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: Fitted Mesh.
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.
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 I’ve updated it several times, but it is still out of date and awkward in some places.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: 3/2012 – The site where the HAX files can be downloaded is down. It may come back… or not.
Photoshop CS4 and 5 and Blender will allow one to accomplish the same thing as HAX. Both are easier as you can work directly on the 3D avatar. Look through the Mesh Clothing tutorials to see how to get the avatar model.
UPDATE: claireharford has started hosting the files needed for Multi-Chan Hax.LINK
Multi-Chan Hax - Image 1
I’ve taken some time to play with the multi-chan hax filter. It works, but it is not intuitive. The video tutorial that MistressOfDesign made on faces and socks helps. I think she did an excellent job fitting a lot of information in the time allotted. But, it still leaves things to be figured out.
Multi-Chan Hax Interface - Image 2
When you want to make a pair of pants or a top you’ll find you need to know more. I’ve been sorting my way through Multi-Chan Hax (MCH). Below is what I’ve learned so far from starting a top/blouse. One thing I’ve learned is when it comes to making tops MCH is a tool to help you make things, NOT a tool that does everything for you.
If you want to follow along, look at the first tutorial on Multi-Chan Hax that I published and get MCH installed and tested. Also know this is not a Photoshop (PS) tutorial nor a beginner’s tutorial, it’s about MCH. So, I won’t be explaining how to do PS things. I’ll assume you know the basics of image editing and compositing. You’ll have to Google for PS help.
UPDATE: 3/2012 – This was neat, but the site with the download is down. It may come back or there may be another download site. I do not know of another site and we can only hope the site comes back.
Photoshop CS4 and 5 Extended allow one to skip using HAX and work directly on the 3D avatar model. Blender will also allow import of the SL avatar model. One can use its texturing and painting tools to work directly on the model.
So, unfortunately, as with many things, HAX and this article are out of date.
UPDATE: claireharford has started hosting the files needed for Multi-Chan Hax.LINK
This is neat. If you are a clothes maker in Second Life, you need to know about this way of making clothes. Clair Hartford posted a tutorial on the SL blogrum today. I think the thing is awesome. I’m excited. If you want to make seamless clothes, this is something you really want to know. This process has been around since 2009 and I’m just now finding out about it. Darn.