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The Sims 3 Seamless Patterns Tutorial

With the The Sims 3, we have the ability to add custom patterns to our game. This means that how we design these patterns has become even more  important. I have created the following tutorial so that you can create simple seamless patterns from shapes in Photoshop.

What you will need:

This tutorial has an expectation that you have a basic understanding of how Photoshop works. It is not essential of course but this tutorial will make a lot more sense if you have a working understanding of this program.

Let us begin!

The actual size of the end tile we want to create is 256 x 256. This tile size is required by all pattern tools available. You can choose what size you want your tile to be. I usually prefer a nice small pattern so I would tend to choose a smaller size but basically anything following these criteria:

  • 256 x 256 (huuuuge!)
  • 128 x 128
  • 64 x 64
  • 32 x 32 (this is quite small)

I have chosen 64 x 64.

Let’s get started!

  1. Guzzle that coffee! No seriously this is not hard at all. The first step is to open Photoshop and choose your file size.
  2. File > New.
  3. In width and height choose your size (in this case I have chosen 64 x 64).
  4. Now select OK.

using photoshop to create seamless patterns

You should end up with (if you chose background contents as transparent) a small box. You can choose any color background you like. The idea is to create a file with very contrasting colors. Keep in mind that even if it looks garish you can always choose alternative colors in the game itself and then save that file to share with others.

The box is quite small so feel free to enlarge it – it will pixalate your image a bit but don’t worry it still looks pretty awesome when you take it back down to 100%. A short cut is: Ctrl + (holding both down at the same time). Now your work space is a bit larger lets get to putting a simple shape into our nice box.

Go to your shapes button. Click on that and then go to the top of your menu and select that shape you want.

custom shape tool

In this case I am choosing a nice circle pattern from Aimha Design. Please make sure that the pattern you are choosing complies with the authors terms of use.

  1. Now holding down your Ctrl key draw your shape (you hold the Ctrl key down to keep the item perfectly proportioned).
  2. It does not have to sit dead center – you can do this by going to Select > All or Ctrl A.
  3. The whole box should be selected – then (making sure you are in your shape layer) click on Align Vertical Centers and Align Horizontal Centers. This will nicely center the object!

align vertical and horizontal centers

Now comes the fun bit! We are going to create the seamless tile.

Creating the tile

Insert a layer between the bottom layer and your shape.

insert a layer for seamless patterns

Now merge your shape layer onto the new layer (so basically it no longer is a shape anymore). You do this by either Layer > Merge Down or Ctrl E.

I like to make a duplicate of this layer just in case I decide to just use the one style of pattern. You will see what I mean later. To duplicate the layer go to Layer > Duplicate Layer. Now select one of these two layers (it’s not important which one) and making sure the box is still selected – go to Filter > Other > Offset.

Put +32 in both horizontal pixels right and left.

creating seamless patterns in The Sims 3

Now your image is offset!

Because we did a duplicate of our image it also appears in the center of the tile. You can hide this if you want and add another kind of shape in there.

duplicate the image

You can test this pattern by Edit > Define Pattern and choose a new box (256 x 256 is a good choice given that this is what you will ultimately need).

seamless pattern duplicated

Then using your paint bucket tool – you can ‘fill’ this box up with your new pattern. If you don’t know where this is check the top tool bar. There will be a drop down box that says fill or pattern, select your new pattern and then click in your empty box.

Mmmmm, lovely!

The middle image can be swapped out for another if you like. Just follow this strategy then pop a new shape in the middle taking care to align that shape too! Don’t forget to keep this in layers though – so you can make simple changes!

At this point you have a nice seamless tile! If you want to now use this pattern I recommend using Murano’s excellent tutorial on how to bring your patterns into the Sims Workshop tool!

Good Luck!

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