Nifty Knitting: SimGuruSarah Shares CAS Development Sneak Peek

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SimGuruSarah shared more information regarding the creation process for Create a Sim items on the upcoming The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff Pack.

Hi everyone!

We received a lot of positive feedback from you, our community, about the gameplay deep dives and developer interviews we shared throughout the development process on The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff Pack. We didn’t have an opportunity previously to talk about Create-A-Sim asset creation, but obviously clothing is a huge part of what makes our favorite pixel people feel real, and we would be remiss to not discuss it at all. So I’m excited to share one last deep dive with you!

The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff is coming soon – July 28, to be exact. I’m sure by now you’ve watched the trailer:

And when you watched the trailer I’m sure you noticed the so-bad-it-is-good-sweater:
We call it “The Forbidden Sweater” and the ability to craft it is unlocked once a Sim completes the Lord/Lady of the Knits aspiration. Only a master knitter could craft something so delightfully diabolical…and itchy.

I’d like to share with you a little bit about the Create-A-Sim clothing development process, and what goes into making something as unique as this sweater. Inmar Salvatier, the artist responsible for this delightful abomination, will tell us more about this asset and the CAS process in general.

Sarah: Hi Inmar! Can you tell us a little about what a Create-A-Sim artist does on The Sims 4?

Inmar: We are the digital tailors, barbers, and cosmetologists of the Sims 4! We take the concept art and pull it into 3-D space with tools like Maya and ZBrush. Constructing every new piece to not only to fit right, but also move right, on all Sims, all the time! Got to have the right fabric and color too, so we’ll jump into programs like 3DCoat, Photoshop, and Marmoset to get the right feel and aesthetic. Then we watch our clothing creations come to life in the game and make the right little tweaks to, as Tim Gunn would say, “make it work!”

Sarah: Before joining the Create-A-Sim team you were an artist on The Sims Mobile. How has your time on The Sims Mobile influenced your work as a Create-A-Sim artist on The Sims 4?

Inmar: Joining the CAS (Create-A-Sim) team was a big change for me. It was my first opportunity to work on a PC/Console game and I felt very intimidated. But my skills from the mobile world helped me tremendously, and I was able to be an effective team member. Mobile gaming has a lot of constraints and you often have to get crafty with creative solutions to get the most out of the art you’re creating. You learn to adapt and, for me at least, it has instilled what some have called a “can do” spirit. My first pack on The Sims 4 was Island Living and early on I was handed a curveball asset with a bunch of question marks. It was a bikini with a sheer sash around the waist. See-through assets are super tricky, especially if it’s not directly on the body. But I love a challenge and I was able to learn a lot about our internal tools on The Sims 4, and I even got to design the different color variants for that asset. There was also the robot arm for Discover University. I was able to take that unique top from Concept all the way to finished asset. The concept art I created helped my fellow CAS artists design the full mech suit and robot. It hit me right in the feels that my team was so stoked about my work that it inspired them.

Sarah: The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff features a delightfully atrocious failure sweater. It’s so bad, it’s good! What inspired you when making this truly unique asset? What challenges did you face?

Inmar: This thing is amazing, and I was all about it from the start! The idea was as big as the sweater itself, and the over-sized ideal was the first real challenge. Sims needed to feel like they were swimming in it without sacrificing our animation fidelity. I had to offset the bones – think of these as the invisible skeleton that helps to shape our clothing and make it work on Sim’s bodies – to not only help convey the size, but also to keep the animations working correctly. Then there is the process of making something bad on purpose that still looks good. Yeah, wrap your head around that sentence. As artists we strive to achieve something visually appealing, but what do you do when you are asked to create an appealing failure? Well, you make this atrocity! It’s about knowing the rules and how to break them in just the right way. From concept to modeling, I think this beast did just that.The first step is concept art. Our concept artist, Amy Kim, sketched several different designs, then she worked with our Art Director and other members of the team to choose which idea to move forward with. Then she further refined that final choice (how many pom-poms is too many pom-poms?!) until the concept was at a good point to hand off to the 3-D artist.

Then the Create-A-Sim artist works on the general shape and defining characteristics of the asset.

Once we’re happy with the shape we can start working on textures:

Coloring the asset comes last:

And, finally, the finished product in game!

Sarah: So cool! Thanks for walking us through that, Inmar. While I’m sure this sweater ranks in the top ten, what is your absolute favorite Create-A-Sim item you have ever made?

Inmar: My absolute favorite item was on The Sim Mobile. I made a horse head mask! That was another out there, bonkers idea that had me hooked from the moment it was mentioned. It also had its share of challenges and design problems, but I love a good challenge and watching players using and loving it, well, right in the feels : )

Sarah: Thanks for sharing with us Inmar!

And thanks again Simmers for joining us on the journey to create The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff Pack. We here at Maxis had a lot of fun working with you to create this pack, and it was exciting for the SP team members to get to share their passion and creative process with you via these deep dives.

The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff Pack will be released on PC, Xbox, and PS4 on July 28.
You can learn more here: https://www.ea.com/games/the-sims/the-sims-4/news/nifty-knitting-reveal

That’s all for now! Keep on knitting…uh, I mean Simming….
~ SimGuruSarah