The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs Expansion Pack adds the long-awaited option to finally have a cat or a dog in your Sims household. But what if you want a totally different kind of animal as your personal fluffy companion?
In this tutorial I’ll show you my approach on how to create totally different kinds of animals out of the cats or dogs using the customization tools available in the new Create A Pet mode.
My first step is always to decide which kind of animal I’m going to create and which kind of anatomy it has. Is it even possible to achieve the animal within the Create A Pet mode? If you´re not sure, why not just give it a shot? I once tried building a pig, which turned out hilariously horrible. Still a good laugh though.
For this example I’ve decided on creating a cheetah. It might sound counter-intuitive but since I wanted to get the size right I went for using the big dog as the base model.
When trying to get as realistic as possible, it’s always paramount to gather a lot of references. So I do some Google image searches to have a good collection of images showing the animal in a lot of different poses from a lot of different angles.
When creating in The Sims 4 I keep the game in window mode, so I can always have my browser window with the reference images right next to it. This way I can constantly check, what parts already look fine and what areas still need tweaking.
So when I start shaping the animal, the first thing to adjust is always the head. I work on the eyes, ears, nose (size, form, offset and proportion) and general proportions of the face. Once I’m happy with the head, I switch to shaping the general body volumes. How big is the belly, the head, the neck or the legs and how large are they in relation to the rest of the body? Only when those general sizes match, I try finding a nice fur for the animal. In the case of the cheetah, I decided on a very short kind of fur, which is also not too bushy on the tail, face or neck areas.
Next up and a very important step is painting the fur. I begin with trying to get the primary colour as close as possible to the reference. Then I work my way up from rough colour patterns (like gradients) to increasingly finer details. I always save a lot, especially when transitioning to a finer pattern size. So I can always go back if I mess up.
It’s very important to achieve smooth transitions between the colours. So I never paint with the transparency slider way up to the top, but rather a much lower value, like 50% or even lower. With very bright colours, I even use 1 to 10% most of the times. I also try to vary the shades and nuances of the main colours a little.
I pay close attention to size of dots or stripes in the fur pattern. I always compare back and forth between my animal and the reference images.
When working on the face, I try introducing some asymmetry into it. It makes the animal much more natural and believable.
Back and belly should also have slight differences left and right. Even if it’s just in tiny details.
During this whole process I constantly make tiny adjustments to the shape of the animal. No way to get everything right in the first shot. It takes patience to get everything good looking.
I hope you find this little guide on my creation process helpful. Feel free to visit my Gallery ID TheKalinotr0n for more awesome animals. Can’t wait to see your creations on the gallery!