The direction I’m going with tutorial is toward making clothes and weight painting. But, this tutorial will provide information for those building both objects and clothes. I am limiting this tutorial to just the modeling and the tools we need for making the model and the lower poly models we need for Second Life.
#1 – Modeling in Second Life
This is not your standard tutorial. There are loads of modeling tutorials. Making avatar clothes is a special type of 3D modeling. There are a number of tricks to be learned, especially for making Second Life® clothes. I’m going to focus on the things I had a hard time figuring out how to do.
I’ll lay this tutorial out with indexing so you can quickly find the various tricks. I need that because I tend forget a step here and there and need to look it up.
I hate slow paced, rambling video tutorials. I’ve found some that are pretty good. I’ll include those where appropriate. After them I’ll add explanations. Sometimes they leave out the most basic but necessary steps. Even after a couple years of using Blender I’m going: how did they do that?
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.
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.
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.
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.