Mask Tutorial

Download (Mask Only)

This mask was created for tutorial purposes. At the bottom of this post is the link to download the mask with PSD work file (layers intact), DDS files and the tutorial images. The images contained therein may be used for stock purposes, base for Sims 3 creations. Please link back to me with credit. Please do not claim my tutorial, the images (my face!) as your own. The mask has 4 color channels. All should be set to white (though you can tint them as desired) except the eye color, which is a thin sliver of color on the chooser.

Face Mask Overlaysby GillianIvy

1. Duplicate each layer (except bg) to make white out layers. On each, go to Hue/Saturation and set lightness to 100. This will turn the image completely white. Underneath each white layer, create a new layer and fill with black. Merge the white on top of black. In the image here, you will see I have two layers, one for the overlay alpha. And the second for the color channel in the mask file.

2. Hide all your alpha whiteouts. Again, duplicate each layer, this time bg too. Hide everything but duplicates. Merge them all together. So you now have a complete picture for your overlay.

Tutorial pt. 1

3. Okay, now go to BG Copy layer (#3), select all and copy. New file (Overlay), paste, flatten. New file (Mask) paste, flatten. You now have two separate files which look identical. Go back to your work file. Go to your overlay whiteout (#1), select all, copy. Go to your Overlay file. Select the "Channels" tab, not "Layers", now add new layer. A new blank alpha will appear. Paste. You will now have an image like pictured above. Save as a DDS, either DXT3 or DXT5. Go back to work file and copy your mask whiteout (#2). Go to your mask file and "Channels", add new alpha, paste. Should appear like the file pictured above. Save as DDS either DXT3 or DXT5. DXT5 is better for high detail, as DXT3 may have some loss. You are finished in image editor, open CTU.

Tutorial pt 2

4. New file. Choose CAS part, this case it's Adult>>Female>>Makeup>>BlushMulti. Select the "Design" tab and add new design. Under "Textures" tab, adjust your tints, change all to white, except for last one for eye color. Enable Color D. Select Face Overlay, click replace, choose your file. Select Mask, choose your file. Click "Commit". If you need to, edit the part category, it is set to blush for this tutorial. Blush is good for skin masks, as you can layer make-up and costume on top of it.

5. Install your new package. You may need to do some back and forthing to check for edits. (ie removing eyebrows, they can tend to look bad, not sure if costume category is better for that, blush category makes it so you can add lipsticks or some eyeshadows if they're done in mask layers or if your image has more transparency around eyes.)

Final image should come out like this:



Additional Credits:


  1. Ok, I have a question. Is this to being your mask or is this after you've completed your mask to get it ready for saving? I'm new to this and trying to learn how to do a face mask..

  2. Diamondz, I'm not sure I know what you're asking me. I'm new to making tutorials and hope I've explained my process clearly. You have permission to download all files and work with the PSD to see what I did to make up each layer and DDS file. You'll be creating an "Overlay" and a "Mask". Overlay is for the new face, Mask is for color part assignment. The alpha channel determines visible part, see red in example image.

    I'll try to be logged on to my Meebo chat/IM, so people can contact me, my e-mail provider is all messed up. Rejected Chat. I'll be happy to answer whatever questions and help however I can.

  3. Ok..Thanks. I've gotten quite far in my face masks since then. I tried to make some blush && it worked so now i'm onto my masks. I want to know if I only need to work with the image containing the alpha and make my mask from that?? (that's what I did with the blush), or how many original files do I need to edit? Are you on Mod the Sims??

  4. Yes, I'm on ModtheSims. GillianIvy I used two files (Mask = color parts, Overlay = Image Alpha) because I also was doing contacts in my mask, that I wanted to be a separate color. I'm no expert, I just fiddle around. I followed Aikea Guineas tutorial for making contacts (default eye replacements) then kinda went from there. I did a lot of downloading things I wanted to try and looked at their files to see what they did. A good one to look at is Stefan's Scarlett Johansen (sp?) Though he saved at DXT3 instead of DXT5, which makes uneven gradient for alpha channel. I think it's noticeable, but if it doesn't bother you, go with the smaller file.

  5. Well...can you explain to me how the alpha channels work?? I think that's where i'm having the most trouble..

  6. Alpha channels work in two ways. The first, is the basic way. As an alpha, as in visibility on the model. White to black gradient, white = solidly visible, black = solidly invisible. Grey scale in between.

    For color channels, the white to black scale works the same. There's 3 channels, Red, Green, Blue (RGB). You can add a forth color channel, Alpha by name, but it works as a fourth color instead of opacity denotation. In CAS, you will notice that there are up to four recolorable/patternable parts of everything. This is true for outfits, make-up, etc.

    Each CAS channel is represented by a color channel. In this order: Red, Green, Blue, Alpha. Think of it in layers. Red is your background. If you have one channel, then no others are required, just make all of them black, only the red would show. After your bottom, layer everything on top. I find the 4th layer (for patterns) very useful as a dirt layer, a top layer which overlays everything else.

    So depending upon your project, you can do two files. The Overlay file, uses the alpha channel to determine overall opacity. The Mask file separates the colors into CAS parts. This can be left blank and unused if you want the user to just use the colors it's already set to, with CAS set to all white.

    If you want more specific help, perhaps if you upload your files somewhere, like Mediafire, or on my Wiki (free to join) and I can have a look at what you've done and perhaps you can include a read me type file with specific notes on what you have questions with. If you post on the wiki, I'll remove the file afterward if you prefer so no one else can download. If you use Mediafire, you can password protect the file. Though right now my e-mail isn't working, you'd have to send me the password either on the Wiki or at MTS.

    Speaking of, what's you MTS name? You're welcome to add me to your buddies and send me messages there if you prefer a more immediate response. I do check there nearly daily. (I'm Sims addicted, but recovering downloadaholic).

    Hope you find this information useful. Perhaps I ought to make a page in my Wiki for the breakdown of Color Channels for CAS? ;D There's so many tutorials around, but none just outright explain channels and best way to utilize them. Though HP's Pattern tutorial is pretty close. Let me know if this is helpful.

    Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and happy holidays!

  7. Hi there. I've got this face mask thing nearly down; using your tutorial (thanks so much!) I managed to get the face mask nearly perfect. The only issue is that the eyelashes are coming up as these thin black 3D lines ala Sims 2 eyelashes. I have no idea what's causing this or how to fix it. There's nothing in the actual game that changes eyelashes, and if I remove the mask, the problem disappears. Do you have any idea what could be doing it? Thanks.

  8. I'm not sure I know what you mean. Sorry to take so long to reply, haven't had the game installed on my computer due to bad video card problems. Just upgraded our computer though. I'm not sure how much follow up help I can offer. Can you take a screenshot of the problem? I think it's a problem with the masking alpha channels. I haven't done anything in so long, I'll practically have to relearn it all. Sorry, I'm no help at all. Look at your alpha channels and see if you have the eyelashes blocked out.

  9. Sorry I haven't replied in so long. I didn't see this reply for a while and was too frustrated with this process to really mess around with anything for a bit.

    Here though is a screenshot of what I mean:

    I hope that helps! I'm not sure what I'd be looking at with the alpha channels?

  10. My apologies, I forgot to edit that the rectangle above the eye in the lefthand corner needs to be blocked out on the alpha channel, otherwise you get the solid eyelash mass. Here's a DDS file: Tutorial Folder, you want the Sim Face layout DDS. It shows a rectangle in the left corner of the image, you want that rectangle to be black on your alpha channel. Sorry I forgot to include that in my tutorial. Hope that fixes it.

  11. i am so rubbish at understanding how to do the overlays, i have tried and tried to do it and it just doesn't work for me. i am never going to have a sims looking like kristen stweart

  12. Can you post the tutorials for the Gimp Users?

  13. Sorry, I have no clue how to use Gimp, never tried it before.

  14. can you please explain/write this tutorial from tutorial1 image a bit more detailed? because I don't understand your instructions well since they're not really step by step for beginners like myself :/

  15. @That80's kid,

    Sorry, if it's not explained easy enough. E-mail me at and I can help you with any part. It's been a while since I've made anything for The Sims 3, but I'm glad to help. I'm not very good at making tutorials. Mostly, trying to explain my process.

    Did you download the files to work with as in the example?

    Is there something specific you were having an issue with?

  16. thank you for the fast reply.
    ok, I'll go step by step what I didn't understand and if you can please answer step by step to.

    first I would like to know if I for instance wanna do some celeb sim, how do I do that with your images, just paste their face over yours there and blend it in? also what about eyes, can I paste them over too, or do I have to cut them out and paste them in the 'box' in the corner?

    and then step by step I don't understand,
    1. 'duplicate each layer (not bg) to make whiteout layers --that means that I duplicate ALL 8 layers from tutorial 1 pic and duplicate them and then go to hue/saturation under adjustments in photoshop and make lightness 100%?

    2.then under each layer make a new layer with black fill --so I 'add a new layer' under all 8 pics and fill it with black? and then how do I merge 'black and white' together?

    3.after I have that, I duplicate ALL LAYERS that I have (incl. bg), hide everything else (what layers do I hide here?) and merge copy layers (which 'copy' layers?)

    there are more steps, but those I wrote I really get confused. Maybe you could do the whole thing again in PS and record it all with camstudio (free program that records your screen) and put it up on youtube, so it would be easier for me and others that find written tutorial harder than video one?

  17. You may find it helpful to reference the following:
    Aikea Guinea's Extracted eye multiplier, with bonus facial overlays for changing the whites and Extracted basic skintones. from her tutorials Default Replacement Eyes, Plus Changing The Whites by Aikea Guinea and Creating Default Replacement Skintones for TS3 by Aikea Guinea.

    Aikea Guinea explains about the eyes, which I combine into the facial overlay so it's not default. It does have to be in the box area. I got the base/pudding face from the skin extracts and added the eye into them.

    Blending the face can be a pretty complex process. As you see, it's pretty warped from what a real face looks like. Easiest way to do this is to cut & paste your face in parts. Nose, forehead, cheeks, lips, chin... And place them correctly, then from there, work with your clone stamp tool, or whatever your Photoshop technique and blend them in. Try to make the sizes match as close as possible. I find warp and distort transform tools very helpful in this. then I merge that onto a separate layer from the base.

    I might try doing a video tutorial, I am long overdue for making something for the Sims 3. I haven't played in a long time, as my bf tends to monopolize the computer and I've had a lot of art projects/commissions. Unfortunately, I don't really have the time to be devoting to my Sims stuff. I'm sorry to not be able to help faster.

    1) "duplicate each layer" I was meaning each overlay layer, in order to create the black & white mask layer. Take your finished edited face layer and duplicate it, make the duplicate completely white, and put a black bg behind it. Then you have your alpha mask.

    2) Putting the black fill under your white mask, and merge, yes. That's right. But not all 8 ^_^;;

    3) Copy all your mask and base layers (not the black & white layers you made from the mask). And merge them into a new layer. This way, you preserve all your edits and not just flatten them into the bg, in case you need to alter anything.

    I think the main problem with my tutorial, I tried to make it all into as few images as possible, when really, more images would have been more useful. I'll keep that in mind when making my next tutorial. Or a revised version of this.

    I hope my explanation is more helpful for you.

  18. thanks a lot. I'll take alook at these links and at your instructions and hopefully I can make something out of it. otherwise I'll come here and post what I have problems with and hopefully you can help me furthermore, if you don't mind.
    looking forward to a video/more images tutorial too, if you'll have time to make one of course. :]


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