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Another beginner building question


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As a draftsman I'm used to making objects by starting with a basic shape and then chamfering corners, making holes, etc in the CAD program. Even better, making almost anything by drawing the shape in 2D and then extruding it along a straight line or curve. But after trying to comprehend some videos steeped in SL-world I've come to a theory that those operations don't exist. The reason would be they tend to make lots (and lots) of polygons and that would overburden the system. So instead, say I want to create what's easiest described as a sheet of plywood with the corners rounded as if by a jigsaw. In SL, I can't chamfer the corners. I think instead I need to make a smaller rectangle (which is just a really thin box) and then add cylinders and more boxes, thus building up to the shape rather than cutting down to it.

Does this sound correct?

No idea yet how to make cuts that duplicate real-world use of a jigsaw, i.e. various curves this way and that. I hoped I could instead import as a mesh the design I have in CAD. But that has had weird results so far. As you might imagine, searches on these various concepts have not yielded exactly the needed results.

Hmm. Can I take a mesh that imported as a 2D object, duplicate it so there are two, and then join them all along their edge so they have the shape of a 3D object? Sort of like taking two flat circles and, in SL, making them into a cylinder. Possible?

Edited by Pombokom
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You are correct that prim objects are built up out of simple shapes.  To get your plywood sheet with rounded corners, you would need a central rectangle, two narrow bordering rectangles on the ends, and a cylinder cut into 1/4 of a cylinder at each corner...7 prims in all.  This way lies madness.

You are MUCH better off learning to import mesh objects, since you already have experience with modeling in this way.  If your current software won't export a DAE (Collada) file, look into Blender.  It's free software, and there are tons of tutorials on the web and YouTube to get you started.  Even though there is a learning curve, it will be much more familiar to you, given your previous experience.  https://www.blender.org/

(Yes, you could build, say, a box shaped like a guitar in the way you describe.  The joining edge would be made of a multitude of small, narrow prims, and the result would have an incredibly high land impact, as well as looking very clunky.  Don't do it.)

In the early days of SL, some amazing objects were built out of simple prims.  For example, see some of the sculptures by Starax Tree, or visit the region Svarga.  Everything in Svarga is made with the in-world building tools, using only simple prims.  While we should all admire this level of artistry, we have much better tools available to us today.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
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Lindal's right.  When she and I were new to SL, all objects were built the way you describe.  Some of them were quite good.  We spent a lot of time learning how to create wild shapes by twisting, hollowing, slicing, tapering, and stretching prims and then gluing them together to make complex linksets.  It was time-consuming but intellectually rewarding.  By today's standards, though, that beautiful work was an inefficient use of creator time and server resources.  Once LL made it possible to upload mesh, most people never looked back. 

Any good builder learns how to use the building tools in the viewer, of course, because sometimes simple prims are in fact best for the job. And we still need to link and texture objects.  For most building in SL, though, mesh objects not only look better and use less land impact than prims, they also let us create organic forms that would be ridiculously impossible to make any other way.

I truly encourage you to learn how to build with prims. It's becoming a lost art, sadly.  I wasn't kidding when I said that it's good intellectual exercise too.  If you're doing serious building in SL, though, put most of your effort into making great mesh objects.

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Back to Blender, then. 🙂 I was able to import my design into Blender. I haven't yet spent the time to turn it into something that can then be sent reliably over to SL. It sounds like that way lies the lesser madness. Thank you both. 

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