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CoffeeDujour

Friends don't let friends export prims and reimport as mesh.

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This is not really a tutorial, more a walk though of me tackling this, I've tried to explain stuff as I go.

I made 8 funnels 24 prim / li total. These are prims, so they degrade with distance really nicely. The look great .. if a little expensive these days.

H5iNDwU.png

I exported these with firestorm as collada and reimported right back into SL I did not touch the options in the uploader, defaults all the way.

It cost me L$35, they are now 15 Li .. 

OR6VHSe.png

Oh no !! My LOD is set to the max allowed in the stock Linden viewer. and if I move my camera back just a little

j8TIj9s.png

YUK! So I can either reupload, spend more and change the numbers to give it higher detail .. costs more and uses more Li. Nope.

I could change my viewer settings so they look awesome! Only now everything in SL is rendered the same way, I guess I didn't like my frame-rate anyway, and it's totally worth a slower SL everywhere just so I can enjoy these .. ok, maybe not.

Import into blender 2.8, from this point on i will use menus (and add keyboard shortcuts in brackets) for uncommon things, and just keyboard shortcuts for common ones .. sure there is a menu for everything if you prefer to spend all day on this :P

Press and hold the middle mouse to move your camera, scroll mouse wheel to zoom (or ctrl+middle mouse), shift + middle mouse to pan.

  • Selected all objects 'Select > All' (A) .. or just draw a box around them.
  • Join into one object  'Object - Join' (CTRL+J) .. just to make it easier.

I have enabled the wireframe in the viewport overlay

qEbgUAI.png

s5YUjtX.png

At the bottom of the screen you can see how much detail there is in your mesh with the verts, edges and tris.

mGL1nhS.png

(the slash in the number shows Selected/Total, in this case we have everything selected so the numbers are the same )

  • Tris:3264 - The number of triangles used to make this object.
  • Faces:3264 - the flat solid looking triangles you can see!
  • Edges:6176 - the lines.
  • Verts:3008 - the points where the lines meet.

Ouch, seems the export from SL is a bit .. verbose, not a bad thing, but the opposite of what we want to have back in SL.

Lets just do some quick and dirty clean up.

Press (TAB) to get into edit mode .. there is a drop down for this, but yeah, it's TAB, you're done.

There will be lots of duplicated vertices (the points that all the lines connect to), this just makes things painful .. so get rid of them by 'Mesh > Clean up > Merge By Distance'

Bottom of the screen it says - Removed 1616 verticies ..

3OCoxZg.png

which is well over half what we started with and the other numbers have gotten lower too. Win win .. wait a minute, it all looks horrible !!

tRVQpBZ.png

Seems all the texture data from SL got screwed up, thats ok, we didnt want it anyway !

But this is ugly, so lets make it easier to see while we work on.

JIvGCJ9.png

from the drop down in the top right of the viewport, i set lighting to flat, picked a nice light green and then enable cavity (a little shading, we cant use this anywhere else, but it makes working easier to see). Back face Culling is an important one, blender likes to show faces as being double sided (like a sheet of paper), SL does not.

Next, lets ask blender to make it simpler, this wont affect the shape, just remove all the unnecessary bits.

  • 'Mesh > Clean up > Limited Dissolve'

RRs3F2d.png

uy08Cp2.png

That's better, and the numbers are going down !

Next, lets get rid of the stuff inside that we cant see.

We know this model has stuff inside that we want to get rid of. If you put two prims side by side, export them from SL, you get everything, even the faces that are out of sight.

Select nothing by clicking on the background somewhere.

From the top selector, pick 'faces', this controls what bits of the mesh we can select by clicking on it. (Good time to mention the first one is verts, next is edges)

AdqepPF.png

You could now start clicking on faces to select them one by one .. but that would take ages .. 

92nL8jX.png

So lets find another way.

Press C you will get a round dotted cursor, scroll the mouse wheel to make it nice and big, and then click, hold and paint all over the funnels. Right click when done.

(To deselect this with tool, you can just hold SHIFT while you paint.. don't do that now though, that's not what were doing!)

eJY1ABD.png

Looks good right? Nope ! Use middle mouse to orbit your camera around .. see what it did

mTpuIS2.png

OK, lets do that again, and again orbiting the camera each time till we have all the visible faces selected.

If you miss click and drop your selection, you can press CTRL+Z to go back to your previous. Half of blender is selecting the bits of your model to work on.

Take a moment to slowly rotate around and make sure you got all the faces you could see. Even inside the holes!

ynDLxSy.png

We think we should ONLY the outside faces of the model selected. 

Next, lets Hide the stuff we have selected

  • Press H !

Poof, a lot went away and were left with some rings?

KH3QzJi.png

These are faces we didn't select because they are inside the model. This is not ALL of the hidden faces .. hmmm, got a bad feeling about this.

I think we back track and find another way to only expose the hidden faces we don't want.

(This is where you decide this was a silly idea and go buy a funnel from the market place like a normal person.)

Why did we just do all that if it wouldn't work? 

  • Sometimes blender wont do exactly what you expect
  • There are many ways to accomplish the same end.
  • Learning how to fix mistakes is a key skill.

Press CTRL+Z a few times till you get back to all the funnels looking complete before we hide anything before.

Lets peek in a menu .. 'Select > Select All By Trait > Interior faces' .. why didn't we just do that?! because depending on how your model has been made it doesn't always work, and from my experience with SL imports .. it's not going to help. For me at least with this example .. it selects nothing - either look at the numbers in the bottom right corner, or tap G (to Grab) the selected stuff and move your mouse about .. great visual way of seeing what you have selected .. press right click drop them back without making any changes.

We could start peeking inside and trying to select bits we want to get rid of manually

gcknFmf.png

.. too slow and too much eye strain, although for some models you may end up resorting to this as a final final last step. Rule of thumb, if it feels like you're pixel editing .. back up and find another way.

Lets manually select the stuff we want to keep, but not one by one.

  • Press ALT+SHIFT and then click next to a line, it selected a while ring! (take a few minutes here to play with this and get a feel for selecting stuff)
  • You can hold SHIFT and keep clicking on other bits to add those to the selection.
  • If you miss and drop your selected parts, press CTRL+Z .. undo is your best friend, buy it a cake.

Hpoem7t.png

  • Keep going till you have all the 'sides' selected.

IFvWMDc.png

  • Holding shift click on the top faces to select those too
  • middle mouse orbit your cam
  • select the bottom faces
  • Now press H to hide the selection

How did we do?

Wx17dVa.png

Ok! Start with the big top ring!

  • Select that (notice it still has a couple of parts, so get each, Press X to delete and from the popup menu, pick 'Faces'

qgUDdd9.png

It left some edges (and vertices) behind .. we don't care, we might need them .. we might not .. and if not, blenders auto clean up tools will get them later.

Now then, lets have a close look at the bottom rings

mUdwhHY.png

 

Hmm, seems like our exported prims dont match up perfectly .. well, in any case we wont need this interior faces, so lets select them and delete as before.. pick a face or two and press X, pick  faces from the popup, keep going till you just have two rings

fFoMQl4.png

  • Press ALT+H to unhide everything to check we didnt delete anything we wanted to keep by accident.
  • if you did .. CTRL Z a couple times to the rescue ! Delete a little less in one go, double check selections of stuff in previous steps.
  • if its all good CTRL+Z once to go back to the outside being hidden.

Do the other 7 funnels. (yes, its a chore and slow .. but that muscle memory needs a work out. Remember, you get good, then you get fast.

You can use any combination of methods to select stuff to hide, play about, remember how much Undo loves you.

you will end up with this

0hsWHQR.png

OK .. now, let see what's going on with that join.

s9MZLc7.png

Yike .. 

We have holes and an almost unlimited number of ways to fix this.

We could just patch the holes up with new faces .. probably ugly not to mention fiddly,

We could merge the two edge rings together by joining some of those verts up .. slow and fiddly

We could junk that bottom part entirely and remake it. fast and easy .. let do that.

  • Middle mouse your camera over so you're looking at the bottom

BDxiMhL.png

  • Change the select tool to verticies

gFx39Ag.png

  • Using C .. select the ends. If you're clumsy like me and pick bits in the middle too, hold shift while in the C tool and deselect.

An45koi.png

  • Select all the geometry that's connected to those points we picked with 'Select > Select Linked > Linked' (or CTRL+L)

wkb0ZOf.png

  • and then make them go away forever with the X key and picking 'faces' .. if extra stuff goes away .. Undo, double check your selection, try again.

aHIpaD0.png

  • Use the C tool to select all those top points .. waait .. just scrubbing your mouse around is going to pick up stuff we dont want so adjust your camera and be careful
  • When you think you have it, tap G and move your mouse about, if only the tops move, you did it. right click to leave the points where they were.

GzHgr31.png

  • Double check by moving your camera and using G again, it pays to be careful.

Now, we need to extrude those rings out to match the size of the prims, lucky for US both blender and SL use the same scale! We could have left a couple of edges behind from the previous step as a guide, we could just eyeball it, but for this lets get the size from the actual prim in SL .. which for me from top to bottom is 0.3 !

This one is a few key commands together .. yes menus .. but this is bread and butter stuff, so its really better to just learn the keyboard shortcut way.

  • Press E to extrude, you will have a load of tubes moving about with your mouse, dont click anywhere !
  • Press Z to lock movement to the Z axis 
  • Then type "-.3" (the distance to move, minus as were moving down) and press ENTER

bewIsyw.png

Lets close those round holes.

Select nothing, Select one pair of rings at a time. and from the top menu 'Edge > Bridge Edge loops'

pz5hbV0.png

Do the rest.

jJQfWBF.png

How are we looking for triangle count ?

XXvaoG8.png

Not too bad. Yes those end funnel parts are more detailed than the SL export, but the over all count is lower.

Lets dump these into SL and see what happens.

'FIle > Export > Collada'

Bottom left of the screen that appears

ca2EBIV.png

Make sure selection only is picked (should be)

Name the file 'Funnel LOD0.dae'

Toss it into SL, same as at the start, not going to change anything on the upload floater, and ....

drum roll ... 

hhbfyyd.png

Oh damn !!

That's a third of the cost and 3 Li rather than 15

! BUT WAIT ! THERE'S MORE !

We can now get about twice as far away before they start to collapse

7q9HCBd.png

Mg7Id6R.png

 

The textures are wrong, we need to UV unwrap and a little baking and they will look epic.

We can do better on the LOD and cost by manually making those meshes (at least make it degrade smoother even if  we cant save any more Li)

But this is already a stupid long post.

It took me 90 mins .. and I was taking screenshots and writing this mess for most of that.

If I was just doing this .. 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Minor footnote. I made my cleaned up funnels huge.

At this size they,and the small white ones uploaded directly from firestorms export, are the same, 15 Li.

5l1zE1f.png

 

Edited by CoffeeDujour
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Posted (edited)

Laughs. What a tremendous amount of trouble you have gone to in order to belittle my little tip to a fellow sl'er !  Bwahaha ! By the way my funnel came out at 2 LI with 100pc LOD but hey who cares - Friends don't let friends export prims and reimport as mesh. :D

Edited by rasterscan

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Posted (edited)

This is something that's quite common and i wanted to demonstrate that it's really not a huge impossible feat to fix things. I beat the 'high poly & bad meshes are bad' drum often enough on these forums, so about time I put some money where my mouth was. Your funnel provided something that was simple enough to show a few key points with, but no so complicated that a beginner couldn't follow along. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Yes.. in the contest of a tiny thing it's not going to be a huge boost,  but if you're making a house or furniture the savings are substantial (or something where you have a tight Li budget, say a Linden Home).

I plan to continue this and show how to UV map, do a simple bake and make a couple of low LOD meshes.

No, this was not about you. If my intent was to belittle I doubt I'd need a monster post with over 40 images 😁

Edited by CoffeeDujour

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rasterscan said:

By the way my funnel came out at 2 LI with 100pc LOD

Here's an illustration or two from me too then.

Funnel made from three prims, 2 LI:

798673740_Skjermbilde(2200).thumb.jpg.91b0dee989abad760967d603bf195a0a.jpg

 

There are several ways to achieve this but the most common is to "convex" the linkset, that is change the physics shape type to convex hull:

57216031_Skjermbilde(2201).jpg.aa75204074137e147b4ca52204030646.jpg

 

Mesh has two significant advantages over prims. One is of course that you can make shapes with it that simply aren't possible with prims, the other is that you can merge several "prim shapes" into a single mesh, reducing the number of objects and saving the assets server a bit of work. The Firestorm exporter doesn't give you either. It doesn't give you any shapes you can't make with prims and it exports each prim as a separate mesh so the number of objects stays the same.

The Firestorm team has made it very clear that they only intended the dae export function as a way to make backups, not as a tool for converting prim builds to mesh. It can actually be used efectively for conversion too but only if you spend a bit of time and effort cleaning up the mesh in Blender, Maya or such before importing it.

 

2 hours ago, rasterscan said:

Laughs. What a tremendous amount of trouble you have gone to in order to belittle my little tip to a fellow sl'er !

I'm sorry you take it personally, I suppose that was inevitable. :(

It is a fairly common misunderstanding though, so it's not just you. There were even classes on it at Builders Brewery for a while.

 

------

Edit: Let's do some prim twisting while we're at it:

747505430_Skjermbilde(2202).jpg.6af066c184f56bcef553781bcb463817.jpg

 

This isn't an ideal shape for a funnel, the walls are to think and the tapering too small. But it would still work for many cases where you'd want a funnel and it illustrates one very important thing: Do not udnerestimate the prim, it's far more powerful than you think!

 

Edited by ChinRey

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4 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

This is something that's quite common and i wanted to demonstrate that it's really not a huge impossible feat to fix things. I beat the 'high poly & bad meshes are bad' drum often enough on these forums, so about time I put some money where my mouth was. Your funnel provided something that was simple enough to show a few key points with, but no so complicated that a beginner couldn't follow along. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Yes.. in the contest of a tiny thing it's not going to be a huge boost,  but if you're making a house or furniture the savings are substantial (or something where you have a tight Li budget, say a Linden Home).

I plan to continue this and show how to UV map, do a simple bake and make a couple of low LOD meshes.

No, this was not about you. If my intent was to belittle I doubt I'd need a monster post with over 40 images 😁

I've used prim export before to make some architectural work, if LL got one thing right with SL it's the in-world building tools. Even with meshs, they are still amazing for prototyping and as a general purpose blockout tool and "building glue".

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Thanks for this as I had considered doing that with some of my older personal prim items.  Now I know it might not necessarily give me what I was hoping for.

Question:  I've heard there are items you can buy on the MP that will turn prims into mesh.  Are those doing basically this same thing as the export thing?

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42 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Thanks for this as I had considered doing that with some of my older personal prim items.  Now I know it might not necessarily give me what I was hoping for.

What were you hoping for ?

42 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Question:  I've heard there are items you can buy on the MP that will turn prims into mesh.  Are those doing basically this same thing as the export thing?

Yes. They are all dumb tools that can not know context. You can always get a better end result by  taking your prim exports into a dedicated editor.

17 hours ago, ChinRey said:

Here's an illustration or two from me too then.

Funnel made from three prims, 2 LI:

Lets not get fixated on the "funnel", it was a suitably interesting multi part object that wasn't too complicated to demonstrate with.

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30 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

What were you hoping for ?

That an old 200-something prim house that I loved would maybe, maybe become much, much less costly in LI.  I hadn't had a chance to mess with any of that conversion stuff, but a girl can always dream.

Maybe someday I'll find the time and enough desire to learn Blender or Maya or such.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

That an old 200-something prim house that I loved would maybe, maybe become much, much less costly in LI.  I hadn't had a chance to mess with any of that conversion stuff, but a girl can always dream.

Maybe someday I'll find the time and enough desire to learn Blender or Maya or such.

I think this is a hugely pertinent point Lil' is making here.  Many of us would like a way to convert prim items to mesh, hoping to reduce their impact and find an automated route to mesh.  We might understand at some level that the results will never be as good as handcrafting mesh but are hoping to find a method that isn't too bad either, that is at the most basic level, acceptable.  Just like mass manufacturing real life goods for the most part isn't anywhere near as good as handcrafting them and yet it dominates the world today because it is good enough for a lot of people.

So why do we want it that easy instead of learning to make mesh the hard way?  Answer: Because it seems it is a hugely complicated, almost life long endeavour involving buckets of time in a life already probably filled with too many interests and hobbies to make a good enough job of it that it won't be criticised as bad mesh anyways, that is why.  For people like us, we will always seek an easier and less time consuming way if possible.  The holy grail is a one-click prim-to-mesh converter with a really awesome optimiser that gives just decent enough results to gain some decent efficiency savings over prims.  If anyone makes that product, I think it there would be a good market for it at the right price.  If built into the viewer, even better - I would definitely buy the devs of that viewer quite a few beers.

Edited by Gabriele Graves
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There's more automation available in Blender. If you export prims to Blender, you can join them by using the Wrench icon->Add Modifier->Boolean->Union feature. This joins objects using constructive solid geometry. Each object is treated as a solid, and a solid is constructed that is the union of all those solids. Not only are interior faces eliminated, the joints are clean and the finished model, like a prim model, is watertight.

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2 hours ago, Gabriele Graves said:

So why do we want it that easy instead of learning to make mesh the hard way?  Answer: Because it seems it is a hugely complicated, almost life long endeavour involving buckets of time in a life already probably filled with too many interests and hobbies to make a good enough job

Being able to clean up a mesh from SL is a great early entry teaching exercise.

You will learn the basic UI, fine camera manipulation, a feel for how actual geometry works, selecting and deselecting parts of your model, and right from day one you are learning optimization.

If it's too hard and you get stuck, save the file, start something else, go back to it when you're feeling more confident. Phone a friend. Post it here. Join /r/learnblender/

Step 2 is is how to take a cleaned up model and texture bake it, so it looks awesome.

Step 3 is then how to remove or simplify parts of your model aggressively so you can keep pace with the mesh deformation tool and maybe beat it .. the pay off is your things will never just become triangle barf.

Step 4 rig it and bring it to life .. you did add eyes, right? 

 

Mesh clean up and mesh simplification are the projects I would use when teaching blender 101 in person .. and that was back in 2.9 when it was actually hard and pain in the butt.

 

This whole progression is not a huge amount of work, its's mostly just repetitive muscle memory building, foundation stuff. The moment you want to do something different because you had an idea like .. hey, this thing is symmetrical, can i just mirror it? I need to add some rope or cloth? you will be able to watch a YT tutorial and skim it to the part where the specific tool you are interested in get demonstrated.

It's also a a game changing skill with a staggering breadth of outlets. You want to do some actual rendering, make stuff for Sansar or a game engine, edit some video (yeah, blender can do this), do cartoon animation, paint on your models directly with a brush or apply textures like decals. Try sculpting (no really), work on animation, rigging, film making, art.

A good 3D rendering tool at your back can give everything else creative you do so many more options and will more often that not be your first tool you go it, even it's just to doodle ideas.

 

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2 hours ago, animats said:

There's more automation available in Blender. If you export prims to Blender, you can join them by using the Wrench icon->Add Modifier->Boolean->Union feature. This joins objects using constructive solid geometry. Each object is treated as a solid, and a solid is constructed that is the union of all those solids. Not only are interior faces eliminated, the joints are clean and the finished model, like a prim model, is watertight.

This sound possibly bordering on usable for someone like me.  I might give it a go but I have to say that I have followed simple steps before for Blender and they often miss out more important more complex things.  Like for example, when you say "using the Wrench icon->Add Modifier->Boolean->Union feature" if this means I choose this from a menu and then press save, great.  If it means I have to first learn a load of basics about the very complex Blender UI before I know how to "use" this feature, not a chance.  The main problem with helpful suggestions by people who have mastered these things is they very quickly forget how difficult they were or might be for someone who with different abilities.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Being able to clean up a mesh from SL is a great early entry teaching exercise.

You will learn the basic UI, fine camera manipulation, a feel for how actual geometry works, selecting and deselecting parts of your model, and right from day one you are learning optimization.

If it's too hard and you get stuck, save the file, start something else, go back to it when you're feeling more confident. Phone a friend. Post it here. Join /r/learnblender/

Step 2 is is how to take a cleaned up model and texture bake it, so it looks awesome.

Step 3 is then how to remove or simplify parts of your model aggressively so you can keep pace with the mesh deformation tool and maybe beat it .. the pay off is your things will never just become triangle barf.

Step 4 rig it and bring it to life .. you did add eyes, right? 

 

Mesh clean up and mesh simplification are the projects I would use when teaching blender 101 in person .. and that was back in 2.9 when it was actually hard and pain in the butt.

 

This whole progression is not a huge amount of work, its's mostly just repetitive muscle memory building, foundation stuff. The moment you want to do something different because you had an idea like .. hey, this thing is symmetrical, can i just mirror it? I need to add some rope or cloth? you will be able to watch a YT tutorial and skim it to the part where the specific tool you are interested in get demonstrated.

It's also a a game changing skill with a staggering breadth of outlets. You want to do some actual rendering, make stuff for Sansar or a game engine, edit some video (yeah, blender can do this), do cartoon animation, paint on your models directly with a brush or apply textures like decals. Try sculpting (no really), work on animation, rigging, film making, art.

A good 3D rendering tool at your back can give everything else creative you do so many more options and will more often that not be your first tool you go it, even it's just to doodle ideas.

 

I am sorry but nope, I don't have the inclination to invest the time needed to even begin to master any of this without knowing if I would eventually have the aptitude for it.  Even if I could look into a crystal ball and somehow see that in the future my meshes might be considered acceptable to the experts who judge these things around here, I am still not likely to consider this a good investment of the time needed to get there.  I am definitely one of those people already that struggles to find time to explore new interests that are far less complex as it is and there are far more interesting things for me to explore.

I have installed Blender, I have attempted very basic object manipulation and already spent far too many hours trying change simple things like moving faces without any fruitful gain.  So I know my limits.  It would take me, if ever,  far far too long to achieve anything useful.

You and a lot of others who have mastered these skills tend to understate this to the extreme. Saying, just do this, this sounds simple and this hides a lot of complexity but it isn't simple and it doesn't help any of us to keep saying it is.  It means that you consider it simple but cannot conceive that it might be an insurmountable effort for others.

I appreciate the fact that your tutorial is attempting to help those who have the time and the inclination, I think they will find it useful and kudos to you and all the other mesh experts for wanting to improve things for those people and for SL generally.

However, I don't think that I am that unusual, I would suspect that there are a lot of people out there who don't think dedicating their life to becoming a mesh expert is worth the time or effort for them but would just like a reasonable casual solution to converting a few prim builds to be more efficient for personal use.  If there isn't a one-click, optimise solution then it isn't going to happen.

2 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

It's also a a game changing skill with a staggering breadth of outlets. You want to do some actual rendering, make stuff for Sansar or a game engine, edit some video (yeah, blender can do this), do cartoon animation, paint on your models directly with a brush or apply textures like decals. Try sculpting (no really), work on animation, rigging, film making, art.

This especially shows my point.  It isn't a game changer for me.  If by magic I became a mesh expert overnight I still would not have any more interest in doing any of those things in any significant way than I do today.  It just isn't that interesting to me.  Prim building is the extent of where I want to go with 3D modelling and I even do that very occasionally.  I would still like to one-click convert that to a more efficient mesh if possible though.

Edited by Gabriele Graves
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

That an old 200-something prim house that I loved would maybe, maybe become much, much less costly in LI.

200-something, that's still less than the all mesh suburb houses at the new Linden Homes continent. ;)

 

15 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

I've heard there are items you can buy on the MP that will turn prims into mesh.  Are those doing basically this same thing as the export thing?

No, they're not. Both Mesh Studio and Mesh Generator will merge several prims into a single mesh and that's where the big LI saving is. They also offer several other useful functions that Firestorm doesn't have. Here's one of the first meshes I ever made. It was made all from prims, and converted to mesh with Mesh Studio. Land impact is 1, LoD is as you see in the small picture.

1497292779_Skjermbilde(2203).thumb.jpg.edadfb62256db6944464f2bf0a84fc7c.jpg

 

64014250_Skjermbilde(2204).jpg.73e19a348358c268ab875a69ed98f4b2.jpg

 

Here's another one, a complete 4 m timberframe wall section with two windows. The cames (those narrow lead strips between the glass pieces) are mesh, not texture. Land impact 3, LoD good enough you'll never see it change shape unless your LoD factor is set to 0.

281400257_Skjermbilde(2205).thumb.jpg.82bd64b3688d6dcd6053ba737304cae3.jpg

1862071670_Skjermbilde(2206).thumb.jpg.c733ae0da2bda6f17767ab5534eaef7d.jpg

So yes, you can make very good mesh with Mesh Studio or Mesh Generator.

BUT!

It's not easy. To achieve something like this, you have to be prepared to build separate prim models for each LoD level and you have to do some serious out-of-the-box thinking. You also have to understand how mesh really works of course but that's true regardless of what tool you use.

If you want to get a prim-to-mesh converter, I strongly recommend you choose Mesh Studio, not because it's better than the alternatives but because it comes with a support group with nice and friendly people who will help you through the early stages.

----

If, however, all you want to do is save some land impact, there's a lot you can do with prims and sculpts that weren't possible a few years ago. Look at this:

367597224_OldeConiston16-06-291.jpg.16fc3133b779dec916bd837f6b4e4d69.jpg

Not a good picture but it's one of Hattie Panacek's old pre-mesh castles. You can take a look here if you like http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Coniston/36/158/1030

Almost ten years ago Hattie managed to make this entire castle full of details inside with slightly more than 1,300 prims and sculpts - a really impressive land impact even by today's standards - but she challenged me to try to reduce it even further with modern building techniques. I managed to get it down to less than half with no changes in its appearance whatsoever and with no mesh. All I did was use larger prims and take advantage of modern land impact calculation.

I'm not sure what the land impact would be if the castle was meshed but I would guess optimised mesh would end up at 300-400, regular SL mesh 1,000-1,500 (about the same as the old prim original but with poorer LoD), Mole mesh ... 5,000 perhaps.

The point I'm trying to make here is the same as with the funnel. Mesh isn't the big land impact saver. There are other recent(ish) additions to SL that can be just as effective without any of the drawbacks of mesh. And even in the old days, really skilled builders like Hattie, could often achieve LI figures that would put most modern mesh makers to shame.

 

14 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Lets not get fixated on the "funnel", it was a suitably interesting multi part object that wasn't too complicated to demonstrate with.

Yes but I thought it was a good idea to use the same basic build for easy comparasion :)

 

10 hours ago, CoffeeDujour said:

Being able to clean up a mesh from SL is a great early entry teaching exercise.

That's how I got started on Blender. At first it was just the most basic cleanup of my Mesh Studio meshes, then gradually I started doing more elaborate mods in Blender. It's a great way to ease yourself into Blender or other external mesh modelling tools.

Edited by ChinRey
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1 hour ago, Gabriele Graves said:

This sound possibly bordering on usable for someone like me.  I might give it a go but I have to say that I have followed simple steps before for Blender and they often miss out more important more complex things.  Like for example, when you say "using the Wrench icon->Add Modifier->Boolean->Union feature" if this means I choose this from a menu and then press save, great.  If it means I have to first learn a load of basics about the very complex Blender UI before I know how to "use" this feature, not a chance.  The main problem with helpful suggestions by people who have mastered these things is they very quickly forget how difficult they were or might be for someone who with different abilities.

You are quite correct. That's inadequate documentation for doing this. It's worth playing with, though. Because, if it can do the job, it's far less work than fussing with triangles and vertices individually.

SL really ought to have something like SketchUp or Archimatrix built in. Those are much more user-friendly than Blender. Blender is a collection of features flying in close formation, not a coherent architecture.

Archimatrix is interesting. It's like building with prims, but the library of prims is much bigger and new ones can be created. Archimatrix has prims like "wall with windows". Stretch it, and you get more windows, properly spaced, rather than bigger ones. "Couch" can be stretched to get a longer couch without the arms becoming oversized. SineSpace uses that, in world.

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Posted (edited)

I think it's also important not to get caught up on the land impact too much. The LI is a reflection of how complex/taxing your object is. However it is a balancing act:

  • Too much detail retained at the different models lead to an inflated LI.
  • Scalping the mesh as much as possible will lead to a very low LI, but at the cost of visual fidelity and collision quality (which matters for some projects).

This is a slight exageration but what good is a "super HD" 1LI sofa that turns into polygon mush unless you are so close you could kiss it?

 

Edited by Kyrah Abattoir
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3 hours ago, animats said:

SL really ought to have something like SketchUp or Archimatrix built in.

Probably not SketchUp. SketchUp is firmly on constructive solid geometry and CSG is murder for performance.

Archimatix, yes, but keep in mind that we're talking about a company who launched a brand new VR engine without even including basic object instancing as late as 2017. Nodes may be a bit too much to ask for there. ;)

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Also have to keep in mind it's not just about the raw geometry.

The biggest difference in visual quality always comes down to textures and lighting. Just flip though the shader settings in your viewer for a solid example. Everything will have the same model and same texture yet  vary wildly in terms of actual quality.

SL's real time lighting can only ever get you so far, good general use mesh stuff just looks better because you can bake a little ambient light into it, if you're building a location with static primary lights, then you can bake them and their shadows in too.

 

CSG would be crippling to do in SL and recursion depth seriously limits the kinds of shapes you can make unless you're prepared to allow insanity .. eg, using CSG to create a tool that you then use to cut out a bevel.

 

No one cares about sinespace. A virtual world is more than its toybox.

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This is such an amazing post.  Thank you for the time it took you to do all that.  As someone new to mesh I really appreciate it. 

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