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This page covers the DDS formats used for textures and the necessary plugins to work with it in 2D applications.



Fileformat used for textures in The Sims 3. DDS has many types of internal formats, one being DXT. There are several types of DXT which serve different purposes:

  • DXT1 is used for simple 3 channel images without an alpha channel (RGB)
  • DXT5 is used for images with an alpha channel (RGBA)

DXT Texture Table

The table below specifies if a DDS needs an alpha, which DXT format you should save the texture in, and a visual example of the texture for reference.

Wallmask* Overlay/Stencil RGBA Mask Multiplier Specular
Requires an Alpha Channel Yes Optional Optional Optional Optional
Purpose of Alpha Channel Transparency Transparency Pattern D/Color 4 Transparency Environment Reflection
DDS Type (bold: common) DXT5 DXT1/DXT5 DXT1/DXT5 DXT1/DXT5 DXT1/DXT5

* Wallmasks must be black (0,0,0) and white (255,255,255) only. Even if the black is the slightest bit grey, it will appear pure white on the mask and won't make a cutout. Wallmasks for doors, windows and arches can be found under the '''Misc''' tab in TSR Workshop.


You probably need to install a plugin for your 2D application in order to work with DDS files.


Click on Download Current Version to download the file and then install it. Note that these plug-ins do not work in 64-bit.

If your Photoshop is in English the installer might have chosen the right destination in the Photoshop directory for the plug-ins. If it’s not then you have to translate the folders name to know where to move the plug-ins to:

  • C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CSX\plug-ins\file format

Additional Info/Exceptions

There is some additional information and an exception regarding Adobe Photoshop:

  • Photoshop Elements users can use the DDS plugins for the regular version of Photoshop and they'll still work.


Create a folder called PlugIns under C:\Program Files\Corel\Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2\PlugIns. You need to do the same with the older version of PSP. The directory will read a bit different. Copy the DDS Plug-in to the PlugIns folder. If you downloaded the plug-in as an .exe file, it should install to this folder.

If you are using PSP X2, you will need to enable your plug-ins. You do this by going to File -> Preferences -> File locations. Under File types, select Plug-ins. Uncheck Limit load plug-in to those with an .8B? extension only. If the location of your plug-in file isn't listed, click add and browse for it. Under the folder options make sure Enable and Use Sub Folders are checked.


Download the Windows 32-bit binaries and place the extracted dds.exe file in the GIMP plug-in folder, usually located at C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins.

Additional Links

(Thanks also to Apple for contributing to this page.)

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