How to Use the Body Shop for Sims 2
By Catelyn Millette
Updated September 22, 2017
The "Sims 2 Body Shop" is a tool that comes with "The Sims 2" base game. It isn't necessary for enjoyment of the game, but you can use it to create custom clothing, hair, makeup, skins, and more. Anything you create using the "Sims 2 Body Shop" can be imported into your game, and later uploaded to "The Sims 2" website--so that other players can download and enjoy your custom content.
Open "The Sims 2 Body Shop" and wait for it to load, which can take up to several minutes. Click the "Create Parts" button near the top of the screen, then "Start New Project," followed by "Create Clothes." You may also choose to click either "Create Facial Hair, Makeup & Glasses" or "Create Genetics." Both choices follow the same basic steps.
Select your Sim's gender, age and body type, and then the style of clothing you would like to create. All of the clothing in the chosen category will appear in the box. Select the article of clothing closest in appearance to the one you'd like to create, and then press the "Export Selected Textures" button below, which is a picture of a folder with an arrow coming out of it. Name the project something that will be easy for you to remember, and click the check mark.
Minimize "Body Shop" and go to the folder on your computer where your project is saved. This is usually under the following path: C:\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Projects\YourProjectName. You will see a few files--it varies by item--but you will only be editing the first two. Right click on the file that ends with "stdMatBaseTextureName.bmp," select "Open With," and choose "Paint" or whatever other picture-editing program you would like to use. This is the file you will use to change the colors and design of your clothing item. Also open the file that ends with "stdMatBaseTextureName_alpha.bmp." This is the file you will use to edit the shape of your clothing. The white areas on this picture show up on your end product. The black areas do not.
Change the color of your clothing article as you see fit. Add a pattern, logo or other picture, if you wish. You can accomplish this by pasting an image where you would like it to appear on the article of clothing, or by drawing using the tools provided in your paint program. Using your alpha file, make any alterations to sleeve length, hemline, neckline, or any other areas of your choosing--by adding or erasing white areas.
Anytime you'd like to see how your creation is looking, save your work in the paint program (but don't exit out of it in case you want to undo any of your changes). Then go back into "Body Shop," and press the "Refresh Preview Sim" button, which is in the shape of a curved arrow. The Sim shown on the left will now be wearing your created item, and you can turn the model to see how your creation looks from all angles. This works the same for hair, glasses, makeup and other custom content--as it does for clothes.
Once you are satisfied with your creation, click the "Import into Game" button, which looks like a folder with an arrow pointing towards it. The next time you open "The Sims 2," your creation will be there.
While you can use a program as simple as Paint, if you plan to do much custom content creation, it might be worth your while to get a program with more capabilities. Photoshop is one option, but if you’d rather not spend money, GIMP and Photofiltre are both free. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can choose to learn how to make more advanced custom content involving meshes. However, this is not for everyone, because it involves downloading additional programs onto your computer, and a great deal of time and effort to master. You can also use "The Sims 2 Body Shop" to create Sims the same way you would create them in "The Sims 2" game. On the opening screen, select "Build Sims" rather than "Create Parts," and create a Sim using the provided sliders to alter the shape of their features--just as you would in the game. When you are through, import your Sim into the game in the same way explained in step 6.
Catelyn Millette lives in northern Maine and has been freelance writing since 2010. She covers video games, crafts and animals, and studied animal science at Cornell University.