Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Create your own custom paintings in The Sims 4

I have always appreciated custom content creators. The work they do adds interesting and unusual content that can really change the look of a game.  I dont use any custom content in my own game, however, because I am very much aware that with custom content comes the potential for problems.

So, I have to get creative with what can be found within the limits of the game itself.  Sometimes, using the same objects over and over can get frustrating and repetitive and I find that often the wall art doesnt come in a color option or look I would like. There is a solution.

Lately, I have been experimenting with the "Paint from Reference" interaction available on the art easel.  With it, your Sim can create custom art to match any decor. With a little planning and ingenuity, you can make "custom" art in an color or style you desire....without using CC. Sound interesting?  Let's get started!

Using the view finder

Click on the art easel to use the "Paint from Reference" function.  After selecting the size you desire, the game will open a camera view of the immediate surroundings for you to snap a picture which your sim will then turn into a painting.

The first thing you will notice is that the area directly in front of the easel will not show up in the view finder because it is blocked by....the easel.
If most of what you see through the view finder looks like this, its because you have it in the blind spot.

Make sure that the easel is not placed directly in front of the thing you want to paint. As you can see, there is a wide angle of blind spot caused by the easel.  The best placement is off to one side or the other. 

Also, because of the angle of the camera, placing items parallel ( or facing the same direction) of the easel will result in a side view of the objects.  

Sometimes, that might be what you want.  If it is not, place your objects at an angle to the easel. Creating a studio area with the correct angles can help greatly and save a lot of time....more about that in a bit!

Once you have a scene you like, click your mouse to "freeze" the object.  You can now use the on screen controls to further adjust your image.

If you want to move the angle once you have frozen the object, use the arrow buttons in the lower right.  They do not offer as much movement control as the mouse, so it is best to not freeze your image until you are pretty sure you have the angle you want.

You can also zoom in or out with the slider. The slider has limits, so if you want to get even closer 
(or farther away) from your subject, you will need to physically move the easel.

 Remember that if you dont like what you see through the viewfinder, you can hit the X in the upper right corner to cancel out of the painting.  You may then rearrange things until you get the look you want.

 When you have everything exactly as you desire, click on the camera icon at the bottom to have your sim start painting.

Remember that this is a painting and not a photograph.  The end result will have texture to it and the image might be somewhat blurry or pixelated.

Dont expect the painting to look exactly like what you see in the view finder.

Setting up your Studio

If you plan to create a lot of custom art, the easiest thing to do is to set up a specific area for your sim.  Once you do this, you will spend much less time trying to adjust the angles for your paintings.  

You might find a set up like this to be the most helpful:

1. An angled "backdrop" wall
2. Bright direct overhead lighting
3. Easel set up at a perpendicular angle a couple of squares away from the backdrop

Working Outside

You are not limited to working inside.  If a lovely landscape is what you are after, move the easel outdoors and take a look around. There are plenty of great views just waiting to be painted.  Just remember to place the easel at an angle to the view you would like to capture to avoid the blind spot.

You dont always have to look at the "big picture".  Consider focusing on one small specific object in your landscape for an interesting effect.

Tips and Tricks

  • Cheats are your best friend!  
    • Use the Move Objects cheat ( bb.moveobjects on) to group items together in interesting ways. 
    • Give yourself as many items as possible to work with.  Unlock all of the items in the build catalog by typing bb.ignoregameplayunlocksentitlement in the cheat box. 
    • Dont forget about the debug items too!  Click here to learn all about using the Debug cheat  There are all sorts of unique items in the debug catalog that you can use to create an interesting still life. 

    • If you do not want to see the floor or surface your objects are sitting on in the finished painting, you can float the object using the Raise Cheat. With the item selected, click ALT+9 to raise the object up to the desired level. 

  • Experiment with different backgrounds to see what makes your subject look best.  You can use the backdrop color to coordinate with a specific decor. 

  • For an unique abstract painting,  experiment with capturing just part of an object in the view finder. 

  • Consider making a series of different sized paintings with a similar theme and grouping them together to create a striking display. 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  I love having the ability to make wall decor in the exact color I want...and with all of the objects available to play with, you can match any kind of decor or style. If the  Build catalog doesn't have the wall decor you are looking for, try making it yourself in game with the "Paint From Reference" function!


  1. Thank you so much for this Ruth! Very informative and I will be sure to utilize it!

  2. Great ideas, and just in time! I have a sim who is embarking on an artist career and has been working on his painting skill.

  3. Thank you. This is going to help a lot.

  4. thank you it's a great information

  5. when I try to do paint from reference the painting is blank. 😢

  6. Thanks I like your blog very much; I come back most days to find new posts like this! Good effort. I learnt it.

    I hope it would really helpful for Custom Art Painting

  7. Hi, nice blog :* but can you help me? I want paint picure from internet at sims 4, and I find lot of paintings like this but I don´t know how to do it. Can you help? thank you and sorry for my english. :)

  8. Awesome post.
    I read your blog everything is helpful and effective.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    custom painters omaha

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  10. also in build mode, click on a wall painting an then hold ALT and '['to make painting smaller, or ']' to enlarge it!!!

  11. also in build mode, click on a wall painting an then hold ALT and '['to make painting smaller, or ']' to enlarge it!!!

  12. Thanks for sharing. Great post very Informative, also checkout Sunrise Custom Painting


About Me

I build lots for people to use in the Sims. I have created hundreds of lots that have been downloaded by people all over the world. My work has been featured on the official Sims 3 site, several Sims 3 fan sites and in Game Informer magazine.
I am a mom...a gamer...a book worm...a worrywart...a fan of architecture, interior design, and all things Grumpy Cat.