (in PhotoScape it doesn’t work at all), so don’t sweat it. If you happen to have one, though, it’s a great tool in a program like Krita that supports it.
Now, as I mentioned above, there are some things I don’t fix. I will fix:
- Neck seams
- Little holes in clothing with solid colours/simple patterns
- Gaps in architecture
- Eye position (sometimes) and eye highlights (when I remember)
- Small instances of clipping, such as hair strands going through clothing/necklaces going through skin
On the other hand, I don’t fix:
- Whole arms, fingers, hands, feet, legs, and so clipping through a shirt, skirt, chair, etc.
- Large gaps in clothing with complex patterns
For the latter examples, I tilt the camera to avoid the problem areas where possible or I cut it out. When that’s not possible, I forego using the pose, clothing, item, etc. that are causing problems. Sorry to say, but some downloads just aren’t worth the hassle. I always aim to have my pictures as nice as possible in-game, and I always avoid mistakes that would be obvious if I edited them out. I also never edit in props, text, and so on. If I can’t find what I want, I avoid showing it, or I do something else. This is just how I like it, of course. I admire those who decide to go that route, but it’s not for me. I’m too much of a perfectionist to ever be satisfied with the result.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some things that I have fixed. I mainly have images from my latest photo shoot, from a past chapter, and from an upcoming chapter (they’re spoiler-free – no worries!)
The most common tool I use to fix things are the clone tool. This is sometimes also called a clone stamp or a clone brush. I’m sure most people use this already, but if you don’t, there you are. In PhotoScape, I find it in the editor, under the ‘tools’ tab, and it’s ideal for fixing little gaps in clothing. I have two problems with this picture of Regina, the ones I’ve outlined, but the clone tool will only fix one of them, so let’s start with that.
The accessory leather jacket I use for Gina is the most clippy thing ever, but thankfully, the clipping is very easy to fix with the clone tool. You can see that there’s a little bit of colour sticking up by the shoulder. This is easily fixed because the background is dark and a little blurred by ReShade, and we can use the edge of the jacket as well. The other part is on the black – this is even easier! Let’s start with the top bit.
I usually zoom in so that I have a good view of what I’m doing. The clone stamp works by taking one area of the picture and transferring, or cloning, how it looks to another. In this case, I’d like for the bit of turquoise sweater to be replaced with the background. With the clone stamp selected (second-smallest size), I click the area I want to clone, which places a marker. I place my marker as close to the problem area as I possibly can. This way, the lighting and shading is more likely to match the area. In this case I decided that the left bit of shoulder looks good.
We’ve got a nice, clean bit of jacket that we can use to fix the ‘broken’ bit of jacket. I click again to pick the area I want to replace, in this case, my turquoise bit of sweater to the right of my marker. Then I carefully move along the edge of the jacket, replacing the clipping. You can vaguely see that I’ve edited it, but this won’t be visible when I zoom out and resize the pic!
Afterwards, you can right-click on the mouse to reset your marker and place it again. It will be placed differently for each problem area. Coincidentally, though, I can pretty much leave it as is for the shoulder bit. The bit to the left of my colour spot is a pure black and matches the area nicely.
And that’s all there is to it. If I were done with the picture, I would resize it, add a frame, and insert it into my story! However, there were those eyes I didn’t like!
I happen to know that Gina’s face is nicely lit in this scene, and the very faint highlights in her eyes don’t do it for me. This isn’t a job I want to do in PhotoScape, though. It does have a brush tool, but it’s very unsubtle, I can’t change opacity or anything, so off I go to Krita! In Krita, I can pick all kinds of brushes to suit my needs. In this case, I choose to use a pencil brush. The pencil is nice for fixing mistakes, because it isn’t solid color and it’s thin per default (you can change the size, of course). It has a little texture, which makes it look more natural in a photo.
Another nice thing I can do in Krita is choose the opacity of the brush. I’ve decided to turn it down to a little over 50% for this. Finally, I use the colour picker in Krita to find a suitable colour. There aren’t any pure whites in my photo because of the lighting, so painting over her eyes with white would look awful. In this case, I chose to hold control and select the “whites” of her eyes. It’s actually more of an orangey brown. I make it a little lighter for the highlights. I end up with a grey-brown-ish thing, but it looks white when compared to the photo. By selecting the colour from the photo itself, I ensure it matches the lighting and colours of the photo – and thus it looks more natural!
Then comes the simple part. I draw over the highlights that are already there. Or, rather, I just click twice with the brush and that gives me the highlight you can see in one eye. I don’t muddle it too much or draw the highlight super intensely. That would look out of place. After I’ve done the other eye, I’m happy with it. Below is my finished result, resized and with a frame added. You can’t see my changes unless you really zoom in, so I’m happy with the result.
I do more complex edits as well, though I try not to do anything too crazy. I’m not going to go too much into how I’ve done these things, because then this could go on forever. I’m simply going to post some problem areas, explain what I did, and show the result. If you want to know more specifically how I did something, feel free to ask.
This ruin set that I’m using for a future chapter has… issues. I have columns that don’t stack perfectly, and in close-up, the CC-windows that give me the nice ruin walls have odd, ragged edges up close. There’s a gap there as well. I fixed this using:
- The clone stamp. I decided to fix this one in Krita with this program’s clone tool because I have more size options and I can change strength/opacity. I wanted the column to be one whole column, and I wanted the there to be a white line in the middle. This is easily done by placing the marker (in Krita this is done by holding control and clicking where you want to clone).
- More clone stamp as well as the pencil brush for the ragged wall. I’ve cloned the part with the gap so it looks like the wall around it. To fix the jagged edges, I picked the same colour as the grey edges and drew along them. I did this with my tablet, as it is a million times easier. Krita supports pressure sensitivity, which means that I can apply less pressure and get a faint line. My result is this:
The column to the left has been fixed, though you can see it a little bit, I think. I’ve used the opacity of Krita’s clone tool to ensure that the light on the column fades instead of ending abruptly. The line to the left isn’t jagged anymore either, and the gap has been fixed.
This picture from my photoshoot had a ReShade DOF problem. Thanks a lot, ReShade! Well, I like using it, though, so I fixed it. For this, I used the clone tool to fix the stray hair to the right of her face. I also used one of Krita’s brushes that looks like hair to to fix the odd, jagged hair. Not my best fix, since the hair looks a little funky still, but it did the job in a pinch.
I use the Pose Player’s ‘Look At’ interaction a lot. Often, it’s not a big deal, though other times you end up with a result like cross-eyed Gina on the left. I seriously considered not using the picture at all, but it was the one I liked best of the ones I had taken. Normally, I probably wouldn’t bother, as the risk of it looking awful is great for a fix like it, but here I figured the eyes were small enough that it wouldn’t be too obvious what I had done. You might notice that the two pictures above don’t match perfectly, that’s because I don’t have the original of the one to the right. The mistakes are the same, regardless.
It was a bit of a more complex process, but the gist was that I used Krita. I basically cut the iris/pupil and moved it further from the corner of the eye. I used the pencil tool to fix the rest, using the colours from the image to draw over the eye. I finally added highlights to the eyes, because I can. You might also notice that the image to the left is more yellow. I played with the colour balance for the photo in PhotoScape afterwards to make it less so. The ReShade settings I use aren’t fond of daylight. Thanks ReShade! (… still worth it). There’s also a funky black spot on Carlo’s arm to the left of Gina. This I fixed much like the hole in Gina’s jacket above!
Finally, I forgot to add that I fix neck seams as well. These are lines that are sometimes visible across the neck of sims. This can be due to things like slider settings (very muscular sims have them) and certain custom clothing. In some cases, they can be fixed with the clone tool, if they skin on either side of the seam are the same or roughly the same colour. In the example above, they cannot be fixed this way. The skin above is simply too dark compared to the skin below.
In this case I’ve used the blender brush in Krita (it looks like a cotton swab with water), and with opacity turned down low (or by drawing lightly with my tablet – yay pressure sensitivity!) I can blend the seam so that I get the result on the right, where the seam is no longer there.
Editing Is Hard:
So there you have a bit of an idea of what I do with my stuff. I don’t always do these kinds of things. It depends on how bad the mistakes are and what I use them for. I do more editing for photoshoots/layout images than I do for regular story pictures. I have somewhere between 10-20 pictures for each chapter and doing a ton of edits for them isn’t feasible. More often than not, I forego the editing in favour of picking other CC, better poses, etc. or being creative with my camera angles.
None of my methods are perfect. Hell, they might not even be good. There’s probably better software and better tools, but these are the ones I know and are comfortable with. I’m sure I’ll learn more in the future, but for now, this is what I do. I hope this made sense and wasn’t too hard to follow. I also hope it doesn’t feel like I’ve explained basic knowledge that everyone knows. If a person or two found this semi-useful or interesting, that’s great. If not, that’s great as well. I know this isn’t particularly wow-worthy, but it’s how I do it.
Thanks for reading along. I hope it was, if not helpful, then inspiring (or something). I’ll see you guys in the next post.
EDIT: I added an extra part on neck seams, because I forgot to – I solve these in a way I don’t for the other problems!