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Tutorial: ftm hair conversions in TS4! (+ bonus hair download! ^_^)
astraea_never

Phew, been a while since I posted anything on here! D:
(Also, I just realised that I have a few lovely comments I never answered to :( sorrryyyyyyyyyyy! ;____;)

Anyway, this is a bit *too* long to be posted on Tumblr, so I guess here is the best place to post it ^_^ This is a tutorial on how to convert default female hair meshes to male in TS4. Hope you will find it useful! :) Hopefully, we're going to get a tool like TSRW for TS4 like we used to have for TS3, so probably this whole process is gonna become pretty much useless in the future, but in the meantime, if you want to experiment with ftm conversions... here's a guide! ^_^

NOTE: This tutorial is now outdated. The process *still* works, but there's a much easier and faster way to make gender conversions, which soloriya described here :) You may want to check that one out instead! ^____^

(Also, a super late thank you for the comments on the tutorial! <3)

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What you will need:
- CmarNYC's Mesh Tools, to extract the needed meshes;
-Color Magic 0.5.2, to make your recolors;
-S4PE, to create your packages;
-An image editing software, like Photoshop, Gimp or Paint.NET, to edit your textures;
-NVIDIA .dds plugins for Photoshop, needed for the software to read .dds files, which you are going to use for your textures;

Warning: this is not a full basic tutorial. You will need to have know a bit about how S4PE, Color Magic and texture editing work to do this. I will try to explain every step the best I can so that you can convert your hair with no trouble, but I'm NOT going to explain how to make retextures, mainly because, if you're doing this, you're probably already very familiar with texture making in TS4. If you're not, however, I suggest you try following this Color Magic tutorial first and this tutorial on how to make hair retextures (beware, it's specifically for the TS4 demo, but the texture editing part is the same for both games) :)

Special thanks to lumialover8, plasticbox and everyone else on this thread @MTS, without whom this tutorial would have probably never existed! And also to all the creators who worked on the tools to make TS4 mods possible! You're all amazing! <3


THE TUTORIAL

Step 1: Cloning your meshes

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1.1 Open the Mesh Tool. The first section you will see is the "Mesh Cloner" one: stay there, check "Use TS4 game package". A list of game meshes will appear: it will be a bit of a mess to read, since everything will be in a completely random order, so click on "Mesh name" to sort them in alphabetical order. Much better! :D

1.2 Scroll down until you find the hair mesh you want to use. This can be a little tricky, 'cos you won't be able to see any actual preview of the item you're cloning: most names are quite descriptive on their own, but some others (wavy hair, mostly) can be kinda difficult to recognize. Here are a couple of suggestion to help you know what you're looking for, in case you've never worked with TS game files before:

cf/cm/cu/ym/yf: every package starts with one of these in its name. If you're familiar with TS2/TS3 files, you'll already know what this is, but for anybody wondering...
CF: child female
CM: child male
CU: child unisex
YM: young adult male (in TS4, works for teens, adults and elders too)
YF: young adult female (same as YM, works for teens, adults and elders too)

The hair you want to export in this case is a YF, so head directly to the list section where names start with "yfHair": that's where all female hair meshes can be found!

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1.3 Once you find the hair mesh you want to export, click on its name. Also, see that almost hidden bar on the far right of Mesh Tool? That's a color list. You may select any color you like (if you don't choose any, the default one will be brown). Personally, I prefer to start with black. Click on that. Once everything is set, click on "Clone!" :D Do not worry about changing the mesh name, you're just going to use the exported package as reference, so it doesn't matter!

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..."Felect". Yeah. Sure. #toolazytoedit

1.4 Now, you'll have to clone a male mesh as well. The process is basically the same as before, only this time we're going to clone a YM hair mesh. My personal favourites to use as base are "ymHair_MediumLong" (if I plan to convert a straight long female hair) and "ymHairMediumLongWavy" (if I plan to convert a wavy long hair). Now you may wonder: why caring so much about the male mesh being long, short or medium? Simply because cloning a "long hair" mesh will help you get your converted hair showing up in the right category, once you're in game :D choosing a different male hair mesh to use as base, like a short one, would lead your to hair showing up in the wrong category, and changing the flags would be a lot more boring work to do D: so, to save time, better cloning a mesh that is closest to what you need! :)
Just like you did for female hair, you can select the color you want to export: your best choice would be selecting the same color as the one of the female hair you exported before. In this case, black.

One note on recolors: Since your mesh will be attached to the first recolor you make, and since the first recolor also determines how your default hair thumbnail will look in game, choosing the color "black" would help you getting an in-game thumbnail that looks just like vanilla ones. Mind you, it's not *vital*, it's just something you can use if you, like me, prefer your hair thumbnails to look all the same ^_^

Done? Good, time to export! Before clicking "Clone!", however, you may also want to give your mesh a more descriptive name, so that you can recognize it later.

Step 2: extracting the female files

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2.1 S4PE time! Open the female mesh you exported before: you will see many different files listed in your package. There will be four "UNKN" files and around 12 "GEOM" files. UNKN files are the textures + the swatch, while GEOMs are the parts of your mesh. If you click on the first UNKN file, you will see a preview of  your hair texture. The second image will show a weird white/grey blob: that's the "hair shadow" (every sims 4 hair "projects" a shadow on the sims' face: that is what that texture is for). To export your textures, right-click on them and select "Export as .dds": you will need to do this just for the first two UNKN files.

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2.2 Time to export the GEOMs! This time, when clicking on them, you won't see any preview. Don't worry, it's completely normal. Right-click on the first GEOM file and select "Export to file". It's important for you to export them in the correct order, otherwise you may mess things up when re-importing them! Save them where you also saved the textures and rename them so that you can get them in the right order later on. Personally, I used the amazingly original names of "Lod1", "Lod2", "Lod3" and so on, up until "Lod12" :D

Step 3: importing files to the male mesh

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3.1 Once you have exported all of your female textures and GEOMs, you'll have to re-import them to the male mesh. First, textures.
Open the male mesh file you cloned before, click on the first texture and select "Import from .dds". Select the first texture you exported (the hair one) and click "Yes" when asked if you want to update the resource. Do the same for the second texture, the "hair shadow one".

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3.2 Now it's time to re-import GEOMs as well. Click on the first GEOM file, select "Replace". Do NOT use "Import as file" or any other option. "Replace" is the one that works. Replace every single GEOM in your package, following the same order you exported them in. Once you're done and every GEOM is replaced, save your package.

Oh, and when you're re-importing your GEOMs...

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DO NOT TOUCH THE SORTING ORDER OF YOUR PACKAGE FILES IN S4PE WHEN YOU RE-IMPORT GEOMS, YOU MIGHT END UP RE-IMPORTING GEOMS ALL WRONG IF YOU DO. LEAVE IT THE SAME AS IT WAS WHEN YOU EXPORTED FEMALE FILES.


Step 4: test!

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Drop your new package in your Mods folder and launch the game to see how your hair works. Once you click on it, you will see it has only one recolor: don't worry, we'll add the other ones later. For now, just play around with it to see how everything works. If everything seems to show up correctly, it's time for...

Step 5: making recolors

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5.1 Close your game, open Color Magic. Choose "The Sims 4" in the drop down menu (should be selected by default, but anyway :D), then check "Manual" and click "Select Package": this way, you're going to tell the program to clone textures from your newly made hair package.

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Select the male hair, click on "Next". Click on the texture name in the little white window on the lower white side. You will see a preview of your texture. Click "Next".

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5.2 Give an unique name to your texture: you will need that mainly to identify the color you're going to make. You'll also need to edit the swatch: click on the drop down menu and select "Advanced". There, you will be able to put the color code of your swatch. Default hair color swatch codes are as it follows:

Black: #FF111111
DarkBrown: #FF3A251D
Brown: #FF604733
Auburn: #FFAC5333
Red: #FFAC3832
Orange: #FFC8762E
Blonde: #FFD1B350
DirtyBlonde: #FFD5A96C
Platinum: #FFFFF2C8
White: #FFE3E4E4
Gray: #FFABAEB6
PurplePastel: #FFCA9DCA
HotPink: #FFEB5FAE
DarkBlue: #FF2742B0
Turquoise: #FF32D4B9
Green: #FF21BB3B
BrownSalt&Pepper: #FF78644B
BlackSaltPepper: #FF525252

Use the code you need for the color you wish to make ^_^ in this case, I chose to make a dark brown, so I pasted the second code.

5.3 Simply changing the swatch doesn't do much to the hair, aside from affecting... well, the swatch XD to make the game recognize your new hair color, you'll also have to edit the hair flags (which, I guess, is kinda like "binning" hair for TS2). Click on "Edit Flags"...

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...You'll see this. Here is where you can change the flags of your hair texture, so to make it show up in the right categories. In this case, we're just going to edit the hair color one, so that the game should recognize the hair as an actual dark brown.

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First, click on "HairColor: Black". Then, choose the right color in the drop down menu on the right. Once you're done, click OK. The flags window will automatically close bringing you back into Color Magic. Your recolor is almost ready! Click on "Finish!" and save it where you can easily find it.

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5.4 Now, you'll have to recolor your hair texture: there are many different ways to do this, so as I said, I'm going to be too specifical about it. The simplest way you can do it is by cloning a blonde texture from the original female hair by using Color Magic, opening the package in S4PE, exporting the hair texture as .dds and then changing the color/s in Photoshop. Personally, I use Pooklet's actions to make my recolors. Blonde/light textures are the easiest to work with, while black ones can be a lot trickier. Once you're satisfied with your edited texture/color, open the male hair recolor file you made with Color Magic in the previous step.

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5.5 Once you're satisfied with your edited texture/recolor, open the male recolor file you made in Color Magic in the previous step. Right-click on the hair texture, select "Import from .dds" and choose your edited texture with the color you want to use. In our case, again, it's gonna be dark brown.

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5.6 Save your package, repeat all the steps in this section to make all your other recolors.

Note: when in Color Magic, ALWAYS make your recolor by cloning the first mesh package you made (the black one where you imported your GEOMs). If you clone your recolor from another recolor file, the mesh won't show up anymore!

Step 6: combining your packages

6.1 Once you're finished with your recolors, you'll notice that you ended up with a shit-ton of .package files. If you're familiar with TS3 packages, you may probably know what I'm about to suggest: combine them! :D

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Open S4PE, then go to File > New.

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Right-click on the big white area on the left. Select "Import > as dbc..."

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Select of your hair files (mesh + recolors) and hit "Open".

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You will be asked to save your package right after. Give it an unique name and click "Save". Now, wait for S4PE to combine the packages.

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Once it's done, you should see something like this. Close S4PE, find your saved combined package and drop it in your Mods folder... and launch your game to test it! :D

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TA-DA! :D Here's your converted hair, with all base game recolors, all in one single package! ^_____^

And if you want to download the hair I made to go with this tutorial... here you go! ^____^

Preview

DOWNLOAD HERE
or HERE

IMPORTANT NOTE: This hair features some mesh editing, together with the conversion process explained above. Following the process explained in the tutorial, as long as you do *not* edit the mesh, shouldn't give you any crashing issues. Mesh editing in TS4, however, is still a very experimental thing in TS4, and errors may occur. I received some reports from people having crashing issues with this hair. According to this thread, crashes with cc hair and accessories mostly occur on Windows 8.1 and/or with Intel graphics card, though that’s not always the case. The reason for hair crashing is still unclear, and creators are still working to find out what the actual issue is. If you never had troubles installing CC hair before, you *shouldn’t* have any trouble installing this. For anyone else… please, be careful and know that this may crash your game D: If you try the hair and it crashes your game, please send me a message and be as clear as possible about the issues you’re having. Infos on your OS, video card and other installed CCs could help too. Keep always in mind that the game has been out for only one month, and that we're all still learning how to do this :( thank you for understanding ;___;

Hope the tutorial was clear, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Happy simming! :D


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Thank you SO much! The'res a ponytail from the female section I've been in desperate need of in the males. Now I can finally manage it, because I've been messing up time and time again when trying to convert. Also, thank you for the gift!

Thank you so much for updating this hair! It was one of my favorites and I was so sad that I had to remove it because of crashing!

I can't work with dds files, it wont let me "export to DDS" and I can't see there any textures.

OMG, that's weird D: any chance you used Winrar to extract S4pe when you downloaded it? That's the only thing that comes to mind that may have caused the issue, S4pe doesn't seem to like being extracted with Winrar for some reason and makes weird things if you do o__O Anyway, there's another tutorial I just added on the top of the page that also works for hair conversions. No need to extract textures, and a lot easier to follow! :D

I love these tutorials but it seems I have no clue how this works.

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