Storytelling Tutorials

Beginner’s Guide to Reshade in Sims 4

A step-by-step tutorial on installing Reshade, Reshade presets and an overview of the most commonly used shaders.

If you’re here, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about all the amazing things Reshade can do for your photos but since you’re here, you probably feel a little overwhelmed or intimated by the interface and all those settings. I get it though. I put off using Reshade — even installed and uninstalled it three times — for the longest because it seemed like it was too much. I found some great tutorials that showed me how to install but I felt like once I actually got in the game, I was on my own. So with this tutorial, I’m hoping that you’ll walk away with the tools and confidence you need to give Reshade a real shot.


This article is the first entry in a new series I’m working on for storytellers. The next post will be all about taking good photos for storytelling and provide tips for angles, scene set ups, capturing emotions etc… so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!


In this tutorial, we’ll be using Reshade 4.7.0 which you can download here.
It’s also worth noting that Reshade updates often but this tutorial should be relevant for the entire 4.7 series unless some huge changes are implemented. If that does happen, I’ll revisit this article.

Note for Beginners: A few things are discussed in this tutorial that require downloading content from custom content creators so if you’re new to all of this, check out this step-by-step guide first.

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For easier reading, jump to the desired section using the links below:

Installing Reshade 4.7.0
Installing Presets
Installing Full Bloom MultiLUT by pictureamoebae
The Interface
Setting Up Toggle & Screenshot Keys
Most Commonly Used Shaders
Uninstalling Reshade

Installing Reshade 4.7.0

Before we get started, you’ll need to turn off Edge Smoothing in the in game graphics settings. Leaving this on will prevent the DOF shader from working properly. If you’re concerned about jagged edges on your sims and objects, don’t worry, Reshade will take care of that.

Now that, that’s done, let’s get started! First, you’ll need to download Reshade 4.7.0 here.

Once it’s downloaded, run the setup application, Reshade_Setup_4.7.0.exe and select the first box in the Reshade Setup menu: Click here to select a game and manage its Reshade installation.

Click Browse in the pop up box to select your game, TS4_x64, which should be located: (C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games/The Sims 4/Game/Bin)


*Pro Tip: If you’re a Windows user, I suggest creating a shortcut or pinning the Bin folder to your Quick Access menu as we use it many times throughout this tutorial.

In the next pop up box, select Direct3D 9.

The next box is where you’ll select all of the shaders/effects you want to install. I recommend installing:

  • Standard Effects
  • SweetFX by CeeJay
  • Legacy Standard Effects (so that you can use older presets, ie: those made with Reshade 3.0.8, with the newer version)

Once you have everything selected, click Ok.

Three additional boxes will pop open (one after the other) to allow you to select/deselect the effects you want/don’t want. Be sure to select all effects (some may come pre-selected) then click Ok at the bottom of each box once you’re done.

And you’re all done! Time to download some presets and go into game!

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Installing Presets

Presets are downloaded just like any other form of custom content, only difference is that the .ini file goes directly into your Bin folder (C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games/The Sims 4/Game/Bin) and will be automatically picked up by Reshade the next time you launch the game.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I recommend downloading my Jellybean preset so that you can follow along with the settings once we go in game. This preset uses the MultiLUT shader so follow the directions below for help installing it.

Installing Full Bloom MultiLUT by pictureamoebae

MultiLUT is another shader that allows you to enhance any preset with additional coloring. With MultiLUT, you can literally transform one preset to a number of looks by just selecting a different LUT. Some presets depend on MultiLUT to display a particular look so it’s worth having it installed so you’re already prepared.

The first thing you need to do is download the Full Bloom MultiLUT by pictureamoebae.

Once you click the download button, you’ll be taken to Simfileshare where two MultiLUT files are stored:

The file you want to download is amoebae – Full Bloom 66 MultiLUT.7z.

Once the file is downloaded and unzipped, you’ll have two folders: shaders and textures

Open the shaders folder and move the MultiLUT shader over to your Shaders folder (Bin/reshade-shaders/Shaders).

Next, open the textures folder and move the amoebae_fullbloom66_multilut file over to your Textures folder (Bin/reshade-shaders/Textures) and you’re done!

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The Interface

Time to load the game! While it’s loading, the screen may go black or pause for a minute or so while the shaders load. In my experience, 4.7.0 loads very quickly and is much more gentle on your system, especially compared to 3.0.8 which I have used in the past.

Once the game is loaded, the Reshade interface will automatically open. To open/close it on your own, you will use the Home key (or Fn + Home if you’re on a laptop). When Reshade is loaded for the first time, you’ll receive the option to follow the built-in tutorial (which you can if you want) but for the purpose of this tutorial, we’re going to skip that and select Skip Tutorial.

Selecting Presets

To select a preset, click the top bar with Default Preset displayed. From the drop down menu, you can select the preset of your choice. In this case, you would select Jellybean.ini.

Once the preset loads, your screen may become blurry from the DOF shader but don’t worry, it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. I’ll show you how to toggle it off in one second, I just want to take a moment to mention that whenever I’m using a new preset, I always select Active to top which moves all active shaders to the top of the screen so you don’t have to go searching for things you want to toggle off or tweak.

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Setting Up Toggle & Screenshot Keys

Now about those toggles I mentioned, to use Reshade effectively, there are a few things I recommend setting up/altering in the beginning to make things more comfortable for you. To get started, select the Settings tab at the top of the menu.

Effect Toggle Key

This allows you to toggle all effects on and off. So say you’re using a pretty intense preset that’s not suitable for gameplay and only want the preset active while you’re taking screenshots. You would simply press whatever key you choose to use (mine is Numpad 8) to toggle the preset on and off as you please.

To set the key, click inside of the box next to Effect Toggle Key and press the key you would like to use. The Click to set key shortcut phrase will change to the key you select.

Screenshot Key

The default key for screenshots is the Print Screen key. To change this, you would follow the same instructions as above. I personally use Numpad 5 for my screenshot key.

Individual Effects Toggle

There may be situations in which you would like some effects on but others off. To do this, you would just need to set a toggle key for each effect in which you would like the ability to toggle on/off.

To get back to the effects panel, you would click the Home tab, right next to the Settings tab at the top of the menu.

If you’re using the Jellybean preset, you’ll notice that some effects already have pre-selected toggle keys (displayed to the right of the effect name) such as MXAO and Cinematic DOF.

To change these keys or set toggle keys for any of the other presets, right-click on the effect’s name > click the box > select your desired key.

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Most Commonly Used Shaders

Now that we’ve gotten the technical stuff out the way, let’s talk about shaders. As you can see, there’s a long list of shaders installed. I imagine just looking them is a kind of overwhelming. Once you start trying out different presets though, you’ll notice that most of them use many of the same shaders. These are the ones we’ll go over today.

*Below each shader is a comparison photo featuring an off/on version with that shader enabled only.

*I should probably point out that I am in no way an expert with Reshade. I just know enough to make it do what I want. With that being said, all definitions provided below are super non-technical and my own personal way of describing them in a way that I hope makes sense to everyone else.

**=Shaders that are a little more intense and not recommended for gameplay.

**MXAO – provides the dark shadows and “3D look” of sims and objects

SMAA – smooths out the jagged edges on sims and objects when Edge Smoothing is turned off

DPX – brightens things up

Vibrance – adds additional coloring

Colourfulness – just like Vibrance, adds additional coloring

**Cinematic DOF (or any other DOFs) – blurs the background from the subject

**Ambient Light – adds pretty lighting similar to light leaks

**Bloom and Lens Flares – adds lens flares and additional lighting in some cases

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Uninstalling Reshade

Uninstalling is super easy and only requires removing a few files. If this uninstall is temporary so that you can try out another version of Reshade or you need to troubleshoot some issues you’ve been experiencing:

Just navigate back to your Bin folder (C:/Program Files (x86)/Origin Games/The Sims 4/Game/Bin)

Move the following files/folders over to your Desktop, Documents or any other folder of your choice :

  • d3d9.dll file
  • d3d9 file
  • reshade-shaders folder
  • all reshade presets

And that’s it! If you ever choose to reinstall, just drag these files back into your Bin folder and you’re good to go! If you’re completely done with Reshade you can delete these files instead.

Additional Tips/Info:

  • Take photos in tab mode to remove the UI.
  • With most presets, the DOF is mouse driven, meaning that whatever your mouse is on will become the subject and everything will be blurred out.
  • Presets for older versions (3.0.8, 3.41, etc…) will work with 4.7.0 but may look a little different or require some additional tweaking.
  • Playing in Fullscreen mode will require Reshade to reload the shaders each time you toggle between the game and something else like Google so if this is something you usually do, I recommend playing in Windowed Fullscreen mode or Windowed mode.

Reshade is highly customizable and provides a great base for editing. The best way to truly learn your way around is to try out different presets and see what they use. Toggle things on/off, change the values and see what happens. The more time you spend with it, the more you’ll understand it and the stronger your skill set will become. In the meantime, I hope you found these tips helpful and that they get you one step closer to making your game more beautiful!


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2 comments

  1. Hi! Let me just say how grateful I am for all your cool articles on mods and storytelling. You explain things so clearly. I’m a long time player of the sims, i had reshade but for unrelated reasons i had to buy a new laptop and i am in the process of reorganizing and downloading new cc, and this is the first time i actually understand what i’m doing with reshade thanks to you.

    xx

    Like

    1. Hi! I’m so happy to hear this! Before I started this blog, I had a conversation with my daughter who was trying to figure out how to do something but couldn’t find any tutorials that were truly for beginners. When I started dabbling in these guides, I wanted to make sure they were easy to follow and that everyone could jump right in regardless of their skill level. Receiving this compliment from you is such an honor because I know I’m on the right track. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

      Like

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