Blender Retopology – Clothing Update

In April I posted an article on retopologizing (like that is a word – redoing the topology of) mesh objects in Blender. See: #SL Blender Clothes Retopology. In Blender 2.62 I kept having problems getting the method to work. I think it was more me than Blender that was the problem. Whatever… today a decided to figure it out.

#1 Getting Surface Snap to Work - Click to Enlarge

I plan to do more tutorials. One of the things I want to do is work with weight painting to see if I can make skirts that work better than what we have. The current mesh mini-skirts show it all when one sits down. I don’t think it has to be that way. Now I need a well made skirt to work with. So, I’m studying 3D modeling. One of the things modelers deal with is redoing the topology of high polygon into low polygon models. Using the tools built into blender can make changing the topology much easier.

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#SL Crusade for Good Looks

Several things are coming together and I think we are at the beginning of user driven change to Avatar 2.0. I just updated my tutorial for getting started making mesh clothes: Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial. So, we need to be considering what it is that makes our avatar look nice, which inspired this article.

Penny Patton's Proportioned Shapes



Some time ago I saw an article by Penny Patton on adjusting camera position for a better Second Life®. See the SL Forum and her article: A Matter of Perspective. It makes an amazing difference in how one sees Second Life. That inspired my article: Second Life Camera Position Tips.

There are tradeoffs between how one sets the camera for walking and sitting. The Second Life default camera position is a compromise between good settings for walking and sitting. Neither is ideal. It would be great if the camera would just change location when we sit or stand.

All that camera position stuff is nice, but what we have to look at is more of a problem than how we look at it. Penny’s current two articles are about making a better looking Second Life. Check out the article: Beautiful Second Life. This article focuses on what is and what can be. It is an excellent comparison.

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Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial

Update: 1/2014 – See: Fitted Mesh Base Avatar Files for an update on available files for use in clothes making.

Update: 11/2013 – Fitted Mesh, previously the Alternate method or Liquid Mesh,  is now the approved method for making mesh clothes that conform to the avatar’s shape. See: .

UPDATE: 6-25-2012 – Things may drastically change. See: Alternative to the Deformer. 4/2013 – Several designers are using  the alternative methods now. Linden Lab is recommending avoiding use of those non-supported features. The Lab may make changes that break the feature some day.

UPDATE: Rewritten 5/24/2012 for the Bone Weights problem.

Maya users see: Rigging Mesh in Maya

11/27/2012 Avastar Users: Check out AVASTAR: Using Freeze Mesh for Edits and Seams.

My previous article on setting up Blender for making mesh clothes (Second Life Mesh Clothing Tutorial) was written in September 2011, eight months ago. I’ve updated it several times, but it is still out of date and awkward in some places. Blender is now at 2.63+ and has BMesh. Photoshop is up to CS6. The Mesh Deformer is close to being completed. We have a self correcting Bone Weight Copy add-on and more. So, lots of stuff has changed as of May 20, 2012. So, it’s time for a new version of the tutorial.

#1 The Default Avatar Shapes (Kinda funny)

A few days after I wrote this tutorial I found a problem with the file. The Paint and Weight Paint Brushes were messed up. How we create the files has to change. So, I’ve rewritten this tutorial again. This is the revised version. It replaces the previous one.

In this tutorial I’ll assume you are new to making mesh clothes. I’ll also assume you have some knowledge of Blender and Photoshop. I’ll be using only Blender 2.63a in this tutorial. I will also omit the import to Second Life as this Tutorial is already over 9,000 words. Plus, there are lots of tutorials on the Second Life mesh import.


  • Page 1 – Blender Install, Base Mesh Selection
  • Page 2 – Details on Files and Base Avatar Meshes Available
  • Page 3 – Deconfuser, File to Use, Actual Mesh Differences, Easy File Fix
  • Page 4 –  Not So Easy Fix for Learning, Exporting Shapes from SL, What’s Needed
  • Page 5 – Getting Started, Customize Blender, GPU Kick-in, Load Mesh – Import OBJ, Setup Layers
  • Page 6 – Join Parts or Not, Remove Doubles, Parenting, Check Parenting, Start Weighting – Vertex Weight Painting
  • Page 7 – Weight Painting, Checking Weight Painting, Checking Weighting Source, Bone Weight Copying
  • Page 8 – Checking the Weighting, Exporting Collada for Second Life

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#SL Blender Clothes Retopology

In my reading I came across an excellent video on how to simplify models. Masami Kuramoto posted the information in the SL Forum. Video Tutorial on Retopology in Blender. 14 minutes of excellent information.

If you are making Second Life clothes, you need to see this tutorial.

The first tip ralusek provides stumped me. He is not using a key/click display and he went fast enough I missed it even after rewinding three times. I couldn’t get it to work. It is just too handy not to figure out.

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Avastar Rigging and Animation

You may notice some of the newer animations in Second Life are getting better. There is motion capture to thank for some measure of improvement. Another contributor to the improvement is Avastar, a for purchase add-on to Blender.

One of the other handy features of Avastar is the ability to handle rigging a mesh. So, clothes makers and those making other objects rigged to the avatar will find Avastar a handy tool. I think this video gives one a good example of what it can do.

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#SL Mesh and the Button Problem

Poking Through

I think most of us know about the problem of getting mesh clothes to fit well. Qarl Fizz succinctly described the problem in STORM-1716 when he wrote, “…when wearing mesh clothing in second life – modifying the body shape of the avatar causes the clothing to no longer fit. Making the avatar fatter causes it to protrude beyond clothing; making it thinner causes the clothing to hang in space away from the avatar.”

I caught this image as I was rezzing. The texture on the mesh top had not yet rezzed. The glitch layer did.

The Mesh Deformer Project (MDP) is developing a plan to fix how mesh clothes fit and then write the programming code to implement the fix.

Standard Avatar Sizes

We aren’t sure how long it will take to get the MDP completed and adopted by Linden Lab… or even if they will adopt the MDP. All the users and all the Lindens want a MDP to be adopted. But it has to work with past, present, and future aspects of Second Life. So, adoption is not a certainty.

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#SL Cloth Simulation Clothes

With the addition of mesh objects we have some nice possibilities for creating new things in Second Life. Ashasekayi made a great 6 part clothing/rigged mesh tutorial. Gaia also makes wonderful tutorials for working with sculpties, going from sculpties to mesh, and mesh. They have the basics pretty well covered. I want to get beyond the basics and find more Blender features. I have found several features that can help with modeling and in particular with making clothes. This article is about one of the Blender features.

Second Life Tutorial Example

Nice Clothes Example

Looking through loads of tutorials I’ve found some I think are pretty good examples of how to use the feature for making clothes look like they are made from real cloth. This is not a complete how to make a top. This is about a feature you can use in making a blouse.


Cloth Simulation – This is a feature in Blender that I have seldom seen discussed in Second Life circles. I wanted to explore what it can do and try it out. I used Blender 2.59.

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Second Life Mesh Clothing Tutorial

UPDATE May 2012 – I’ve replaced this tutorial with a new revised tutorial. It is updated for Blender 2.63a and the coming Mesh Deformer. See: Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial

Update: 2012-03-08 – The coming Mesh Deformer is going to change some of the thinking in this tutorial. At the time I wrote this and these tutorials were being made the thinking was using our avatar shape to make custom mesh clothes was a good idea. In some ways it still is. But, for those of us that sell clothes, not so much. The Mesh Deformer will allow mesh clothes to be adjusted by the viewer to any avatar. This means making clothes for the base avatar is probably the better choice.

UPDATE: 2012-05-13 – There is a Mesh Deformer Project Viewer available with the 0.3.3 version of the Deformer. You need this viewer to upload mesh that will use the Deformer. This the only SL Viewer that recognizes mesh deformation and displays and uploads it. A number of TPV’s have the Deformer in test versions. 

You can get a copy of the Deformer Project Viewer from: Downloading Viewer Test Builds. I also have a link in my blog’s left column. You can find lots of information on the Deformer in this blog, just click Deformer in the tags section of the right column. There is additional information in JIRA STORM-1716.

Ashasekayi has made a 6 part video tutorial on making mesh clothes. The tutorial uses Blender 2.49 rather than 2.5x. That is good and bad news. The good news is that Blender 2.49 has been doing a better job of making importable clothes than 2.59. The bad news is everyone is moving to Blender 2.59. Linden Lab is working to fix problems with Blender 2.59 clothes imports and has it mostly fixed. Following are my tips to help get you through the tutorial, avoid some gotchas, and descriptions of each video part’s content.


Mesh Clothing Video Tutorial

I suggest you use Blender 2.49 if you plan to follow the tutorial, especially if you are not familiar with 2.59. I started out using Blender 2.59 to follow the videos. It is not too bad. Keyboard shortcuts are mostly the same between 2.4 and 2.5. When I reached the point where I needed to copy bone weights I ran into problems. Over the last couple of days those have been worked out. Read this article and you’ll know how to use 2.59 for the bone weights work. I used Blender 2.49 while I worked through the problems with 2.59. Then redid it using 2.59.

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