02-19-2012 11:13 AM
Been tons of stuff going on with Blender and Mesh. I have used Blender before but somehow I think the version I have is not quite up to par. Recently a friend of mine took me to a place that had a Mesh mountain, one that I could walk on without falling through it like most sculpts have happen. There are tons of add ons for Blender that I have heard about for SL but not sure what is what. I know some you pay for and some are free. What I need is some grand direction as I am tired of my sculpts making there way in slightly off the mark. Even though I check lossless option, there is still a deform to it(had a lattern with a seam or crease going up the entire length) rendering it useless.
02-19-2012 03:03 PM
OK, what you want is to download the very latest version of Blender (2.62 - 16 Feb 2012) from here:
If you scroll down that page to the Collada section, you can see it has been set up specifically with an export option for Second Life.
As far as mesh vs sculpt physics, it's a difference in how things are imported. A sculpt imports a 3D model in the form of a texture, where the Red, Green, and Blue channels define the XYZ positions of the vertexes. The SL mesh feature imports the 3D model in the form of one or more Collada Digital Asset Exchange (.dae) format files. Besides XYZ positions, that file format can also include UV mapping, bone weights, and other information. You can also load up to 5 files, representing 4 levels of detail of the model, plus a physics shape. The custom physics shape is how you are able to walk on a mesh mountain. Since sculpts only carry vertex positions in their texture, they cannot define UV mapping, physics shape, etc. Sculpts also need a given number of vertexes in a particular arrangement, regardless of what your model actually needs. Mesh is simply a lot more flexible
Any program that can generate the correct .dae file data can make mesh for SL. It doesn't even have to be a 3D program, since the .dae is just an XML formatted text file, but for most situations a 3D program makes it easier. Blender happens to be free, and more than capable of doing all the kinds of mesh things that SL understands. Therefore it is popular. The only extra you need besides the basic program is if you plan to make avatar attachments (clothes or replacement body parts). For that you should have the default SL avatar mesh and bone set as a blender file. The mesh is so you can fit attachments properly (like a dress dummy), and the bone set is if you are making a "rigged" item which will animate along with the base avatar. All animations assume the standard avatar bones, and so must any rigged items you make.
Most high end 3D programs have plugins or side programs that make life easier, like unwrapping UV maps. But they are not *required*, just nice to have if you do a lot of a given task. It's better if you first learn how the task is done within the main program, before you decide if you need an accessory tool. Rather than go by way of a texture, mesh is exported directly to .dae, then that .dae file gets uploaded as a model file into SL. It's actually a much more direct process, what you see on the Blender screen becomes directly the same object in SL if you upload it correctly.
02-26-2012 10:44 AM
Cool, thanks Daniel. Been busy as heck lately and this is the first time I have had to pop in and see that I had a message reply here. Thanks a lot.