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Old user, back after many years, trying to learn how to design again :)


Moire Georgette
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Hi! I'm a really old user, stopped playing I think in 2009 or so. I used to be a fashion designer (good old times when everything was made out of prims and textures haha), and now I'm really excited about the possibilities of mesh clothing. But there are so many new things to learn, I hope I don't sound like your mom trying to figure out second life :). Also, I hope this is the right forum, the fashion forum only has ISO posts, it seems...

1) It looks like everything and the kitchen sink is made out of mesh these days. Are Robin Sojourner old templates still useful? Also, were there any changes on the texture resolution for skins and textured clothing? I mean, all my skins and old clothing look a bit blurry. I don't know if it looks so because I am comparing myself to the new avatars with super fancy mesh heads... I've got a newer skin and it looks a tad better than my old ones (and I used to wear good, expensive stuff back in the days).

2) Speaking of that, I am saving up to a mesh head and a body. It looks like a necessity if I am going to design stuff for them, right? (Don't say it isn't, I am trying to justify the expense to myself, I really want those ;))

3) I've downloaded blender and I am trying to learn it by myself. I am used to 2d designing, 3d is a completely different animal, wow. 3.1) Is avastar any good for people with no experience in 3d designing? I am willing to invest, I just don't want to buy something and give it up after one week because it's oh so hard. 3.2) I thought about buying mesh templates to texturize, but it seems very limiting :/. Also, I have no control about poly count, complexity etc (I have no clue on what I am talking about but these issues seem important :P). Can anyone recommend a good store that sells quality stuff? I don't know if I'll ever use them, but I can at least practice texturing with mesh.

Well, I think that's it. All the help will be appreciated :)

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First learn Blender (or another 3D program of your choice). It will take some time (I am four years in with about 8 hours a day and still learning lots) and it may not be something you love. It either is or it isn't.  :D.

 

Most folks that make clothes use Avastar but until you can make static mesh, learning to rig and weight paint will be beyond.  Some folks like Marvelous Designer but you need to watch the poly count closely. 

 

I think the improved texturing is simply the result of better graphics programs. While 1024 is the largest texture usable in Second Life now and still,  traditional (legacy) clothes and skins are still 512 I believe (not my area so someone will correct me if that is wrong). 

Note that there is a huge amount of compittion in clothing these days and fewer dollars to go around, so making things because you enjoy it is a good plan. If you make some profits along the way? That's good too. 

 

 

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If you don't know how to make static mesh objects prims n props etc, making rigged mesh clothing never mind fitted mesh will be a real steep learning curve.

 

For full perm template mesh, prices vary wildly, from 'semi exclusive' items where the vendor *claims* they will only sell to x number of stores, that saells for 10,000 to 25000 ls, down to first time meshers who might sell stuff for a few handfulls of ls.

 

If you want to try your hand at texturing fp mesh, look at Meli Imako on the Marketplace, her stuff isnt expensive, and if you choose the newer "fitmesh" items with fits for various mesh bodies, a) you can wear your creations on your new mesh body and b) they might sell better. Meli's stuff is typically around 250-350 per pack.

 

It would also be worth swotting up on "Materials" in SL, specular maps etc, as from what I've seen 90% of merchants dabbling in materials basically get it completely wrong, using default LL values for specular tightness, and using specular maps that are too damn dark, so they do a load of work for no visible effect, learning materials is well worth while.

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Moire Georgette wrote:

Are Robin Sojourner old templates still useful?

Oh yes. The UV map for the classic avatar is exactly the same as it always has been and that's what Robin's templates are all about.

Most mesh bodies use a slightly different texture mapping for the feet and possibly hands but the difference is minor and of course only relevant if you make something that cover those body parts.

Mesh clothing on the other hand, that's a very different matter. But if you use full perm templates, they wil come with their own texture map and if you make your own meshes, well you should know how the textures are mapped on them. :P

 


Moire Georgette wrote:

2) Speaking of that, I am saving up to a mesh head and a body. It looks like a necessity if I am going to design stuff for them, right? (Don't say it isn't, I am trying to justify the expense to myself, I really want those
;)
)

Maybe not strictly speaking a necessity but definitely a huge time saver. You need to test the clothes of course and also model for the pcitures. It can be quite cumbersome and even expensive to get others to do that for you.

 


Moire Georgette wrote:

I've downloaded blender and I am trying to learn it by myself. I am used to 2d designing, 3d is a completely different animal, wow.

Ummmm... There is one thing you probably should know first:

990 out of 1000 mesh clothes designers buy ready-made full perm meshes and concentrate only on the textures.

9 out of 1000 mesh clothes designers hire experienced professionals to make custom meshes for them.

Well, I don't know the exact ratio of course but you get the idea. If you want to be the one out of a thousand, I wish you all the best luck but as Klytyna said, it's a long, long way to go.

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Thanks a lot for the reply, guys! 

Actually, it's a relief to hear that it indeed is hard to learn blender. I was feeling quite stupid, hahaha. I am thinking about doing a real life course, there are some in my area. I really enjoy learning new things, especially when they might be useful. 

Also, it is good to hear that the majority of designers do buy ready made templates. I thought that would be cheating :P. So, the plan now is starting with just texturing, and eventually maybe moving to original mesh work. I still want to do that, because it will give me much more freedom to create. Let's see how it goes :)

Thank you again! 

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Robin’s UV Maps are still usable. They work for Classic avatar, of course, and Slink. I haven’t started working with other bodies, yet.

Resolution is still a problem. TGA and PNG are the primary upload formats for clarity. JPG goes fuzzy. You’ll have to experiment to see what works best. Slink recommends a 512x512 texture for nails. Depending on the design I have gotten by with 64x64.

SL maxes textures out at 1024x1024. Whatever you upload, the max SL stores is 1024.

Get the mesh body. Slink has added diffusion, specular, and bump maps to the body. Hands and feet are getting the same updates soon.

Bento Heads are the way to go now. I still use the classic head because there have been no animation for fitted mesh heads. Bento changes that.

Slink, Maiteya, Belleza, and others have kits one can obtain for making mesh clothes that fit those bodies. I’m just starting to play with those. It is being able to match the brand’s body’s weight painting that makes clothes fit well or not.

AvaStar is a huge time saver. It will reduce your learning curve and eliminate a number of tedious tasks and gotchas. You can watch the free tutorials to get an idea of how it works. For actual production, you will want to take the retail tutorials they have.

The problem with AvaStar is they are S L O W L Y getting the Bento tools working. They have a Beta out. I’ve been playing with it. But, it is play. I’m waiting for a final release to get serious about production.

Quality Brands… this is tough. Designers are learning how to reduce render cost, ACI – Avatar Complexity Index. This is just a number used for comparison. It changes for the same outfit depending on your computer. But, it gives a relative “idea” of how hard the computer has to work to render the avatar. Lower is better.

Designers are learning how to design for lower ACI. So, quality is changing for the better. That makes it hard to peg a designer as poor or good. Their series of poor releases may suddenly change for the better as they learn. Turn on ACI and try the demos to see how they compare.

Bump/normal maps along with specular maps adds detail and allows polygon count reductions for lower ACI.

Maitreya is the most popular body according to Mesh Body Addicts’ blog. They did some polling. I like my Slink stuff but for one that wants to make sales, I think you should probably start with Maitreya.

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