The fashion industry in Second Life™ is massive and profitable. Ten years ago, I was writing tutorials for making SL clothes. Since then, I made the stuff I wanted and just coasted along. Then playing with friends inside SL I stopped making mesh anything.
There are a couple of things I now want to make. So, I started updating Blender, renewing, and updating AvaStar™. I find Blender has changed… a bunch, AvaStar has changed… some, I assume MayaStar has too – but I don’t use Maya.
There are also now more tools for making clothing for 3D models. So, I need to get my skills and knowledge updated and may as well add an update to the blog.
Here is what I am finding; (starting with a video)
Pretty neat stuff. Not all of it is specifically for clothes or Second Life, but some of those tools have possible uses for those of us playing in and modeling for SL.
The Cadillac of clothing design tools is Marvelous Designer (MD). Design is done in MD and then transferred to Blender where the design is tweaked and rigged to the various brands of bodies. For me, the big drawback is the cost of MD. Slink people in Discord talk about some clean-up work needed for things made with MD.
The ubiquitous tool for 3D modeling by Second Life people is Blender (free – donation appreciated – All previous Blender versions are here). To adapt Blender specifically to SL modeling the standard addon is AvaStar. While not required, AvaStar simplifies the process and handles gotchas that are a pain to learn about and remember to deal with. Well worth the money. (See AvaLab.org.)
AvaStar solves the initial problem of where to find the Classic avatar body made by SL. Way back when I went through ‘how to find the SL avatar model’ and which was the best source. It is tedious figuring it out. But, that work has been done and the result is in AvaStar, which includes the SL Classic avatar model. Or you can go through my old posts in the category: Clothes Skins Etc. (234 articles as of 5/2022)
Blender and AvaStar are the basic tools for SL developers, at least for me. My other considerations for this update are;
Marvelous Designer – Individual License: US$39/mo.
Recommended for Blender 3 and up. Slink Dev Kits recommend Blender 2.93. From what I can tell whether you can use various things with the latest Blender or have to use the specified version depends on what you are doing. Meaning the only way to know which version of Blender or addon to use is determined by experiment.
I am passing on this as the only use I have for MD is for making SL clothes. The cost will eat up all my profits as I don’t make or sell that much in SL.
Gumroad’s Garment Tool Addon – Individual License: US$40
Recommended for Blender up to 2.93. Everything is updating so with any luck this one will update soon. Most 2.9x Blender stuff works in the 3.x versions.
Simply Cloth – Individual License: US$33 to $80
There is a free demo and the manual is online. Recommended for Blender 2.93 & 3.1.
Installing the addon in Blender 3.1.2 resulted in a series of errors with the demo. Using 2.93.1 the install was not reporting errors but I couldn’t get it working and the warning ‘written for 3.00’ popped up. So, I downloaded Blender 3.00. But I still got errors when installing. I emailed the author and asked about the demo.
About 36 hours later I got an answer. Basically, use 2.93.0. So, I installed 2.93.0. That was a bit tricky. The portable version does not unzip/install the same as other versions. The unzipped folder is misnamed, IMO. Not a difficult fix but it does not sort into the list of Blender folders the way I expected. With the misnaming, I also ran into problems with AvaStar, which may or may not have been folder name-related. Whatever…
Modeling Cloth – Individual License: FREE – DONATION
Free software. Recommended for Blender 2.80. Last updated September 2019. So I am concerned the developer is not going to provide future updates.
This is named Cloth not Clothes. A video is here.
Simply Micromesh – Individual License: US$27
Recommended for Blender 2.9 to 3.1
This too is for cloth more than for clothes. But it has an interesting use in detailing parts of mesh clothes. A video is here.
Cloth fx – Individual License: US$40
Recommended for Blender 2.79 to 2.93
Again, for cloth and specifically for tearing cloth. A video is here.
Molecular Script – FREE
For Blender 2.93
This is a special simulation tool for animation within Blender. It can be used to make static models of collapsed things for SL. A video.
Cloth Weaver – Individual License: US$39 & $49
Recommended for Blender 2.8 to 2.93
This is a clothes modeling tool. A set of videos is here.
I’ve got my AvaStar and Blender updates installed. Now I am relearning Blender… stuff is moved around and several things work differently. In general, things are more intuitive. But it is still a challenge to find and figure out how to do things that were muscle memory ingrained. (sigh)
I plan to write more later to get into my experience with Slink’s new Cinnamon & Chai Dev Kit.