Tutorial 2017: How to Make Slink Nails

Mesh development is shaking down into some common methods. This tutorial covers how to make Slink Nails using 2017 information. Section headings will give you an idea of what you can skip and what you need to read based on your experience level.


If you are totally new to Second Life™ there is a lot to learn. I am only touching on the parts needed to make nails for Slink Hands. Other brands of hands are similar.

Make Your Own Slink Finger Nails – 2017

Classic verses Slink Mesh

In 2013 Linden Lab, owner of Second Life (SL), added a feature we call ‘mesh’. Prior to that all things in SL were made of primitives, shortened to ‘prims’. Technically everything in SL is a primitive and made of mesh.

What we call mesh is a particular type of primitive just as a cube or sphere is a specific kind of primitive. While everything in SL is made of mesh (press Ctrl-Shift-R to see it), we only refer to things made in Blender, 3D Max, Maya, and other modeling programs and then imported to SL as ‘mesh’, more convenient than rational. Linden Lab® added the mesh prim in 2013.

The basic avatar used in SL from 2004 to 2013± is referred to as the ‘Classic’ Avatar. It is a special object in the SL environment. Various limitations in the Classic Avatar pushed designers and the Lab to find ways to improve the avatar appearance.

Designers begin making mesh clothes for the Classic Avatar 2013±. These are just mesh items (prims) made in Blender, et. al., and imported to SL and worn as attachments on the Classic Avatar.

Standard Size Package

To get clothes to fit the various size avatars was a problem as attachments were unaffected by the avatar shape sliders. The designers’ solution was to develop Standard Sizes for avatars. If you made your avatar a Standard Size, you could fit into mesh clothes made for that size.

If you are interested, download Standard Size Package.

The basic idea of changing your avatar to fit clothes didn’t go over well and limited sales of Standard Size products. To get past the limited appeal designers created what they called liquid mesh by figuring out how to weight mesh items to hidden parts of the avatar skeleton that somewhat worked with avatar shape settings. The popularity of liquid mesh lead the Lab to develop Fitted Mesh, a more complete liquid mesh.

The Lab added some bones and made other existing bones accessible for weighting and animation and did some slider work. The modifications were completed in early 2014. This lead to what we have now (2017): Fitted Mesh, that works with most of the shape sliders.

In December 2016 Project Bento was completed. It added more bones to the avatar. Among those are finger bones. Hands and fingers can now be animated. It is to these animated hands we will add nails.

The point of providing the dates of these advances is to help you in picking tutorials. Any tutorial made in mid to late 2014 and on will have usable information for clothes making and basic animations. Only tutorials made in late 2016 and on will deal with the new Bento features; animated hands and face, quadrupeds, tails, wings, etc.


What is needed…

We have no need to make the actual mesh nails or hands. Slink has done that for us. So, there is no need to get or learn Blender, 3D modeling. But, that knowledge would help. We just need to understand how to get our nail designs to work with Slink Hands.

You need a few things to make nails for Slink:

  • Obviously, an SL Viewer
  • GIMP, Paint.Net, Photoshop, or some image editor
  • The Slink Creators Kit – Clothiers

I recommend you have at least 2 viewers. The Linden made SL Viewer is the default viewer. To troubleshoot problems via SL support you need to have this viewer installed. To ask questions and get answers in the SL Forum’s ANSWERS section it is often better to see if you can replicate the problem in a different viewer then ask for help.

Firestorm is the power user’s viewer of choice. It and other third party viewers are listed here.

Any image editor that allows you to work with layers will do. I use Photoshop for work so I am privileged to have it. GIMP and Paint.net will work very well and they are free.

You must also have Slink Authorization. You apply here. It may take a few days to get authorized. If accepted, you will get an authorization package via IM. This is needed so your ‘applier’, the HUD we will make, can communicate with the Slink parts.

Next you need the developer’s kits. Once approved you can get those from the redelivery terminal in the main Slink store. Don’t expect to get everything you ask for. You get basic stuff and once you have some Slink products in your marketplace store you can get the more advanced kits.

In the Clothier’s Kit, which you need to make nails, you’ll find the templates (UV Maps) needed for making Slink clothes and nails. You’ll find the nails template in a note card named: Makeup Texture Targets. Click the texture links in the note card to open them. When open, click the Save As… to download the textures to your computer.

Save the templates as either PNG or TGA to preserve the transparency.

The Nails UV Map/Template

While you are in the folders, click the scripts listed below and change them to COPY or TRANSFER. They must be one or the other for the HUD to work. Right-click the scripts, select Permissions, and set next owner can COPY or TRANSFER. If you forget this step, it will become a gotcha that will take some time to sort out. Do it now.

  1. Authorization [your_avatar_name]
  2. Slink 3rd Party Clothing Controller [version release date]
  3. Slink 3rd Party Makeup and Nails Controller [version release date]
  4. Slink 3rd Party Tattoo Controller [version release date]

Making the Slink nails…

Start by painting your nail design. Open an image that is 512×512. Smaller images will work, but this is the size Slink makes their templates/UV’s. So, starting out, use the size found in the kit. Experiment later.

UV Map and Slink Feet High v2.5 – Arrows point to red area

I used the Nails UV Map 512 image as a layer in my image file. As the picture above shows, the mapping isn’t quite what I expected. The texture as seen in the upper left is what I see in Photoshop. But, it is reversed on the nails, a mirror image… sort of looking at the backside. This is an important aspect to remember, if you put lettering on the nails.

The texture I show is what I used for testing. Something quick and simple. I figure if all works, I can then start making image-textures in confidence.

Next we’ll upload the texture to SL. You can upload and test things for free by using the Preview Grid. Instructions for logging in there are at the link. There are some gotcha’s so read carefully and know it takes a day or two the first time.

I am assuming you know how to upload images and use the Build Panel. So, I’m being brief. Top menu->Build->Upload->Images.

You get a copy of your main grid inventory in the Preview Grid (grid name ADITI). Each time you login into ADITI the system will resync your inventory the following 6 AM SLT/PST (approximate). It is a one-way sync, from AGNI, main grid, to ADITI.

So, it is a good idea to put things made in ADITI in folders made in ADITI named ADITI something. Otherwise it gets really confusing and hard to clean up.

More pages… links below. 

2 thoughts on “Tutorial 2017: How to Make Slink Nails

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