The Sims 3 Building Tutorials
Advanced Wall Curving
By Nore Negonc
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|Pools||Roofs||Slopes||Stairs/Elevators||Wall Curving||Moving||Switch 'hoods|
Hello and do come in. Welcome to my first guide, Advanced Wall Curving. This guide is written for those who are already familiar with the basics of CFE. I do intend, however, to write a guide to basic wall curving soon! A few things to note, the guide might be a bit confusing but I am thinking to take clearer images later detailing the various techniques further but I wanted to get the actual words down so I knew exactly of what to take images lol. Also… it is long. In case you enjoy this guide, I am thinking to write guides for the following as well – guide to hills, troughs and other landscaping, guide to unique uses for moveobjects, and a guide on some of my thoughts regarding interior design. These guides are, of course, by no means the only ways to do things, but I thought they might be useful for those of you looking for some new ideas to make your houses look like homes! And so, without further ado, let’s get started on wall curving.
But before we do! A few fundamentals to remember. These might not all make sense right now, but will be reiterated throughout the guide.
- Always start from the bottom. This is the most basic and incredible reason why we are able to create some unique and beautiful structures. The way CFE works is that curving the lowest level will consequently curve every level above that. Even if there is no actual wall above it, you must imagine as though your entire lot is covered in 5 imaginary square stories and when you curve a wall, the air above it will curve as well, as if there was floor there. The good news is that when you start curving the second and third and fourth and fifth levels, the first level maintains the curve you created. However, this leads to guideline number 2!
- Always think ahead. Because of rule number one you must usually have a clear idea of what you want to do with all the levels with which you are working. This is because imagine you have curved the first, second, third and fourth stories and are working on the fifth. But then imagine you changed your mind about the curvature of the first story and wanted to redo it. Recurving the first story will then curve that area of every story above it. This leads to guideline number 3!
- CFE can be… frustrating. Because of its nature, wanting to change anything can lead to having to start over.
- Always remember as you curve that coloring can have a very strong effect. So while something might not look a certain way, it might look exactly the way you were imagining once you have begun coloring it. And always and I mean ALWAYS color in EVERYTHING before you start curving. Once you begin curving you cannot build floors and ceilings on curved walls so even if you do not think you are going to use them, fill in every floor and ceiling. You can always delete later but you cannot fill in later. As for the walls, I recommend using a different color for each story or level, so you can easily see your curvature as you go.
- Some terms – guide walls are the walls we use to guide the curve of our actual structure, normal height walls are walls that maintain the default height of a wall when you first build it, foundation height walls are walls that have been CFE’d to the same height as a foundation wall. Because you are likely going to be dealing with walls greater than and less than the height of a normal wall, I also recommend choosing wall coverings that have a base design along the bottom. This is so you can easily see which walls are greater or less than normal height. Also remember that foundation height is the lowest a wall can go before it begins to curve the wall below it.
Ok with these things in mind, let’s get started.
Your first task of course is to actually write in CFE lol. You can start the console with cntl-shft-c. After this the exact command is constrainfloorelevation false. Now before we begin with curving the actual walls, it is necessary to discuss when CFE is needed and when it is not. As you build you will most likely be going back and forth between CFE true and false. CFE false is ONLY for curving walls and foundation. Make certain that when you are working on terrain, use CFE true so it does not do anything to the walls you spend so long curving lol.
Here we can see an instance of when we would use both CFE true and false. The natural wall border of the walk-out basement is created using CFE true since this is actual terrain. The columns on the deck however were curved using CFE false since this is a wall area.
Build Your Core
Before you start but after you have thought out what you want to do, build your core structure. This tutorial will be utilizing my gryffin house so in this case, your core is the body of the gryffin. You want to create a general structure, even if it is not the final structure. You can see from the image here that what I started with was no where near what the end building looks like lol. This core is mainly to get you a good feel for the structure and the room with which you have to work. As you build your core, you must bear in mind your guide walls (see next section). You want to leave about 2 tiles between your structure and your guide walls and at least 1-2 tiles between your guide walls and the edge of your lot. As you build, be creative. Remember that besides curving the walls, you can also create basic forms using diagonal walls. And since the overall goal is to make the house actually utilizable for sims, you want to make certain to have an area of the core where there are going to be normal height walls. Here that would be the body of the gryffin. Once you have your core built, you can move onto guide walls.
Here we can see the core of the gryffin building. You can notice that it clearly does not look a thing like the final structure lol. However it is always necessary to create a base for yourself and then decide where to start and what needs to be curved first so you do not mess with the already curved sections later.
So the first task in any kind of wall curving is guide walls. You build these walls around areas you want to curve. It is a good idea to build them on each side of the curved area as you are going to need to level the terrain from one guide wall to the next. These guide walls are what we use to lower and raise terrain. The core of the building is NEVER raised or lowered. We only raise and lower the ground underneath a guide wall. For this you want to select the medium size brush on lowest softness. Choose an area of your guide wall to raise or lower. The medium sized brush creates a nice rectangular intend, thus allowing a leveled area on the guide wall. With this level, you then utilize level terrain to level the rest of the guide wall to this height. From there you can begin using level terrain to curve your main structure. If you have no clue as to what this means, this information will be much more clearly detailed in the guide to basic wall curving.
Here we can see the guide walls that were used in creating the creature’s head.
Here is the guide wall that was used in curving the back of the creature. I had to use another guide wall not shown here to create the two degree curve (see mega advanced techniques later lol)
And here is the creature after both the head and back were curved. You can ignore the tail as I deleted it later.
Here we have the guide wall that was used in creating the new tail. You can see that because I was close to the edge of the lot I utilized a diagonal wall to lower the terrain under the guide wall (you can also see the medium sized brush indent of this lowered terrain to the right).
The key to creating curves the way you want is clicks. Now while clicks are not exact, a gentle nudge on your mouse key will always give you the same height when you lower or raise the ground. This is what I am going to call one click. If you hold the mouse button for more than a fraction of a section, you might unintentionally get 2-3 clicks. Always work in terms of one click at a time, even if you are raising or lowering terrain by 20 clicks, you want to be certain it is 20 after all and not 19 lol! Knowing this, there are 2 basic kinds of curves you can create, concave and convex. Concave curves create an outward form, while convex curves go inward. To create convex curves you start by moving the terrain by a small number then increasing. So first one click, then level the terrain, then four clicks, then level, then seven clicks, etc. To create concave curves you start by moving the terrain by a large number then decreasing. So first seven clicks, then level the terrain, then four clicks, then level, then one click, then level, etc.
Now you might be wondering what to level. You start with the entirety of your guide wall. After that it is based on what kind of form you are creating. I normally level 2 tiles at a time, or 3. To create a curve you use your guide wall to level 2-3 of the tiles on your core structure and then adjust your guide wall to a new height and level the next 2-3 tiles. You leave 1 tile area between leveling otherwise the new curve will just take over the old one instead of creating a new curve in between the two (again if this makes no sense at all, you likely are going to need to see the guide to basic curving first lol). Note that the softest curve you can make is a 1-2-3 or 3-2-1 click curve. The larger the difference between how many new clicks you do, the more dramatic the curve.
Here we can see a good use of both kinds of curves. Looking at the right of the image going left we start the roof with a convex arch and then level it off with a concave curve and after that it is flat.
There is of course one more kind of incline and that is the straight incline. This is the most basic kind and involves the same number of clicks each time. This can be one click for each new level to create a soft incline or a much greater number to create a more dramatic incline.
Here is a good instance of the straight curve with a negative incline:
Now what does all this mean. Let’s go into some detail using the wings of the gryffin. First the thinking ahead. With the right wing you can see that I used a large convex curve to lift the wing. I then used a small concave curve to get it to a level height and another concave curve to lower the edge of the wing just a little. With the left wing I again used a large convex curve to lift the wing. This time however, I intended for the wing to curve down so I created a small concave curve at the max height of the wing to gently curve it but then I used a much more dramatic concave curve to fold the wing down. It is necessary to think ahead like this when you are creating curves that are not symmetrical.
Here are the guide walls that were used in creating the wing structure.
I then created the floor and ceiling of the wings. Again just cover extra area even if you do not intend to actually use it.
After this I created the outline of the actual wing structure using fences. Again this must be done before curving as you are not able to build on dramatically curved walls. I colored them with a metal for a stark effect.
Here we can see the first tile curve of the convex curve that was used to lift the wings.
And here is the second tile of the curve. You can now see the start of the convex curve. It will always take curving at least two tiles to see the actual curvature.
Lastly here we can see the final curving of the wings before deleting the extra flooring. You can see the invisible edge tile that was used to end the curve.
Now we delete the extra flooring and viola, the wings.
One thing to remember here is to always create flooring one tile beyond what you intend to curve. This is because of the fact that you must level tiles one away from the last line curved. So to avoid having an awkward flat line of tile at the edge of your curve we curve the tile beyond the edge to curve the actual edge. This tile of floor can then be deleted, leaving a nice curve on your actual edge.
Foundation Height Walls
Before we go on any further, there is one last very fundamental lesson to learn and that is using foundation height or near foundation height walls. When you want to curve both horizontal ends of a wall, you must use foundation height walls in between. The easiest instance I know of this can be seen in the guitar from my Gout de la Musique structure. In order to create the base of the guitar, I needed to curve both ends of the wall. Thus I first needed to create a foundation height wall below the base and use a convex curve to curve that wall. Of course that wall’s ceiling is also the floor of the next level, this is what created the base. Then I needed yet another near foundation height wall above the base to create the downward curve on both sides. If I did not do this, I would not have been able to curve the handle of the guitar.
Here we can see that a foundation height wall was used to create the three curves. If I did not use one here, there would not be a straight line above them.
Here is the guitar. You can see the near foundation height wall in between the two sections of the guitar. It was used in creating both the ceiling curve of the base and the lower curve of the handle. The foundation height wall that was used to create the lower curve of the base has been deleted but you can imagine the two convex curves that were utilized in creating it.
Think of these near foundation height walls as a means to and end. When you are building and curving you use them to create the curves you want. But then you can delete them. However, because you won’t be able to create inner walls after curving, it is necessary to again think ahead and create walls on the inside so that when you delete the walls you were using as a location holder, there is still something inside and not a giant void. Something to note, these foundation height walls can also be used to create cool split level stories, but remember, since it is not actual foundation, you must build border walls before you level ceilings.
Here is what I mean when I am referring to multilevel rooms created by cutting into a foundation or a foundation height wall.
Using Curves to Create Actual Forms
I talked briefly about the wings already. Using curved walls to create realistic looking objects is a combination of utilizing diagonal walls and curving walls in the right areas. For this, we can discuss the head of the gryffin, which is the head of a hawk or some kind of bird according to myth lol. So the first task was creating the core, which you can see here along with the surrounding guide walls. Once this was done I chose a small area as my area to raise and lower the guide wall. Now I first lowered the first story all the way down to foundation height and then created a small convex curve to create the base of the head. I then curved the next level in a similar fashion to get the lower mouth. The next level was the actual entrance hall so it was of a near normal wall height. The base of this level was already curved for the lower mouth so I created a much more dramatic curve on the ceiling here for the rest of the mouth. The ceiling of the next floor was curved similarly to create the ceiling of the mouth. After that there was only one floor level left which I used for the actual head and eyes. You may notice that I created the walls to the body before I began curving because I would not be able to create them after the head was formed. Finally I flattened the body so I could curve that in a different manner. To form those extreme angles, the key is to move the height of those invisible edge tiles. Since there is no actual flooring or walls there, it does not matter what they look like. However, they are fundamental to the edges of your curves.
Mega Advanced Wall-Curving Techniques
There are a few techniques that you can do to create some unique curves in your structures. The main one is the two-degree curve. This is a kind of curve that involves curving a floor in two directions at the same time. Normally when creating any curve you use the level terrain tool in straight lines. While this does curve the wall, it curves the sections of the floor evenly. The only time a two-degree curve was used in the gryffin was along the back of the neck area, directly after the end of the head. Guide walls were created along both sides of the back. I then used straight lines to level the terrain from both sides in a sort of diagonal manner. The overall technique can be … difficult at best and is quite hard to get into words, you mainly just have to get a feel for the curve you are looking to create and then use level terrain in straight decreasing lines. What I mean by this is say the start of your structure is 2 tiles away from the guide wall and the end of the structure is 7 tiles away. You can start by leveling the floor in a straight line using all 7 tiles in both directions. You can then level 5 tiles, then 3 then 2 (or any order that is decreasing). This creates the diagonal since you normally would be leveling all 7 tiles for each click of your guide wall.
The next technique is curving diagonal walls diagonally. We can curve diagonal walls using straight lines which is what I did in the gryffin. However let us take a look at the diagonal curve seen in the right side of the roof area of Maison Chouette here. Quick note here, you can see here there is a downward curve where the diagonal arch meets the rest of the building. I rather liked it, but this is what I was referring to earlier when I mentioned awkward curves created by curved wall meeting normal height wall. This area could have been covered using another story (created beforehand) and then curving the wall and lastly leveling the extra story to cover this area.
This is a diagonal floor curved diagonally. The was done using a diagonal guide wall. However since you cannot level terrain diagonally, what you do is use level the terrain in rectangular areas from the guide wall to the actual structure. You cannot curve more than 1-2 tiles diagonally because of the nature of this curve. You are curving using the corner tiles of the rectangular level terrain area so you can go only 1 or 2 tiles into the diagonal. Any more and you would uncurve areas that you just curved.
Quick edit here - You can actually curve an area greater than 1-2 tiles, but the key is to create diagonal guide walls to the sides of your building rather than in front of it. But be careful since this will require a greater area to work and you do not want to mistakenly curve other areas of your building. If you want to do this, I would suggest making it one of the earlier things you curve.
The last technique is unreliable at best. I am going to call it single tile level terrain clicking lol. What I mean here is using the level terrain tool to click single tiles in certain areas. Doing so can create some unique curvature but it is really unclear how it does so. I know I have single clicked the SAME tile getting different curves sometimes, so I really have no idea how the game decides what it does here. You can see a good instance of this in the wing covering the front yard, imaged here.
Notice the area where the wing meets the back of the gryffin (seen here to the left side of the image). The wing does not lift evenly like it does on the other wing. Instead we see this gorgeous curve that was created rather by mistake. The wing was initially lifting an area of the back, which looked awkward. I used the single click technique to flatter that area of the back and it created this curve lol. Another area where single clicking was utilized was curving the back and neck area. Two-degree curves like this are almost always going to require some single clicking to even out some areas.
I threw in some images of the nearly finished building in case you wanted to see how coloring and other designing can enhance the overall look. You may notice how the legs are much more defined using coloring and creating the claws you see. Similar contrast in the tail as well as coloring all the feathered areas of the wings and neck the same dark blue color create some nice detail.
|Edit Town||Edit Lots||Houses||Households||Basements/Multistory||Garages||Rooms|
|Pools||Roofs||Slopes||Stairs/Elevators||Wall Curving||Moving||Switch 'hoods|