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A tip for training for Sculpted Prims

Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-29-2007 08:27
For those unfamiliar with 3d programs Blender is possibly the hardest program to learn on.

Here is a fact that I think is being overlooked, the original model will not need to be created in the program that you export it from.

Another free and open source 3d modeling program out there is Wings 3d.
http://www.wings3d.com/

In contrast to Blender it is very simple and easy to learn with a much more intuitive interface.
Just the absence of so many options makes it easier to navigate. It is surprisingly powerful
btw and you can still create some very complex models with it.

Once you create your model simply save as obj. file (for example) which is also a format
that Blender can import, and finalize the model with the correct maps in there.

Then you have in effect just created a Blender exportable model.

Note Wings does not support Nurbs however, but you can always take the time to learn that in Blender.

So now to begin you don't have to learn all the million options in Blender, but you will still need to learn the basics of Blender in terms of manipulation and applying the appropriate maps. :)
Sys Slade
Registered User
Join date: 15 Feb 2007
Posts: 626
04-29-2007 08:37
Thanks for that.

Also, from another thread (thanks to Shaman Till):
Art of Illusion
http://sourceforge.net/projects/aoi/
Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-29-2007 09:36
Here is an example of some objects I made very quickly in wings 3d.

Not sure how SL will handle appendages.

Rax Jessop
Registered User
Join date: 24 Dec 2005
Posts: 67
04-29-2007 10:38
Blender though it has Nurbs is very limited in that aspect. So if you really want to do nurbs modeling you will have to buy something. Hopefully better support and editing option will be realesed in the future.
Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-29-2007 10:46
So here we have two dual octohedrons each pair being joined at the point of a single face with the 'virtual mirror' tool in Wings 3d.

Shown here it is after being imported into Blender, so yeah if you can live without nurbs then
this is a quick workaround.

Now...my question is do we need to put a map on in here, color, displacement, etc...Or will the SL Blender exporter do that part for us, hmmm?

Kensuke Leviathan
Wandering fox
Join date: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 127
04-29-2007 17:48
From: Infiniview Merit

Now...my question is do we need to put a map on in here, color, displacement, etc...Or will the SL Blender exporter do that part for us, hmmm?


no..none of the exporters will do it for you, if you work with a poly object, you gotta make the UV map.
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Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-29-2007 20:11
ok fair enough.

But that is not all or it would still just be a uv mapped object. I am wondering what other prep if any that we need to do before export.

So just a uv map, then the exporter takes it from there? :)
Kensuke Leviathan
Wandering fox
Join date: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 127
04-29-2007 20:29
In theory, no other maps are needed upon export, when you get to SL you can add a texture to it which is defined by the UV maps. Also as a note the current scuplted shaped is derived from a sphere, so not all objects will work and quite a bit of tweaking maybe required to eliminate errors.
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Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-29-2007 23:30
Thank you Kensuke,

Another question that has come up is concerning the 32x32 grid. Now the way that I understood this is that it concerns the appearance regarding level of detail LOD.

Yet in some other posts I have seen it referred to as if my model would need to stay under this number of total vertices.

This doesn't seem probable to me. Is there a direct relationship to the number of vertices in my model?

Or perhaps is the total number of 32 x 32 = 1024 like a reccomended number of vertices
to stay under in relation to the resolution of detail?

Despite these lingering questions I can feel the fog clearing away and this is getting exciting!
Deanna Trollop
BZ Enterprises
Join date: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 671
04-30-2007 03:59
The complexity of the model is limited to a 32 x 32 "grid" at the highest LOD, which will drop to 16x16 (and possibly more) when the camera is a certain distance away. If you specify a larger texture to define the sculpt, it will still only be sampled at 32 x 32, at most.

The actual number of verts would be 962, since the top and bottom rows of that 32 x 32 grid are unified at the "poles." (32 x 30 + 2 = 962)

The number of triangles would be 1920. The rightmost column of verts connect back to the leftmost column, giving 32 columns of polygons. There would be 31 total rows of polygons, the first and last of which are triangles, the other 29 are squares, each of which consists of 2 triangles. (32 x 29 x 2 + 32 + 32 = 1920)

By way of comparison, the SL avatar head, not including eyelashes, eyes, or "noob" hair, is 955 verts and 1840 triangles.
Trina Birke
Registered User
Join date: 16 Nov 2006
Posts: 10
What about Bryce?
04-30-2007 04:47
I have only used Bryce and Poser in the past, since objects created in bryce can be saved as .obj, will I be able to use Bryce too?
Porky Gorky
Temperamentalalistical
Join date: 25 May 2004
Posts: 1,414
04-30-2007 07:33
I am very experienced with building using the SL client in addition to being experienced with photoshop and image tools etc. I can also use AutoCAD quite proficiently....

However I have a feeling that none of this experience is going to help when learning to use a 3D moddeling package from scratch. So, i figure the main 3 packages would be Maya Blender, 3DMax.

Assuming that price isnt an issue, what would be the easiest package with which to learn how to create sculpted prims from scratch? By easiest I dont mean the smallest or the one with the least amount of features, i mean which one has the best usability, functionality and built in help?

From the consumer reviews i've read Maya seems to be the way to go but interested in other informed opinions before I shell out my hard earned cash.
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Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-30-2007 07:57
From: Trina Birke
I have only used Bryce and Poser in the past, since objects created in bryce can be saved as .obj, will I be able to use Bryce too?


Yes you can use Bryce as long as you make sure your model is uv mapped and saved in a
format that can be imported into one of the programs that there will be exporters for.
Bryce has some limitations in light of the fact that it is not a traditional 3d modeler
so does not have many of the modeling options of those programs.

On the other hand for quickly creating objects and being able to do some simple structural
manipulations to them it is very easy.

In addition it may be pretty well suited to the type of prim that the sculpted textures will be operating on.
That is objects with an organic appearance and so terrains are a very logical choice.
There are some interesting drag and drop terrain objects in Bryce.
Kensuke Leviathan
Wandering fox
Join date: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 127
04-30-2007 08:39
Thankfully Porky you don't have to shell out your money just yet :) Autodesk is kind enough to provided a Maya PLE version and a 3d studio max 30 trial for you to try from their website. Personally I like Max for modeling but Maya has MUCH better NURBs objects.

As for the verts question yes 32x32 does mean your object can use 1024 verts.

Bryce could be used but I wouldn't recommend it, applications like bryce and poser were never made for modeling like this since each object in them is placed individually and usually lacks the ability to be manipulated at a vertex level.
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Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-30-2007 09:17
Just went into Bryce to test my answers.



The above render is a preset terrain mesh that you can drag and drop onto your scene. This particular scene took less than a minute to set up.
The render time took 8 minutes.

The level of detail you are seeing in this render is mostly due to the surface texture.
Which it is good to keep in mind will Not be coming with your export when your save this object.

Many 3d object file formats do retain material information but I have not seen anything
about the SL exporters doing anything like that. So what you will be saving is this...


This is the part of the process my own comprehension of it gets a little blurry.
From what I understand so far, as long as the object is suitably UV mapped then the exporter takes it from there and then yields a 'scuplt texture' which can then be uploaded and applied to a prim.

I just dont get how the exporter gets structural information from a uv map. My understanding is that a uv map tells where and how a texture is to be applied.

Ok back to this Bryce mesh, among meshes it is not that intensive but as you can see from
the top render you can pack alot of surface texture data onto it anyway.

My other questions regarding LOD or level of detail, so say your mesh was very intensive
does the exporter prevent the use of objects with a high vertex count?
Like would you get a error message or something?
Or does it just apply its own calculation type of snapshot to the object in which case you
are still able to use the object but you just lose structural detail?

If we assume the latter, then a mesh like this may lose some of the structural detail,
perhaps in the form of less sharp angles.
However in the top render we can see that a quality surface texture can make up for much of that loss of structural detail.

To save an object in Bryce you simply make sure it is selected and the choose "Export Object" from the file drop down menu and choose the file format you wish to save it as.
Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-30-2007 09:47
From: Porky Gorky
I am very experienced with building using the SL client in addition to being experienced with photoshop and image tools etc. I can also use AutoCAD quite proficiently....

However I have a feeling that none of this experience is going to help when learning to use a 3D moddeling package from scratch. So, i figure the main 3 packages would be Maya Blender, 3DMax.

Assuming that price isnt an issue, what would be the easiest package with which to learn how to create sculpted prims from scratch? By easiest I dont mean the smallest or the one with the least amount of features, i mean which one has the best usability, functionality and built in help?

From the consumer reviews i've read Maya seems to be the way to go but interested in other informed opinions before I shell out my hard earned cash.


That is a very large question Porky.

It really depends on what your goals are. If it is merely to Learn, then Kensuke's post will handle it for you.

I downloaded the maya ple learning edition a couple of days ago and it has mass info about learning Maya. In addition to a great deal of data on 3d info in general. You can
learn a great deal just by going through all that available material.

I sense that you may be interested in creating sculpt textures for commercial purposes.
If that is the case then you will want to buy or use one of the free options that are available.

Regarding maya and 3ds max these programs are very high end 3d packages that cover
far more areas than what is needed to create sculpt textures.

With sufficient knowledge and skill for example you could use maya to create a fully
rigged poser type character and make it dance.

However the time and knowledge to undertake such a project would be vast.
In terms of SL sculpt textures however the key advantage would be the automated uv mapping functions in a program like that. And of course the massive amount of modeling options available.
If you did get maya or 3ds max you would be able to make everything from sculpt textures to regular textures, animations and even movies.

You could also make a career of using these programs, they are That powerful!

However if you just need to create sculpt textures you need far less.

1. Any program with sufficient modeling abilities to suit your needs.

2. The program needs to either be able to save in the correct format or be one of the ones
that there will be an sl exporter for.

3. The program needs to be able to apply a suitable uv map to your object.

So you can spend as much or as little as you want. There are enough resources out there
to do this completely for free outside of upload charges.

Or you can spend thousands of dollars it is completely up to you.

UV mapping can be a difficult process so a program that automates this process for you can come in very handy.

In terms of actual modeling it is just a matter of learning the tools which differ from program to program however the concepts are very similar from one to the next.
Kensuke Leviathan
Wandering fox
Join date: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 127
04-30-2007 10:04
The sculpt texture is created in a process similar to a displacement or normal map texture, it simply uses the texture space to define where it should consider putting verts. The mesh upon export can be any size, from 1024 to 1 million faces, the problem is 1 million faces does you no good because the detail wouldn't replicated.

On the Bryce terrain output also consider that it would be applied from the base object of a sphere, so there might be some issues with distortion.

As a note do not use auto UV mapping, auto unwrapping consists of projecting roughly six planes of view against the model and separating the polys into groups of less distortion. This is terrible for most unwrapping and unless for sculpted prims because the UV map must cover the entire texture plate with no holes, auto mapping makes a lot of holes.

Sadly I have more to write :P but not the time to do it, further explanations and experiments when I get to work.
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Deanna Trollop
BZ Enterprises
Join date: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 671
04-30-2007 12:14
From: Infiniview Merit
I just dont get how the exporter gets structural information from a uv map. My understanding is that a uv map tells where and how a texture is to be applied.
The color value of the pixel at the UV location specified for a given vertex determines where that vertex is to be located in 3D space by translating RGB into XYZ.
Infiniview Merit
The 100 Trillionth Cell
Join date: 27 Apr 2006
Posts: 845
04-30-2007 13:22
Thanks Deanna, Kensuke

Deanna yes your answer is straightforward and I read that in the description, hehe.

Maybe I am being too literal but the uv maps I have seen do not have any 'color' that I can see on them, so I think that is where I get confused on that matter.

But hey if that works then its good enough for me. :)

Kensuke in reference to the auto uv function maybe I am using the wrong term.

For example I learned modeling in Wings 3d and the uv function tool in there is very basic
and requires certain manipulations for best effect.

Where as in other higher end 3d programs I have used you can apply a uv to your model
simply by applying a shader or a texture to it.

Such as in Carrara, I believe that Bryce also applies its own uv map to the object as long
as there is no map on it to begin with.

I have not yet used the uv functions in maya or blender yet however I had assumed they may be similar in this way.

Then each of those have uv application tools such as repeat, rotate and offset in addition
to the map styles projection, parametric, world, etc...etc..

So maybe I am using the wrong term when I say 'auto uv function" not sure. But if you recommend not using it. What do you recommend in the alternative?

Oh another question came up recently and it is if you import an object say into Blender
in prep to use the exporter does the model need to be uv mapped in the same program
it is exported from?
Deanna Trollop
BZ Enterprises
Join date: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 671
04-30-2007 13:46
From: Infiniview Merit
Maybe I am being too literal but the uv maps I have seen do not have any 'color' that I can see on them, so I think that is where I get confused on that matter.
The UV map doesn't, but the texture does. The UV map just defines what coordinates within the texture correspond to any given vertex.
Trina Birke
Registered User
Join date: 16 Nov 2006
Posts: 10
04-30-2007 15:28
Great thread, I really appreicate all the feed back.
Kornscope Komachi
Transitional human
Join date: 30 Aug 2006
Posts: 1,041
Example textures?
05-02-2007 01:13
Has anyone got some examples of the textures/image maps and the finished result. Even from a 3d app, not necessarily from in world.
Maybe three images if I'm getting this correct.(Maybe not)
One for the mapping
One for the applied texture
And one for the finished product even if it's just a dimpled cushion. Or the apple or banana.

Just so I can see what the process may look like... Please. Pretty please...Added sugar.
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Kensuke Leviathan
Wandering fox
Join date: 11 Dec 2002
Posts: 127
05-02-2007 01:42
I have several in fact, the problem is I have no way to show the output, I.E what it might look like in world. In theory it should work perfectly but without a program that translates the map it's all speculation at this point.
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Tod69 Talamasca
The Human Tripod ;)
Join date: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 4,107
05-02-2007 02:26
** Me thinks I'll eventually be doing a Maya PLE/3D Studio MAX tutorial and posting alot of other sites tutorial links **


Heh! This has me more excited than Voice or Physics!!!
Cindy Crabgrass
Crashed to Desktop
Join date: 9 Sep 2006
Posts: 158
05-02-2007 03:43
Some People are working on Exporter / Converter / Previev Applications now.
We cant be sure if it works until the Sculpties are in the Previev Grid.

I play with NURBS in Blender, export to .obj, run a simple C# Program
to create the Sculpt Map and previev in a Irrlicht (open Source 3D Engine)
based Application.

The results are mixed. A simple Box or the Blender Monkey fail miserably.
(they are not NURBS and the Triangles get Mixed up)
A NURBS Sphere of exactly 1024 vertices, even Deformed, seems to work.
I hope there is a better Programmer, writing the 'perfect' Tool in time :D

Screenshot
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