Beginner’s Second Life Mesh Tutorial

Gaia Clary has 3 new tutorials out from a new series of mesh tutorials for Second Life® users new to mesh. This tutorial series starts with the basics of mesh and defines what vertices, edges, faces, polygons, and quads are. I think it is a great series for anyone considering building with mesh and unfamiliar with 3D modeling.

New Machinimatrix Tutorials

There are 10 videos on the new Mesh Path page at Machinimatrix.org. All but the 3 Coffee Cup tutorials I have seen before. Some use Blender 2.49 and other various versions up to Blender 2.62. The new Coffee Cup series uses 2.62.

It may be subtle but, the Coffee Cup tutorials are about 3D modeling concepts more than they are about using Blender. Additionally, the overall focus is about modeling for Second Life. The other 7 video tutorials take one farther into modeling for Second Life.

Using Blender

Prior to version 2.50 Blender was very much a shortcut key interface. That made it difficult to learn and remember. With the release of 2.50 the user interface changed. The 2.5x and 2.6x version use the same interface and are much easier to learn. However, that interface change does not make learning 3D modeling any easier, just learning Blender.

Those new to 3D modeling will find Machinimatrix’s Coffee Cup series a good starting place.

Presumably those new to 3D modeling will also be new to Blender. One of the best resources for learning both is CG Cookie and/or Blender Cookie. I recommend these tutorials for Second Life users:

Fast Track to Learning Blender  – This is an index page of the tutorials.

Blender: Download and Install – 1+ min – This is a rather shallow tutorial. But, it recommends the type of blender install I recommend. Blender updates frequently. Some updates have gotcha’s that cripple a version for use with Second Life. So, I have learned it is wise to have the previous version I’ve been working with and the new update installed at the same time. Doing that becomes very complicated if you use the Blender install program.

Blender.org provides a stand along version of Blender labeled Archive. This is just a self contained Blender installed in a folder. You can put it on a USB Memory Stick and have a portable copy that will run on other computers. It also allows you to as many versions installed as you want. Over time you will learn that is an important advantage.

Blender: Interface and Navigation – 6 min – This is about the basic navigation task of getting around in 3D space within Blender.

Blender: Intro to Modeling – 11 min – Basic beginning modeling. Coffee Cup II and this Blender tutorial are about the same level. Watch the Coffee Cup I before watching this Blender Cookie tutorial and Coffee Cup II after. I think you’ll get the most from all of them that way.

Blender: Intro to Materials – 4 min – Basic materials tutorial. The present Coffee Cup tutorial series currently stop short of dealing with UVMaps and materials. Coffee Cup III highlights the need for material creation with UVMaps for Second Life.

Most of the features for materials shown in this Blender tutorial are NOT transferable to Second Life. But, the use of the material controls shown will definitely be needed for materials you are taking to Second Life. So, pay attention. You’ll build on this.

Blender: Intro to Animation – 6 min – You only need this information is you plan to build animations for Second Life. This does provide the basics for how to use Blender to animate. It does NOT provide information about the limitations and peculiarities of animations made for Second Life. I have yet to find a good tutorial that explains the challenges of animating for SL.

Blender: Intro to Rendering – 6 min – Rendering only gives you an idea of how things will look. In some cases I use it to check my work and get an idea of how it will look in Second Life. But, it is a significant part of using Blender. Rendering is also used when you move into making (baking) advanced materials for Second Life.

Blender: Intro to Lighting – 5 min – Lighting changes how you see rendered things in Blender. The lighting is needed for advanced materials. For those making animated movies in Blender, its primary purpose, lighting is an extremely important part of one’s Blender education. For those of just moving model and materials to Second Life lighting is sort of a necessary evil and I tend to short change it. Understanding lighting allows one to add awesomeness to their materials.

Summary

There is about 40 minutes of Blender basic video tutorial. One can probably speed though these and the Coffee Cups 3 in an hour. It is enough to get one started and will allow one to move on to other tutorials and avoid being totally lost when a tutorial instructor omits some basic instruction.

These basic video tutorials should be taken before moving into the other 7 videos at Machinimatrix.

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