Years ago (2012) I wrote a tutorial on installing Blender and setting up for making clothes in Second Life ™. It is titled: Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial. It has all the gory details a person with OCD would need. A couple of years later I wrote: Fitted Mesh Base Avatar Files, about which mesh models to use for making clothes. The articles have good information but we have learned and advanced since then. So, we can simplify things.
This article will hopefully take some of the pain out of your entry into clothes making for Second Life.
There are two ways to install Blender™. You can install it as one does any Windows program using the provided install program. This is simple and quick. If you are just curious and in the process of exploring, this is your option.
However, if you are serious and committed to making clothes then there is a better option.
Blender is in what I consider rapid development and updates often. Some of the updates make changes in the core parts of Blender. These changes force third-party add-on makers to update their add-ons. If you are dependent on an add-on you’ll run into times when a Blender update will break your model and/or your add-ons and you are left waiting for a third-party update.
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;
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.
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…
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.
If you watch detective shows on TV, every so often they will do something with LiDAR. These are generally really expensive systems that scan a crime scene and eventually produce a 3D model. Expensive in this case is like US$10k and up. There are cheaper ones in the $100 and less range for personal or hobby use. But you may already own a LiDAR system and not know it.
If you have a newer smart device that uses facial recognition then you may have a LiDAR system. The iPhone-12 has an actual LiDAR camera/laser on the front… back?… camera away from the screen… normally used for distance measuring. It is rather low resolution but also is stronger and reaches farther.
The screen side camera facing you is used for facial recognition. It is higher resolution but not as strong… meaning far-reaching.
Getting poses is sometimes hard. In some cases, one has to make their own. I suspect Madd Flair did some manual posing to get this shot. Or it could be built into the coaster, I have not checked. However, it looks very posed, unusual for built-in poses.
I doubt the image is taken from the Black Dragon viewer. Would be nice if they said. However, Black Dragon gives a ‘prettier’ render by default, thus my doubt.
From the How’s your avatar look today? thread Scylla Rhiadra spun off the thread Making Avatars Look Good in Black Dragon! Share Your Hints and Advice! (Link) This thread explains how people get those perfectly posed shots you have been wondering about.
NiranV the author of Black Dragon has been posting in the thread, so there is some good information and ‘how-to’.
Using the left-column of filters makes finding stuff a bit easier. But, one has to know to make the search using the top ITEMS – Merchant/Store search setting ‘Search In’, ‘Show Maturity Levels’, and ‘Keywords’before adding the left-column filters.
The ‘Sort By’ in the mid-upper right of the page just below the ITEMS search is also a big help. The sort can be changed at any time in your searches.
You can also search for a store or merchant. Once you select a merchant/store you have the option to ‘Search this store’. Then follow with left-column filters.
Things in the marketplace do not age out. Also, when merchants stop using Second Life, their stuff remains in the market place. Even if it requires a third-party server to work and that server is taken offline. All of which is a BIG gotcha for new SL users.
So, the sort order can be important search criteria.
Skies – Hamlet has been following Stevie Davros’ development of improved sky textures for Second Life’s Windlight™. Today Hamlet is writing about their release. Seems they are now available in the SL Marketplace.
Below is the installation tutorial for Mac and the Linden viewer. I highly recommend using the package with Firestorm. But, while tedious they are usable with the Linden viewer.
This installation information for the viewers will be good until the release of EEP, Enhanced Environment Project, a Linden developed enhancement. There is no ETA for the release. I definitely expect it to release in the first half of 2018. But, I could be wrong.
You’ll find some free cartoon clouds. Other artistic clouds sell from L$99 to L$599. The Natural Clouds package sells for L$599 and has 8 cloud textures and comes with 60 Windlight settings files. You can see the effect of the package in a Flickr collection. Very awesome. A more organized collection showing the clouds in the various packages is here.
Warning: Changing the cloud textures requires some basic file handling. Also, clouds must be chosen before the viewer is launched. For the Linden viewer, this means going in and renaming a couple of files each time you change clouds. With Firestorm, it is a matter of a one time install and a menu selection before logging in. (Preferences->Firestorm->Windlight (tab)->Cloud Texture (drop))
Also, see my earlier article New Skies for Firestorm for a bit more information. There is a link to Juicy Bomb’s 2013 tutorial there too.
In the forum, someone was asking about DJ classes. The name Timothy Scarborough and Helping Haven came up.
Helping Haven Gateway is a region in Second Life™. As a gateway, it has a website: Helping Haven. People can open a Second Life account and log into SL on the website. When they use the website they land in the Helping Haven reception area.
Helping Haven Gateway Avatar Selection
When I went there 3 or 4 people were on ‘duty’? They had the answers to my questions on who was doing the DJ classes. They didn’t know the when nor did I find that answer in my exploring.
The region very much reminds me of Second Life in 2008 when I came in. There used to be places with helpers… mentors hanging out that you could ask questions. They were usually circular areas and people landed in the middle with helpers scattered around the edges. One asked a question local chat and someone would chime in with an answer. Continue reading →