Jump to content

Baking shadow in normal prims?


You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 4515 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Recommended Posts

Hello

 

I'd like to put shadow in my build more easily

I see houses and big building made of normal prim around really realisticly shadowed and i can't imagine how long this would take to do it prim by prim from scratch on photoshop

 

I know ( i think, i never tried ) you can import a sculpt map in programs like Blender and make a shadow texture easily

but is that possible to do with normal prims? and how ? whats the program needed and is there any tutorial somewhere? my googling didnt helped me at all

 

if i have a house made of normal prim can i import it somehow in X program , bake shadow , export them and texture ?

I see really realistic shadow work on normal prim and reaching this from scratch with nothing sound almost impossible or really long and hard work

 

Thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah i see it done sometimes, with prim plants even.

I use a shadow alpha prim under retangular and rounded prims, those are easy to make in photoshop, but how to make shadow following the contours of more complex prim builds i have no idea either.

I will follow suggestions here too :) It seems so interesting to learn how it's done :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Zak Kozlov wrote:

I'd like to put shadow in my build more easily


What's your definition of "easily"? If you're looking for a solution you can apply in just a few minutes, there's no such thing.  Just like any other art form, texturing is time consuming.  There's no way around that.

But that's not to say it has to be hard to do.  Again, just like any other art form, the more you do it, the better you get at it.  What might seem like insurmountable obstacles when you're brand new at it become mere child's play after you've had some experience and your skill set develops.  Just be prepared that if you want to be very good, you're going to have to put in a lot of practice.

 


I see houses and big building made of normal prim around really realisticly shadowed and i can't imagine how long this would take to do it prim by prim from scratch on photoshop

While there can never be any magical "make it look good" button to push in order to be done instantly, it doesn't have to take forever and a day to get good results.  With the proper knowledge of the how-to's, it takes a lot less time than you're probably thinking right now.  Working entirely by hand in Photoshop, I could have something like a house realistically textured, from scratch, and with shading, in a matter of hours, in most cases. 

But I've been around the block a time or two with this sort of thing.  Experience has taught me when and where it'll be most practical to use each of the various techniques at my disposal.  When you're new, and you don't yet know what the techniques even are, it can seem pretty daunting, but really, it's not that difficult.  Do it just a few times, and we'll be having an entirely different conversation.

 

You used the phrase, "prim by prim".  Here's lesson number one.  Whether you're painting textures by hand, generating them in a 3D modeling program, or doing it any other way, don't ever think of it in terms of prims.  Think about surfaces and whole object shapes.  Individual prims themselves are largely irrelevant in this regard.

In RL, if you were painting a wall that happened to be made of cinder blocks, would you dismantle the wall, and paint each block individually?  Of course not.  You'd treat the wall itself as a single surface, and you'd just paint the whole thing at once. 

Treat your SL builds the exact same way.  Say you've got a wall made of four cubes.  You don't need (or want) a separate texture for each cube.  Make one texture for the entire wall, and then display 25% of it on each cube.

Here's lesson number two.  Say you need to repeat a texture many times across the wall, because it's got a repeating pattern, like bricks or something.  In that case, including the shadowing directly into the texturing obviously won't do.  So, how do we solve the problem?  The answer is pretty simple.  Put the shadows on a separate, otherwise transparent, surface, and park that surface just in front of the wall.

Want a really easy way to make the shadow map?  Temporarily put a blank texture on the build.  Color the base surface of the wall white, and then color every object that casts a shadow on it black.   Align your camera so you're looking as directly at the wall as possible, and take a screenshot.  Now, in Photoshop, do the following:

1.  Crop the image, with the perspective option enabled, to correct for any camera alignment problems.  You want a truly orthographic shot.

2.  Give the image a generous gaussian blur, to diffuse the blacks into the white a bit.

3.  Invert the colors.

4.  Copy the image to the alpha channel of a black texture.

Now you've got a shadow map for the entire wall.  Apply it to a surface just in front of the wall, and you'll see every feature that should cast a shadow now appears to cast one.  You can control the intensity of the shadows by adjusting the transparency setting on the shadow object surface(s).

 

Those two tips alone can save you countless hours over what you might have been thinking.

 


Zak Kozlov wrote:

I know ( i think, i never tried ) you can import a sculpt map in programs like Blender and make a shadow texture easily

 

Again, be careful with that word, "easily".  It's imporatant you understand that baking shadows in a 3D modeling program is not inherently any easier or harder than painting them by hand in Photoshop.  It's just a different way of approaching the same problem.  Once you learn what you're doing, baking can often be less time consuming than hand-painting, but it's always going to take considerable effort to get good results, no matter what.

It's not just a question of learning what buttons to press in order to spit out a baked texture.  You also need to learn how to set up your scene with all the lights, materials, shaders, render settings, etc., to get the specific results you want.  Becoming a good baker requires at least as much dedication, practice, and artistry as becoming a good painter.

 

 


Zak Kozlov wrote:

 

but is that possible to do with normal prims? and how ?

 

Sure, it’s possible.  But you wouldn’t want to approach it in the way you’re probably thinking.  As I said above, forget about prims.  Think instead about surfaces.  More on this in a minute.

 

 


Zak Kozlov wrote:

whats the program needed

Take your pick.  There are dozens to choose from.  Blender is probably the most popular choice among SL users, primarily because it's free.  It's arguably a little harder to learn than some of the other options, but it's fantastically powerful, almost on par with the multi-thousand-dollar programs that professional game studios and Hollywood CGI shops use.  (Some of them actually do use Blender)

Other popular choices include Maya (which is what I use), 3DS Max, Lightwave, among others.

What's the "right" one to use?  Whichever one you have. You can get great results with all.

Unless you want to spend money, Blender's your best bet.

 


Zak Kozlov wrote:

is there any tutorial somewhere?

It's unlikely you'll ever find a tutorial entitled "Take your prim house from SL, and bake textures for it in Blender".  But there are thousands out there on how to use Blender (or whatever other program you might choose) in general.

I'll give you the same advivce I give everyone, when it comes to these kinds of questions.  Don't put the cart before the horse.  If you try to get into all this with any particular result in mind, all you're going to do is drive yourself crazy.  Don't try to focus so narrowly on how to make this work for for any particular thing. Instead focus simply on how to make it work, period. 

Spend a few weeks learning Blender itself, if that's what your program of choice happens to be.  Start with an introductory tutorial, and go from there.  Let each lesson build upon the last, natrually, and before you know it, you'll have a really solid mastery of the program's basics.  You'll also have a grasp of general concepts of 3D modeling and rendering that you're not even aware of right now.  At present, you don't yet know enough even to know what it is you don't know, if you follow me.  That will change quickly, though.

Once you've got a firm command of the basics, you can then apply that knowledge to your SL works, with great effectiveness.  In the mean time, patience, Grasshopper.  Wax on, wax off.  By the inch it's a sinch, by the mile it's a trial.

And all that good stuff.

So you know, whatever your program of choice happens to be, the key things you'll need to know how to do with it in order to bake textures are, for starters: polygonal modeling, UV mapping, lighting, creation and application of materials and shaders, and management of render settings.

 


Zak Kozlov wrote:

if i have a house made of normal prim can i import it somehow in X program , bake shadow , export them and texture ?

Even if it were possible to do a direct import, you absolutely wouldn't want to. Prims are all kinds of impractical, and downrignt problematic, for this sort of thing.   Once again, you want to focus on surfaces and overall forms.  Forget all about prims when you're doing anything at all outside of SL itself.

Let's go back to that four-prim wall example, to illustrate the point.  If I'm working with four SL-style cubes in my modeling program, and I bake textures from the whole model, I'm going to end up with 24 individual images (one for each of the six sides on each cube).  Why in the world would I ever want to deal with all that, when all I really need is one texture to cover the one wall?

It's gonna be much easier and smarter for me just to recreate the wall myself, directly in the modeling program, as a simple plane.  I bake a texture from the one plane, I get one texture, not 24. 

I recreate builds in this manner all the time, for texturing purposes.  It's a little tedious, building everything twice, but it's quite easy to do.  Everything in SL is very easily measurable, after all.  It's no sweat to recreate an entire building, or even a whole sim, in anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the complexity of the build.

The model itself is just the tip of the iceberg, though.  After that, there's a lot more to do.  The scene needs to be lit properly.  Materials, shaders, and base textures need to be created, and assigned to surfaces.  Render settings need to be set.  Then the whole thing has to left alone to render, which in itself can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the speed of your computer, the comlexity of the scene, the specific render passes you want to include (diffuse color, ambient occlusion, raytraced or diffuse shadows, global illumination, specularity, reflections, etc., etc., etc.), and the size and number of images you're creating.

 


Zak Kozlov wrote:

 

I see really realistic shadow work on normal prim and reaching this from scratch with nothing sound almost impossible or really long and hard work

Nothing you've ever seen in SL is "almost impossible".  Just about everything in SL is actually quite simplistic to create.  SL offers so few options for content creation, there's no way to even approach the alomst impossible with it.  A lot of the best looking stuff on the grid is time consuming to produce, for sure, but so is a lot of the worst looking crap.  How long something might take doesn't speak to how difficult it is to do.

Is it fair to call any of it "hard work", though?  I really don't think so.  Coal mining is hard work.  Muck farming is hard work.  Digital content creation is pretty damned easy when compared to most other things one could imagine oneself doing with the same blocks of time.

"Challenging" would be a much better word.  If you're up for the challenge, go for it.  If the things I've written about here have whetted your appetite to learn more, by all means do it.

If, however, you're finding yourself discouraged by the fact that there's nothing super quick and simple about this, then it's probably not for you.  I sincerely hope that's not the case.

I really hope you won't be scared off by any of what I've written here.  My purpose was not to discourage you in any way.  Quite the opposite, I'd love to inspire you to learn all you can about it.  I just want you to have realistic expectations.  There's a lot of ground to cover.  

The journey across that ground is a lot of fun, if you let it be.  If all you're thinking about is getting results fast, you're gonna be in for a world of frustration.  But if you let go a little, and allow yourself the time to enjoy the process of discovery, there's a whole new world of artistic expression waiting for you.  Remember, developing an entire new skill set is never trivial, but it's always extremely rewarding.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a house I sell in my store with all the shadows baked into the textures I create.  In fact, I do this on nearly every build.

I do this two ways.  One is to use the Shadows feature in the advanced graphics settings and take some screen shots for references (you can't use the SL snapshot feature as it wont capture the shadows).

The I take and make the area I need to project the shadow and make it all black.  I then do a snapshop and export it to PS.

I cut the area that is not black then overlay it on the texture I wish to shadow, then shape it to fit the build while using the reference screen shots to align it.

You can go by my store to see it.  It's just outside the front door to my store.  I also use shadows on most of my objects as well as projected light that is done on standard prims.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chosen Few: Thank you for that really developed reply

But you got the wrong idea of me from the start and carried it for the whole post

 

I know a few technique and im pretty good at texturing with them. I'm not expecting any lazy magical ways or approaching any work like this. my question was simply if its possible to bake shadow in a build made of normal prims with 3d software like you would for a sculpty ... some huge buildings look pretty impressive and a whole other level of work would be necessary to do it

 

and I do think of prims and not surface in most case

depending on the texture you want to apply, to not lose quality its necessary ( like bricks )

 

I never tried using viewer shadow, screenshot and work my textures

I'm gonna take a look ... sure sound better than starting from nothing and try-retry

 

Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
You are about to reply to a thread that has been inactive for 4515 days.

Please take a moment to consider if this thread is worth bumping.

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...