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Having recently finished my first (and possibly last) set of default face replacements, I found myself realising that I kind of wish there had been a more comprehensive guide to making them, that covered all the bases from start to finish.

So I decided to write one!

First, you'll want to download the Face Template Files by AllenABQ. That will save you a lot of trouble. Save these somewhere you'll remember them, and then let's leave them be for now.

Secondly, let's assume that you don't all ready have the faces you want to use made. If you're starting completely from scratch, you'll want to empty out your SavedSims folder, which is usually found under (C:\Documents and Settings\~YOURNAMEHERE~\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\SavedSims), at least if you have Windows XP. Just copy all the files in there and past them to a separate folder on your desktop.

Another recommendation I would make is to take everything out of your downloads folder except for default replacements, and things like hair, eyebrows, and genetics. Furniture and objects will still make BodyShop load slowly, and you don't need them right now. However, if you don't have your downloads organised, or don't mind the wait, disregard this step.

Okay, you've emptied SavedSims, now boot up BodyShop. There shouldn't be any premade sims in there (except for the Maxis-made ones, and if you don't want those to show up, you can always get a sim bin hider), which makes it easier for you to find the sims you make, and it will also save you the trouble of having to delete all the sims you're about to create one-by one later on.

Be sure to keep the SavedSims window open, so you can keep track of which files are which, because you won't be able to delete the files when BodyShop is open!

So, now you'll want to make a sim.

If you're just going to de-uglify the Maxis templates, feel free to select the full face archetypes one by one and change them as you like, for both adult genders. However, if you're planning on making a sim "from scratch," and especially if you're currently using a different set of replacements, here is the method I recommend to make sure that your sim doesn't look too much like your current defaults:

Go to the full-face archetypes, and choose one. Then, from there, move the sliders on the other faces (not all of them, just pick a few at random) just slightly, to alter the features, but not change them completely.

See how a lot of little subtle changes can make a big difference? Then, once you're happy with the way the face looks, go to Modifiers and tweak at your leisure. Chances are, the sim you're making will look pretty unique. Hopefully also pretty AND unique.

So, let's say you started out with a boy (I've found it's much easier to make a good-looking man first, and convert it to an attractive female, than the other way around. If you make the woman first, the man tends to end up slightly feminine. But if you're into that, go ahead). You've gotten him the way you like him, now save him. Then select him in the sim bin and clone him.


Then you'll want to change the gender to the opposite one, in this case, female. Tweak her until she looks the way you want her to - but keep in mind to keep the face shape similar: If you make a man and a woman of the same archetype look too different, you could end up marrying them to someone whose template doesn't match the opposite gender of theirs, and their opposite-gendered children could end up looking unfortunate.



So you have a male and a female sim that hopefully look pretty similar. Clone one of them (I recommend always doing the first gender first), and convert them to teen, again tweaking until it looks normal (usually that doesn't require much, BodyShop will do most of the work for you. I made some of my teens' eyes one click bigger, however, just to make them look a little more childlike), then save. Do this again for elder, and with both genders. For child and toddler, however, there is only one, unisex face file. So choose whichever template you like best (male or female), and then clone it, set the age to toddler, and then tweak. To make sure that it won't look too much like the opposite sex than it is, switch the gender back and forth once or twice. Then save, and you're set!


So now you have a full "family" for that template. Keep BodyShop open, and look to your SavedSims folder. You kept that open, right? If you didn't, you'll have to Sort Icons By > Modified. The last eight files should be your family, in the order that you made the sims.


If you've been following the tutorial step-by-step, the order will be: Adult Male, Adult Female, Teen Male, Teen Female, Elder Male, Elder Female, Child, and Toddler. If you didn't do all of one gender first, that's fine, just check the order of the sims in your bin. The newest ones will be first, and you can just count backwards.

Anyway, name those files according to gender and age, and copy them to a new folder, named after the face template you want to replace. Tada! That one's done! Do this 25 more times. I know, I know, easy to say, incredibly hard to do.

A few optional hints!

*Use the same skintone, eye, and hairstyle on every starting-point face you make. This will help you gauge how different one face is from another, because skin and hair can drastically change the look of a sim.

*Don't forget about the profile! Make sure to check how your sim looks from the side from time-to-time. Often, this is where differences in the faces will become most apparent. So be sure to use the rotate function often!

*To make a sim with the elf ears, simply go to the archetypes and select the last full-face template, which should be the elf one. Then tweak the face to be the way you want it. Also! Unless you have a hack, the last face WILL NOT spawn on townies. So if you want elf-eared townies without that hack, you'll want to give another face (or all of the faces, if that tickles your fancy), the ears. And, finally, a warning: if you select the elf-eared template, do NOT use the archetype sliders! Make sure you only use "Modifiers" because using the archetype sliders will diminish the elf ears.


Have all your faces finished? All in neat little folders, named for each age and gender? Excellent! Now, the hard part.

Make two folders, label one "regular" and one "low def." You'll want these to be close to the folder that all your faces are in. Then open SimPE twice (as in, two windows). With the first instance of SimPe, you'll want to open up the first file of the first face, which is likely the adult female of 01 HEART. With the second instance of SimPE, open up the corresponding file from AllenABQ's face template files, which you should have downloaded earlier per the tutorial, and extracted close to the files you're currently working with.

With the first instance, on the right, in the Resource Tree, select AllRes > Geometric Data Container. There should be two files only, but if there are more, you want the one containing "age3_0_gmdc." If the number after "age" (3, in this case), is different, that's fine. That number indicates, obviously, the age. 3 is adult, 4 is elder, and so on. 7, however, is Young Adult, and should be ignored, since they use the adult face files.


Right button click on age3_0_gmdc (or the correct equivalent) and choose Extract, then save that file (don't change the name) in the "Regular" folder that you made earlier. There should be another file labeled "age3_LOD15_gmdc," this is the low-def version of your face, so that if you have Sim Detail on low in the game, these faces will show up. That makes it important to convert both, otherwise the faces will look VASTLY different on different game settings. So, extract that file as well, save it to the "Low Def" folder.


Now you'll want to switch to the other SimPE window, which contains the final face file. Again, select Geometric Data Container. Now, the lines under Resource List should read "afArchHeart_tslocator_gmdc" and "afArchHeartLOD15_tslocator_gmdc," depending on which file you're editing. "af" stands for Adult Female, and "Heart" is the face we're working on, so these will differ from file to file. You're going to want to replace these with your files, regular and low def, respectively.


To do this, copy the "Filename" to a text document, because you'll need it later.


Then right-button click on the "afArchHeart_tslocator_gmdc" and choose Replace, then choose the correct file (out of the Regular folder). The correct file is the one that ends in .5gd, NOT .5gd.xml! However, you'll only see the file extensions if you have them enabled. If you do NOT have file extensions enabled, then choose the one that doesn't have .5gd at the end.


When the program prompts you to reload, choose "Yes."


Now copy the Filename from the text document back to the text box you originally got it from, overwriting the text currently in there. Now choose "Commit." Do this for both regular and low definition, then save the file. Wella! One file of one face is finished!


You'll want to delete the contents of your Regular and Low Def folders between files, because the difference between "AC4F8687-080F8CBD-FFFFFFFF-FF3B7D95.5gd" and "AC4F8687-FB6A951D-FFFFFFFF-FF639D72.5gd" is not huge, and you don't want to end up putting the wrong file to the wrong face.


Once you're done with all the files for all the faces, you're gonna notice that you've got a lot of files. I recommend separating them into folders by face template (so, all ages and genders for 08 EASI go in a folder labeled 08 EASI), as it will make the next step easier.

Now, you can ship them off as-is, no problem. But it'll be nicer for everyone who downloads to only need one file per face. So you'll want to condense them.

To do this, open up one file of one face, and choose Add.


You'll need to change the file type to .package in order to see the rest of the files.


Then, select all the files except for the open one, and confirm. Ta-da~! They're all there now!


Just save it as a different file, now, and you're all set!


Wash, rinse, repeat. Once you've got all the files condensed, I recommend using the Compressorizer to bring down the filesize a bit. And you know what?

NOW YOU'RE DONE. :DD Congratulations! Throw them in your downloads folder (be sure to take our your old ones first!), or zip them up and upload them, whatever you want, because you are DONE LIKE DINNER.



( 73 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 25th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
I like tuts with pics. Thanks!
May. 26th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
Me too! Especially if they involve SimPE. >.< Before I had a clue how to use the program, I'd get totally stuck on the directions, trying to find what they wanted me to. I usually had to find out by trial and error. :P

Hopefully this made everything clear enough. I was kind of tired when I wrote it, so if anything doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll fix it. ^_^

And no problem! :D
Jun. 9th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC)
Cool, I googled for default face replacement tutorials and this was on the first page! **bookmarks!** Thanks for writing this; it looks like it took work!
Jun. 9th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Sweet! I'm on Google! :D!

And writing the tutorial wasn't so bad, at least comparatively, lol. Hope this does you some good!
(no subject) - mjo5oh - Aug. 5th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mjo5oh - Aug. 5th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katu_sims - Aug. 5th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
OMG. I always wondered why some sim cc makers only had done one or two or four of the 26 faces. Now I really know. Bookmarking it though I may never use it heh.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 04:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's a big of a process, but it's very satisfying when you finish!
Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
Hello! I'm so glad I found this tutorial! I've been wanting to make my own templates for EVAH! And I didn't notice until now that there is a archetype slider *facepalm*!

Questions though:

1) When I make a new hood after making new templates, will Goopy, Meadow & Co be using them in the new hood?

2) I'm thinking that doing this could take a while for me, because I'm never happy with the results until it's been like a week! I have the Sims 2 installed on two computers, but I'm only playing it on one. Could I make te faces on the older computer where I can't play the game due to busted DVD drive (it has the Seasons BodyShop) and then later import them over to the new comp (where I have the FT version of BS) or will that FUBAR the game?

I love your Dork Legacy, BTW! It keeps me alive and insane at work. :)
Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
:D Well, thank you!

To answer your questions:
1) Template replacements won't affect sims all ready in the game. However, if you use empty neighborhood templates (found over at MATY, google should bring them right up), then all NPCs (hobby leaders, downtownies, etc) and townies WILL generate with them. But the Maxis-made characters will stay the same.

2) That shouldn't be a problem. Most of my templates I actually made the sim in BodyShop on my laptop, and did all the SimPE work on my desktop (which has AL and Ikea, which the laptop does not). As long as you don't use content on the sims (assuming those are the files you'll be moving) that requires an EP that your other computer doesn't have, it should be fine.
Jan. 7th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)

On creating the faces, you have this line when switching sexes "but keep in mind to keep the face shape similar"

This seems like a silly question, but does this mean to *just* keep the face shape similar or the whole face.

I only ask because I spent a few hours on my first face and was really pleased with it... until I switched ages and sexes. A few of the very specific characteristics (like the nose on this one) I wanted to be passed down were completely distorted. I mean, not even remotely close to the original. The face shape/chin/jawline aren't a part of the affected area.
Jan. 7th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I understood your question right, so here's a needlessly long answer:

When you switch from female to male, the male's lips will be smaller, the lower jaw will be wider, and some other cosmetic changes will occur. So the faces shouldn't be identical across genders by any means...but, for example:

The Komei Tellerman face template, for Maxis, is pretty cute for girls. So you marry in this cute girl, and oh my god, her boy children have Komei face. You don't want the faces to be really drastically different for male vs female, because the children's faces will be based on the template of the parent's face, not the facial features, if that makes sense. So rather than her boy children looking like HER, they'll look like the male version of her face template.

But there's nothing wrong with making changes to keep the features of one gender concurrent with the other. What I was saying was, don't have two entirely different sims for the male and female of the same template.
(no subject) - peachiekene - Jan. 8th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katu_sims - Jan. 8th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 12th, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)
Fixing the maxis faces...

I am new to the body shop, but I have played sims for a long time. But I am ready to experiment.

So, I have a question for you! What is the easiest way to just tweak the existing maxis face templates myself?

I don't want to download a whole set or anything fancy, I just want to get in there, and alter some features, and when I'm done, have those tweaked versions replace the current ugly ones. How can I make it happen?

Thanks :)
Mar. 12th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Fixing the maxis faces...
Well, I'd suggest following the tutorial that you just commented on. ^_^ It has all the instructions, step-by-step, on how to make your own templates.

However, if you're just starting out, you'll probably just want to download a set of templates, because it's so much easier. A quick search on modthesims2.com should come up with some good things for you!
Re: Fixing the maxis faces... - (Anonymous) - Mar. 13th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Fixing the maxis faces... - katu_sims - Mar. 13th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 14th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
I'm going to try this. I'm kind of terrified, though, not gonna lie. But this tutorial definitely looks easier to follow than others, so I am hopeful and optimistic!
May. 14th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
Oooh, that's exciting! I love your sims, so I really hope you finish! Or at least upload the ones you DO finish, even if it's not a whole set. :)

I'll be here if you need to ask any questions!
(no subject) - imaginepageant - May. 14th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 14th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, so I have a question already. Let's say you have your adult male face. You clone it to make the teen male face, and tweak it quite a bit. A teen is spawned in-game with this face. Will he grow into the saved adult face, or the adult version of the teen face?
May. 14th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
He will grow into the saved adult face.
(no subject) - katu - May. 14th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - imaginepageant - May. 14th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 29th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
hey, i need help!
first off, thanks for taking ur time.

second off,
where can i find the SimPE?

2nd off, in which folder are the original templates? i looked in the TSBin & found nothing.
May. 29th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Re: hey, i need help!
SimPE can be downloaded at this link.

And while there is a way to extract all the base templates yourself, to edit them, all the work has all ready been done. You can just download those and edit them; my tutorial assumes this is the way you will do it. :P
May. 29th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)
ok i downloaded it, but the link is down (mts2 is. so yeah how do i do it?
May. 29th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're asking me how to do. If you downloaded the face template file linked in the earliest part of the post, you should be able to follow the instructions detailed through the rest of the tutorial.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
I have tried
I have tried to replace default face with one of mine, and i have followed step by step your tutorial 3 times. But i still to see maxis face or oepu's face replacement instead mine.
Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: I have tried
Well, you should make certain that all other replacements for that face number are not in your downloads. Aside from that, I'm not sure what could be the problem. I've made two sets of face templates using this method, with no problems.

If you could give me more details, I might be able to help more.
Re: I have tried - (Anonymous) - Jun. 23rd, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I have tried - katu_sims - Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 4th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I just wanted to thank you for writing this. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to in a matter of moments; just saving a backup of my current Sims folders.

I must say, this is the easiest-to-read tutorial I've found regarding this subject, and I've read over at least a dozen or so. Your pictures/clear instructions are actually leading me to believe that I can do this - which is saying a lot for me. :)
Aug. 4th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
Well, thank you! I really appreciate hearing that. I hope things go well for you! And you're always welcome to ask me questions if you have any. ^_^
Aug. 16th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)
it says copy the name into the text box, but i can't seem to find the text box i'm supposed to copy it into -_-;
Aug. 16th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
nevermind i figured it out
Aug. 16th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
yea another question. when you replace a file does that mean that the the blank template thingymajig is now my face template?
Aug. 17th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Yes, the template will become your face file.
(no subject) - mirroredfate - Aug. 18th, 2009 12:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 17th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Oh my god, this is ridiculously involved. Thusly, you are ridiculously amazing.
At first, the tweaking of each and every aged face template seemed daunting, but the moment you mentioned SimPE, well, my pupils totally contracted on sight, lol. Still, thank you so much for taking the time to not only write but illustrate this tute!
Aug. 17th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC)
Haha, it is a tad complicated, and it's so dang easy to make mistakes and not notice until the very end, lol.

But thank you! It's my dearest hope that it will cause more people to make sets. :D
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