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TUTORIAL: How To Make Custom Tattoos for The Sims 4

Have you ever wanted to learn how to create CC for The Sims 4? You’re not the only one! While some CC can be really complex to make, other types of CC are fairly straight forward and simple. Like custom tattoos. There’s really nothing to custom tattoos at all. They’re a very nice, simple introduction to making CC for complete beginners. Today, I’ll be walking you through the process of how to create a custom tattoo for The Sims 4!

What You Will Need

  • The Sims 4 Base Game
  • Sims 4 Studio. You need to make a free account on the forum to access the download.
  • The male and female adult texture files
  • A high quality image you want to make into a tattoo on a transparent background
  • Any image editing software of your choice. I will be using Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial but Paint.NET is a great free alternative.
  • Basic knowledge of how to do things like copy/paste layers and resize layers in your photo editing software. I will not be showing you how to use your photo editing software, since every program is different.

Create Your Package File

To start with, open up Sims 4 Studio and enter your Creator Name. Make sure Create CAS Standalone is selected in the menu and click the CAS button above it.

Next, select the CAS piece you want to replace with your tattoo. Since we are making a custom tattoo, we will want to select a tattoo to replace. Use the filters at the top to filter for base game tattoos. Always make sure the item you select is base game whenever possible. This makes sure everyone can use the item if you choose to upload it. I’ve chosen one of the lower back tattoos for female Sims.

Hit Next after picking your item and it will open up in Sims 4 Studio. We’re done here for now but leave this open because we’ll be going back to it shortly.

Make Your Tattoo

If you haven’t already, download the texture files linked above in the What You Will Need Section. Open either one of them in your photo editing software. If you are making a tattoo for a male Sim, use the male texture. If you are making a tattoo for a female Sim or a unisex tattoo, use the female texture. Female Sims have more curves so a tattoo that looks good on a male Sim might stretch weird on a female Sim. If a tattoo looks good on a female Sim, it will usually look good on a male Sim as well.

Now open the image you want to use for your tattoo. It is very important that the image is of high quality and on a transparent background. Poor quality images will look blurry in-game and the tattoo should not have a solid background, otherwise that will show up in-game, too. Removing the background yourself can result in fuzzy edges sometimes depending on the complexity of the tattoo. It’s best to just start with a tattoo on a transparent background to begin with.

Copy your tattoo and paste it onto your texture file. Make sure the tattoo is on a separate layer above the texture. You need to have the tattoo on a different layer so you can resize it and move it around easily without affecting the texture underneath.

Now it’s just a matter of resizing the tattoo and placing it on the body wherever you want the tattoo to be in-game! Play around with resizing and placement until you think you have something you’re happy with. You can also reduce the opacity a little bit (to around 80% usually) if you want the tattoo to appear slightly faded or blend into the skin better. For this tattoo, I placed it on the back and reduced the opacity to 79%.

Once you’re happy with the placement, hide the texture layer so only your tattoo is visible against a transparent background. Save it as a .png file.

We’re going to switch back over to Sims 4 Studio now but leave your image editing program open just in case the tattoo does not look the way you want it. It will be easier to go back and adjust size and placement as necessary.

Test Your Tattoo

Hop back over to Sims 4 Studio where you should still have your package file opened up. Click the Import tab in the Diffuse Texture section and select your .png file you just saved. If we turn our model around, we can see the tattoo we just made on the model’s back but I’m actually not quite happy with the placement here. I don’t want the trees to be so far up her neck and it looks slightly off-centred to me.

But that’s okay! That’s why we left our photo editing software open! I just hop back over, adjust the placement some more, save it and import it again and now I am happy with the tattoo placement. Easy peasy!

Once you’re happy with the look of the tattoo, switch to the Categories tab and just double check that everything is to your liking. For my tattoos, I usually make sure they are enabled for both genders but disabled for random. This means that I can put the tattoo on male or female Sims in CAS but townies will not spawn with the tattoo. I also double check the Outfit Type category at the top to make sure the tattoo placement is similar to where it is on the body. I changed this to an upper back tattoo instead of a lower back tattoo since the majority of the tattoo is on the upper back.

Confirm that you are happy with everything and save your package file to your Mods folder.

Run the game and go into CAS with a Sim. Look for your tattoo in the tattoo section and select it to see if it looks okay. My tattoo looks great and I’m very happy with it!

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • Tattoos may stretch on plus size Sims depending on the placement of the tattoo but it should not look distorted or pixelated on any body type. If it does, you probably need to use a higher quality image of your design.
  • For the purpose of keeping this tutorial as simple as possible, I did not go over adding extra colour swatches or importing custom thumbnails but these are super easy to do as well if you’d like.
  • Whenever you are using images to create CC, make sure you are allowed to use the image. Do not steal artwork. Pixabay is a good source of high quality images that are free for public, non-commercial use. In my case, I purchased this design from a professional tattoo artist and got her permission to use it in this tutorial. If you would like to check out more of the artists’ work, she can be found on instagram under the handle shaifak!

And there you have it! As you can see, making custom tattoos is super easy and a lot of fun. Until next time, sul-sul Simmers!

About the author

SnarkyWitch

A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.