Simatography 

and homebase of SIFF

News

We Have a TS4 Pose Player!

Posted by Jorgha Haq on August 23, 2015 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (2)

I had no idea where to put that in the forum so it's going here because this is huge and it's going to make life so much easier for TS4 machinima! We have a TS4 Pose Player and it plays animations as well!



You can find it over at Sims4Studio HERE. You do need to register to use the site.

Simatography Monthly Magazine and More

Posted by Minraed on November 16, 2014 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Click the cover to read the magazine now

New Monthly Simatography Magazines


We have long been hoping to do something like this - a new way to showcase more of your creations and better ways to share helpful information and inspiration for your Sims projects. November brings our first attempt at what we hope will continue as a monthly event.


Have a peek inside and see what you think. We have many more ideas for future issues, and we encourage you to explore the many ways that you can get involved or have your creations showcased too.


We have also made a few other small additions to the site...

  • under the gallery tab on the top menu bar you will find some links to specific photo albums that we want to keep track of
  • we have added our new monthly theme to the challenges section of the forum - find it HERE
  • we have started up a new thread called Advertise Yourself HERE where we encourage you to share your advertisements so that we can use them in our magazines and on our other social media pages to help you get more recognition for your work


Enjoy the magazine. More fun to come soon.




SIFF Voting and Awards Outlined

Posted by Minraed on September 20, 2014 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (1)



This has been a long time coming, but such an important addition to SIFF. Over the years we have explored, through trial and error, an number of ways to approach the awards and voting process. Some things worked better than others, but our most important concern was fairness and clarity. We want everyone to feel that the voting is not only fair, but we want you to know what we are looking for, and as veiwers and voters, we want to give you a guideline so that you can help us award the many aspects that deserve attention.


After what was a very detailed debate, we came up with this final collection of viewer's choice and judges' choice awards and polls. Our plan is to NOT make changes every season, so that you can now be certain what to expect.


We hope that as fans and viewer's that you will take some time to consider voting for some of the special merit awards. We know that these take more consideration and time to vote on, especially since we have such a big and growing pool of submissions now. We will be extending the voting phase from now on to accomodate viewing and voting time.


Expect the general polls to open tomorrow, Sunday September 21st and the special merit awards polls by no later than September 25th. 


Thank you for joining us at SIFF for our very special 10th season.


SIFF BUZZ August 16th

Posted by Minraed on August 16, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

If you are not already aware, SIFF Buzz is our weekly (or sort of weekly, depending on how efficient we are from week to week) tabloid that is here to provide you with updates, news and highlights of the festival. There is always so much going on that it is impossible to keep up with it, so hopefully you will find the BUZZ both entertaining and helpful.


This season we have changed up the format for a cleaner look, and to include more content. We really want to showcase the talents of our members more, so these larger issues will allow for that. Expect to see Red Carpet photos, film reviews and more - all related to SIFF. If you know the old joke "What's black and white and red all over?  -  A newspaper! Get it? hahaha"  wel then you will understand why we are using a red black and white colour scheme. Ok, so that's my attempt at being witty, but it does make for a nice looking publication.


Tabby Lloyd, a sim I created to roleplay the position of Media Manager, heads up the BUZZ team, but she's taking a step back to allow us to showcase the reporting talents of more people. Expect to see features from a variety of new reporters this season. We even have an idea for doing a video version to present on YouTube.   (credit to Mystery Jack for making the sim that is Tabby Lloyd, I only came up with the idea)


So be sure to follow us on our various sites so that you don't miss an issue.




Twitter @Simatography




and of course on Issuu where you will find the publications.


Click the cover pics to read the first two issues of the season...

    




Cinematic Prospects in The Sims 4 - Modding

Posted by Minraed on August 10, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)


If you have been following the previous posts you have already heard me reply to many of the issues and concerns with "the modding and CC creation community will help us with that".  So, I think it is time to really point out why I have such confidence in this. 


At The Sims 4 Creator's Camp we had several mini lessons where the various Sims Gurus came to talk to us and give us little presentations so that we were able to understand all of the nitty grity details behind the scenes.  The one sesson on modding was enlightening and very exciting, especially when Lyndsay quoted "Modding - we encourage it! Don't stop! We want to keep the conversation going. We want to build a platform for safe modding."  You could hear an excited gasp run through the group.

Understand first that EA and The Sims cannot officially endorse the mods that come out throughout the community and for good reason - they have obligations to uphold and standards that they cannot possibly ensure in products that are released out in the coummunity, but clearly they do recognize that modders and cc creators are in themselves a type of Sims player that needs to be recognized in their own right.  My plan was to share more of this conversation, but then yesterday a post was shared on the Sims official blog so rather than recreate that wheel, I am sharing that post and encourage you to read it. Click HERE to read "It's a Mod Mod World".


image courtesy of The Sims official blog


In addition to the notes in this post, we learned that there will be clear indication of which mods are script mods and non script mods so that you can have the option to turn certain collections off or on. This can be important as script mods are the ones more likely to mess up with your game. Personally I am very excited that there will be a forum section dedicated to the modding community, and the prospect that this move to open up communication in this way is likely to mean a much faster turn around when it comes to having all of the exciting things that we want in our games as machinima and story photographers. I predict that The Sims 4 will become a viable engine for our needs faster than it happened even for The Sims 3. In fact, as you may know, modders are already taking over The Sims 4 CAS demo in full force with colour mods, hair and makeup, and even animation mods. They must be chomping at the bit with anticipation of getting their hands on the actual game.


Here is a community interview with Granthes, a well known modder, as interviewed

by Sims VIP that you might find of interest. Click HERE


And be sure to visit Sims 4 Stuff and Things HERE to see what they are up to in terms of modding




And last but not least, a bit of a bit of insight on modding prospects from the TSR community. 

Read it HERE


join the conversation in our forums HERE



The Sims 4 Q&A

Posted by Minraed on August 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)


webs is being a bit buggy, so enjoy the banner for a while as I prepare the post


Q  Will buyable cars be available to use for machinima animations?

A  Not at this time in the base game. Because of the small neighbourhoods there is no functional need for cars, however, many people have expressed interest in having them as a buyable object. We don't know at this time if there is any behind the scenes plans to add them. However, for set set design purposes you might like to know that you can take a small toy car object and enlarge it with a cheat. James of The Sim Supply shared this photo as an example.



Will there be a way to control the emotions so that they fit into the scene we are trying to photograph or film?

A See my previous post on emotions HERE that gives a detailed explanation.


Q What type of cheats will be available to help us with our machinima and photo stories?

A There are some new cheats, some of the standard ones, and some that are missing (sadly). 


MISSING CHEATS

Some of the cheats that are missing are a concern for us so I was able to express this to The Sims team of gurus. I was not the only one with these concerns, so many others said the same thing. I will forward a list of some of these concerns to my community manager to pass on for consideration. If they know that many people want to see these things, perhaps they will be able to include them. You can also count on modders to get their hands dirty with this stuff too.


  • MOO or Move Objects On - the cheat that allows us to move our sims into position and to move objects to allow for really creative set design and object placement


  • MovieMakerCheats are not yet incorporated as they were before. They came later in The Sims 3 so hopefully something similar will be made available eventually.


  • Fade Objects on/off cheat appears to be missing also, as far as I could tell. I forgot to look at the settings to see if this was available in camera settings. I apologize, and I wish I had remembered. This one is really important if you like to take nice close up shots.


  • DisableSnappingToSlotsOnAlt is no longer there, but it is not needed as using the "alt" key automatically allows for this. Yay!


  • SloMotionViz is not available at this time. I know many of us really like this.


  • BuyDebug is not yet available.



NEW CHEATS


  • |Death.toggle  - disables death so that Sims don't die (was this there before and I just didn't know it? Possible. lol)


  • pressing "shift" and ] increases the size of an object


  • |object.setashead  - something weird and potentially fun that I didn't try. Apparently you can set an object to be worn on the head with strange effects. For example, you can potentially enlarge one of the kids toys like a monster toy using the enlarge object cheat noted above, then set it as head and wear it while walking around, like a costume?  Ok, this is totally random and wacky, but who knows where it might come in handy.


TESTING CHEATS

  • testingcheatsenabled true/false is used first then...


  • cas.fulleditmode


  • unlocks some interactioncheats by "shift" plus clicking on objects and Sims


  • Add to Family - to add additional sims to the family


  • Make Dirty and Make Clean can come in handy for certain sets


  • shift clicking on the ground still allows "teleport me here"


  • shift clicking on a Sim will allow you to modify in CAS (except for name change and inherited traits)



Q Will there be a Fog Emitter and/or Spawners available?

A In the Sims 3 these came along later in EPs or patches. They were also added as a component of create a world / edit world options. In the Sims 4 there is no current option to edit off of the lot itself. So presumably these objects, meant for world and town editing, were not considered since this is not an option in The Sims 4 at this time. Hopefully something similar will come along at some point because, as many of us know, these are great for creating atmosphere and effects.



Q Will be be able to use hidden buy objects such as we do in The Sims 3 with BuyDebug?

A As far as I was able to tell this is not yet an option. In the Sims 3 it came along a bit later so hopefully this will be the case with The Sims 4 too.



Q Can you customize the neighbourhoods?

A At this time you can only customize the lots themselves, not the world or neighbourhood. For more info and thoughts on outdoor set design, check out my previous post HERE


Q Will the .ini files be accessible in the same way as The Sims 3 so that we can change lerp duration and other camera settings?

A Yes, and there will be some additional features available to modify there too. I will provide more information on this as soon as possible. I have the information, but it makes no sense to share it until we get our hands on the game and test it out. I don't want to share this freely without being absolutely certain that we are sharing it accurately as modifying these files can really destroy your game if you do something wrong. I have a master machinima maker on my team that will help me with this and as soon as we can we will share it as a machinima school lesson.


Q Will video capture file format be different? For example, will it be in a format that is compatible with Sony Vegas and other editors, because now it is not. Most of us find that we have to convert files captured in game through an editing system in order to make them compatible.

A I was not able to get a clear answer during my time there, however, I do have a contact person that I will reach out to for a discussion around this. I want to see what we discover in game first and what we can learn, then I'll bring forward several questions or concerns at one time.


Q Can we preset camera angles as we can now in The Sims 3

A YES!


Q Is the camera function improved or changed in anyway, for example low level drift etc?

A I apologize that I did not give this enough thought while I was there exploring. It was strange getting used to new camera mode feel and controls. There is the option for legacy camera or new camera control, so you can choose which you are more comfortable with, or you can easily toggle between the two for a variety of camera control options. I found this weird to get used to. For some reason, when I was there playing with the camera, I went blank when I tried to recall what the camera movements were like now. Duh. As soon as the game comes out, I will work with machinima makers to explore this and we will share our findings, recommendations and lessons.


One thing I did notice is that there is no function for rotation of the camera. I know that many of us like this for angled shots, rather than straight on shots. I thought of Titus Linde who likes to use this perspective often, like in this example. Many people gave feedback on this to the Sims team.



I will add a more extensive post on camera functionality in the near future.


Q Can we access the animations list so that we can use them whenever we want for our machinimas or stories and photos?

A As there is no movie maker cheat yet available, there is no built in way to access the animations control panel to use them on demand. However, they are there, coded into the game files, so with a new animation player created we will be able to then plug in the game animations as well as any custom animations. While we will all be impatient waiting, we know that an animation player will come out before too long and as soon as that does, people will start extracting the game animation codes for us to use.


These are all of the questions I can think of, or that I have immediate answers to. I will still be making more posts with detailed information about various topics, but if you have any further questions I will ge answers if possible. If I don't know then I will as others who attended Creators' Camp or I will see if any Guru's are able to answer. You can comment here, but it is probably best to add to the forum conversation HERE





Cinematic Prospects in The Sims 4 - Set Design

Posted by Minraed on August 8, 2014 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

PART ONE - OUTDOOR SETTINGS

Setting the scene, or set design, is something that I focus in on quite a bit in my own machinima and photos, but also when I am considering the work of other people. The set design plays such an imporant role to setting the mood and plays a descriptive role - a good set design tells some of the story in and of itself. I will say this up front - set design in the early stages after Sims 4 release is going to be an issue and a big setback for many of us due to the obvious limitations of a new base game.  Having said that, I will also note that there is a lot of potential here and I personally can't wait to see how the possibilities grow as the collection of content becomes larger.


OUTDOOR SETS

The outdoor views have a very different look and feel to The Sims 3. Some of you will like it and some will not. It does have a bit of a "pixar" animated feel to it, but at the same time there is some realism too. It is difficult to explain, but you will get the idea as you see more photos. The biggest limitation here for set design and story backdrop is that there are only two worlds to choose from at the start. There is no point in complaining about this, it is limiting and it sucks a bit, but it won't be that way for long. As new worlds come out, and they will, surely we will begin to see a variety of world types to suit our moods.

Background Scenery  lend a nice view to a scene - as in these photo examples. The neat thing is that depending on which direction you are facing, there will be a slightly different scene in the backdrop so this will lend some variety.








Neighbourhood Street Scenes have a much more realistic feel to them. There are more Sims wandering around it seems, or perhaps it is just that the Sims that are wondering seem to have more of a purpose to their wanderings, or maybe it is just that the walk and movements have a more realistic feel. 




Neighbourhood Editing - you cannot edit the neighbourhood on a grand scale, and you cannot edit the sections off of the designated lots. We will have to wait to see what other worlds are presented to us in order to have the neighbourhood background theme and feel that we need for a wider variety of stories and movies. This is going to be an initial limitation that will be frustrating to some, I know.  The best you can do, and this may work well in most cases, is that you can edit any of the larger lots to create a large set design that fits the theme that you are going for in your outdoor scene. This will, of course, be much easier to do once we have more outdoor objects to choose from.


Here is another example of how the world background will look as a backdrop to a scene.





Breaking News
from



More scenes will be available in the form of unlockable "parks" or secret areas, like rabbit holes in a sense, but it appears that they are actual locations that you can access. This too appears that it will create more opportunities for backdrop settings.
Read about it here...





Cinematic Prospects in The Sims 4 - Camera Views

Posted by Minraed on August 6, 2014 at 6:25 AM Comments comments (3)


This topic warrants a bigger post, but for today I'll just share a quick few views. I have some video footage and coming later I have a special gift from a new Simmer friend who has offered to share something with us that is on this topic. More on that later, but for now a  quick look at what the world looks like through the camera lens.


Close Ups and Lighting


I know that many people are commenting on how "cartoony" the sims look, and in some ways I agree, in others I disagree, but what I will say is that if you look at the detail and structure of the sims the canvas from which CC creators have to work with is, in my opinion, much more realistic. I have no doubt that we will be blown away with the outcome once cc comes to life (for those of us who are addicts). But, as for the native appearance of the sims, I challenge you to take this same shot with your Sims 3 game without cc, outdoors and show us what you get. (I should do this to compare later).



Not only do I love the detail, but I absolutely LOVE the lighting. This was taken outdoors with no fill light. If you have ever tried this in Sims 3 you would notice unsightly shadows. The lighting has definitely improved and will be noticeable when you take shots in the two most challenging scenarios - sunlight and dark shadows.The photo below was taken in a dark room with minimal lighting and yet retains a nice amount of detail. So yes, lighting is one of the things I took note of.




And here is a great example of the much improved night skies lighting.

It lends a beautiful ambiant effect I think.


addition - photo courtesy of http://getsimplyruthless.blogspot.ca/


Depth of Field - Outdoor Views



Shallow depth of field, in camera terms, describes what you see here where the close part of the photo is in focus, but the background is less so. This is more or less noticeable in different camera positions. It is a gorgeous effect and one that I have always wished to have, but at the same time it is not something that you will want all of the time. I have to confirm this, but I was told that you can change this in the camera settings. We will have to figure that out when we get our hands on the game again, but if not there may be a way to do so in the .ini files or with an easy mod. More on that in the future.


View of the World from the Camera Lens




Despite the fact that the world is not truly open as we now know it, the background does not just drop off at the edge of the neighbourhood. What you see here is the home and land across the river which is not accessible to me from this position, but is there visually to create a wonderful backdrop. Beyond that is the far off scenery.  Unfortunately we cannot change that scenery at this time, but more on that in another post.


Here are two more examples of the camera view from above.





So that's all for today, but I still have so much more to share. Stay tuned.  And don't forget to drop by to

discuss or ask questions in the forum thread HERE







Cinematic Prospects in The Sims 4 - Emotions

Posted by Minraed on August 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)



While everyone else out there is talking about build mode and missing colour customizations and the gameplay details, I knew that I had to come to the table with the machinima and photography perspective and start some discussions around where The Sims 4 will take us.


Emotions are definitely one of the features of the Sims 4 that has been creating a buzz around the Sims community, and for different reasons depending on the gaming style of the person playing. There is no question that emotions will add quite a bit of dimension to gameplay, but you wanted to know was what will emotions mean to machinima makers and photographers. So here we go.


 



Grant Rodiek gave us some detailed insider information

so here are some of the take aways:


 

EMOTIONS BASICS


Emotions and Traits are tightly linked. People will respond with different emotions to similar situations depending on their underlying traits. This is something you can use to your advantage when adding traits to your sim actors. As we learn more and discover the little details around this you may find that you can be crafty in your trait selection in order to trigger certain emotion based animations and interactions.

 

Emotions and Animations are interconnected - similar actions will appear differently, that is with a variation on the animation, depending on the mood of the sim. If using gameplay to trigger your animations you will want to become familiar with these emotional states and their outcomes.

 

DECOR AND EMOTIONS


Several types of decor objects are associated with an emotional "aura" - an emotional trigger of sorts. When your sim walks into a room with these objects then they will respond accordingly based on the associated emotion. For example a statue with a playful aura will inspire playfullness in your sim. These auras can be toggled off and on within the object menu when you click on it, and by default they are OFF so you won't randomly be caught off guard. For our purposes this may come in handy to trigger emotions - you can place several objects that have a similar emotional aura, toggle them on, and when your sim is in that room they will surely behave in the manner of that emotion. This is one way to give you some control without a hack or cheat in place.

 

Your Sim can even create objects and paintings - when creating something the emotion of the sim will be transferred to the objected created. For example if your angry sim paints an angry painting, it will likely evoke anger when viewed.

 

You can hover over the object description to learn how much emotional aura an object has, for those that do have it. Auras are not added to every object type.



 

EMOTION AND ANIMATIONS


There are a few ways that animations are affected by emotions


• painting, cooking and other creative ventures will produce different outcomes based on the mood or emotion of your Sim while they created it - for example they paint different types of paintings when happy compared to flirty - then the paintings themselves take on that emotional aura and can be placed strategically to evoke certain emotions where you need them


• there are different variations on the animations in many cases, so the actual animation will vary slightly with the emotional state of your Sim


• emotional states trigger "whims" which are ideas that you can use to guide you so that you can make the most of the emotional state your Sim is in

 

OTHER EMOTIONAL CONTROL OPTIONS


• there are potions to control moods


• tv shows can affect moods


• traits affect emotional response - a snob would be bored watching kid's TV but someone else might find it makes them playful


• instruments can influence moods


• you can use the voodoo doll to inflict an emotional state on a sim


While we know that modders are already getting into CAS and toying with hacks and mods, and surely one to control emotions will be on the top of the list of mods to come, it is good to know that there are a variety of options when it comes to manipulating the moods of our Sims to help us tell our stories.


Feel free to comment in this thread, or join the conversation HERE In our forums


The Writers Room

Posted by Jorgha Haq on June 15, 2014 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It hasn't always been apparent, but Simatography has always supported the storytelling community. After all, you can't have machinima without stories. Not only that, Sims storytelling is rich in sims photography, which is something we have always been about. However, we want to take that support further and give writers a place a Simatography.


To do this, we have opened a new section of the forum called The Writers Room. You can share your stories here, post and find resources (we already have an extensive resource list posted), as well as talk to other writers for help and to get ideas.


We are also very excited to annouce to go along with the The Writers Room section of the forum, we are adding a biannual writing festival very simlar to the Sims International Film Festival called Sim Tales. This will be held in the Spring and Winter opposite SIFF and will be open to all Sim players no matter if they use The Sims 2, The Sims 3 or if they are moving on to The Sims 4. It is also open to all formats from poetry to legacies to "picture stories". All that matters is that the Sims is involved. More details on this project will be forthcomming as we get all the details worked out.


Comming Soon!



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