If you're on this page, you should already have Delphy's Pattern Packager and the DDS plug-in for your version of Paint Shop Pro. If you don't already have those, please go to this page and follow the instructions for downloading and installing them.
This tutorial is written for creating patterns for The Sims 3 with separately colorable channels. It was written using Paint Shop Pro 9 with an addendum for Paint Shop Pro 8. Now, on with the show!
All images for creating patterns must be 256x256 pixels wide, so the first thing I do is create a 256x256 image with a black background. White background works equally as well. Just be sure not to use an image with a transparent background.
Since this is a pattern that will have different color channels within the game, we need to seperate the original images into RGB channels at the very beginning. Those channels are what will eventually form to make the final image. Click Image>Split Channel>Split to RGB.
Now you can see there are three additional images named according to their color channels. I lined them up on the bottom of my workspace just to keep them in order and out of my way while I work on the rest of the texture. Also, try to remember the order of RGB, since that's the order those layers will be in the finished pattern. For this pattern, the order isn't going to be important, but in some patterns it will be.
I scrounge around my hard-drive to find the image I want to use for a pattern and come up with this sweet little quilt block that is perfect for a four-color pattern.
It's a .gif file, so the first thing I do is increase the palette to 16 million colors (Image>Increase Color Depth>16 million colors). Increasing the color depth is going to make what I need to do a lot easier, because I'll have more choices for colors, and be able to re-size without losing much quality.
Next, I check to see the image's size. Choosing Image>Resize gives me the box with that info. I see the original image is 447x450, which is just a little bit off for a perfectly square image. I don't want to crop it since that will mess up the pattern position, so I untick the Lock Aspect Ratio Box and set each width and height to 256 pixels. Also, I make sure it's going to resize using Smart Size for a smoother result.
Next, I zoom in to make sure I don't have any run-away pixels. Sometimes resizing, especially an image that isn't completely square, can give an off result. If that's the case, I want to fix it right away. It looks like I got really lucky here! Everything is lined up perfectly! At this point, I save my image as a Paint Shop Pro file just in case I lose power to my computer or something ridiculous like that.
I really like these colors so I am going to use variations of two of them to make my third and fourth colors. Since darker colors create less than great results in game, as in the textures are way, way too dark and have to be lightened a lot, I'm going to go with lighter shades of both the blue and purple colors. The first thing I do is use the eye dropper (I never can find the eye dropper when I need it, so I grab the paint brush or fill tool, then shift-click on the color I want) to select the blue color to use for what is currently turquoise, then using my Magic Wand selector, I select one of the turquoise sections, then shift-select the other turquoise selection. (Shift-select adds to an existing selection, Ctrl-select takes away from an existing selection.)
Using the Fill Tool, I fill both of those turquoise areas with the blue. I could have filled them without those areas being selected, but if I did that, the next step would be a lot more difficult.
My original plan was to use shades of two of the original colors, so my next step is to lighten up what I currently have selected. I click Adjust>Hue and Saturation>Hue Map and start playing with the lightness. Ultimately, the colors I see in PSP are going to look a lot darker in the game so I am going with a pretty high lightness shift. A setting of 75 on the Lightness Shift will brighten it plenty and create a good contrast on the finished pattern.