Sims 3 as a story telling tool.

Okay, so I had an entry I started with the hopes of sharing some tips or something, but it really became me just blathering on.

So here's version 2.0, improved and with hopefully less blather!

I've been using Sims 3 as a story telling vehicle for about six months now. I don't even play the game still.

So here is the trick: When I go in to take pictures, I go in with a loose idea of what I hope to accomplish. That's it. I have my sims run through a scenario, and I just take pictures, pausing and looking at various angles. I keep open the screen shot folder and peek at what I've taken to be sure that it will work.

So then a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned on twitter that I had a very awesome sim shoot. Yup, the pics for the most recent entry were taken a month ago. I'm not usually that on it, but sometimes I get on a kick and have to play out scenes.

And this is what came out of that:

Is there anyone out there wondering how I did that? Anyone?

Well too bad, you're going to hear it anyway!

This is an idea I had for a very long time. Basically, I just pushed two beds together using the move objects cheat. The sims will stay with the object if you move the whole thing. So I had Jimmy relax on his bed and then moved it.

The next step was actually from something I noticed before. Remember that shot of Edith rolling over looking mad? I realized that sims actually move from a relaxed position to a nap position. So I told Jimmy to nap.

The rest was all luck. Mary happened to be facing away from the wall. I told Jimmy to nap, and he happened to turn towards the wall. What the hell made them turn in the right directions? Was it where I probably subconsciously clicked? Was it right and left handedness on their parts? I don't know, but it worked.

And in the end I came away super happy.

A lot of old tricks still work. There are no invisible bar stool recolors yet, but they aren't really needed since you can recolor the cushions to match and take shots from interesting angles. Bar stools are level with arms of sofas and beds.

Also, I downloaded a chair that has no back so that I can have sims sit closer on the couch so it looks more natural. (That would be Old Sam's Comfort Chair from La Luna Rossa.) This is also handy for sitting on coffee tables.

You can get sims to sit on the ground by using the picnic basket and having sims sit on it. Then you actually move the sims. They'll usually turn towards each other and continue chatting or whatever you were having them do. And you can pause and have them look around by moving their target. (Like in this shot. I just moved Brandon who is the person she's actually looking at.)

And my last trick... a lot of shots I get just having sims talk and then moving them around when they make a move that I can see working in another fashion. This is actually a trick I picked up from Laura of Lakeside Heights.

All of the following shots are just sims chatting, and I moved them.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! Am just starting to set up a story that's just a story, rather than a challenge, and have been looking for good shooting tips.

Nicole said...

Thank you so much for the tips! I've been wondering how you get some of your amazing shots. : )

Anonymous said...

Oh man. That's amazing! I've used a few of the ones you mention for chatting moves (for Sean's hand touching Ed's back), but I would never have ever figured out the beds trick.

I did come up with an idea around the same time you did, and tried it out--it mostly worked--but I'm afraid to unveil it right now....

Carla said...

You're so clever with TS3 and making in game interactions work for you. That first pic of Jimmy and Mary is amazing!

I love to read Sim blathering, by the way, so your first draft probably wouldn't have bothered me!

S.B. said...

I think the first time I saw two beds moved together was Decorgal's AiD. And honestly, I was so blown away and so intimated, I didn't ask for any details. Doubt I would have gotten any but she's famous and busy.

I can't use the same animations you do since I can't use TS3, but I want to tell you how much I appreciate that you've shared how. It means a lot. Thank you.

The Lunar Fox said...

Rad, I can't wait to see your story!

Nicole, aw, thanks. I hope it helps, though I don't think you really need help anyway.

Rachel, oooh, I can't wait to see it. Is it spoilery? Oh I can wait.

Carla, thanks. I really love that shot. I looked at it a lot while I was fixing up their story.

And lol! I had a feeling you might be one that wasn't bothered by it, but eh. This turned out more like what I'd wanted.

SB, yeah, it's true that it will be a bit different for TS2, but it can still be done. I have noticed a lot lately that people forget the old tricks and sometimes I go, "Why are they doing that? Don't they know the bar stool trick?" Haha.

But a lot of stuff I pick up from Laura. I see you're following her on twitter, so I hope you're reading Lakeside Heights. Her stories are so amazing, and her shots are so natural.

Carnaxa said...

It was great to see into your mind about the tips and tricks for what you do with Ruin. I love reading behind the scenes chatter! Thanks for sharing the tips. I had wondered how you got that particular shot too.

I never used poseboxes for a long time in TS2 because they tended to stuff up my game and with TS3, everything I did for IHS was pretty much play through the animations and take random shots, use MoveObjects a lot and that was pretty much it. I don't think you need poseboxes or hacks really when storytelling. You can get some great shots by just watching what they do closely and familiarising yourself with all the animations available. With TS3, the traits also help a lot in getting some trait specific animations.

Laura said...

I love that bed shot! So sweet! Is there anything like the freezer clock, or OMSPs yet for TS3? I think that's what I'd miss most. I use those things constantly!

But I love those luck shots, that you just stumble upon, and could probably never recreate again if you tried! I always take about 50 shots, from all angles, just to make sure I don't lose it, lol!

And awww, *blushing* you know I learn just as much from you! :)

The Lunar Fox said...

Carnaxa, I really have a hate-hate relationship with pose boxes. I agree with you, though I actually say with some play and some luck you'll generally come along the picture you want. You do need to be familiar with the game.

And with TS3, all the traits help, plus I've noticed that their faces change the way I read animations ever so subtly. That's why I always run sims I've newly created through test shots to be sure that I've got them looking the way I see them in my head.

Laura, no, definitely no freezer clock yet, though with the Chaos Painting, you can now delay animations to make them line up better with other animations if you so chose I think. And no OSMPs. I can't wait for the day. I keep imagining Paula sitting cross legged on Brandon's couch, and I could get her to do just that if only I could put her on an OSMP or something that lines up with the couch.

Oh yeah, luck shots are the best. When a shot works out, and you get that tingle, I do the same, I take a million shots from many different angles just in case! Then I double check my shots to be sure I got them all, lol.

Aww, thanks Laura.

S.B. said...

I'm spamming your blog....sorry.

I'm not familiar with TS3 and can't see how I could possibly use it, not with what we write.

You know I have very mixed feelings about the pose boxes. However, and it may be, probably is, failure of imagination of my part, but the normal game animations don't give me what I need. I've worked with the game a long time and know most of the tricks. Even with meticulous overlays and a great deal of patience, I need some of the pose boxes. Doing something small and out of the mainstream gives me latitude though!

I'm a great admirer of Laura's work. I sort of lurked for a long time, intimidated, but I hope I can try to openly follow at this point.

The Lunar Fox said...

Psh! You're not spamming.

Oh, I feel like some of the stuff I said came out wrong, lol. I wouldn't say it's a lack of imagination on your part! Definitely not. I think it's just that when you're working with anything for a long time, you fall into expectations and ruts, you kind of end up boxing yourself in, y'know?

I think that's part of the problem with TS2 story telling. It's not that there's anything wrong with pose boxes, I think it's just the boxed in expectations. But you know, I don't think they really exist? I've sort of come to this conclusion recently. It's really all in our heads. And by "our" I mean us the story teller.

You should, Laura's a sweetheart as I'm sure you're finding out.

S.B. said...

no no it didn't come out wrong! You know my opinion about pose boxes because I raged out over them. Felt trapped and pressured etc. But you're right. It's self expectations. And a rut is a good way to describe it. Trying to force the game to allow you to display actions that cannot be displayed without insane efforts, well that's crazy.

Laura is gold doubt about it!

Anonymous said...

Those are the best shots, I think, when you notice something new in the game and it comes together almost magically.

That first shot is beautiful.

Monday Morning said...

Great tips! I've been a ghost but I've been downloading like crazy and plotting my next move story-wise! Thank goodness I kept my blog with all of my favorite story sites!

I do a lot of the same things you do, especially when having two sims "touch" and get close together. If it weren't for 'moveobjecs on" I'd never accomplish a sim falling from a building or a simple caress on the shoulder by a fiendish hunky sim.

Oh, and thanks for the link to the chair! Very useful indeed!!

The Lunar Fox said...

Thanks. Oh, are you planning another story then? I can't wait for it.

Yes, you're the one who told me about move objects and the alt button. OMG-- that's so freeing! It's so handy and easy to use. It makes it actually fun to take pictures.

Monday Morning said...

I am, I am! Just fleshing out the characters and working on the world. I really need to snap some pictures. I've been having fun making customized art with S3oc/S3pe for my world. It'd be awesome to be able to recolor plants, but I haven't been able to figure that one out yet.

Illandrya said...

Oooh, there's some neat tricks in there I'm going to have to explore for my own stories! Probably the only "trick" I use is to turn free will off and just have them stand there, click images all the time. Sometimes they come up with some interesting facial expressions and poses, particularly with the more interesting traits.

The Lunar Fox said...

Thank you! I'll also link you to this piece. Some new stuff came out including an invisible scripting mod which I used to make invisible furniture.

TS3 sims do make interesting faces. They're very subtle and complex, very realistic sometimes. And other times they're too much and utterly silly and gross, lol.

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