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There is no simple answer for this.  I can tell you a few places to begin but how far and what direction you wont to go is wide open.  One thing you will need no matter what is a graphics editor.  The Gimp is free, I like Corel's Paintshop, most people swear by Adobe Photoshop.  What ever you are comfortable with is fine.

You can find some in world classes on building at The Builder's Brewery.  If you want to start throwing your SLife away ... I mean start working on content creation, this is THE place to start.  Not only do they have free classes but you will meet other builders of various skill sets and abilities.  

There is also a wealth of information in the Creation Forums right here.  They love to help.  OK some love to help, others are eccentric weirdos, but that's true everywhere and these are fun weirdos.

If you want to also work in mesh, you will need to know how to use 3D modeling software.  Blender is popular because it is free but it is also robust and powerful.  You can find tutorials for using Blender with a simple web search.  Tons of tutorials.

There are some other 3rd party tools for use with Blender (and other 3D programs) you should have but those are not free and I don't care to give product recommendations in Answers.  But if you read the creation forums you will find out soon enough what I mean.  Or just ask them.

Edited by Rhonda Huntress
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Just now (early 2017) we are in a bit of a transition in clothes making, at least tutorial-wise. The basic avatar, known as Classic, was the primary avatar targeted for clothes and accessories. Sculpties (unique to SL) were the only means of making somewhat fitted clothes that attached to the avatar. Prior to that everything was ‘System’ clothes, those made by opening the Appearance panel in the viewer and creating a new skin, shirt, pants, etc. At that time clothes making was a matter of making a texture based on the ‘clothing templates’ (Chip Midnight & Robin Woods templates) to add to the new shirt or whatever.

There are years of tutorials on making ‘System’ or ‘Classic’ clothes. Any tutorial before 2013 is generally about making Classic clothes. From 2013 to 2014+ mesh clothes were possible. This is when a ‘mesh primitive’ type was added to SL. The idea was ‘things’ not clothes would be made from the new mesh prims. But, users made mostly clothes from mesh prims.

All prims (e.g., cube, sphere, etc.) except mesh prims are built into the viewer. We build mesh prims in Blender or 3D Max or Maya then import them into SL. This was a significant change. Look at pre-2013 images of SL and compare them to now.

Users figured out work-around methods for making mesh clothes work with the Classic avatar. The methods were less than satisfactory as the clothes would not fit well. You mostly had to adjust the shape of your avatar to fit the clothes rather than buying clothes that fir your shape.

The Lab finally helped out when users went from simple rigged mesh clothes to Liquid mesh clothes. The avatar was changed so that clothes could use shape information to adapt to the avatar’s shape. New bones were added to the Classic Avatar.

After this change designers and users started using more mesh, actually replacing the Classic avatar with Fitted Mesh bodies. The new bodies cover the Classic avatar. We usually add an alpha mask to the Classic body to completely hide it. I use a Classic head and a Mesh body.

Starting in early 2014 Fitted Mesh was officially released. Tutorials for making fitted mesh are on YouTube and Vimeo. These clothes change size as you adjust body shape.

In late 2016 Project Bento was released. The project did not change clothes making. But, the tutorials and tools used to make clothing are changing. There are not many tutorials post Bento release as the Blender tool, AvaStar RC6, is quickly changing. Plus, Blender changes too. So, most Fitted Mesh tutorials are for older versions, which are a pain for those watching them to adapt to the new User Interface (UI). But, I expect we will see many of them updated this year.

So, where do you start? I suggest you make a Classic T-shirt just to easily get that process and the basics behind you. The information learned is pretty much what you need for making Applier clothes.

In Classic Clothes making we open Appearance and make a shirt and add a texture (Diffuse Layer) in the new shirt dialog panel. When worn, the shirt appears on the Classic Avatar Body. To place a shirt on the Fitted Mesh bodies we use an APPLIER in place of a built-in viewer panel. An Applier is a HUD we make using the body-maker’s-scripts and a texture we make.

Applier clothes are usually tattoos, skins, underwear, and stockings. These are the Fitted Mesh counterpart of Classic/System clothes. There are scripts from each mesh body maker and the Omega system that tries to work with all the different brands.

See: Second Life: Stockings – Classic & Slink


Attached clothes are now modeled in third-party modeling programs like Blender. These are made for SL just as they are for any other game. We do have to specifically model for the bones used in the System/Classic SL avatar. This means generic tutorials for making clothes are useable in a basic way. The specific information for rigging the clothes to the SL avatar are unique to SL. However, the tutorials since say mid 2014 while out of date UI-wise are correct as to which bones to rig to and how.

Mesh body makers provide Developer Kits for their products. You can get those from the makers. They are usually free.

For more information see: http://blog.nalates.net/tag/mesh-tutorial/

I'll be updating most of my tutorials for the new Bento tools.



Edited by Nalates Urriah
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