Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial

Checking the Weighting

Earlier I showed you how to check the vertex weight panting and how to see whether the parenting worked or not. We’ll do a check now to see how things have worked.

#33 Parenting and Weighting Working

Make Layer 1 the only active layer. Select the armature and switch From Object Mode to Pose Mode. Once in Pose Mode right-click a bone to select it. Press R to rotate it. Now the weighting should make things move like they do in Second Life.

Save the file.


Adding materials to the model makes things easier in Photoshop and you need them for making system clothes. So, let’s add the materials.

#34 A=Materials, B=Controls, C=Materials List, D=Name Field

Select the head part. In properties select Materials, the round shiny ball like icon. If the part already has a material, great. Check the other parts. Each part needs it own material. If the same material is on all the parts, you’ll have problems later.

To create a new material press the PLUS control to the right of the materials control window. Name the material in the field just below the materials list window. You can assign the material a color below in the Diffuse section. That color part is not necessary, but it can be handy and will help show mistakes. Repeat the process for the upper and lower body.

It is important to assign the materials in Blender if you plan to use the model in Photoshop. Some versions of Photoshop cannot add materials to a model. CS6 has a materials section. I don’t remember CS5.5 having that.

Save a copy of the file.


Now we can make a joined copy of the weighted avatar. Select a part of your avatar, say lower body. Press Shift-D then Enter to create a duplicate. The duplicate is selected. Press M then 3 to move it to Layer 3. Repeat the process for the upper body and head.

Activate Layer 3. Select the head, upper and lower body. Press Ctrl-J to join the parts into a single part. This ‘single part’ avatar model is the part you need to export as an OBJ file for import to Photoshop.

Save a copy of the file.

Exporting Mesh

If your avatar were clothing it would be read for export as Collada and import to Second Life. Let’s do an export.

#35 Collada Export Controls

Switch the 3D View window to Object Mode. Right click to select a part of the avatar to export. In the top menu select File->Export->Collada. When the file window opens look in the left side near the bottom for the export options.

Export only selected

I think this self explanatory. If it is not checked you’ll export the armature, your mesh, Domino’s mesh, everything in the file. Generally you’ll want to select this option.

Export for Second Life

Since we are exporting for Second Life this needs to be checked. This option corrects the problems the avatar.workbench-260.blend file was created to solve. So, I could skip those fixes to the Domino file because the Blender export option handles the problem.

When the options checked export your file. You can upload the file to Second Life on the ADITI (Preview/Beta) grid for free.

You can also check the file by opening a new Blender file and then importing the Collada file.


As I started to use my file from the previous version of the tutorial for dress experiment I found a problem with the Brushes. The older 2.4x files do not have all the things available in the newer 2.5x and 2.6x files. One of those things is the Painting Brushes. So, I need to add those in. Unfortunately while adding  them is easy (just append the Brushes section, it makes a mess.

Custom Weight Painting Brushes or Missing Brushes

Bender 2.5x and 2.6x version have 9 brushes visible for weight painting.

#36 Blender 2.63a Default Weight Painting Brushes


If you check your file made from one of the listed files, you’ll probably have only one brush. To check:

  1. Enter Object Mode
  2. Select a part of the avatar body; head, upper, or lower
  3. Change to Weight Paint mode
  4. In the Tool Shelf (left panel) click the brush image.

You should see a window open with the available brushes. It should look like Image #36, just above. If not, you need to fix the problem. You can append the Brushes section of any new Blender 2.63a file to add in the Brushes, just as we added OBJECTS.


You have now imported, rigged, and weight painted a mesh. For making clothes, make your clothing item, parent it to the armature, select it and the weighted avatar mesh and do a bone copy. Pose the avatar to see if it moves as you want. Export it as a Collada file. Import it to Second Life. Done.

That is easier said than done. But, you have done most of the work in the tutorial.

There is much more to making clothes. Building the mesh models, vertex weight painting, and making UVMaps are all complex subjects. But, you now have the basics needed for Second Life.

Mesh modeling is the same whether you plan to take the model into SL or not. The same is true of vertex painting, and texturing with UVMaps. There are thousands of tutorial on the web for those subjects. Ashasekayi makes a series of video tutorials with a Second Life slant and so does Gaia Clary at Eventually I’ll get around to another tutorial. I’m working with new Bmesh, textures and weight painting now. Plus I’m experimenting with and learning CS6.

NOTE: 12-05-28 – I am having problems exporting rigged mesh from 2.63a and getting the LS Upload to work. The Bone Attachments and empties removal seems to make no difference, my uploads fail. For now I convert polygons to triangles and then open the file in 2.62 for export for SL.

Note: 12-06-16 – After recent updates in the SL Viewer and ADITI regions I am able to upload Collada exports made using 2.63a.

UPDATE: 6-25-2012 – Things may drastically change. See: Alternative to the Deformer.

Update: 7-3-2012 – It is looking as if the Alternate Deformer is less useful than first thought. It is going to change things some, but probably not all that much. So, this tutorial remains effective. However, we are learning more about the SL Avatar. See: The Second Life Skeleton

41 thoughts on “Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Second Life Mesh Clothing Tutorial

  2. Greetings Nalates, thank you so much for this nice tutorial. This could my final motivation to push myself learn make clothes.

    In the page 3 you say that all the viewers uses the same avatar files, but it may be not true. I am not completely sure, so I won’t say names, but I think that there are one or more viewers using the modified avatar filed on STORM-1800:

    • You may be right. There may be some viewers that use the STORM-1800 Avatar. BUT… I expect those to be experimental versions. I think all the main versions TPV Dev’s release will use the same LL avatar. That because of the recent TPV Policy change. Most dev’s interpret it more strictly than I do.

      I have yet to test the STORM-1800 avatar to see how it works.

  3. Nal, I think the key to exporting your shape in the SL viewer, at least for Windows, may be to run the viewer as administrator. If I don’t do this, the shape doesn’t export while if I do run as administrator I do get the new_arrchetype.xml file. Right click on the icon that starts the viewer and select Run as Admnistrator.

    I think the problem in windows is that the program tires to write to the Program Files (x86) folder which is only allowed in administrator mode.

    • No… it depends on the version of the viewer you are using. I’ve tried the run as Admin, select avatar, etc. Plus Whirly was able to reproduce the problem.

      But, Thx…

      • Well, I tried it on v 3.3.1 as described, and was able to successfully export the xml. It also works on the current versions of Firestorm and Dolphin, although not in Niran’s. I thought I’d mention it since you specifically mentioned v 3.3.1 of the SL viewer. It could be operating system dependent too.

          • It looks like the newer viewers (i.e 3.3.3 and those using the newer code base like Niran’s) write the file to C:\Users\User_name\AppData\Roaming\Viewer-Name\user_settings instead of to C:\Program Files (x86)\Viewer-Name\character as before because of write permission prohibition to the latter folder in newer Windows OS’s

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  5. This is a great tutorial!. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I’m just starting to learn Blender and working with mesh. I agree it’s important for people to get under the hood and learn the “poor man’s” approach to doing this. When I get more time, I plan to walk through every step of your tutorial.

    I also agree that Avastar is a great product. I’ve uploaded my own shape and am making animations specific to it. Although I haven’t tried mesh clothing yet, making regular mesh objects and uploading them to SL is pretty seamless. It’s cost of $22 USD is no more than most good books.

  6. Just to double check, if you have the avastar add-on you don’t need the Bone Weight Copy script, correct?

    • Look in your User Preferences -> Add-ons. It will be near the top if it installed. Look for 3D View Copy Bone Weight.

  7. Not sure if I am missing something here. It seems like everything does great up until I do the bone weight copy. From what I can tell, it appears that the process sets the weight for all bones to zero not only on the target mesh, but on the mesh being copied from.
    I’m using Blender 2.63a. Is there a known issue, or a different weight copy plug-in I should be using?
    Sorry. Still new to all this. 🙁

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  10. I cannot get the bone weight copy to work I have redone all the steps starting at page one more than 25 times now & everything is fine up to the bone weight copy. They never copy…I have made sure both layers are selected & my mesh is chosen 1st & then the mesh to be copied from which I made sure had weighting. Blender acts like it’s doing something for a minute or two but when it finishes there are no bone weights in my mesh.

    • Check the weight painting on the source… make sure your source avatar shape has weight painting.

      Open a new copy of your base file, add a cylinder around the avatar. Add some edge loops (Ctrl-R then mouse wheel). Parent it to the armature. Do a Bone Weight Copy to see if the weights transfer.

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  13. Awesome. Works like a charm and very well written. But I have a problem. When I upload my rigged avatar its head and feet shrink. Any idea why?

    • Which viewer are you using?

      Just imagine I placed my standard rant about including your technical information in with a question about technical issues.

      Also, your fastest and likely best answers will come from the SL Forum’s section on content creation.

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  19. hello may i ask something? can we put a cloth pattern in blender? and apply it to an avatar body?

  20. Thanks for this! Now that Blender has a transfer weights option built in, are you planning on updating this guide for that?

    • I’ll probably put off updating until I am sure we have a working Fitted Mesh process. The ‘Fitted Avatar Model’ in the viewer is broken. We have JIRA BUG describing problems. The Lab will likely have to make some changes. I have no idea how that may affect what we know now.

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