Thursday, March 22, 2012

Start-to-Finish Assignment Journal: Inspiration Cycle 2, Assignment 2

I was laying in bed thinking about Inspiration one night last week (we were waiting on scores for assignment 1), and I came up with a wonderful idea.

I've always been really curious about the processes other people go through when making their entries and wondered how it compared to my own. Then I had it:

What if I kept a sort of "journal" of my steps through making an entry, all the way from the very start to the finish??

...So that's what I did, simmies! Without further ado, I give you my Journal for Inspiration Cycle 2, assignment 2 :D

March 17th

- Assignment posted. Listened to song and was instantly inspired after the first few seconds. Snow will have wings and will only be seen from the back, arms spread as she slowly leans to fall off of a cliff. The vast landscape will stretch out before her. I began my search for wings and appropriate poses. Searched “wings” on MS3B and found the pair I want to use. No luck with poses yet.

March 18th

- Search for poses continues. I’ve just been going through the “custom poses” pages on MS3B. Finally, quite a ways back, I found the perfect pose in a nature set by Keene with arms spread. It’s meant to be a balancing pose but I think I can make it work. The next step is going to be finding clothing that’s interesting from the back.

March 20th

- Started my clothing search on MS3B. Found a bunch of great stuff from LorandiaSims3. I thought I found the perfect outfit, a “warrior princess” outfit by altea127 on TSR, but then decided against it because of the gloves (and also because it was used by another competitor). Will hopefully start my picture tomorrow.

March 21st

- Getting ready to go in game to start setting up my photo. I ended up downloading quite a few sets of wings since I’m not sure which direction I want to take it yet. I’m conflicted…I’m not sure which flying creature I want snow to resemble yet. I’ve thought about dragons, eagles/other birds, or angels.

- Went in game and took Snow into CAS. I tried out the new tank tops and leggings I downloaded. I finally decided on the stitched leather leggings I got from Lorandia, and a shirt that I’d actually already had because I liked the way it looked from the back best. I left the wings off for the time being since I wanted to take a separate screenshot and Photoshop them in later, just in case I needed to adjust the size, opacity, or color.

- After I was happy with the color of the outfit, I moved Snow onto an empty lot. I use I tiny, empty island I named “EditSim Isle” when I’m just taking screenshots of sims. I made it back when I had CAW and it loads really quickly so I can save some time.

- Built one big room, made the walls and floors black, added some light, and put Snow into the pose by Keene I found. I immediately noticed I didn’t like the way her torso leaned to one side, and decided I’d fix it in Photoshop later.

- Did something a little different for my next step: Snow went on vacation to Shang Simla so I could get a decent landscape screenshot. Did you know when using the tabbed camera and holding “E,” you can make the camera go up really, really, really high? I didn’t until I came to take this screenshot!

- After flipping the entire camera with Shift + A (I wanted a long picture rather than a wide, panoramic one), I took my screenshot, making sure that no buildings would be visible in the final picture.

- Next, I took a screenshot with a rock spanning the bottom. I’m going to cut it out and place it at the bottom of the landscape screenshot I just took. This is my cliff edge.

- I was really excited to start my picture, so I switched back to my Mac OSX side. I started by flipping my landscape screenshot upright, cutting out the rock, and placing it at the bottom. Then I added a gradient to the mountains in the back to make them look very hazed in the distance. Good, I’ve got my background. Pretty simple.

- Then I cut out Snow from her black background. I use a new technique where I carefully go around her figure with the pen tool, select the area, and then cut her from the layer. It leaves amazingly crisp, smooth lines.

- I then realized I’d forgotten to pick my wings and take a screenshot to use. I decided I’d just keep working and maybe go back and get them later.

- Placed Snow on the background, resized her so she was much smaller, and worked on fixing her leaning torso. I also got rid the strap on the back of her neck from the shirt.

- I decided to see what I could do with her clothing, so I selected it with the pen tool and copied them to a new layer. After playing around a little, I was able to give it the appearance of being silky and shiny. Much better than the original in my opinion.

- Since it’s such a hassle to shut down my Mac and reboot it into Windows and then load my game, I decided to see what I could find for wings with Google. Ended up finding some really amazing stock wings.

- I heavily altered the wings by changing their dimensions, color, curves, and opacity. It actually took a couple layers to get their final appearance.

- Next, I moved on to Snow’s hair. I wanted a very pale blue, so I found a shade I liked and then started making the basic shape with the “fill” option with the pen tool. Then I added smaller pieces and some flyaway strands with the “stroke” option.

- Went on to add some strands, still using the pen tool, in white and a darker shade of blue. Then I went in and added shading and highlighting.

- Just working on refining details now: Added some cracks to the cliff edge and shading at Snow’s feet, and added some birds to the empty sky to add some interest. Something about the arms is kinda bugging me, but it’s late so I’ll come back to it in the next couple days.

March 22nd

- Woke up and took a look at my picture today, and I think I’m going to leave the arms as is and call my picture complete. Going to post it to the Inspiration thread!!

So that's it: My second entry for Inspiration Cycle 2 from the moment I saw the assignment to the final submission of my photo!! I thought it might be a nice little inside look at my process.

What did you guys think? Do you like this idea as much as I did? And, a second question: Would you consider doing something like this for your own assignments? I would love to see varying processes.


  1. Wow. This was VERY cool. I just might have to do this myself :)

  2. The forum isn't letting me reply for some stuuuuupid reason, so I'll tell you here -- I love this! And seeing the process is cool. Imma steeeeal your talent, girl! <3333

  3. That's amazing Rexy. And this is a fabulous idea. Maybe I shall start something like this when I start on my Dark Shadowz assignment :)

  4. I love this! I adore that picture you made and it was cool to see how you make your pictures. I'm definitely going to do this for my next Pink assignment :D

  5. Wow, getting to read the whole process behind you making a picture was incredibly cool! Makes me very jealous of your amazing talents lol. And I love the final picture; it's stunning! <3

  6. Well, FINALLY did this :D :D :D Here it is :)

  7. You already know this Rexy, but that's gorgoeus!
    Um, do you think you might be able to upload 'EditSim Isle'? it would come in handy and I can't have CAW. Of course if you can't that's fine!