Coming soon! A guide to mesh

Blender model render by Belochka Shostakovich (partly based on a great tutorial at BlenderCookie by Jonathan Williamson. I ❤ JW!)

 

An announcement for our readers: Thom Lunasea is currently planning and writing what will be an ongoing series of posts on creating and uploading mesh objects.

It’s a subject we’re both still learning, so covering rigged mesh is not possible as yet, but we hope that the posts will provide useful information. The tutorials will be based in Second Life but are meant to assist residents of other virtual worlds where similar mesh capabilities are supported.

The first post will be on how to use an enabled viewer’s upload screen for an unrigged mesh object. Thom will be providing a download of a simple object he has created, licensed under a non-commercial Creative Commons license, as part of the tutorial.

We’re both looking forward to exploring this subject further!

Using an Eloh Eliot Starlight skin – Basics 1

Eloh Eliot - Another Skin Resources for virtual worlds

This is the first part in a short series on how to use Eloh Eliot’s Starlight skin templates for virtual world avatars. Basics 1 covers downloading the template files and changing the skin tone.

Please read the below disclaimers first.

This is a Photoshop-based tutorial (CS3) produced on a Mac. There are similarities when using Gimp, so you can follow this tutorial as a general guide. I’m unable to offer detailed advice for Gimp as I haven’t used it.

This tutorial is just one method of making very basic changes to the skin templates. It doesn’t contain any advanced techniques on skin making (hand-painting, photo source, 3D baking etc.,).

All the Photoshop files used were designed and created by Eloh Eliot of Another Skin. These files are not my own work and I am not an experienced skin creator. I am unable to answer any detailed technical questions about how they were made. These files do come with a license agreement which I strongly recommend you read before you using them. MIT License

This might seem an obvious statement but for any readers who are not aware: the Starlight female avatar skins are depicted as anatomically correct. These tutorials are meant for a mature audience who are comfortable learning and working with anatomically correct template files.

Continue reading

Uploading an avatar skin to OpenSim

I decided to write this post after receiving a reader’s question on how to upload files to make into a completed skin in OpenSim. My reply included a description on how to do this, but I think it’s something that needs an expanded post.

I learned how to upload files and make a wearable skin in Second Life; it is one of those areas where an assumption is often made that everyone knows how to do it. To help those who haven’t put together an avatar skin before I’ve written this tutorial.

The same basic method applies for other grids and viewers (as far as I’m aware).

I’m using the Starlight skin .psd files made by Eloh Eliot and working in Photoshop CS3. For OpenSim I’m using the Imprudence viewer.

This tutorial is for people who have some Photoshop experience rather than the complete beginner.

Preparation

When you are happy with your skin and want to upload it take the following steps:

1. Check the image size of your Photoshop files. If they are set at 1024 by 1024 pixels you’ll need to resize them. You can upload this size but it will make a large file, which is not very efficient, and could be slow to rez in-world.

Resizing your skin files to 512 x 512

Resizing your skin files to 512 x 512 (Image 1)

2. In the Image Size dialog box resize the Face, Upper and Lower Body files to 512 x 512 pixels. (Image 1)

Then go to Save As and save the Face, Upper and Lower Body files as Targa (.tga) format. (Image 2)

Saving as Targa (Image 1)

Saving as Targa (Image 2)

The next dialog box to open will give you the choice of saving as 16, 24 or 32 bit (Image 3). To make sure that the Face file is uploaded with the transparency information, select the 32 bit option. You can save the Upper and Lower Body files as 24 bit – if you have not added any Alpha Channels when modifying the files.

Saving as Targa (Image 2)

Saving as Targa (Image 3)

Face/Head template files usually contain an Alpha Channel and only Targa (.tga) and Portable Network Graphic (.png) file formats are available in virtual worlds to recognise the transparency information. People also use the .png file format for saving skin files. I use Targa as that’s what I’m familiar with but it’s what works best for you.

3. You do not need to save your .psd files at the 512 x 512 image size. If you are using the original files, and not saved copies, I’d recommend against it. If you want to come back and make changes, or create a new skin, it is harder to do detailed work at this smaller size.

4. Now that your files are saved it is time to upload them. Login to your grid or region and find your favourite spot to do some appearance editing.

Uploading and making your new skin

1. Go to File, then the Upload menu, select Upload Image and choose the Face, Upper and Lower Body .tga (or .png) files. (Image 1)

Uploading your skin in OpenSim. Image 1

Uploading your skin in OpenSim. (Image 1)

Depending on your viewer, you can choose to do a preview of each file before you upload it. To look, go to the ‘Preview image as’ and then use the drop down menu to see the file as it will look on an avatar. (Image 2)

Uploading skin you skin in OpenSim. Image 2

Uploading skin you skin in OpenSim. (Image 2)

Those with free uploads, or viewers that have free temporary uploads, can skip the preview if you wish.  Once the files are uploaded they will be saved to your Textures folder.

2. The next step is to make a new skin. Open your Inventory window and go to Create, located at the top of the window. Select New Body Parts and then select New Skin. A new skin will appear in your Body Parts folder. Rename the skin as you choose, then double-click or Command click (Mac)/Right click (Windows) on the name to wear it. Don’t panic on finding that it is a default Ruth skin! The next steps should fix that.

3. When you’re wearing your new skin go to the Appearance window. Choose the Skin tab listed under Body Parts. (Image 3)

Making the skin in the Appearance window. Image 3

Making the skin in the Appearance window. (Image 3)

The Skin window will show three grey boxes with a black cross in them, on the left hand side next to the sliders. These are the Head, Upper Body and Lower Body Tattoos. This is where you will assign your uploaded skin files to the new skin you’re wearing.

Make sure you have the ‘Apply Immediately’ box ticked, so that you can see the files as they are applied to the skin. Click on the Head Tattoos box. Another window will open where you can look for the uploaded skin files in your Inventory. Find the Face upload, click on the name and then click on the Select button. Now the upload will appear in the Head Tattoos box and on your avatar skin.

Repeat the same process for the Upper and Lower Body boxes and then press Save. You will now be wearing your new skin with the uploaded files.

I hope that this will be of help. Enjoy your new skin!

Making prim hair – Part 1

In this post I’ll be giving some links to tutorials on how to create your own prim hair.

Prim Hair

First to mention is this tutorial on Creating Prim Hair written by Natalia Zelmanov (the owner and designer of Sirena Hair in Second Life)

This tutorial is not the sole method to create prim hairstyles but it does offer a clear, step-by-step process in four parts, which is very useful for a beginner. After many searches on this subject; these tutorials from 2007 remain as, possibly, the only complete resource that has been written about making prim hair which is still available online.

Due to the time these tutorials were written at they do not feature the use of sculpted prim parts. Also, the tutorial uses a script to create multiple, aligned, hair prims. This is called LoopRez 0.6, a free and full perms script.

LoopRez 0.6 is available in a L$0 pack, placed in a tutorial section, at the Sirena Hair sim. If you are a current Second Life resident you can visit to pick up your copy. The pack also includes notecard help and sample hairs to work with.

For Open Sim users and others who’d like to cut and paste the script: the LoopRez script (modified to include a root prim by Lum Pfohl) is available at this SL wiki page.

Some personal notes on using this tutorial.

It took me several goes to get into manipulating hair prims, especially the re-sizing steps in Part 2 of the series. This was because I wasn’t taking my head shape into consideration. If your avatar’s head shape is irregular, larger or smaller than the average 50 head size in the Appearance slider window, than you will need to compensate for that in your editing. Alternatively you can edit your shape, but, I prefer to work with prims rather than the Appearance sliders.

This is a picture I took after about twenty minutes of editing from the basic aligned prim shape. My test hair needs a lot of work but, with thanks to Natalia Zelmanov, you can learn the basics to start on making your own hair from scratch.

Prim hair editing from Natalia Zelmanov's tutorials

Prim hair editing from Natalia Zelmanov's tutorial series

Also to note: for the above tutorial it is recommended to edit your hair on your avatar, using a pose stand, but if you don’t find this method useful try rezzing it on the ground (once all the prims are linked!). Some hair designers and people with experience in editing prefer to have better camera panning of the interior and exterior of the hair. You will need to finish editing it on your avatar for the best possible fit.

In searching for more information on prim hair creation I came across this archived forum post, 10 steps to making prim hair. This is dated from 2007 so, again, doesn’t feature sculpted prims.

A drawback to this post is that the hair images which were linked from Arikinui Adrea’s website are no longer displayed. I have not tried making hair from the guide myself but I include it here as other people might find it useful.

Making Hair Textures

When it comes to creating your own hair textures there are a few tutorials. These are easy to find by a search but some dead links do show up listed on people’s blogs. Here are a few active ones that use Photoshop:

Creating seamless hair textures in Photoshop by Hazel Kyrgyz

Hair texture tutorial by twiddler2

How to create a hair texture in Photoshop – Second Life wiki

I hope all the links and tutorials will be of help to beginners and budding hair designers. Have fun!