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Sparkly textures/Materials


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There's more info on materials on the wiki, but basically here's a brief run down.

Normal SL textures, consist of just a 'diffuse texture map', materials add two additional images and settings, a 'normal map' to simulate bumpiness that's too fine to model, and the important one for your question, the 'specular map'.

The Specular settings in SL has 4 parameters, 2 numbers, an image and a colour.

The First number (default value 51) is Specular Tightness, it controls how spread out and soft edged the highlights are. The default value of 51 is about the setting you'd use for say a 120 gallon black polythene wheelie bin, nice leather dress, 75ish, latex 100-125, polished metal 125-175, glass 200 ish.

The Second number is the amount of fake Environmental Reflection, a bit like the old system "shiny- low/med/high" on non materials textures.

The image map controls the brightness AND colour of the highlights, and the colour setting is multiplied by that. This helps when doing fancy stuff like metals (spec colour slightly tinted by diffuse colour) or those poly chromatic satins etc., black dresses with red highlights.

Now, the gloss and Spec tightness values are flat constants across the whole surface, BUT, the system allows you to put alpha channels into the normal map and spec map, to control the spec tightness and gloss on a pixel by pixel basis.

So, for example, if the alpha channel on the normal map and spec map was a black flood fill with a fine white speckle pattern, and you set the visible channels on the spec map to have a black fill with multi coloured speckles (same pattern) and set the Spec tightness /Gloss numbers to say 200/25, you could have a matte finish dress with shiny reflective sequins that glitter in different colours.

Check the wiki, materials offers a good range of options, once you get away from that "51/0 with a dark grey spec map" nonsense most people use by mistake.

Remember, if the colour of the spec map multiplied by the spec colour is DARKER than your diffuse colour, the highlights simply wont show up and you wasted your time uploading the images and putting them in.

Empirical evidence from buying 'materials enabled' items in SL suggests 70% of merchants/creators still haven't figured this out yet.
 

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Here's a couple of textures I sometimes use to give things a sparkly effect, either singly or in combination. 

Normal:

5988a8803f504_Granularnormal.png.dddcb88603b935050e7577e6d5621d65.png

Specular:

5988a8886395b_Granularspecular.png.ffdf3ae757a5641fc6911a8c667c3cc8.png

If anybody finds them useful, you're free to use them however you like. I'll stick them on Marketplace eventually, I suppose.

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All of the sparkly textures that I have seen on clothes have been using a TEXTURE (like made in your graphics program). You could also use a sparkly texture as an IMAGE TEXTURE in a CYCLES node group (Blender in my case). You can get bigger areas of shine WITHIN the sparkly pattern that way if that is what you are looking for. 

IF you use materials, be aware that some folks (a fair amount) will not see the sparkle at all, so you would be much safer with a texture that has built in sparkles or the more complex way baking in Blender or another 3D program. 

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