Replies: 16 (Who?), Viewed: 44223 times.
Rogue Redeemer
retired moderator
Original Poster
#1 Old 29th Jul 2011 at 11:07 PM Last edited by Arisuka : 8th Apr 2017 at 3:32 PM. Reason: Updated with working images
Default Fool-proof facial sculpting without CC - Rules of thumb for self-practice!
I had to learn how to make unique sims without CC for a world-project. And in the process of learning, I realized how much a good sculpt really matters in the end! So this tutorial aims to show the importance of a unique and good facial sculpt, and all the difference it can make with a sim - with or without cc! It shows how to create a solid foundation of sim making - a good, balanced facial sculpt.

This tutorial is for anyone, with difficulty level hard to determine since sim-making is very much about in the eye of the creator. This tutorial gives the tools to self-practice, so if you will apply these tips while practicing you should be able to learn how to make good, fail-proof facial sculpts - in your own, unique way!

These rules of thumb are just the very basics, aiming to help to see the non-ea way of sim-making. These instructions merely offer a fool-proof way of making good basic sculpts, so this is not the Ultimate Truth or anything. I offer you the ball, and you decide where you run with it.

All of the pictures show the sims with the same neutral expression animation to ephasize the sculpt.
Note that I haven't used any slider hacks in this tutorial, so if you do use them, you might want to tone down some of the advices where it is suggested that the slider value is set to absolute maximum/minimum!

Here are the rules of thumb which I have found that work pretty much ALWAYS.

1. THINK SMALL. EA sims have huge, over-catroony and unreal proportions, so think small when it comes to proportions (in comparison to EA's slider values, that is). This basically means that make especially the nose, eyes and the mouth (often jawline also) "small" so that the slider value is well below the middle point. This requires practice though, so that the eye gets used to the non-ea way of the face proportions.

2. AVOID ROUNDNESS, PREFER EDGYNESS AND SHAPING. Roundness in general is boring and doesn't offer much to look at. So shape that jawline, cheekbones and brows! With males in particular, giving the jawline the maximum amount of definition works pretty much always, and by giving the jawline different widhts and heights and working with the chin you will get variation. So in general, a very defined jawline is a fool-proof way of giving the face a defined look!

3. NO BIG ROUND EYES. Instead, make them small and shapely! Try to avoid all-round eyes (and roundly shaped brows!), because that is just boring and drains the personality and emotion out of the face completely (even if the rest of the face would look great!). Eyes are the maker or the breaker of a unique face, and come on, they are the mirror to the SOUL! So shape them well.

Also, lowering the brows as low as it is possible usually complements the eyes and gives them more emotion instead of brows that are high-ish (again the high and round brows, like round eyes, tend to drain the emotion out of everything else). More about the brows in the next rule!

4. EXPERIMENT WITH THE BROWS. Do not fear the bushy brows, because you are able to give them different looks with a couple of tricks!
- When you lower the brows as low as possible, then raise the eye socket height, you are able to make the brows look thinner! This is good for toning down the big and bushy brows, and it enables different looks with the same sets of brows.
-Experiment with shapes! Different sets of brows need different shaping, for example, very high value arching doesn't look good with all of the brows.
-If you have made a sim that's face looks fine otherwise but something isn't quite right... play with the brows, they are a quick and easy way to change the overall feeling of the face completely!

For beginners, I'd advice you to start from the eyes first., then continue on to jawline. The eyes are the hardest part to learn, but when you get the hang of it, the rest of the face will come together easier!

5. NO PERMANENT SMILES. AIM FOR A RELAXED MOUTH. EA sims tend to have a mouth that has raised mouthcorners, which create that "permanent smile". It is weird. People don't walk around smiling by themselves in real life (though the world would be a nicer place to live if they did...) So instead, prefer a neutral, relaxed mouth! This is easily achieved by lowering the mouthcorners and raising the mouth curve. Also, a very narrow upper or lower lip tend to create a strained look too, so try to look over the mouth asking yourself if it looks relaxed.

Good luck, have fun and ask away if you need help/clarification or have any questions!
22 users say thanks for this. (Who?)
#2 Old 10th Aug 2011 at 1:14 PM Last edited by FREEDOM_55 : 10th Aug 2011 at 1:42 PM.
good helpful reminders
It's nice to see the visible difference exemplified so clearly.
Mad Poster
#3 Old 10th Aug 2011 at 1:36 PM
Very helpful tutorial! Good tips on how to help eliminate the pudding without needing cc or slider hacks.
The Plutonite Prosecutor
staff: senior moderator
#4 Old 10th Aug 2011 at 3:27 PM
This is really good for people like me that cannot make real life sims.Thanks for the Tutorial
Field Researcher
#5 Old 18th Oct 2011 at 6:26 PM
Apparently, I need this great tutorial. I will try it when I get home. Thanks.
The other one
#6 Old 18th Oct 2011 at 8:43 PM
OoOooo...I didn't know this tut was here. I've never really been any good at making sims and now I know why...I pretty much do all the things you say not to now I can see that's probably why they always come out looking cartoony so I'm definitely gonna try some of the tips you've posted here, thanks a lot :D

Guys, rules are good! Rules help control the fun. ~ Monica E. Geller
Rogue Redeemer
retired moderator
Original Poster
#7 Old 18th Oct 2011 at 9:04 PM
missroxor Yeah, it's very difficult at first to make sims in a way that they'll have a balanced looking face, because the default EA way is so over the top and cartoony, so it means that one has to counter all of the EA-ness to make a balanced face... :/
I hope that someday with TS4, we'll be able to make realistic, balanced faced sims without so much fiddling as now!
Lab Assistant
#8 Old 19th Oct 2011 at 4:34 AM
Nice tutorial! I don't know if I agree with all of your tips, (particularly the first one--I think Sims look the best when they're a bit cartoony since it makes them less "uncanny valley" to me and fits the wacky tone and animations better) but I'll definitely give these tips a try next time I'm making some sims!
Test Subject
#9 Old 25th Oct 2011 at 9:19 AM
Oh gosh! This is just about the best tutorial ever for me because I spend hours making my sims look pretty, and this actually taught me a few tricks!
Some I had already worked out myself (think small is one of my rules but I tend to forget it sometimes) but this definitely gave me more things to think about next time (:

I wonder if you would consider making another tutorial which is a bit more in-depth about learning how to do specific "problem" body parts - for instance I find the chin/jaw and nose hardest to make look less puddingy.
Or maybe one on how to use cc/slider mods to actually enhance the face making?

Thank you so much for this amazing tutorial!!!!! I think you are definitely my new favourite person on the internet (:
Rogue Redeemer
retired moderator
Original Poster
#10 Old 25th Oct 2011 at 9:27 AM
dinosaurface Sure, I could do more tutorials. Chin, jawline and nose areas do indeed require often quite a bit of work to get a well sculpted and balanced look, that sounds like a good theme for a tutorial. CC and slider themed tutorial sounds also like a great theme! I'll look into those and start putting tutorials together.
Test Subject
#11 Old 25th Oct 2011 at 12:35 PM
Wow, thank you so much!! That would be absolutely amazing, I've subscribed to this thread so I can keep coming back to it.
*has never had someone actually pay attention to her ideas or suggestions before XD*
Other ideas: a focus on eyes and making them look realistic without clipping? I only have a x2 slider mod but whenever I try interesting things with the lids they start clipping with the eyelashes/eyelids/making makeup look like they did it with their eyes closed and non-dominant hand. I'm not sure if it's the slider mod or whatever. And I see a lot of people that just seem to have the 1st default EA eyes a lot, possibly from the same problem or being confused by menus.

And I would be thrilled to help with the tutorial/s if you need any! I tend to spend a lot of time playing around with CAS (though nowhere near your mastery!!) so..basically any help you need I would love to provide.
Lab Assistant
#12 Old 25th Oct 2011 at 2:44 PM
Okay, I tried this last night and I take back what I said--making the features a bit less cartoony does look really good, and they still seem to animate fine. This was helpful!
Rogue Redeemer
retired moderator
Original Poster
#13 Old 25th Oct 2011 at 4:41 PM
dinosaurface Can you link me a picture of the eye problem you mentioned? That would help me to identify the issue.
Field Researcher
#14 Old 4th Jun 2012 at 9:03 PM
Great tutorial Arisuka, thank you! I'll keep those tips in mind when I work on random, non-specific Sims (especially about the eyes and eyebrows).
#15 Old 15th May 2013 at 8:50 PM
*faints* Yes finally, I've always to find one of these, And now I see what I've been doing wrong.
Mad Poster
#16 Old 24th Jan 2020 at 6:44 PM
I'd never seen this tutorial before but it remains very relevant. These Sims look great. I'll definitely be including this one in my list of go-to tutorials for the game.

insert signature here
( Join my dumb Discord server if you're into the whole procrastination thing. But like, maybe tomorrow. )
Test Subject
#17 Old 21st Dec 2021 at 5:53 PM
Default Be a little nicer!
For the most part it's pretty good guide, but i do think you criticize some things too much and that you're being rude to people who like other things. :-( Round faces and big eyes don't have to be boring at all! You just need to know to how to shape them correctly. My most beautiful Sim has a perfectly round face and everyone finds her beautiful. Besides, i don't mean to be rude, but i think your jaws are looking too square-shaped and flat. Jaws usually look better as circles or triangles, but not as squares. Your tips are good, but you shouldn't overdo it. Otherwise a Sim can look too serious and bored.
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