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Tip: Better Quality Textures on prims in Photography, Art, Building.

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You can easily get much nicer quality in uploading images to SL if you take a moment understand this tip.

texture aliasing 4566136452_9a343c5ba3_o.jpg

You know how whenever you upload an image to SL, it gets force-resized to 512x512, or 1024x512 ,  or other "degrees of 2" pixel size? The force-resize that gets used is not very good quality-wise, and even worse, it ruins all your image proportions, so stuff looks stretched out and wrong when it's on a prim in SL.

Also, those numbers mean that the only aspect ratio you get to use with optimum quality is the clunky 2:1,  or just 1:1. That's not a happy situation for art and photography, where 3:2 and other custom ratios are important!

There is a simple way around the limitation.  Follow me in this tiny example, where let's say we have a piece of art that is 1200x800 pixels and we already know it won't fit into any of the predefined ratios, but you still want it to look good in SL. What's the fastest way to get it done?

1.  First, use your graphics program to resize the art to a resolution you think will be enough for it (512x512, 1024x512 etc, 512x256 - it depends on your art's size in horizontal and vertical, we just use whatever's closest) , this lets us bypass the crappy-quality force-resize on the Linden server.

2. Save a copy of this resized version and add the original resolution to the filename. E.g.:  "Joyful Maenads (1200x800)"

3. Now we just upload this resized version into SL, and here's the main trick.  Rez up a cube, but instead of hand-sizing it for the art, we're going to set up the actual exact pixel ratio we wrote in the filename.

Default cube's dimensions all come as 0.5, so we go into its editor window and type in:

X:   0. 1200

Y:  0. 0800

Z:  any desired thickness

As you can see, you can just put "0. XXXX"  where xxxx is your original pixel resolution for width and height. This gives you a small cube, but with the exact dimensions you need to correctly display your artwork with the custom aspect ratio. Then, just use the normal grey sizing handles on the prim to size it up or down as you wish, all the while automatically preserving the correct ratio.

That's it! You will get a nice looking frameable result with the exact proportions from your actual art piece, while also being in complete control of whether you want to add a bit of sharpening or other adjustment after you resize (in step 1) and bypassing the bad automatic Linden resize.


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One way you can take this same basic idea a step further is by applying it to cyllinders and tubes. Given the exactly correct ratio, you'll be able to get really sharp texturing on SL cyllinder prims, without any of that usual nasty stretching visible. 

The quickest way to do this is to just rez up a cyllinder and set its height to 1.  The "unwrapped width" of the cyllinder of height 1 is then going to be super easy to calculate,  it's  2 times 3.1415,  or 6.283 secondlife units.

Now you can just use the above tip, and start out with a texture in your graphics program that has a pixel ratio of 6.283 to 1, and get exact reproduction of what you draw, wrapped round the prim cyllinder.

Just for example, let's say we wanted to use a fixed height of 256 pixels for our cyllinder texture, and now need to find the proper width so that it'll conform to that ratio we just discovered. That's going to be easy to find, by just multiplying 256 pixels by 6.283, which gives you 1608 pixels.  Now you can start a blank texture sized 1608x256,  and when it's done,  treat it like any other custom-aspect ratio texture and follow the ideas/steps from the previous post to upload it correctly.

Happy texturing!

Handy resolutions table to use for crisp and distortion-free cyllinders textures:




(but of course you can use -any- resolution you want by doing  a quick calculation as already shown)



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