Many builders for Second Life use Blender to make their sculpties. Blender is complicated but a free and very powerful 3D modeling and animation tool. Add to the complexity of Blender the requirements and limits Second Life imposes on sculpties and it creates a steep learning curve for those new to sculpties. In some cases an overwhelming turnoff. But, read on to learn how to reduce that learning curve and speed up your design work. Learn how to make those really stunning sculpties.
Others also use Blender to check clothes design. I found Blender is a faster round trip check from Photoshop to Blender to Photoshop than most other processes. Many also use Photoshop to work with terrain texture and raw files. Recently the help, support and tools for all these just got better.
Most Sculpty builders know about Domino Marama’s scripts and add-ons for Blender and use those to simplify and speed up the creation process. I’ve been using the additions for months. Gaia Clary has made several video tutorials on using just Blender and Blender plus the add-on scripts for texture and sculpty creation. Both are a big help to new sculpty makers.
Domino’s scripts can be found on Domino’s web site: Domino Designs
These scripts have usually been referred to as Domino’s Importer Scripts. But they have progressed way beyond just import/export. Plus additions have been made to Blender by Domino for working with LoD (see the Gaia tutorials mentioned later for LoD info). If your sculpties change shape as you zoom out and the textures look hinky, this is what LoD is about. In any event, Domino has named the tool Primstar.
In relation to sculpties there is a Jira Issue VWR-9384 with the long winded title of Modify the calculation of sculpty mesh size to eliminate bad texture mapping and bad LOD transitions The scripts are now handling that varity of sculpty too.
Domino’s PrimStar/Sculpty Importer Scripts have a huge thread in the Second Life Forum titled, Blender Sculptie Importer – Attached. Huge as in 751 posts as I write this. The first few contain the basic information on where to find the scripts, Domino’s web site (see above). Later posts at bout 300+ there is the meat of how sculpties work. In the later posts the newer oblong sculpties come up. Even later posts are discussing problems and bug fixes and precision sculpties. Heavy reading but it is information I’ve seen no place else. Hopefully some person that understands it all will move the information to the SL Wiki.
Domino addresses another problem with sculpty textures not rendering as expected and a work around solution. See Domino Marama’s crossed prim sculpty method
As the Primstar/Sculpty Importer Scripts have developed Gaia Clary has made a number of video tutorials. These are great. I learned things about working with UVMaps that I have not seen in other tutorials. I think they are a must for any SL sculpty maker and anyone that works with UVMaps to make textures.
See the Second Life Sculpty Tutorial Videos at Gaia Clary’s Machinimatrix.org. These include a tutorial on how to install Blender and the scripts. You will also find a step-by-step install on Domino’s site.
Gaia has also made an add-on for Blender that I love, thank you Gaia. This is called Jass (version 1.2 today). Jass = Just Another Sculpty Studio. This is a collection of sculpty base shapes to start editing from, another speed up to save time.
Matching up seams when making clothes is a pain. The Chip Midnight and Robin Wood templates and tutorials help out. There are several tools for checking clothes before importing to SL and one can use Opensim and the Preview Grid too. I think the fastest round trip is using Photoshop (or Gimp) and Blender with imported AV models. The new CS4 Photoshop Extended may challenge that but I have yet to upgrade.
The first step in designing clothes within this process is to get the AV models into Blender. Domino provides information on doing just that. Again see Domino’s web site.
These tools are marvelous. Please hit the donate button when you are on Domino and Gaia’s sites or tip them when you are in-world.